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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Episode 29 - Alfie Phillips

Alfie Phillips Jr. had a tough act to follow.  His father, Alf Sr., was an Olympian diver, a carnival showman and, despite taking up the game in his 40s, a provincial curling champion.  In 1956, Ontario was poised to win the Brier for the first time since 1939, but Billy Walsh from Manitoba made what became one of the greatest shots in Brier history.  Alfie joined up with his dad shortly after that loss, then later formed his own rink with John Ross, Ron "Moon" Manning and Keith Riley.  In 1967 Alfie did one better than his father, winning the Brier in Hull, Quebec.  The Phillips rink played a draw strategy that hadn't been seen before in Ontario, and one that left an impression on a another young member of the Parkway Curling Club, Paul Savage.  We cover the big wins and losses and the battles over prize money and what it took to win over the Ontario Curling Association and their efforts to keep curling an "amateur" sport.  Alfie shares the history of the Toronto Curling Mafia, tales of Hec Gervais, and gives us the definitive version of the famous bus story from the 1967 Scotch Cup in Perth, Scotland.
For more on Alfie Phillips, check out "The Brier" by Bob Weeks.  You can also read about his history with Conklin Shows. You can see the famous Billy Walsh shot against Alf Sr. at the 1956 Brier near the end of this video.  YouTube also has video from Alfie's win at the 1967 Brier.

Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Episode 28 - Jim Ursel

Jim Ursel had one of the smoothest deliveries of his era.  He came a long way from the early days of knee sliding on a two sheet rink of natural ice in Glenella, Manitoba.  After moving to Winnipeg, Jim improved enough to win the 1954 Provincial School Boys Championship.  We discuss Jim's early days and his development as a player, eventually landing at the famous Strathcona Club.  He recalls teaming up with Norm Houk and playing in his first Brier in 1962.  We reflect on his move to Montreal, the many Quebec provincial victories and his Brier win in 1977.  Later, Jim returns to Winnipeg where he re-teamed with Norm and nearly won another Purple Heart with their Senior team.  Jim adds his perspective on fitness, coaching, psychology and thoughts on the modern game.

Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast