Jack Dutton • Cathy Gauthier • Robert Gourley • George Laudrum
Al Macatavish • Gord Sparkes • Thompsett 1979-80 & 1981-82 Teams
Jack Dutton (1888-1961) was born in Winnipeg and first curled in Russell, MB in 1902. His first game in the Manitoba Curling Association Bonspiel was in 1905 at the age of 17. He curled in several clubs in Manitoba and Saskatchewan until 1938 when he returned to Winnipeg. In 1938 he joined the West Kildonan Curling Club and soon moved to the Strathcona Curling Club where he remained a member for the rest of his life.
Jack Dutton was president of the Strathcona Curling Club in 1941-42. He later joined the Manitoba Curling Association and chaired the Diamond Jubilee year celebration in 1948 and became MCA president in 1951-52. He served as co-chair of the 1952 Winnipeg Macdonald Brier. He was named an Honourary Life Member of the MCA in 1953.
He served as president of the Dominion Curling Association (the forerunner of today’s Curling Canada) in 1956-57. Mr. Dutton was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame posthumously in 1976.
After taking part in his first MCA Bonspiel in 1905 he participated in the event for the next 50 years. He attended all Briers from 1938-1953 and traveled to Scotland and Switzerland promoting the game of curling as part of the Canadian team.
Cathy Gauthier (Tardi) was born in Winnipeg and began her curling career as a member of the St Vital Curling Club junior program.
She competed in provincial junior championships in 1979 and 1980, with a finalist finish both of those years. Cathy played in a total of nine provincial women’s championships from 1986 to 2001.
The year 1992 was a turning point, as she joined Team Laliberte. That year marked the beginning of five consecutive appearances at the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts.
Playing second for Laliberte they won provincial titles in 1992, 1994 and 1995. They won the Canadian Championship in 1992 and 1995 and returned to compete as Team Canada in 1993 and 1996.
With that team, Cathy played in two World Championships. In 1992 in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany they were bronze medalists, and in 1995 playing in front of a home province audience in Brandon, they were silver medalists.
Subsequent to her induction, Cathy won another provincial and national Scotties title, in 2005, playing lead for Jennifer Jones. The team finished fourth at the World Championship.
A decade later, she ‘un-retired’ to play second for Lois Fowler at the Senior Women’s level. They won the Manitoba and Canadian Senior Women’s Championships in 2014 and the World Seniors Gold Medal in 2015.
Cathy also appeared in provincial mixed championships in 1989, 1997 and 2000. She was a finalist in 2000. A regular participant in the annual MCA Women’s Bonspiel, her name can be found on event trophies a total of 12 times.
A combination of her on ice success, public speaking talent and knowledge of the game of curling provided her an opportunity to move into the television booth as a commentator provincially on Shaw and Global TV broadcasts, then moving into the national spotlight with TSN.
The 1992 & 1995 Laliberte team was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 2011and the Fowler 2015 team was inducted in 2016.
Gourley, Robert J.
R.J. (Robert) Gourley (1878-1976) was born in Peel County, ON and moved with his family to Manitoba in 1894. At 16 years of age he had his first curling experience in Birtle, MB. As he was transferred from town to town with his job, he curled in prairie communities such as Wolseley, Fort Saskatchewan, Souris and Carberry. Returning to Winnipeg in 1906 he curled at the Granite Curling Club until 1908 when he helped form the Strathcona Curling Club.
He served as president of the Strathcona Curling Club in 1915-16. He also served as president of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1930-31 and was named an Honorary Life Member of the association in 1940.
Mr. Gourley was very well liked as a curler and was able to combine curling excellence with his considerable administrative ability. In 1931, the same year he was MCA president, he skipped the team of Ernie Pollard, Arnold Lockerbie and Ray Stewart to the British Consols provincial championship. They went on to win the fourth Macdonald Brier championship title for Manitoba.
As a skip in the Manitoba Curling Association Bonspiel, Robert Gourley won the Grand Aggregate in 1931 and 1941; the Henry Birks in 1921 and 1927; the Jerry Robinson trophy in 1922 and 1923; the Black and Armstrong trophy in 1931; the Dingwall trophy in 1933; and the Purity Flour trophy in 1934 and 1935.
Gourley’s 1931 Canadian Champion Team was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 2011.
George Laudrum (1923-1994) was born in Oberon, MB – a typical small town with a church, school, elevator and curling rink. With a father who farmed in the summer and was caretaker of the rink in the winter, he had the opportunity to get an early start in curling. He won his first trophy at age 12!
George competed in various levels throughout his curling career The Manitoba curling media would refer to George as the Bionic Curler, the Marathon Man or the Iron Man as he never turned down an opportunity to compete. When zone playdowns were held, George would compete in the men’s, seniors and mixed all in the same year. Sometimes rushing between clubs to play his games.
It was 1960 when George had his first success on the provincial stage, winning the British Consols playing third on the Mac Scales team. At the Lakehead Brier they finished in a tie for second place.
George won provincial senior crowns in 1975, 1976 and 1978 and finished in the runner up position in 1979 and 1984. He also represented Manitoba at a number of Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Curling Championships, winning in 1959, 1967 and 1972.
