He certainly had the right last name. Turns out, he also had the curling skills to win a celebrity-filled Draw to the Button contest on Wednesday afternoon at the Glencoe Club in Calgary.
Draw to the Button contest winner Morris Lukowich, middle, shows off his winnings with Team Canada, from left, John Morris, Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen.
Morris Lukowich — known primarily for his long career in the National Hockey League, and, oh yes, being the younger brother to former world curling champion Ed Lukowich — topped a field of 24 local celebrities at the event, which coincided with the official introduction of the Team Canada men’s foursome and the launch of five new ticket packages for the World Financial Group Continental Cup, Jan. 8-11 at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park, and the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, Feb. 28 to March 8 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Both events are presented by SecurTek Monitoring Solutions.
Morris Lukowich scored 199 goals and 418 points in his 582-game NHL career, doing most of his damage with the Winnipeg Jets.
He was also a promising curler as a teen, following in the footsteps of Ed, but gave up his curling dreams once he started playing junior hockey in Medicine Hat, Alta.
But he never gave up his love of the sport, and managed to get his Jets teammates involved in the Roaring Game as well.
“I just asked the guys if they’d like to go throw some curling rocks after practice,” said Lukowich, who beat Calgary Sun sports columnist Eric Francis in the final of the Draw to Button Contest, which also featured former Olympic gold-medallists Kyle Shewfelt (gymnastics) and Duff Gibson (skeleton), Olympians Ken Read (alpine skiing), Regan Lauscher (luge) and Warren Shouldice (freestyle skiing), Paralympic silver- and bronze-medallist Mark Arendz (cross-country skiing), and former NHL players Charlie Simmer, Tony Stiles and Ross Romaniuk.
Former Los Angeles Kings sniper Charlie Simmer, middle, with Team Canada’s Nolan Thiessen, left, and Carter Rycroft.
“At the start, they were a little leery but then they really started to buy into it. Tim Trimper, Dale Hawerchuk, Dougie Smail, Dave Christian, a whole bunch of guys and they all loved it. We could never get Dave Christian to throw a draw. He’s an American and he always wanted to throw takeouts all the time. Even on his own rocks.”
Those curling expeditions produced one memorable story that ended with then-Jets general manager, former NHL enforcer John Ferguson, losing his cool in a big way.
“One day Hawerchuk (a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame) actually pulled his groin sweeping a rock,” remembered Lukowich. “So he was getting his leg taped before the game, and John Ferguson, our great general manager, came in and asked the trainer what happened. So he told Fergie that he pulled his groin. Fergie said, ‘Well, how???’ And the trainer made the mistake of telling Fergie that Dale was curling.
“You could hear Fergie screaming through the whole rink: ‘CURLING?!?!?!’ After that, as a team, we were not allowed to do two things: ride motorbikes, and curling. Two dangerous things. Well, we kept curling. We loved it. And Fergie never found out.”
Team Canada — skip John Morris, third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft, lead Nolan Thiessen and coach Earle Morris — was formally introduced to the Calgary media. The team will take part in all three events of the inaugural Alberta Triple series, beginning with the 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing. The Alberta Triple will continue with the World Financial Group Continental Cup and the Tim Hortons Brier.
For more information on the new Tim Hortons Brier and World Financial Group Continental Cup ticket packages, click here.