Curl BC has named the slate of 2020 award winners.
Each year Curl BC celebrates and honours those who have made outstanding contributions to curling in BC. With 2020 being the 125th anniversary of curling in BC, we are delighted to celebrate our curlers’ success on the national and international stage, the dedication of club volunteers and administrators towards growing curling in the province, the excellent work done by officials and coaches at competitive events, and more.
Among the recipients of the Curl BC Awards is a young team from Kamloops who reached new heights in 2020, a curling coach who took home not one but two gold medals this season, and a volunteer from Armstrong who went from being a “new curler” to one of the club’s most important contributors in only a few seasons.
Once again this year Curl BC will not be staging an awards banquet. We will instead be in touch with each of the recipients to schedule an appropriate time for the presentation of the award at their home club.
Awards committee facilitator Melissa Sim said: “It was a busy 2019-20 season and although it ended earlier than we expected, there was still a lot to celebrate. Now as we prepare to return to curling in these challenging circumstances, it’s nice to be able to recognize these outstanding individuals and teams.”
Adult Team of the Year – Team Brown (Kamloops)
Team Brown had many successes in the 2019-20 season and are very deserving recipients of this award. Among their achievements was climbing to a ranking of 8th overall on the CTRS list, which a BC women’s team has not done for many years. The team, featuring skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes, lead Ashley Klymchuk and coach Allison MacInnis, put on some stellar performances, notably winning a silver medal at the China Open in December. This year for the first time they broke through at provincial Scotties, earning the gold medal and the chance to play at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Although they did not make it to the championship round, they played well, finishing with a 5-6 record. They are a young, fierce and determined team and it is clear they will continue to win medals. In addition to their success on the ice, the players are great role models off the ice. They are courteous to athletes, coaches and officials.
U21 Team of the Year – Team Taylor (Royal City)
Team Taylor proved that they can punch above their weight when this group of under 18 athletes finished tied with the best record after round robin play and took the silver medal at the U21 event in January. Although Team Taylor qualified for the U18 provincials, they were unable to compete as the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19. But one thing is clear, this team of Jensen Taylor, Meredith Cole, Keira McCoy, Chelsea Taylor and coach Christopher Summers, has seized each competition and experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Participation in other sports added to their physical conditioning and team sportsmanship. Jensen plays high school girls’ ice hockey, Keira plays AAA field hockey and won a bronze medal in high school provincials with South Delta Secondary. Chelsea is also a competitive figure skater, completing Skate Canada Gold Level Dances. With their rigorous schedules of high school, curling practices, part-time jobs, and various other extracurricular activities, there is little time left, but they have still made time to assist with Learn to Curl events, volunteer for various things at Tunnel Town Curling Club and assist with Royal City Juniors. Jensen and Chelsea also won their high school curling regionals and placed fourth at provincials with Vancouver Technical Secondary.
Anita Cochrane Award for Coach of the Year – Victor Shimizu (Team Tao, Team Klebe, Richmond); Tom Buchy (Team Buchy, Kimberley)
Victor Shimizu: Shimizu has had a busy and successful season. The Richmond curling coach lent his skills to Team Neighbour, who won silver at the 2020 BC Wheelchair Curling Championships, and Team Klebe, who won gold at the 2020 Connect Hearing BC Master Women’s Curling Championship. He also coached a U18 team, Team Tao, to silver at the BC Junior Curling Championships, an event for U21 teams. And because BC was able to send two teams to nationals in Langley, he had the opportunity to coach them there too as Team BC2. They finished with a 5-4 record, almost making the championship round. At the Langley event, Shimizu was presented with the Asham Coaching Award, voted on by the other coaches. He was nominated for this Curl BC award by every curler on Team Tao, proving that he has their respect. The award nominations noted he set an example of service for other coaches by being fully committed to everything he does. Michael Nunn, the third on the team said: “Vic is the embodiment of what this award is all about. This award is meant to recognize the best coaches in BC, and Vic has shown that he is not just one of the best coaches in BC, but also one of the best in Canada.”
