Jerry Brown • Clare DeBlonde • Sylvia Erickson
Orest Meleschuk • Fred Smith
Gourley 1931 Team • Laliberte 1992-1995 Teams
Jerry Brown began curling at the Deer Lodge Curling Club in 1970. He served on the board of directors for several years and was President of the club in 1991 – 92.
Jerry was elected to the MCA Council in 1985 and served continuously on the Board and as Chair of the various MCA committees until elected president in 1995-96. He served as Director of the Manitoba Curling Foundation (1996-98) and as MCA
Liaison to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame (1995-97)
He did not retire after a dozen years of service at the MCA level. He volunteered on national
and international events hosted in Winnipeg. He was Brier Executive Vice Chairman and
Director of the Brier Patch in 1998; and Vice President and Chairman of the Extra End
pub at the 2003 World Championships in Winnipeg.
In 1995 Jerry was made an Honourary Life Member of the Deer Lodge Curling Club and in 1997 he became on Honorary Life Member of the MCA.
Clare DeBlonde curled competitively, and very successfully, for a half century beginning with winning an event in the December 1959 High School/Junior Men’s Bonspiel and ending with a victory in the November 2010 Masters Bonspiel. Across the 50 years, he appeared in 37 Provincial playoffs and represented the province in three Nationals.
A skip from the beginning, in 1960 his Nelson McIntyre team was finalist in the Provincial High School/Junior Championship.
The first major win on his provincial resume was an MCA Grand Aggregate in 1966, a trophy he won again in 1972. Both times his team won one of the two main events. He won MCA bonspiel main events three more times in his career. Those wins were, however, stepping stones or momentum builders for the provincials where he appeared 21 times between 1964 and 2006.
In British Consols, Labatt Tankard, and Safeway Select play he compiled a 72W – 37L record, skipped the finalist team in 1973 and won the championship twice. In 1976, (with Doug Finkbeiner, Garry DeBlonde, and Don Finkbeiner) he won the Consols in Flin Flon unbeaten with 7 wins. They posted an 8W – 3L record at the Brier to finish second. In 1980, playing third for Earle Morris (with Garry BeBlonde and Winston Warren) he won again with a 7W – 1L record and posted a 6W – 5L record to finish fifth at the Brier.
In 12 provincial appearances at the Senior Men’s level, always as skip, he never had a losing record. In the three year span which included the 1997, 1998, and 1999 championships (with Brian Toews, John Helston, and Garry DeBlonde), he posted a 19W – 4L record, was finalist in 1997 and 1999 and Manitoba Senior Champion in 1998. At the 1998 National Seniors, they were again the finalists with a 10W – 3L record and Clare was named Second Team All-Star Skip. He was a finalist again at the provincial Seniors in 2008.
He also made three provincial Mixed appearances and was 5th/coach for Mike Riley’s 1984 Labatt Brier Canadian Champions as well as Riley’s 1986 Brier team.
Sylvia Erickson began curling in 1966 in Lynn Lake with stops in Flin Flon and Edmonton. She began curling with the St. Vital Curlettes in1983 she and was Secretary and President of that club. She was elected to the MLCA Executive Council in 1989 and served on several committees, becoming President in 1994 -1995.
Sylvia contributed countless hours to the Lumsden Award committee, the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Curling Foundation. She was President of the Foundation in 2009.
She was always available to willingly volunteer at
national and international curling events in Winnipeg. She worked on the Visitors Committee at the Canadian Scott Tournament of Hearts 1985, the Theme Dinner Committee for the Winnipeg Worlds in 1991 and was Vice President of Volunteers and
Special Events for the Winnipeg Worlds in 2003. She worked on the Timing Committee at the 2008 Brier.
Sylvia is a certified official and timer and worked events for over 20 years.
In 1996 Sylvia was made an Honourary Life Member of the MLCA.
Sylvia is a two-time Provincial Masters Champion. winning that championship in 2005 & 2006.
Orest Meleschuk played in 30 Manitoba Men`s Championships (British Consols, Labatt Tankard, Safeway Select) in the 43 years between his first appearance in 1963, at third for Barry Fry, until his last as skip in 2006. Thirty appearances represents a record (as of 2021) which he shares with his long time third, Johnny Usackis. He is also third all-time in number of games played (142) and seventh all-time in wins at the provincial men’s (85).
He won Manitoba titles in 1972, with an undefeated 7W – 0L record, and in 1989, with a 6W – 1L record.
With Dave Romano, John Hanesiak, and Pat Hailley, he won the 1972 Macdonald Brier with a 9W – 1L record. They won Manitoba’s third consecutive Silver Broom Championship, and third consecutive undefeated world championship, with a perfect nine wins. The final game against Team USA went an extra end when a controversial kicked rock resulted in a measure, a score of two and a tie. When US skip Bob Labonte could not match Meleschuk’s last shot draw, the Manitobans stole an extra end win.
