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All Things Come to an End...............

Sunday May 08 2016

NOTE TO READER: this piece was posted four years ago and at the time represented my 'retirement' from the curling media business as I was joining the Board of Governors of Curling Canada and there was a clear conflict of interest. A year ago about now, I left that Board and have allowed a year to pass. I am beginning to wonder if itis time to un-retire although it seems like curling in this pandemic year might not be the most important thing for me to be thinking about.

(MAY 8, 2016) After 28 years of writing about Manitoba curling here and in the predecessor newspaper, just shy of half of my lifetime, the time has come to write the final words here at thecurler.com.          

The 2015-16 curling season has ended and I am delighted that the last championship event written about here had a pair of Manitoba teams winning the championships. When Jennifer Jones and Reid Carruthers won the season ending Humpty’s Champions Cup, I realized the opportunity to write about wins by a pair of Manitoba teams was a good time to implement the decision which I have been considering most of the season.

I have been writing about Manitoba curling since Connie Laliberte was in her prime. I have watched Jennifer Jones and her teams replace Connie and become the most successful Manitoba curling team of all time – based on the modern gold standard being Olympic Gold. And as we have all seen, although Team Jones is still the Manitoba women’s team to beat, we are seeing the new generation of great women curlers in the likes of Kerri Einarson and others of her age who will follow Jones.

I have been writing about Manitoba curling since before Jeff Stougton began his remarkable record of success – since a time when Kerry Burtnyk (2), Stoughton (2) and Vic Peters (3) won seven of the ten provincial men’s titles in a ten year period. And I have had the opportunity to watch the evolution of what I suggest could be a new ‘big-three’ in men’s curling. I am excited by the competition ahead between Mike McEwen, Reid Carruthers, and Matt Dunstone and I expect it to rival or even surpass the rivalry between the previous ‘big-three’.

During the time I have been writing about Manitoba curling, Manitoba teams have won 42 Canadian Championships, eight World Championships, and one Olympic Gold Medal. Had you asked me in 1988, I’d have bet that 42 Canadian titles would result in considerably more than eight World titles – but that is an indication of the improvement in world curling over those years and makes even more special the world gold medals won by Kelly MacKenzie (Jr Women) & Kerry Burtnyk (Men) in 1995; Jeff Stoughton (Men) in 1996 and 2011, David Hamblin (Jr Men) in 2002), Jennifer Jones (Women) in 2008, and Braden Calvert (Jr Men) & Lois Fowler (Sr Women) in 2015.

Writing about curling has allowed me to attend most Manitoba championships, a host of Canadian and World championships, and even the Salt Lake Olympics during these years. It has taken me to bonspiels across the province – and thanks to the way the internet has become such a great results system, I have been able to follow hundreds of other events too numerous to really try to count.

But things end – and just as I ended my radio program last spring after 15 seasons, the time has come to make that decision in regard to thecurler.com.

As much as I enjoyed following the great curlers and reporting on their successes, I enjoyed expressing opinions even more. I hope some of the opinions I have expressed here have had a positive impact in our sport.

However, I have found a new outlet for those opinions in my role as a member of Curling Canada's Board of Governors. You won’t know what they are anymore but in broad terms I know from positive comments and expressions of support that you have agreed more often than not. I don’t think my attitudes and opinions have changed very much over the years, so even though you won’t read those opinions here you can trust the same opinions are still being expressed.

I have appreciated the support I have had from curling fans – from curlers – and from the sponsors who have helped me pay some of the bills. That makes it appropriate for the final words written by me on this website to be simply THANK YOU!!

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