Hall of Famers: 2001

Frank Cassidy • John Helston • Rod Hunter • Connie Laliberte
Barry Mulvenny • MacKenzie 1995 Team • Ursel 1985 Team

Cassidy, Frank

Inducted 2001

Frank Cassidy

Frank Cassidy was considered the best curler in the province in the years before he left Winnipeg in 1924.  He had a sliding, balanced and fast delivery resembling that of Mac Braden**.  The strong point of his game was his accurate takeouts with hack or back-ring weight.  He pioneered this quiet takeout style and preferred not to throw the heavy weight favoured by Bob Dunbar**.

He played third for Mac Braden from 1904 to 1908 before skipping his own rink and playing with E.J. Rochon**.

** Dunbar (1996), Braden (1997), and Rochon (2005) have all been recognized as being among the best of Manitoba’s early years and are all Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame inductees.

In 1910, his MCA bonspiel record shows a record of 43W – 1L. His team won a remarkable six trophies, including the Grand Aggregate.  In all, he captured six Grand Aggregates and twenty-three event trophies in MCA Bonspiels, including three of the last five points competitions for individual curlers (in 1910, 1913 and 1914).

John Helston has an impressive resume as a curler. It includes Canadian Championships at three age levels. He played second on the Mike Riley Brier Team (1984) and on the Jim Ursel Seniors Team (1991). In 2004, he was the third on Martin Bailey’s Canadian Masters champion team.

Other achievements include runner-up at the Canadian Senior Championship (1998), semi-finalist at the World Championship (1984), and provincial runner-up at the Senior Championships (1997 and 1999) and provincial runner-up at the men’s Championship in 1992.  He has made several appearances at the Men’s, Mixed and Senior Provincial Championships.

John was all-star second at the 1994 Brier and at the 1991 and 1998 Senior Championships.

Willingly giving back volunteer service to his sport, John served on numerous Committees and boards.  He served two terms on the board of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum and was its president twice.  He was Director of Facilities at the 1998 Labatt Brier.  He also served on the organizing committees of the 1978 and 1991 World Championships, the 1989 Canadian Pepsi Juniors, and the 1984 Scott Tournament of Hearts.  He was a member of the MCA/MLCA amalgamation Committee.

As a certified Level 2 coach, John worked with such teams as Dave Smith, Vic Peters, Marnie Ross and Jennifer Jones.  As well he spent many hours with Juniors at the clubs where he curled.  Especially involved with the Junior Program at the Pembina Curling Club.

In the 1984 Brier, John was awarded the Ross Harstone Trophy for sportsmanship and ability.  At the 1998 Canadian Seniors he again captured the award for excellence.  In 1999 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Manitoba Curling Association and in 2010 was made a member of the Governor General’s Curling Club.

Helston, John

Inducted 2001

John Helston

Hunter, Rod

Inducted 2001

Rod Hunter

Rod Hunter made his first appearance on the competitive curling scene in the 1962 Manitoba Schoolboys, playing third for Howard Blatt.  In the next 25 years he would make ten appearances at the provincial level.

His greatest accomplishments came in 1970 and 1971 when he won the Manitoba, Canadian and World Championships as a third for the Don Duguid Team.  In 1973, he again won the Manitoba Championship as third for Dan Fink.  This team finished runner-up at the Canadian Championship. In 1975, Rod with third Mike Riley, captured the Manitoba title.

Rod’s resume also includes an MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate (1970).

As part of the Don Duguid World Championship Team, Rod is already an honored member of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame (1987) and of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1981).

Connie Laliberte had a successful curling career which spanned 25 years and reached the pinnacle of the sport.  In 1984, perhaps the greatest peak occurred when she skipped her team of Chris More (Pidzarko, Scalena), Corinne Peters (Laliberte) and Janet Arnott to Manitoba, Canadian and World titles.

Connie made her debut on the competitive scene in Manitoba as second for Patti Vande in 1976, when they captured the Junior Provincial title.  As lead the next year, again for Vande, the team repeated as Manitoba Junior Champions.

In 1980, she won her first Manitoba Women’s title, playing lead for Donna Brownridge. After that, she became one of Manitoba’s dominant skips. She skipped teams to the provincial women’s in 1981, ’82, and ’83 before winning Manitoba, Canada and the World in 1984.

Including her six provincial wins and two appearances as Team Canada as a result of winning the previous year’s title, she played in a total of nine national Scott Tournament of Hearts and posted an overall 78W – 38L record. In addition to 1984, she won Canada again in 1992 and 1995, was the finalist in 1994 and bronze medalist in 1999.