Tom Buchy: Buchy coached his daughter’s U21 team, Team Kaila Buchy, to a gold medal at the 2020 BC Junior Curling Championships. The father from Kimberley has been a hard-working and dedicated curler for many years. With his wife Lori and the couple’s good friends Dave and Robyn Toffolo, he has won four BC Mixed titles. But this year it was in his coaching role that Buchy excelled. At nationals in Langley the Junior Women’s team which featured curlers mostly under the age of 18 performed very well, finishing second in the seeding pool with a 5-4 record. His daughter’s U18 team was also the first to qualify for the U18 provincials. Although Team Buchy qualified for the U18 provincials, they were unable to compete as the event was cancelled due to Covid-19. In addition to his coaching, Buchy helps with juniors in the Kimberley Curling Club while coaching his own teams and this year, playing in Senior Men’s playdowns and provincials.
Wally M’Lot Award for Official of the Year – Daryl Kirton (Abbotsford)
Daryl Kirton has been a wonderful, reliable official for Curl BC events over many years, but his contributions were particularly felt in 2020. He was chief umpire for men’s provincials in Cranbrook, after having done it in Quesnel. He was a rock at both events, ensuring the success of these arena events even when faced with the challenges of a new type of venue. Kirton gave clear instructions to curlers and volunteers and was always ready to listen to and answer questions. Over the years, Kirton has readily agreed to do regional events and other provincial events along with his duties at the national and world level. His contributions to Curl BC’s program go above and beyond the normal call of duty. Not only that but he is well liked in the community of officials and is well respected by athletes and coaches.
Adaptive Athlete/Team of the Year – Team Canada – Men’s Deaf Curling (Royal City/Marpole)
Together for almost 10 years, this team of Roger Chan, Frank Chung, Raymond James, Dale Proctor and Craig Waldbillig represented Canada at the Deaflympics held in Madesimo, Italy in December 2019. They finished one game short of tiebreaker with a record of 5-7 against a very strong field comprised of sanctioned Paralympic athletes. The team, coached by Katie Witt and Barbara Zbeetnoff, had earned the chance to wear the maple leaf after winning gold at the Canadian Deaf Games in 2018. They remain BC champions, but unfortunately, they missed their chance to defend their national title when the 2020 Canadian Deaf Games were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Sponsor the Year – Nufloors Penticton
NuFloors Penticton has been a huge contributor to curling in BC for a number of years, with 2020 being an exceptional year. The business owned by curler Brad and his wife Annette Wood generously donated to the Ashley HomeStore Curling Classic in Penticton and to the 2020 BC champions, Team Cotter. In addition, Nufloors Penticton supported Curl BC as the presenting sponsor of the 2020 BC Men’s Curling Championship in Cranbrook. The business also supported Team Geall, Team Richard, Team Buchy (Junior Girls), Team Buchy (Senior Men) and members of Brad Wood’s own curling team, Team Wood. The company provided carpeting for the arena events in 2019 in Quesnel and 2020 in Cranbrook. Without a doubt, Nufloors Penticton has been an incredible sponsor. Annette said: “Brad and I are very proud to sponsor curling events and the fantastic teams we have gotten to know over the years!”
Curling Centre of the Year – Marpole Curling Club
Marpole Curling Club, with manager Pam Langham at the helm, celebrated their 60th Anniversary in the 2019/20 season. To mark this milestone, the club looked back over the years to highlight some of their best moments and to celebrate them. They were proud to recognize three of their members, Ron Peterson, Jimmy Bennet and Billy McNeil who have curled with them since the club was founded in 1959. The curlers were presented with a plaque and recognized at the annual men’s bonspiel – in which they played. Other anniversary items included 60th anniversary ice buttons all their sheets, and anniversary pro shop memorabilia including pins and shirts. In addition to looking back, the club has been looking forward. They have tried to think of new and creative ways to attract and retain members and have had great success. Their novice league, one of 18 leagues at the club, had over 40 curlers this year. They also ran a healthy Junior/Youth program which involved over 40 participants. Langham said: “It’s hard to put in just a few words the kind of people the community of curlers that Marpole represents. We are close. We are passionate. We care.”
