The formal induction of the honourees announced in January 2020 was delayed when no formal induction ceremony could be scheduled due to Covid-19. A special opportunity allowed Ernie Oliver to be formally inducted in September at the Manitoba Stick Curling Association’s Annual General Meeting. The rest of the 2020 group will be formally welcomed into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame at an Induction & Fund-Raising Dinner on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Watch for details!
Resby Coutts • Chris Neufeld • Ernie Oliver • Karen Purdy
Vic Peters • Kirkness 1984 Team • Stoughton 2011 Team
Ernie Oliver is recognized across Manitoba and Canada, as a driving force behind the establishment and growth of 2-person stick curling as a recreational and competitive sport.
In Manitoba, Ernie must be credited with sowing the seeds of what was essentially a new sport by self-funding his early travels around the province to conduct promotional and instructional clinics. Furthermore, his energy/passion for the new approach to curling fueled his efforts to seek funding – which he achieved through grants from various seniors related organizations and government departments. He worked extensively in Manitoba – and with a few others, also gets credit for establishing the Canadian sport as well.
While others have become involved at the organizational level as the sport has grown, Ernie was the main promoter in the first 6-8 years. Without his efforts, those who have come more recently would not have had a foundation to build upon. Since its beginnings, 2-person stick curling has grown from a handful of clubs/leagues in 2005 to where there are now organized leagues in over two dozen clubs. Leagues number curlers from 16-20 (8-10 teams) to numbers in the 100 range (50 teams) – all paying league fees, bonspiel entry fees and supporting the clubs through bar and restaurant revenue.
As important as the club support must be considered, just as (or more) significant must be considered the physical and mental health benefits for hundreds of curlers who have returned to the ice or extended their curling career thanks to 2-person stick curling.
While the leagues and the regular opportunity to play scheduled 2-person stick curling represents the greatest amount of participation in the sport, Ernie recognized there was also a need for a competitive outlet for the players who were so inclined.
He was instrumental in establishing a Manitoba championship in 2005 and the first Canadian championship, which was played at Fort Rouge, in 2008. As a competitor, Ernie has won five Manitoba 2-person stick titles.
In tribute to Ernie’s role in establishing 2-person stick curling as a new and unique version of the sport, the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club’s season opening stick bonspiel has been named the Ernie Oliver Stick ‘Spiel.