Along with her gold medal win at the Worlds in 1984, she was bronze medalist at the worlds in 1992 and silver medalist in 1995.

In addition to her provincial and national accomplishments in the women’s ranks, Connie played third on mixed provincial teams in 1983 and 1984.  She also amassed a winning record in MLCA Bonspiels, both Junior and Women’s events.

In 1984, she was named the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Female Athlete of the Year.

She was named all-star skip in the 1984 and 1995 World Championships and at the 1984 and 2000 Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts.  She was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2000 and she and her World Championship Teammates were inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 1995. She was inducted as an individual athlete into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

In 2019, she was named in the top ten of the “greatest Canadian curlers in history” in a TSN poll of broadcasters, reporters and top curlers.

Laliberte, Connie

Inducted 2001

Connie Laliberte

Mulvenny, Barry
Inducted 2001

Barry Mulvenny

Barry Mulvenny had a very strong influence on the curling scene in Manitoba for over three decades.

He joined the Victoria Curling Club in 1961 and was instrumental in many of the improvements to that facility over the years.  He served on their Board for over 30 years and managed the club for 20 years.

The Victoria Curling Club made him an Honorary Life Member in 1983.

Barry was President of the MCA in 1985 and was awarded an Honorary Life Member of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1987.  He worked on the 1978 Silver Broom Committee as Director of Facilities, was Arena Chairman for the 1985 Scott Tournament of Hearts and a Director for the 1991 World Curling Championship, with responsibility for the Arena and the Hog Line Inn.  In 1998 Barry was the Director of Marketing for the Labatt Brier.  He also represented the MCA in 1977 at Karlstad, Sweden and in 1990 at Vasteras, Sweden.

Barry also spent twelve years on the Board of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum.

While Barry is inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame as a Builder in the sport of curling, his on-ice activities should not go unnoticed.  He was an outstanding lead for Roy Wiebe for many years, competing in several provincial playdowns and winning the Grand Aggregate Trophy in the MCA Bonspiel in 1968.

The 1995 World Junior Women’s Champions, skipped by Kelly MacKenzie (Scott) with Joanne Fillion, Carlene Muth (Strand) and Sasha Bergner (Carter), had a year to remember in 1995. 

Representing Deer Lodge, they won the MLCA’s Junior Women’s Bonspiel and went on to post a 7W – 1L record in winning the Green Valley Junior Women’s Provincial Championship.

In Regina, at the Canadian Junior Championship, a   final game win over Ontario gave them a 9W – 4L record and earned them the opportunity to fly to Perth, Scotland to represent Canada at the World Championships.

At Perth, the Deer Lodge team lost to Sweden in their opening game and to Scotland in draw #5 but went undefeated thereafter, finishing with a 9W – 2L record. Revenge for the two losses came with a win over Scotland in the semi-final and over Sweden in the final. That final game came down to a measure before the Manitoba foursome could take the podium to be crowned World Champions!

At the Worlds, Kelly was named all-star skip. At the Canadian Championships, she received the sportsmanship award.

In 1994, before this phenomenal 1995 season, this team won the MLCA Junior Bonspiel and were finalists at the Manitoba Junior Women’s Championship.

The team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

MacKenzie – 1995 TEAM World Champions
Inducted 2001

(l-r) Kelly MacKenzie, Joanne Fillion, Sasha Bergner, Carlene Muth. The team was coached by Bill MacKenzie

Ursel – 1985 TEAM
World Champions
Inducted 2001

(l-r) Bob Ursel, Brent Mendella. Gerald Chick, Mike Ursel

The Bob Ursel World Junior Champions experienced great success together over two seasons. The team came together when Brent Mendella joined the team to play third for Bob Ursel, second Gerald Chick and lead Mike Ursel; the team which had won the 1983 Manitoba championship and finished 6W -5L at the Canadians.

In 1984, they posted a 5W – 0L record to win the Manitoba junior title and went on to win the Canadian championship with an 11W – 2L record. That victory qualified them for the World Juniors the next year.

Representing Canada in the 1985 World Junior Championship in Perth Scotland, they finished with a near perfect 10W – 1L record. They ended the round robin tied for first place with Scotland, with an 8W – 1L record. Their single round robin loss came to Norway. They got revenge with a win over Norway in the semi-final. The final against Christian Saager of Switzerland, who had beaten Hammy McMillan of Scotland in the semi-final, featured a pressure-packed extra end before Canada posted a 6-5 win.

At the Worlds, Bob Ursel and Brent Mendella were named all-star skip and third, respectively.

The team was named the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Team of the Year for 1985.

The team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

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