Earle Morris always knew how to prepare. Years before appearing in a Brier he studied the best teams, collecting binders of notes on how to approach the game. Travelling with the military made it difficult to establish himself but eventually Earle skipped Team Manitoba at the Brier in 1980. He won Quebec in 1982 as third for Don Aitken and returned again in 1985 as skip of Ontario, becoming the first player to represent three different provinces at the Brier. Earle shares stories from his upbringing in Saskatchewan, through the Brier runs to his brief tenure with the Canadian Curling Association ahead of the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. We also discuss his development as a coach and thoughts on team chemistry. Stay tuned at the end for an extra tale from the 2005 Olympic Trials and analysis of the final end from the 2009 Mens World Championship.
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Pat Sanders was always determined to knock over obstacles. Still a knee slider when starting university, she changed her delivery and fought to make the school team, later moving from toe slide to flat foot to improve even further. Reaching the womens ranks, she by-passed the pecking order of positions and skipped at an age most would have started at lead. In 1985 she won a Canadian mixed as third for Steve Skillings and then led her rink of Louise Herlinveaux, Georgina Hawkes and Deb Massullo to a Canadian and World Championship in 1987. As Team Canada the following season, their toxic chemistry put them under the eye of the Canadian Curling Association. Despite a black cloud over the squad, they lost the 1988 Scotties final on last rock. Pat and Georgina then joined with lead Melissa Soligo and young phenom Julie Sutton as skip. By the late stages of the 1989 Scotties however, Julie had been demoted and Pat skipped the team to a tie-breaker where they lost to Saskatchewan. Pat shares her thoughts on that era and the renewed joy for curling she found years later competing in Seniors and Masters.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Larry Wood doesn't like puff pieces. He became editor of the Tankard Times, a daily newspaper at the Brier, on one condition; he wasn't going to pull any punches. As columnist at the Calgary Herald, Larry was scribe to many of the greatest moments in curling history. His first Brier was 1960 in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) and he only missed two in the next 55 years. Larry describes his early days in curling and the path that led him to cover those many Briers, Scotties and World Championships. We look back at some of the great players, ponder the evolution of the sport, and Larry reveals what happened at a secret initiation ceremony in Scotland.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
In Part 2 of my conversation with Harvey Mazinke we begin with a Paul Gowsell story, discuss the original Labatt Brier cresting, re-writing of the "burnt stone" rule, hogline officials and the controversy surrounding the qualifying for the 1988 Olympics. Harvey was President of the Canadian Curling Association from 1987-1988 and takes us behind the scenes from that era. We eventually head back to 1975 and '76 for a few more Brier tales.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Friday, March 29, 2019
Anne Merklinger understands the mind of an athlete. As a swimmer she competed with the University of South Carolina and Canada's national team, a choice that delayed her curling pursuits for four years. Eventually Anne returned to Ottawa and developed a team that would battle the best in Canada for a decade. Her rink of third Theresa Breen, second Patti McKnight and lead Audrey Frey won four Ontario Provincials, losing a semifinal (1994) and two finals ('98 and '00) at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Anne's career in sport management led to a role as director of Canoe Kayak Canada and then to her current position as CEO of Own the Podium, Canada's Olympic development program. We discuss the difficult losses, Ontario rivalries, the early days of the Womens Tour and the positive influence Olympians can have on Canadians.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Bob Weeks joins Kevin to discuss the recent results from TSN's attempt to rank Canada's Greatest Curlers (35:45). Bob explains how the process came together and they discuss the many challenges of trying to rank curlers from different eras. Eventually they dig into the categories and compare their choices with the results. Before talking to Bob, Kevin is joined by Mickey Duzyj, creator of the Netflix sports documentary series LOSERS. Episode 4 is "Stone Cold", inspired by the first episode of Curling Legends Podcast. It tells the story of Pat Ryan, centered around his epic battle with Al Hackner in the 1985 Brier final. Mickey shares the origins on the series, reflects on his introduction to curling culture.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Rick Folk was meant to throw the last rock. His ability to focus while remaining calm under pressure worked for both golf and curling. After coming up short in his first two Briers (1978 and '79), Rick, along with Ron Mills and the Wilson Brothers (Tom and Jim) became the first team to lift the Labatt Tankard Trophy in 1980. Rick's focus was tested at the World Championships in Moncton, where the Labonte Curse had held Canada winless since 1972. After moving to British Columbia, Rick won four more Purple Hearts, capturing the title and Worlds again in 1994 with Pat Ryan, Bert Gretzinger and Gerry Richard. Rick talks about his early days in Saskatoon, the battles against Merv Mann, Harold Worth, Les Rogers and Paul Gowsell. He shares thoughts on the first Olympic Trials of 1987 and the "boring" Brier final of 1989. Then we dive deep into the controversies surrounding the 1993 and '94 Briers. Rick explains how ice-makers, tie-breakers, choosing rocks and changing handles had him transforming from Bill Bixby into Lou Ferrigno.