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Antila Becomes First CurlManitoba President from Northern Manitoba

Saturday Sep 19 2015
by CurlManitoba Release

In the 128th year of organized curling in Manitoba, Thompson Burntwood Curling Club’s Sam Antila has become the first provincial curling association President from a curling club in Manitoba’s north.                      

Antila assumed the presidency of CurlManitoba at the organization’s annual general meeting, September 19, in Winnipeg. The CurlManitoba forerunner organizations, Manitoba Curling Association (MCA-established 1888) and Manitoba Ladies Curling Association (MLCA-established 1924) were never led by a curler from a Northern Manitoba curling club.

Prior to Sam Antila becoming CurlManitoba President, the highest a curler from the north had risen in Manitoba’s curling hierarchy was Flin Flon’s James Conner who served as Second Vice President of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1959-60 and The Pas' Trevor Morgan who served as Second Vice President of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1954-55. The first curler from outside Winnipeg to serve as MCA President was Jim Wishart-Portage in 1974-75 while the MLCA’s first rural President was Brandon’s Shirley Bray in 1980-81.

Awards Presented:
CurlManitoba announced three Honourary Life Memberships at the 2015 Annual General Meeting. Hilda Towerzey is being recognized for her over 40 years of service to the association through her contributions as piper at ceremonial receptions for champions returning to the Winnipeg Airport. Paul Wiecek of the Winnipeg Free Press is being recognized for his service to the sport of curling by providing extensive coverage to the sport. Rob Van Kommer-Carberry received the traditional Past-President’s Honourary Life Membership. Earlier in the season, at the Safeway Championship in Brandon, Safeway’s John Graham received CurlManitoba’s Honourary Life Membership recognition for his long support of the Association and of curling in Manitoba.

CurlManitoba also announced that the 2014-15 Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Louis Tanguay-Winkler. Tanguay was co-chair of Winkler’s very successful Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Monsanto.

A Successful 2014-15 Season:
Attendees at the September 19 AGM were informed of a successful 2014-15 highlighted by remarkable national and international achievements. The World championship teams of Lois Fowler-Brandon (Senior Women) and Braden Calvert-Deer Lodge (Junior Men) and the National Championship teams of Calvert, Colin Kurz-Wildewood (Canada Games), Hayden Forrester-Heather (U-18), Randy Neufeld-La Salle (Senior Men), and Ron Westcott-Fort Rouge (Masters) led the way on the competitive scene for Manitoba.

On the development side of CurlManitoba’s responsibilities, the successful Road Show program was wound down in 2014-15 at the same time as other youth development and promotion programs were initiated and/or continued. Among many others, these programs include the new Cec Watt Junior challenge, modelled on the O’Grady and Deneen Cup competitions; Junior League in a Box, a self-contained instructional and league management kit; camps, with two camps for 37 participants in 2014-15; and an Open Your Doors/Your First End publicity program designed to help clubs attract new participants.

During 2014-15, individual ‘Report Card’ Evaluations were done with 93 young curlers striving to improve their technical abilities. One-day Skill Development Series sessions were conducted in four clubs with 73 participants. Individual and group curling lessons were also provided on an ‘on-request basis’ for over 60 curlers. Approximately 70 competitively inclined junior curlers participated in Junior High Performance training programs in Winnipeg, Parkland, and Westman.

Looking ahead to 2015-16, an important new program is the Sport Regional Development Program. This initiative over the next three years is designed to provide mentorship in all Manitoba sport regions to extend the expertise of the Association and make resources available nearby in all curling communities.

Curling for Life Endowment Fund Growing:
When the Victoria Curling Club members and directors made the decision to close their club before the 2014-15 season, they also made the decision to commit the proceeds of sale of the assets to support the future of curling in Manitoba. A significant contribution, through the named Victoria Curling Club Fund, was made to the Curling for Life Endowment Fund. With the contribution, the Endowment Fund reached nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. That figure was surpassed when another significant contribution from the Grain Exchange Curling Club was announced at the AGM.

During 2014-15, the migration of the Strathcona Curling Club funds into the Curling for Life Endowment Fund was also completed. This ensures perpetual recognition for the legacy of the Strathcona, parallel with Victoria and Grain Exchange. Legacy accounts have also been established by the Wheat City and Valour Road Curling Clubs.

Interest generated by these legacy funds, as well as the corporate gifts and personal donations and memorial contributions, is paid into CurlManitoba operating funds with the specific mandate to support scholarships, development programs and promotion of the sport in Manitoba.

2015-16 CurlManitoba President presents an Appreciation Certificate to Past-President Kim Warburton.
Antila and Warburton present Honourary Life Member Certificate to Hilda Towerzey
Antila and Warburton present Volunteer of the Year Award to Louis Tanguay


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