The Manitoba Curling Association bonspiel records show the name Laudrum as a winner of an event 16 times in a period from 1953-1974. Included in this total are Grand Aggregate titles in 1953, 1957 and 1960; the Eaton in 1953, 1957 and 1960; the Black and Armstrong trophy in 1954; the Free Press in 1955; The Grain Exchange trophy in 1956; the Henry Birks in 1960; the Hudson’s Bay trophy in 1961 and 1969; the Winnipeg Hydro in 1962 and 1972; the Paulin Chambers in 1969; and the McDiarmid Lumber in 1974.
George served seven years on the executive of the Strathcona Curling Club including a term as president in 1972-73. He also spent countless hours with junior programs at the Strathcona and CFB Curling Clubs.
Macatavish, F.A. (Al)
Al Macatavish was born and educated in Winnipeg. He started curling at the Elmwood Curling Club in 1954. He joined their executive in 1961 and served as president in 1973.
He joined the Manitoba Curling Association as a club rep in 1973. In 1975, he was elected to the MCA Council where he served a total of fourteen years including a term as president in 1988-89.
He chaired a bid committee which was unsuccessful in a 1987 attempt to bring the Brier to Manitoba. A bid to bring the World Championships to Winnipeg was unsuccessful in 1989 but successful in 1990.
Al Macatavish was President and CEO of the 1991 World Championships hosted in Winnipeg. He had been involved as an on-ice official at the Winnipeg Brier in 1970 and was a VIP driver at the 1978 Silver Broom in Winnipeg. In 2003, Al was the Honourary President of the Ford World Curling Championships held in Winnipeg.
He was made Honorary Life Member of the Manitoba Curling Association in 1990 and received a similar honour from the Elmwood Curling Club in 1992. In 1991 Al was the recipient of the Ray Kingsmith Executive of the Year award from the Canadian Curling Association. He is also a member of the Governor General’s Curling Club.
Over this period of time Al has also been involved in the administration of golf and is a former president of the Manitoba Golf Association and Canadian Golf Association.
Work commitments as well as these very obvious extensive involvements in both curling and golf administration somewhat curtailed Al’s on-ice activities. However, in both 1964 and 1970 he was fortunate enough to be on teams that won cars in Charleswood’s “Greatest Little Car” bonspiel!
Gord Sparkes combined excellence in curling with an intense desire to make his sport a success
He started curling at age eleven at the Deer Lodge Curling Club. He curled competitively from 1964-1979. During that time he was a finalist in the 1964 Manitoba Junior Men’s Championship and the 1975 Manitoba British Consols.
In 1979 his fortunes changed. Playing on the front end for Barry Fry, he won the coveted Purple Heart and went on to the 50th and final Macdonald Brier in Ottawa. Their round robin record of 10W-1L made them Canadian Champions. They represented Canada at the Air Canada Silver Broom in Berne, Switzerland where they had a 7W -3L round-robin record and a third place finish.
After that memorable season “Sparkie” decided to suspend his competitive career and joined the executive of the Deer Lodge Curling Club. He served 14 years on the executive, including a term as president. In that time frame he also became involved in the Manitoba Curling Association elected council working from 1981-1990.
Gordon Sparkes was chairman of the Scottish Tour to Canada in both 1983 and 1993. He was chairman of team services at the 1991 and 2003 World Championships hosted in Winnipeg. In 1995, he was host chairman for the Provincial Seniors at Deer Lodge Curling Club. In 1998 he was director in charge of hosting for the Winnipeg Labatt Brier.
In 1978 Gord was instrumental in the initial set up of Manitoba’s major cash bonspiel – The Coca Cola Classic. He chaired this event for 16 years.
Gordon Sparkes was made an Honourary Life Member of the Deer Lodge Curling Club and the Manitoba Curling Association (1993). He has also been inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame as a member of the 1979 Brier champion team.
Thompsett – 1979 & 1981 TEAM
The 1979 & 1981 Canadian Junior Men’s Champions, skipped by Mert Thompsett, were two of seven teams from Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club to win the Manitoba junior title in the eleven year span from the 1977-78 season to the 1987-88 season.
In 1979, the team included third Lyle Derry, second Joel Gagne, and lead Mike Friesen. They earned the distinction of being the first Junior Men’s team from Manitoba to win a Canadian Junior title. At that time, Canada sent the Junior Champions to the following year’s World Championship, and at the 1980 Uniroyal World Junior Championship held in Kitchener, Ontario the team won the silver medal losing to Andrew McQuistin of Scotland in the final.
Lyle Derry and Mert Thompsett were named to the all-star team at the third and skip position respectively at the 1980 championship.
After falling short in the 1980 provincial junior championship, Bill McTavish replaced Lyle Derry who had graduated from junior eligibility and the team won the provincial championship in 1981. They again were successful at the Canadian Championship in Saint John, NB. At the 1982 World Juniors in Fredericton, NB they returned with another silver medal, losing the final to Soren Grahn of Sweden.
At the 1982 championship the front end of Lead Mike Friesen and second Joel Gagne were selected to the all-star team.