B.C. Masters curling in town this week

Gerry Foster
By Gerry Foster
February 26th, 2012

For the third time in five years the Grand Forks Curling Centre will be playing host to a provincial curling championship.

In 2008 the B.C. Senior Men’s competition was held in Grand Forks,  two years ago it was the Men’s and Women’s Masters and in a few days, Mar. 1 -4, masters curlers from around the province will once again travel to our city to determine who will represent B.C. at the Canadian championships in Quebec at the end of March.

This event is for curlers over 60 who still have that competitive spirit about them; the masters is by no means reserved for the ‘over the hill’ gang. It is demanding and takes a certain skill level to reach the top of the standings. Spectators are most welcome to visit the curling centre and view this ‘chess game on ice.’ The list of curlers who will compete here have achieved much in their careers.

The reigning B.C. and Canadian champion, Garry Gelowitz from Kelowna, plus the 2008 Canadian title holder Rick Pughe from the Royal City club in New Westminster, head the list of men’s teams. In fact, Gelowitz and Pughe have claimed the past four provincial titles. This is reason enough to get excited about the event but there are some other names to note including several on the women’s side of the draw.

Morreen MacLeod, also from Royal City, has participated in several B.C. playdowns in various categories, including winning two provincial trophies which sent her to the national playdowns. Maureen Bird from Kelowna won the BC Masters in 2008. Another curler from New Westminster, Carol McFadden, won the Masters in 2007 and 2009. Dianne Nohr represented the Yukon/NWT at the Scotties in 1996.

Other curlers displaying their talents include Russ Knutson from Chilliwack who is a two-time B.C. Senior Men’s winner as well as a mixed champion. Doug Bothamley, representing Regions I-2 (Boundary, West and East Kootenays), has some interesting credentials; he curled in the 1980 Brier for the Yukon/NWT. Then there is Wayne Saboe from Kamloops, who also boasts Brier experience. He curled for Alberta in the 1970 Brier with the legendary Hector Gervais, finishing second.

Ted Bassett, who will be playing third for the Craig Lightbody foursome, might have the most interesting and diverse resume. He was a Men’s provincial finalist in Quebec, a three time finalist in Saskatchewan, and in 2005 played in the Ontario Mixed provincials. To top it off Ted moved to Australia for a few years, teaming up with another Canadian to represent that country in the World Senior Men’s championship in 2009 and 2010, capturing a bronze medal in 2010 when it was held in Russia.

The local host committee spends months preparing for these events. In just one area alone, officiating, over 20 Level 1 and Level 2 officials are required, which includes having the appropriate certificate.

Curling with the Bob Gallaugher team from southern Vancouver Island is Jack Bowman. Jack is the immediate past chair of the Canadian Curling Association and a 2011 inductee into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame. It is certainly an honour for the local curling fraternity to have an individual, with a national and administrative background in the sport, spend several days in Grand Forks.

Opening ceremonies are set for Thursday evening, Mar. 1, at 6:30 p.m., followed by the first women’s draw. A program will be available at the curling club with all the information.

Categories: General