Ron Houston Award for Administrator of the Year – Doug Bradley (Retired, Richmond)
Doug Bradley was able to use his love of curling to strengthen the sport’s role within the community. When Bradley took over as the manager at Richmond Curling Club, the business had many challenges. With a small loan he began his journey to turn the club’s fate around. He built up the club using the strength of the volunteers and prioritizing decisions that would put the club on the best footing. He was one of the founders of the Club Challenge and believed in developing curling at the grassroots level. On the administration side, Bradley and his wife developed a curling database system to manage membership and track dues paid by members. Drop-in curling and shorter Learn to Curl programs were a priority in engaging new participants. Partnering with Richmond Tourism brought in new opportunities to introduce the sport to other markets and strengthened the relationship with the city. Most importantly, Bradley inspired those around him to love the sport of curling and the club. He set the standard early that, in order to be viable, you had to treat your club as a business and a family. His legacy will continue in all the lifelong curlers who started their journey in Richmond.
Club Volunteer of the Year – Terri Nicholson (Armstrong); Mike Kelly (Oliver)
Terri Nicholson: All Nicholson knew about curling was from TV until 2012 when she retired and moved to Armstrong. A neighbour told her the best way to get to know people in Armstrong was to curl. So Nicholson registered in the fall of 2012, took a 30-minute crash course and was put on a team! As a new member to club, she listened to concerns about dwindling membership and with her work background in branding and attracting/retaining clients, she offered some suggestions to the Board. So by 2014, this “new curler” was elected to the Board and into the role of Vice President. After the president passed away, she was thrust into the role of President and is still serving in that role today. Nicholson has been instrumental in helping attract new members. Nicholson felt that you can’t just close the club in the spring, sit dormant all summer, and then expect people to flock to your door in the fall, so she started promoting the club in the off-season with info tables at the annual Green Fair and at three farmers’ markets a year. Nicholson also trained as a club coach and worked on some new programming based on Curling Canada’s “Try Curling” program that has brought in at least 10 new enthusiastic members each year. Nicholson is very proud of the club’s efforts and it shows in their numbers – since 2014 the club membership has grown from 215 active members to 271 active members this year. Besides her role as President, Nicholson manages the club Facebook page, is a coach focusing on teaching stick curling and has her Serving It Right. She is also currently serving as the Secretary for Region 4.
Mike Kelly: Kelly is a volunteer board member who oversees Building and Maintenance operations for the Oliver Curling Club. The Oliver Curling Club hails him as an “unsung hero” who they have been very fortunate to have on their board. Since heading up the building and maintenance role in 2016, Kelly has brought his years of experience of plant operations and applied them generously and tirelessly at the club. His life during the curling season revolves around the club. He arrives before 7 a.m. to check on, fix, install or replace something. Then he helps get the ice ready for day league draws starting at 9:30 a.m. He curls in one or sometimes both day league draws, and then goes back to his maintenance role. Then he is often back onto the ice in the evening. Kelly is always searching for quotes and working with contractors, picking up supplies, helping the part-time ice technician and/or caretaker, and more. In the off-season he can still be seen at the club in between rounds of golf. Kelly has also been a creator at the club. He is always building something, whether it is as utilitarian as bulletin boards or endboards or as fine as wine racks and table tops for the bar décor. His nominator Jean Lederer said: “Mike’s unselfish commitment and incomparable work ethic set him apart. He does all the little things (many that we don’t even notice because he’s already taken care of them) and tackles the big things without reservation. He is always at the club ensuring that things are working well and producing the best on- and off-ice experiences for all our curlers.”
Janette Robbins Builder Award/Sport BC Presidents’ Award – Lawrence (Larry) Legault (Chilliwack)
Larry Legault’s contribution to the Chilliwack Curling Club has been exemplary. The club’s manager Bruce Renwick said that he has worked with a huge number of great volunteers “but no one has come close to Larry”. Legault chaired the new building committee, representing the club at meetings with the City of Chilliwack and contributed to the success of the new eight-sheet curling club. He oversaw and coordinated purchases of over $500,000 of capital equipment. He also kept members informed of the plans, including a photo blog of the construction. The software used for the CCC website was one of Larry’s projects and a substantial achievement. He designed, upgraded, and maintained a database driven website which allows the CCC to keep track of member information such as team rosters, members’ status, email and contact information. Part of the upgrade generated revenue for the club by allowing the displaying of advertisements from local businesses. Legault also devised a system where league/bonspiel results were displayed on a digital bulletin board. He regularly published pertinent information about the club on that digital board. He also chaired the Leagues and Bonspiel Committee, drafted and updated schedules/records for 12 leagues and coordinated banquets and prize presentations at year-end. He also spearheaded fundraising for the junior program, new building equipment, and the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. In short, all members of the club and the wider community have benefits from Legault’s knowledge, experience, diligence and organizational skills. His time spent on any endeavor in the club can be measured by its seamless implementation and execution and benefits to the club and its curlers.
