Sen. John T. Haig • Stan Oleson • Jim Ursel
Bryan Wood • Laliberte 1984 Team
Haig, Senator John T.
Honourable Senator John T. Haig (1877-1962) began to curl in Alexander MB and continued to play in Winnipeg during his university years. Although he had a very busy life (a good part being devoted to public affairs), he always found time to work for and play the game of curling.
In the fall of 1908, he and Walter Payne organized the Strathcona Curling Club. John served two terms as president, in 1910-11 and again in 1911-12. His contribution to Strathcona, as well as other clubs in the city, continued over many years. He was very active in the organization and promotion of junior curling.
In the early 1950’s, when Strathcona was attempting to install an artificial ice plant, his support, as a major shareholder of the club, and his personal generosity went a long way towards making this possible.
His generosity was not confined to the Strathcona, as a number of other Winnipeg clubs were beneficiaries of his great interest in the game of curling over the years.
Senator Haig served the MCA for many years as a member of the executive council and as a committee chairman, and then as president in 1911-12.
Over a period of almost 30 years he acted as the Western Brier Trustee of the Macdonald Brier Tankard.
During the formation of the Dominion Curling Association (the forerunner to the Canadian Curling Association) he played a major role, and served as its first president, in 1935.
Senator Haig was made an Honourary Life Member of the Strathcona Curling Club, the Manitoba Curling Association, and the Canadian Curling Association.
He was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Stan Oleson (1931-2018) was a true ‘community volunteer’ in Glenboro. Every community project had his active support and he was famous for always having a set of raffle tickets in his pocket in support of those projects.
Stan started his curling executive activities in the early 1950’s, and continued to be manager of the Glenboro Curling Club for about 25 years. During that time he helped to start their Lady Sahara, mixed curl-a-day, and senior bonspiels. In 1963-64, the year the Glenboro Curling Club installed artificial ice, Stan was the president. His club recognized his efforts with an Honourary Life Membership in 1982.
At the provincial level, he served first as a mixed zone chairman and then for 16 years on the MCA executive, chairing the rural playdowns, mixed, bonspiel, finance, and management committees, as well as a special committee on affiliation fee restructuring. In 1984-85 he was president of the MCA. He became an Honourary Life Member of the MCA in 1968.
Stan then moved on to the national level, becoming Third Vice-President of the former CCA in 1988. He was very involved in the amalgamation of the CLCA and CCA in 1990, becoming the third president of the new CCA in 1992-93.
During his service with the Canadian association he was Finance Chairman and Vice Chairman for three years, as well as Chair of mixed, juniors, and seniors committees and Vice-Chair of awards and scholarships. Stan was also one of the Canadian representatives to the World Curling Federation, working on the Constitution Committee for two years. In 1993 he was made an Honourary Life Member of the CCA.
Later, Stan’s leadership of CCA amalgamation was an important asset to the provincial committee which he led at the time the MCA & MLCA amalgamated in 2000.
With all of this workload one wonders how he found time to curl, let alone take part in all his other business and community activities, and for his other big sports love – baseball. He served four years as Mayor of Glenboro, as President of the Manitoba Association of School Business Officials, as manager and coach of many local baseball teams, and as Secretary-Treasurer of the Manitoba Baseball Association for several years.
Stan’s contributions were recognized in 1992 when he was awarded the commemorative medal for the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada for “his significant contribution to community and to Canada”. In 1992, he was inducted into the Executive Honour Roll of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
Oleson, Stanley A. (Stan)
Jim Ursel (1937 – 2021) won Manitoba championships at three different levels, spanning a period of nearly 40 years.
His first major curling accomplishment came in 1954 when he played as lead on a team, skipped by Gene Walker, which won the Manitoba Schoolboy Championship and then went on to be runner-up in the Canadian Championship.
Eight years later, in 1962, he played third when Norm Houck’s team won the Manitoba Consols Provincial Championship. At the Macdonald Brier in Kitchener, they had an 8W – 2L record and were part of a three-way play-off (losing to Hec Gervais who then lost to Ernie Richardson) at the Macdonald Brier in Kitchener. This was the first of seven appearances at the Brier for Jim.
Quebec had the good fortune of having Jim skip their provincial winners each year from 1974 through 1977, and again in 1979 and 1980. In 1977, he led his team to the Canadian Championship. That team went on to win a silver medal at the World Curling Championship in Karlstad, Sweden, as runner-up to Sweden’s Ragnar Kamp.
