Warning… this is a very Manitoba posting.
This is probably acceptable for your average non-Manitoban curling fan, who knows of the Canadian province’s curling legacy and recognizes the numerous champions it has bestowed on the sporting world.
And it’s more than acceptable for ’Toba curlers. Of which there are many.
The Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum is in the final stretch of a unique fundraising campaign – ending Dec. 14 – which gives donors a vote on naming Manitoba’s Most Notable Curling Team.
That’s right. What would ordinarily be the most simple collation of online votes features a twist: To cast said vote, you must make a donation to “support the efforts of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum to celebrate Manitoba’s curling heritage.”
The hall developed and published a list of 150 notably historic teams, then selected a top 25 men’s, women’s and mixed (four-player) squads whose exceptional accomplishments would merit final consideration.
A vote-by-donation page was created for each of those teams. Organizers also built a “wild card” page, if any curling fans believed the selection committee missed their favorite “notable.”
To no one’s surprise, the wild card page was leading with just one day of voting/donating left. Mert Thompsett’s Canadian junior champions from the late 1970s seemed the most popular pick of that particular gang of nominees, but there were plenty of other selections and even some write-ins.
Close on that page’s heels was the Kerri Einarson’s squad from Gimli. The 2020 national women’s champions were jobbed out of their first world championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and at time of writing, they were just 121 loonies behind the wild card entry.
In third place was a surprise; Gordon Hudson’s Brier teams. Those guys won the provincial and national titles way back in 1928 and ’29 – the first to capture back-to-back Brier crowns.
Jennifer Jones’ foursomes – both the 2005-10 version (with Cathy Overton-Clapham at third) and the modern 2011-2021 lineup – were running only fourth, which was another surprise. Both teams and all of their players are locks for each and every curling hall of fame they’re eligible for … it’s just a matter of when the nominations and inductions take place.
Trailing Jones x 2 is a group of what many curling fans would consider the heaviest hitters – the 1992-97 Vic Peters team (fifth), the Kerry Burtnyk-skipped teams from 1995-2001 (sixth), Don Duguid’s 1970-71 Brier and world championship squads in seventh and Jeff Stoughton’s eighth-ranked 1999-2006 foursomes.
A lot of work went into building this thing, and it’s fun to bounce around and remember some fantastic teams. Click here to spectate or, better yet, make your vote count.