Hall of Famers: 2009

Maureen Bonar • Billy Finlay • Barry Greenberg
John B. Mather • Darcy Robertson • Barb Spencer
Gowanlock 1953 Team • Riley 1984 Team

Bonar, Maureen
Inducted 2009

Maureen Bonar

Maureen Bonar was born in 1963 in Deloraine, MB and learned to curl there. Although she has curled competitively out of several clubs in Manitoba, she has maintained her roots in the south-western part of the province.

Already highly successful when she was inducted, she later reached the World podium with long time team-mate Lois Fowler, Cathy Gauthier and Allyson Stewart. They won the 2014 Manitoba and Canadian Senior Women’s titles and in 2015 when they won the World Senior Championship.

Between 1979 and 2009, Maureen curled at the junior, women’s and mixed levels provincially. She competed in 20 provincial and five national competitions!

As a junior, Maureen skipped in two Manitoba Junior Championships 1981 and 1982. Successfully winning the Manitoba juniors title in 1982, her team finished in a third-place tie at the Canadian Championships with a 6W – 4L record.

Maureen moved from the junior ranks in 1983 to curl with Patti Vande out of the Granite Curling Club. That year they successfully became the Manitoba women’s champions with a 6W – 1L record and finished in fourth place at the Canadian championships in Prince George, British Columbia.

1983 marked the first of fifteen appearances in women’s provincial championships. She has played 90 games and won 56 of them.

In 1993 she skipped a team to her second women’s provincial title and represented Manitoba at the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts in Brandon. The Bonar team finished a finalist with a 9W – 4L record. The Sandra Peterson team from Saskatchewan posted a dramatic last shot, extra end win over the Bonar foursome in the final.

In 1996 representing the Brandon Curling Club she won her third provincial title. At the Canadian championship her team tied for fifth place.

In 2004, curling third for Lois Fowler out of the Wheat City Curling Club she won her fourth Manitoba women’s crown. That year they had a fourth-place finish at the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Maureen also competed in four provincial mixed competitions with skips Kelly McMechan and Clare DeBlonde.

Billy Finlay (1889 – 1960) moved into the curling spotlight in Winnipeg in 1910. As a young man of 21 he became a member of the famous Frank Cassidy ‘Kid Rink’. They came out of the Thistle Curling Club to startle the curling world by winning the Grand Aggregate of the Manitoba bonspiel. In the early days of curling in Winnipeg, winning the Grand Aggregate was a very prestigious happening. It meant beating such great fellow curlers as Mac Braden, Bob Dunbar, Jack Lemon or E.J. Rochon!

In 1911, he moved to the Strathcona CC. In 1914, he skipped a team which tied for the MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate with Rod McAskill of Glenboro and Gordon Hudson from Kenora (before his move to Winnipeg). Again in 1919, he won yet another Grand Aggregate in the Manitoba bonspiel.

As well as the three Grand Aggregates, he won 13 other MCA bonspiel trophies and two city championships.

After moving to Vancouver as sports editor of the Vancouver Sun, he again became a prominent figure in curling in that area. In 1938, 1940 and 1941 he skipped the British Columbia representatives in the Canadian Championship.

Finlay, William (Billy)

Inducted 2009

Billy Finlay

Greenberg, Barry

Inducted 2009

Barry Greenberg

Barry Greenberg was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, MB. At an early age, he was introduced to curling by his father.  This was the start of a lifelong dedication to the sport.  He was a long time member of the Portage Curling Club before moving to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, Barry was a member of the Granite Curling Club.

In the curling world, Barry served on many curling boards and held several executive positions. He was president of the Granite Curling Club in 1993-1994. He served on the Elected Council and Management of the former Manitoba Curling Association chairing a number of committees starting with Publicity and moving through the Strathcona Senior Men’s Championship; the MCA Bonspiel; Finance and the Safeway Select Championship.

Barry played an instrumental role in the amalgamation process of the former MCA and MLCA in 2000-2001. He became the first president of the new Amalgamated Association.  He was then elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Curling Association in 2001. His services there culminated in his CCA presidency in 2004-2005.

In 2008 Barry was president of the very successful 2008 Winnipeg Tim Horton’s Brier.

Barry Greenberg has been honoured with Honorary Life Membership in the Manitoba Curling Association(2002), Canadian Hall of Fame induction in the Executive Honour Roll (2005), and membership in the Governor General’s Curling Club (2007).

John B. Mather (1845 – 1892) was born in Islington, Ontario. After moving to Winnipeg in 1881, he became one of the city’s most prosperous merchants.

J.B. Mather did not seem to have been an athlete but was on three of the most prestigious athletic boards in the west – the Winnipeg Granite Curling Club, the Winnipeg Rowing Club, and the Winnipeg Cricket Club.  He was the first president of the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Club and held the officer for two terms (1888-89 and 1889-90). The Manitoba Branch later became the Manitoba Curling Association, which was both the umbrella organization for Western Canadian curlers and the sponsor of the Manitoba Bonspiel. First held in 1889, the bonspiel quickly became the most important annual curling festival in the world.

As an agent of the Hiram Walker & Sons Co., Mather facilitated the formation of an event in the first Manitoba Bonspiel and presented the Walkerville Tankard. It became a much coveted trophy of the bonspiel.

As a successful businessman of the era, he was also keenly interested in politics. He served on the Winnipeg City Council from 1890-91.

When he died at the young age of 46, he was a well respected citizen of Winnipeg and a wreath was placed on his casket by the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.

Mather, John B.