In all, Jim posted a record of playing in 76 Brier games, winning 48 and losing 28. During this period he was chosen all-star skip at the Brier in 1974 and 1977, as well as winning the Ross Harstone award for Sportsmanship, in 1977.
After his return from Quebec, Jim began to make his presence felt again in Manitoba. In 1962, with Houck, he had won two MCA bonspiel events including the major Birks event. After his return, he won another bonspiel event in 1986 – the Great West Life Trophy.
In 1989 Jim turned his attention to the seniors stage, winning the McDiarmid Lumber Trophy in the bonspiel that year, and again in 1991, 1995, and 1997.
The Strathcona Seniors Provincial title went to his teams in 1990 and again in 1991. Both years they went on to win Canadian Senior Championships.
In 1992, they fell short at the Seniors but proved they could still compete with ‘the young guys’, with an impressive run in the Labatt Tankard narrowly losing to Vic Peters in the final.
In 1979, he was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame and into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
In spite of such a competitive record, the part of curling that gave him a great deal of satisfaction was coaching. From 1985 to 1992 Jim coached 6 teams at World Championships (4 junior and 2 men’s), including the world championship run of his sons, Bob and Mike, in 1985.
Bryan Wood was one of the foremost leads produced in Manitoba. In one decade, the 1970’s, he won five Manitoba Men’s championships.
He began his curling career in Justice, MB, his home town, and went on to curl at the Brandon and Wheat City Clubs in Brandon, and the Granite, Heather, and Deer Lodge Clubs in Winnipeg.
His competitive record began in 1965 when he played in his first Manitoba Consols. From then until 1985 he participated in 14 Manitoba Championships. During that period he won many trophies and events in the MCA Bonspiel – the most notable being three Grand Aggregates, in 1970, 1975 and 1978. He also played in one Manitoba Mixed Championship.
His five Manitoba championships started with Don Duguid’s teams in 1970 (in Dauphin) and 1971 (in Winnipeg); and included Rod Hunter in 1975 (in Brandon); Doug Harrison in 1978 (in Brandon); and Barry Fry in 1979 (in Winnipeg)
Three of the five Manitoba champion teams went on to win the Brier (Duguid in 1970 in Winnipeg and again in 1971 in Quebec City, and Barry Fry in 1979, winning the last Macdonald Brier in Ottawa). At the 1979 Brier, Woody was named all-star lead. The 1979 team also went on to win the Toronto Molson Royal Cash Spiel.
Air Canada Silver Broom titles came in 1970 and ’71, as the Duguid teams went on to triumph at the World championships in Utica and Megeve, The 1970 team also captured the International Crystal Spiel in Zurich.
Bryan was also a two-time winner of the CBC Curling Classic, with Don Duguid in Toronto in 1970, and in 1971 with Danny Fink in Winnipeg.
He was previously inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame (1987) with the Don Duguid 1970 & ’71 team which is also honoured in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1981) and the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame (1974). He is an Honourary Life Member of the Granite Curling Club (1971) and a member of the Governor General’s Curling Club. He was the Honourary President of Brandon’s 1995 Ford World Curling Championships.
Wood, Bryan (Woody)
Laliberte 1984 TEAM
The 1984 World Women’s Champions, skipped by Connie Laliberte with her sisters Corinne Peters and Janet Arnott as the front end and Chris More (Pidzarko, Scalena) at third, was the first Manitoba team to win a women’s world title.
Curling out of the Fort Rouge Curling Club, the team went to the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts, which was played at the Grain Exchange Curling Club, and proceeded to win the A side. They then went on to defeat the B side winner, the Karen Fallis team.
From there it was on to the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts, played in March of that year, in Charlottetown, P.E.I. The team lost its first two games and then came back to win 8 in a row and finish the round robin tied for second with BC and Saskatchewan. Connie’s team was awarded second place as a result of victories over both. In the tiebreaker, BC, with skip Lindsay Sparkes and third Linda Moore, defeated Saskatchewan’s Lori McGeary. The Laliberte team defeated BC in the semi-final by a score of 5-4 in an extra end. The final was played against Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia and once again the Manitoba champions prevailed 5-4 in an extra end. To the surprise of no one, Connie was named all-star skip.
Next came the World Ladies Championship in Perth, Scotland, where they posted a record of 8W -1L in the ten team round robin to finish in first place. The closest competitor was Germany, at 6-3. In the semi-finals, the Canadian champs defeated Norway 8-6 while Switzerland beat Germany 8-7. The final saw the first shutout in a world curling final and the second women’s world title for Canada, as they won handily over Switzerland by a score of 10-0.
The team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
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