Ab Gowanlock • Mabel Mitchell • Lura McLuckie
Ken Watson • Duguid 1970 & 1971 Team
Gowanlock, Albert (Ab)
Ab Gowanlock (1900–1988) started competitive curling when his brother joined the army and at only 15 years of age was able to join one of Glenboro’s better teams.
During his competitive years, Ab Gowanlock was a two-time national men’s champion. He skipped teams from Glenboro in 1938 (E.C. “Bung” Cartmell and brothers Bill and Tom McKnight) and from Dauphin in 1953 (Jimmy Williams, Art Pollon and Russ Jackman) to victories in the Macdonald Brier. He was unbeaten in nine games in 1938 and had a 9W – 2L record before beating Quebec in a playoff in 1953 in Sudbury, Ontario.
His 15 years between Brier championships is the longest span by any curler in Brier history.
Ab Gowanlock curled in over 50 Manitoba Curling Association bonspiels from 1923-1975. He won the Grand Aggregate four times, the Eaton Trophy four times and the Birks three times. He also won 13 minor event trophies.
Always known in Manitoba curling circles as “Spats” (because he always wore this type of foot apparel), Ab Gowanlock had the added distinction of curling on teams that scored a total of four eight-enders on separate occasions.
He is an Honourary Life Member of the Manitoba Curling Association, the Glenboro Curling Club and the Dauphin Curling Club. He is also a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame (1975) and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1984).
Mabel Mitchell won three Manitoba Women’s Curling Championships; twice as a skip in 1968 and 1971 and once as a third playing for Audrey Williamson in 1972.
She also won the Brandon Women’s Bonspiel title three times and captured the Lady Sahara Bonspiel title three times. This was when the Lady Sahara was a major women’s cash bonspiel in Manitoba.
An exceptional chapter in Mabel’s curling career occurred when she regained curling stardom as a senior. With her sister-in-law June Clark and sister Mildred Murray at lead and second, plus Mary Adams at third – Mabel won Manitoba Senior Championships in 1983, 1984 and 1987.
In 1983 in Guelph, Ontario, Mabel Mitchell became the first Manitoban to skip a team to the Canadian Senior Women’s curling title.
Lura McLuckie (1912-1998) exemplified the spirit of ladies curling in Manitoba. She loved the game as a competitor, but it was as an executive that she truly distinguished herself.
Lura grew up in a curling family. The Elmwood Curling Club was always considered her home club. At the Elmwood Ladies Curling Club, she served on the executive and was club president in 1949-1950. She also taught junior girls curling at the Elmwood for many years and set in motion the formation of a junior women’s interclub in Winnipeg.
Lura occupied almost every administrative position in the Manitoba Ladies Curling Association, including secretary-treasurer. She was the MLCA president in 1962-63.
Lura was a key figure in the formation of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association and instrumental in guiding the new organization as it grew. As the CLCA president in 1967-68, she successfully countered a revolt from women curlers in Southern Ontario after Dominion Stores withdrew their national sponsorship.
In 1968, she organized a highly successful Canadian Ladies Championship without a sponsor; and the CLCA never looked back. She also guided a Scottish women’s tour and helped launch the Canadian Junior Women’s Championship.
The Scott Tournament of Hearts Sponsorship Award was presented in her honour at Winnipeg in 1985.
Lura McLuckie is an Honourary Life Member of the Elmwood Ladies Curling Club, the Manitoba Ladies Curling Association and the Canadian Ladies Curling Association. She is also a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame (1978) and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (2009).
Ken Watson (1904–1986) began curling at 15 years of age while a student at St. John’s Technical High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He entered his first Manitoba Bonspiel in 1923 and won his first trophy in the Manitoba Bonspiel in 1926. This was the start of a long and successful career in curling.
Ken Watson was the first Canadian to skip teams to three national men’s championships. He won the Macdonald Brier in 1936, 1942 and 1949.
Under his leadership, his teams were Grand Aggregate Champions in the Manitoba Bonspiel in 1936 and for six consecutive years between 1942 and 1947. As well, he won the Eaton main event five times and the Birk’s Trophy four times. Truly an example of his dominance in the Manitoba Bonspiel’s premier events.
Watson fostered the development of schoolboy curling as the Canadian Curling Association’s national school chairman.
In 1939, he founded and organized the first Provincial High School Bonspiel in Manitoba. He also initiated discussions with the Scotch Whisky Association that led to the establishment of a Men’s World Championship in 1959.
As an administrator and volunteer, Ken Watson was president of the Strathcona Curling Club, chairman of the Manitoba Curling Association Junior Committee, president of the Manitoba Curling Association and chairman of the Dominion Curling Association High School Committee.
Ken Watson changed the technical side of curling by advancing the technique of the sliding delivery. He wrote extensively on curling for many newspapers across the country and was the author of several instructional books. His first “Ken Watson on Curling” became a monument for fundamentals and strategy.
Ken Watson is an Honourary Life Member of the Strathcona Curling Club, the Manitoba Curling Association and the Canadian Curling Association.
He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1969, the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1975, he received the Order of Canada. In 1978, he was the first recipient of the International Curling Federation’s Elmer Freytag Award (forerunner to the WCF Hall of Fame) – presented at the 1978 Air Canada Silver Broom in Winnipeg.
Duguid – 1970 &’ 71 TEAM World Champions
The Don Duguid 1970 and 1971 World Champions got together in December of 1969 as a result of a phone call – thee curlers looking for a skip. The team consisted of Bryan Wood – lead, Jim Pettapiece – second, Rod Hunter – third and Don Duguid would be the skip. In its first competition, the foursome melded to win a cashspiel at the Winnipeg Rossmere Curling Club.
They went on from there to experience two very successful years.
Along the road to unbeaten performances at the Air Canada Silver Brooms in Utica and Megeve (17 straight victories in 1970 and 1971), the Don Duguid Team captured Brier titles in Winnipeg (9W – 1L) and Quebec City (9W – 2L, won 3-team tiebreak), the Manisphere Cash Bonspiel, the Tournament of Champions in Toronto, the Grand Aggregate Title in the MCA Bonspiel (1970), and the premier Henry Birks Trophy in the MCA Bonspiel (1970 and 1971).
Winning the Men’s World Curling Championship in back to back years, with no change in personnel, will long be regarded as an exceptional achievement for a curling team!
Two marvelous seasons for a truly magnificent team! They were inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.