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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Episode 59 - Ray Grant

Ray Grant's father Andy felt one trip to the Brier was enough. After skipping Ontario at the first Regina Brier in 1955, Andy's experience was so fantastic he believed every competitive curler should be given a chance to go. However, they did return to the 1958 Brier in Victoria, with Murray Roberts now skipping. A loss to Northern Ontario in their final draw kept them from what could have been a three team play-off with Alberta's Matt Baldwin and the young Terry Braunstein Rink from Manitoba. Ray returned as skip to his third Brier in 1965 in Saskatoon. He shares stories of those years, trips on the Brier train, great teams they faced and the many big moments along the way.


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Episode 58 - Bernie Sparkes

Bernie Sparkes loves the Brier. From his first purple heart as second for Ron Northcott in 1966 to his twelfth and final appearance skipping British Columbia in 1987, every visit to the Canadian Men's Curling Championship meant as much as the last. Bernie shares stories of the highs and lows at the top of the sport for over two decades. In between we'll cover Fred Storey sweeping techniques and how to repair blisters, along with practical jokes and the importance of team dynamics. Bernie also reveals a ploy he used to generate offense and explains why it didn't work on Paul Gowsell.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Episode 57 - Earle Morris

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.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Episode 56 - Pat Sanders

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.

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Epsiode 55 - Larry Wood

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.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Episode 54 - Harvey Mazinke, Part 2

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.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Episode 53 - Harvey Mazinke, Part 1

Harvey Mazinke influenced curling as a player and a builder.  Growing up in Manitoba, Harvey reached the Brier in 1964 with Bruce Hudson, but moved to Saskatchewan a few years later.  Eventually he built a team of Billy Martin at third, George Achtymichuk at second and Dan Klippenstein at lead.  In 1973 they broke through to win the Brier in Edmonton.  The reward was a return trip home to Regina for the World's where an unbeaten record was spoiled by a loss to Sweden in the final game.  In Part 1 of our conversation, Harvey talks about that championship game and how an alarm clock may have changed the outcome.  He explains his role as the first player representative for the CCA and shares details of the change in Brier sponsorship from Macdonald Tobacco to the Labatt Brewing Company in 1980. Harvey also gives new insight on why Brier stones during the 1970s were such a dilemma.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Episode 52 - Anne Merklinger

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.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Epsiode 51 - Bob Weeks/Mickey Duzyj

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.

You can hear Pat Ryan on Episode 1 of Curlng Legends Podcast. You can also check out Rick Lang on Episode 48 and get Don Bartlett's story of the Hackner Double in Episode 39.

Be sure to get yourself a copy of "The Brier" by Bob Weeks and check out some of his other books, Hurry Hard, Curling for Dummies and Curling, Etcetera

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Episode 50 - Rick Folk

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.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Episode 49 - Bob Picken

Bob Picken had a voice for curling.  An accomplished skip who nearly won a Purple Heart at the 1963 Manitoba Provincials, Bob became widely known for his other contributions to the sport.  His distinct broadcasting sound covered many Briers and World Championships and his involvement with the CCA and the International Curling Federation helped usher in the Uniroyal World Junior Men's Championship in the early 70's.  Bob shares stories of his curling days and travelling abroad with other crew members of the Canadian curling media: Larry Wood, Scotty Harper, Don "Buckets" Flemming, Larry Tucker, Jack Matheson and "Cactus" Jack Wells, among others.  Bob passed away on January 30th, 2019. 

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Episode 48 - Rick Lang

Rick Lang had an awkward start with success.  His first purple heart was won as third for Bill Tetley, but he had spared for Tom Todd and the uncertainty of who would go to the Brier hung over that evening's banquet.  Rick did make the trip and their rink would win the 1975 Brier in Fredericton but fall short at the World Championships a few weeks later.  The next season Rick was back on the open market.  Eventually he teamed with Al Hackner and they found immediate success, reaching the 1980 Brier final before losing to Rick Folk. After a heartbreaking loss to Kerry Burtnyk the next season, Rick and Al, along with second Bob Nichol and lead Bruce Kennedy, finally won the Brier in 1982.  In 1985, with the new front end of Ian Tetley and Pat Perroud, Rick and Al once again reached the Brier final and faced Pat Ryan from Alberta.  Rick talks about the most famous shot in Brier history and shares stories from throughout their playing days.  We cover the Olympic Trials of 1987, the transition to coaching and Rick  explains how to react on an airplane when someone thinks you're a rock star.

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