For a decade and a half, Orest was competitive at both the Men’s and Senior Men’s levels. He competed in his first Seniors just three years after his 1989 Brier trip and skipped the winning Manitoba Senior Men’s team in 1996. At the Canadian Seniors, a 7W – 4L record again earned a national fourth place finish. His team was the Manitoba Senior Men’s finalist in 1998.
In his first Manitoba Masters, he again skipped his team of third Johnny Usackis, second Bob Lesko and lead Richard Schroeder to a Manitoba championship. For medical reasons, he could not attend the national championship which was won by his team with Ken Grove replacing him. The team, with Johnny and Orest trading positions, lost the Manitoba Masters final in 2003 and again in 2004.
With the 30 men’s championship appearances, his total of 44 provincials included seven Seniors, six Masters and one Mixed. Orest won MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregates in 1965, at third for Barry Fry and as skip of his own team in 1982. He was named Curler of Distinction at the 1996 Safeway Select.
The 1972 World Champion Team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 1991.
Fred Smith (1904-1970) had a curling resume which spanned 39 years from 1928 to 1967. He appeared in 10 provincial men’s and 3 provincial senior’s playdowns. He was third on the Jimmy Welsh 1937 British Consols provincial winning team. They finished second at the Macdonald Brier Canadian Championship, tied with Alberta at 8W – 1L after the round-robin but losing in a tiebreaker playoff.
In addition to winning the British Consols in 1937, Smith and the team won the MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate and three separate MCA Bonspiel events. Over the twelve seasons from 1934 to 1945, Smith and his teammates won the one Grand Aggregate plus 16 events trophies.
In 1965, Fred played second for Leo Johnson’s Strathcona team which won the inaugural Manitoba Senior Men’s Championship and went on to win the first Canadian Senior Men’s Championship as well.
The 1931 Canadian Men’s Champions earned their trip to the Dominion Championship Macdonald Brier in Toronto by winning the MCA Bonspiel’s Grand Aggregate. Since 1925, the Macdonald Brier Trophy was awarded based on percentage of games won and lost in the bonspiel’s main event plus four secondary events. From 1927 onward, the team which won the trophy went on to compete for the national Macdonald Brier Tankard. (Note: the name Brier had been attached to the national event in 1927 and shared the name with the MCA trophy for several years)
Robert Gourley and his Strathcona Curling Club team of third Ernie Pollard, second Arnold Lockerbie, and lead Ray Stewart did not win any of the identified five events but still won the Grand Aggregate and the 1931 Brier trip. During the bonspiel they did, however, partner with the Gordon Hudson team to win the Bonspiel’s Double Team event.
At the Dominion Championship, the Gourley team finished with an 8W – 1L record. They were undefeated going into the final round of play, but New Brunswick spoiled their perfect record.
In 1933, the team won the MCA Bonspiel’s main Dingwall event. In 1934, they won the Purity Flour event – one of the events which counted in the Aggregate tally. They won the Purity Flour again in 1935 with Alex Fidler replacing Pollard at third.
Robert Gourley (in 2004) and Ernie Pollard (in 2003) have both also been enshrined in the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in recognition of individual accomplishments; Pollard as a Curler and Gourley as a Curler-Builder.
Gourley – 1931 TEAM Canadian Champions
Laliberte – 1992 & 1995 TEAM
The 1992 & 1995 Canadian Women’s Champions were Fort Rouge teams fondly regarded by championship organizers in Brandon.
When they won the 1992 national Scott Tournament of Hearts, they immediately became Team Canada for the Scott hosted by Brandon in 1993. When they won the 1995 Canadian title, they immediately became the home team in Brandon’s 1995 World Championship.
The 1992 team featured Connie Laliberte with third Laurie Allen, second Cathy Gauthier and lead Janet Arnott.
The 1995 team featured Connie Laliberte with third Cathy Overton, second Cathy Gauthier and lead Janet Arnott. Karen Purdy was playing third when the team had repeated as Manitoba champions and Cathy Overton was an injury replacement for the Canadian Championship.
In 1992, as Team Manitoba, they finished the national Scott round-robin with 9W – 2L record in a three-way tie for first place. In the semi-final, they defeated Lisa Walker’s BC team 7-6 in an extra end and in the final beat Julie Sutton’s Team Canada 7-3. At the Worlds that year, they had a 5W – 4L round-robin record. It was good enough to reach the semi-final but a 7-5 loss to Sweden earned them a Bronze Medal.
Playing as Team Canada in the 1993 Canadian championship in Brandon, they posted a 6W – 5L record to finish fifth.
In 1995, again playing as Manitoba champions, they finished the national Scott round-robin with a 10W – 1L record, alone in first place. They advanced direct to the final where they defeated Cathy Borst’s Team Alberta 6-5. At the Worlds that year in Brandon, they posted an 8W – 1L round-robin record, tied for first place with Norway’s Dordi Norbdy. They defeated Germany in the semi-final to advance to the final against Sweden but earned the Silver Medal when they lost 6-5 in an extra end.
Playing as Team Canada in the 1996 championship in Thunder Bay, they again posted a 6W – 5L record to finish fifth.