Inducted 2009

John B. Mather

Robertson, Darcy

Inducted 2009

Darcy Robertson

Darcy Robertson (Kirkness) started her curling career as a junior at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club in Winnipeg. As a member of the Kirkness family she has achieved great success curling with her father Jim, her brother James and sister Barb. As a junior curler she skipped teams to four junior provincial championships, was the finalist twice and Manitoba champion in 1984. Each time, she was supported at third by her sister Barb. In 1984, at Fort St. John in British Columbia, her team won the Pepsi Cola Canadian Championship with a 9W – 2L record.

Darcy has won three MLCA/MCA bonspiel trophies and main event trophies in the Junior Women’s Bonspiel in 1982 and 1983.

Darcy has made six appearances in mixed competitions in Manitoba. In 1986 she won the Manitoba mixed championship curling lead for Hal Tanasichuk with Barb Kirkness (Spencer) at third and Jim Kirkness at second. The Tanasichuk team finished at the Canadian Championship in a third space tie.

Prior to her induction, Darcy had made fifteen provincial women’s appearances, winning provincal honours three times (1986, 2003 and 2009). She had also been provincial women’s runner-up three times (1987, 1989 and 1994). In 1986 she skipped the team at the Canadian Championship with sister Barb Kirkness (Spencer) at third.

In 2003, Darcy supported Barb at third position and in 2009, after a short separation, Darcy again joined forces with Barb to win the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts and advanced to national competition in Victoria, British Columbia.

Subsequent to her induction, Darcy made ten more provincial Scotties appearances, skipping the team eight of the 10 times. She was the Manitoba finalist in 2017 at third for Barb and 2018 with her own team. She was the Scotties all-star skip in 2019, as she had been in 2007.

She has played in three Manitoba Senior Women’s championships and was the provincial finalist, at third for Barb, in 2018.

Barb Spencer (Kirrkness), as part of a curling family, began curling at a young age in the junior program at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club and soon gained many successes.

She played in five provincial junior championships between 1981 and 1985. In 1984, playing  third for sister Darcy, she won provincial honours. At Fort St. John, British Columbia the Kirkness team won the Pepsi Cola Canadian Championship with a 9W -2L record.

Between 1982 and 1984, Barb won three Junior Women’s Bonspiel main event trophies.

Barb made six provincial mixed appearances with skips Hal Tanasichuk and brother James Kirkness. In 1986 with Hal, father Jim and sister Darcy they won the provincial title and finished in a third place tie at the Canadian Championship.

In women’s competition provincially, prior to her induction, Barb had already made 16 appearances. She was a four-time provincial finalist (1987, 1989, 1994, 2008) and had earned the provincial women’s title three times (1986, 2003 and 2009).

She played third for her sister Darcy at the Canadian women’s championship in 1984 and was the skip, with Darcy at third, in 2003 and 2009.

After her induction, Barb played in eight more Scotties and skipped the finalist team in 2017. She completed her Manitoba Scotties career with 24 appearances and 176 games played (115W – 61L). A career highlight was playing the Manitoba Scotties in 2018 and 2019 with a family team comprising her daughters Katie, Holly and Allyson.

She played twice at provincial senior women’s championships and was the provincial finalist in 2017.

Spencer, Barb
Inducted 2009

Barb Spencer

Gowanlock – 1953 TEAM Canadian Champions
Inducted 2009

(l-r) Russ Jackman, Art Pollon, Jim Williams, Ab Gowanlock

The 1953 Canadian Men’s Champions returned Ab Gowanlock to the Brier, 15 years after his first Canadian Championship. Curling this time out of Dauphin, the man knows as “Spats” had Jim Williams at third, Art Pollon at second, and Russ Jackman at lead.

They were undefeated at the provincial championship with a 6W – 0L record. The Canadian Championship was played in Sudbury, Ontario and at the end of round robin play; Manitoba was tied with Quebec with 8 wins and 2 losses. Manitoba had lost their round robin game to Quebec early in the week and had also lost to former Manitoba champion Grant Watson, skipping the Northern Ontario team. Quebec had lost their opening game and ran unbeaten the rest of the week until losing their final game to Saskatchewan.

A championship playoff game was played. Gowanlock’s Manitoba trailed 6-5 after nine ends in the 12-end game but scored singles in each of the next three ends for an 8-6 win.  This was the fourteenth Canadian championship in men’s curling for Manitoba.

The team had been a winner of two events in the 1952 MCA Bonspiel.

Ab Gowanlock is a member of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame as a curler (1987) and also a member of his 1938 Brier Team (2007).

The 1953 Gowanlock team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

The 1984 Canadian Men’s Champions represented the Pembina Curling Club in Winnipeg in 1984 with skip Mike Riley and had Brian Toews at third, John Helston at second and Russ Wookey at lead

Their first year together proved to be successful. In Virden at the Labatt Tankard they had a perfect 7W – 0L record. In fact, the team had only one loss through club, zone and Tankard play in 1984.

In Victoria, BC at the “Best Bloomin’ Brier”, they had an 8W – 3L round robin record to finish first and earn a bye to the final where they faced Ontario’s Ed Werenich. The Riley team had defeated Werenich 7-4 in round robin play and won the final by an identical 7-4 score. It was the 22nd Brier Championship for Manitoba. Mike Riley was chosen all-star skip. John Helston was the all-star second on the second team. As well, John was awarded the Ross Harstone award for curling excellence and sportsmanship.

In Superior, Wisconsin at the World Championship the Riley Team finished with a 6W – 3L round robin record. They finished in 4th place after a semi-final loss to Switzerland’s Peter Attinger.

Riley – 1984 TEAM Canadian Champions
Inducted 2009

(l-r) Mike Riley, Brian Toews, John Helston, Russ Wookey

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