Isabelle Ketchen • Al Langlois • Andy McWilliams
Edith Tipping • Meleschuk 1972 Team
Isabelle Ketchen (1915-2005) started curling in the mid 1930’s at the Uptown Curling Club in Flin Flon. She later moved to the Willow Park Curling Club where she became the first president of the Ladies Club in 1950.
Few, if any, curlers from North of ’53 have competitive records to equal that of Isabelle Ketchen.
The first of her many championships was the Flin Flon City Championships in 1943-44 (which she won again in 1953-54).
Teams skipped by Isabelle dominated the District 12 scene during the 1950`s with wins in 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, and 1960.
In 1952, Isabelle accompanied by Dot Ash, Joy Longmore, and Ruby Evans won the Western Manitoba Playdowns at Brandon and then went on to win the first of her three Provincial Championships at the Granite Curling Club.
Her team from 1957 on was made up of Doris McFarlane, Isabel Phillips, and Ruth McConnell.
They won the Western Provincial Playdowns at Minnedosa in 1959 and then captured a second Provincial trophy for Isabelle at the Grain Exchange Curling Club. At the Western Canadian Championship, played in Brandon, they added the Western Canadian title.
The team won the Western Division Title again in 1960 at Souris, and then went on to win a third Provincial Championship at Fort Rouge.
While winning these Championships, Isabelle achieved a unique distinction, winning the Eaton trophy the first and last years it was available for competition.
Like so many other fine competitive curlers, Isabelle’s contribution to curling was not only on the ice, but also as a volunteer and administrator. In addition to her years of service on the executive of the Willow Park Ladies Curling Club, Isabelle served as an alternate delegate to the Western Canada Ladies Curling Association in 1959, Chairman of the School’s activities for the Boys Dominion High School Curling Championship held in Flin Flon in 1964, Provincial Chairman of the Junior Ladies Curling Championships at Flin Flon in 1968 and Junior Ladies Chairman for District 1 in 1972-73.
Al Langlois (1915-2005) started curling at the Fort Rouge Curling Club at the age of 12 and went on to win many Junior curling honors. In 1933 he was elected President of the Manitoba Junior Curling Association and in 1934 skipped a Kelvin rink to the Inter High School Bonspiel Championship.
In 1946, Al joined Bill Walsh and went on to many years of curling excellence.
1952 brought one of the highlights for Al as he played third on the team that swept through the Macdonald Brier Tankard Championship in Winnipeg with a 10W – 0L record.
A second highlight came 4 years later when Al was again playing third as Bill Walsh made his celebrated final winning shot to win the 1956 Brier in Moncton.
Al is a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Fort Rouge Curling Club, Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Past President’s Association of Manitoba Curling Clubs and in 1975 was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
Andy McWilliams (1916-1995) is, for many people, the man who made the ice for all of the major championships in Manitoba for many years.
However, the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum recognized Andy for his curling accomplishments as he and teammate Al Langlois join their longtime Fort Rouge skip, the late Bill Walsh, who preceded them into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
Andy began his curling and ice making at the same time in the early 1930’s. His induction to curling came when he had to clean up the glass from a window which he had broken with a puck in the Fort Rouge Curling Club, stayed to help clean the ice, and was invited to spare.
Andy then became very active as a Junior curler going on to help organize and run the junior program.
His first taste of MCA Bonspiel competition with Bill Walsh came in 1938 when they stayed alive in four events and then lost 4 out of 5 games in one day ending up with 4 fourth place prizes. This did not discourage them however, as they went on to win many events including three MCA Bonspiel trophies.
In 1952, Andy played second for Bill at the Brier held in Winnipeg. The team swept to a perfect 10-0 victory and a Macdonald Brier title.
The team returned to the national championship at Moncton in 1956. Andy was playing lead that year as Bill made the celebrated final winning shot to bring home their second Brier.
Over the years Andy’s skill and knowledge as an ice-maker helped clubs who called on him from one end of the country to the other.
Andy was a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Fort Rouge Curling Club. In 1968, he was made an Honorary Life Member of the MCA and in 1975 was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
Edith Tipping (1916-2004) began curling at Elmwood in 1943. In 1948, she was elected to the Executive of the Elmwood Ladies Club and worked with that body until she became President in 1955-56.
For the next few years until 1969, most of Edith’s curling activity was competitive. In 1952, 1958, 1962, and 1963 she won the Lady Eaton Trophy in the MLCA Bonspiel, also winning the Grand Aggregate in 1962. As a competitor, Edith also won the 1973 Provincial Senior Ladies Championship representing the province at the first National Championship in Ottawa.
In 1969, the year she won the Shell Canada Trophy in the MLCA Bonspiel, Edith began her illustrious career as curling administrator with her election to the MLCA Executive Council. As a Council Member she filled many chairs including Junior Girls Playdowns, Senior Ladies Playdowns, Ice and Draw, Finance, Ladies Playdowns and became President of the MLCA in 1976-77.
Having completed her “Tour of Duty” at the Provincial Level, Edith then moved to the National scene. In 1978-79, she was the Junior Delegate and in 1979-80 the Senior Delegate to the CLCA. In 1982, Edith was elected 2nd Vice President of the CLCA also serving as Chairman of the Pepsi Junior Women’s Championship. As 1st Vice President, in 1983-84, she chaired the Canadian Senior Ladies Championship and in 1984-85 became President of the CLCA.
During all of these years Edith maintained a very active interest in Junior Curling acting as a Level 1 coach both at Elmwood and as far away as Swan River.
Edith’s curling involvement goes beyond all of this as she was always a very active volunteer in major national events locally. She was a driver for the 1976 Macdonald Lassie, Ladies Chairman for the 1978 Silver Broom, Steering Committee of the 1981 Canadian Senior Ladies Championship, a driver for the 1982 Junior Women’s Championship and Historian for the 1991 Canada Safeway World Championships. In addition, Edith was a Director of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum Inc. from 1986-1988.
Meleschuk – 1972 TEAM World Champions
The Orest Meleshcuk 1972 World Champions included Meleschuk as skip with Dave Romano (third), John Hanesiak (second) and Pat Hailley (lead).
After winning their way to the Manitoba British Consols Playdowns at Virden, they went through that competition with a 7W – 0L record and earned the right to represent Manitoba at the Brier in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Once again, their winning ways continued as they brought the MacDonald Brier Tankard back to Manitoba with a 9-1 record, losing only one game in the last end to Bill Kent of Quebec.
Then it was off to the Silver Broom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where once again they swept through undefeated (9 wins) and won the Silver Broom for Canada and Manitoba.
The Meleschuk team complied a record of 25 wins with only a single loss in winning Manitoba, Canadian and the World Championships; a record such as this would be very difficult to equal let alone surpass.
That same year, the team went on to play in the CBC Curling Classic where they were runners-up but they returned in 1973 to win it.
In 1985, the Manitoba Sports Federation recognized the team’s achievement by inducting them into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.