Elsie MacKenzie Youth/Junior Curling Award – Jennifer Knott (Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club, Kitimat)
Jennifer Knott has been integral to junior curling in Northern BC for years. Knott, along with several extremely dedicated volunteers, have helped the junior curling program at Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club flourish. When Knott first took over the junior program in 2015 there were only 10 junior curlers curling once a week. Because of her hard work and dedication to the juniors and the sport, the program has grown to close to 60 curlers, curling three nights per week. This is an amazing feat considering the population of Kitimat is only 8,000 people. She has helped several junior teams compete successfully at the provincial level (high schools and winter games, aiming for U18s and juniors in the near future). Knott has spent countless hours travelling and participating in coaching camps in order to be certified to coach junior curlers who want to compete at the highest level. Knott sets an example by positively influencing everyone she teaches (whether that be through her day job as a school teacher or a curling coach). Junior curling parents are inspired by her and her hard work and the dedication that she brings to whatever she is doing. As well, the team of volunteers that work with Knott look to her as a team leader who continuously provides new and exciting ways to keep junior curlers engaged with the program while having fun.
Pat Kennedy Long Service Volunteer Award – Kathy Mackenzie (Victoria)
Mackenzie has been involved in many Curl BC and Curling Canada events over the years. She is a Level 3 Umpire whose volunteer work goes back to the 1980s when she was women’s director at Victoria Curling Cub. From there she continued to give freely of her time. She was president of the BC Ladies Curling Association from 2000 to 2001 and a Region 8 Director of Curl BC. In 2012, Mackenzie was the Tour Coordinator for the US Women’s Curling Association Senior Women’s Friendship Tour to BC. She also was named Tour Coordinator for the 2015 Canada to US Senior Ladies Friendship Tour. More recently she was Head Official for this past season’s BC Junior Curling Championships in Victoria, the BC Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Hope and the Masters provincials at Lake Cowichan and Kerry Park. Athletes appreciate her ability to be clear with her instructions, but also accommodating. Her passion for curling is obvious and there is nothing that will phase her. The curling community is stronger with her because of her many years of volunteer service.
Judie Roberts Friendship Award – City of Chilliwack
The Chilliwack Curling Club and the City of Chilliwack have had an outstanding relationship since 1952. Members’ funds built the first two curling facilities in the city with both buildings donated to the City each time. In 2012 when the facility was in need of replacement the City stepped up and, with complete consultation with the club, a new facility project was initiated. In November 2018 the City opened a new, state-of-the-art eight-sheet curling facility which they immediately turned over to the Chilliwack Curling Club to manage. The club looks forward to many more years of curling in Chilliwack and continuing the great relationship between the City and the Club. Hopefully this initiative by the City of Chilliwack and the management model can entice other cities across the country to construct new facilities and keep the sport growing.
Curl BC Honorary Life Membership – Ted Bassett (sponsor of the Anita Cochrane Memorial Junior Bonspiel at Royal City Curling Club, New Westminster)
Ted Bassett is being recognized for his support of junior curling and specifically, the Anita Cochrane Memorial Junior Spiel held annually at Royal City Curling Club. Ted is the father of Anita Cochrane, a well respected curler and coach who died in 2010 after battling cancer. He has financially supported the event since it started. In addition to financial sponsorship, Ted, and the family, also donates their time and their energy to ensure the event is a success. In 2018, Ted was instrumental in bringing Marc Kennedy to the Anita Cochrane spiel as a keynote speaker and guest coach at the event. All of the competitors thoroughly enjoyed Marc’s presentation at the banquet and many also benefited from speaking with Marc throughout the event. Ted was given his honorary life membership after members voted to bestow it at Curl BC’s AGM.