Museum: Manitoba Men’s Championship Trophy Exhibit

Over almost 100 years of competition, the Manitoba Men’s Curling
Championship has had only FOUR corporate sponsors
and the players have competed for only SIX unique trophies.
The Manitoba Curling Men’s Championship trophy history follows.

The Brier Trophy was presented annually from 1925 to 1935. It is referenced for the first time in the 1926 MCA Annual Bonspiel Program with a description and picture of the 1925 winning team. The trophy itself appears for the first time in the MCA Yearbook of 1926.

The automatic assumption that it came into being between the time the 1925 book was printed and the bonspiel was actually held is confirmed in a report by the winning Howard Wood team to the April 15, 1925 MCA Annual Meeting.

The report describes the playoff as being a new competition between the prize winners of the four Open events and the Eaton event – with 14 teams participating. The Howard Wood team had won the Grand Aggregate and went on to win the Brier Trophy as well.

In the 1926 book, the Brier trophy is described this way: The Brier Trophy is perhaps the most handsome and artistic of any competed for in Canada. Presented to the Manitoba Curling Association by W.C. Macdonald Inc, of Montreal, for competition by curlers attending the Bonspiel at Winnipeg, and given with the intention of fostering goodwill and better understanding between the west and the east.

In 1926, teams reaching the 8’s of the main Dingwall event and four secondary events qualified for the spiel’s Brier Trophy playoff. The winner received an expenses paid trip to Montreal as guests of W.C. Macdonald Inc. That trip, plus the one to the east by the 1925 winner, set the stage for the 1927 Macdonald Brier Tankard Dominion Curling Championship

From 1927 to 1929, the trophy competition featured teams qualifying by reaching the fours of eight events in 1927 and five events in 1928 & 1929. In 1927, the winner was to play off against Alberta and Saskatchewan teams. When the Jim Congalton team lost that playoff to Ossie Barkwell (Saskatchewan) Manitoba missed the opportunity to compete in the first official national men’s championship.

From 1930 to 1932, the trophy went to the bonspiel Grand Aggregate winner without a separate playoff.

Beginning in 1933, the first beginnings of a provincial championship began to take shape. Held at the time of the MCA bonspiel, each affiliated Manitoba club represented in the bonspiel was allowed to enter a single team in the competition for the Macdonald Brier trophy and the trip to the Dominion Championship, so long as that team was also entered in the bonspiel.

In 1934 and 1935 the entry rule changed slightly. Teams still had to be entered in the bonspiel but now city clubs were allowed one entry for each four teams in the bonspiel while other clubs were allowed one entry for each two in the bonspiel.

(* = Canadian Champions)
1925: Granite – Skip Howard Wood Sr.
1926: St. John’s – Skip George Sherwood
1927: Granite – Skip Jim Congalton
1928: Strathcona – Skip Gordon Hudson *
1929: Strathcona – Skip Gordon Hudson *
1930: Granite – Skip Howard Wood Sr. *
1931: Strathcona – Skip Robert Gourley *
1932: Granite – Skip Jim Congalton *
1933: Deer Lodge – Skip Johnny Douglas
1934: Strathcona – Skip Leo Johnson *
1935: Killarney – Skip Roy Pritchard
1936: Strathcona – Skip Ken Watson

The Brier Trophy

Macdonald Brier Trophy

1925 to 1935: Winnipeg – during the annual MCA Bonspiel
(l-r) George Sherwood, R.L. Vincent, L.S. Tinling, C.A.V. Edge (St. John’s Curling Club )1926
First posed picture of the champions with the Macdonald Brier Trophy

British Consols Trophy


1936 to 1965: Winnipeg
1966: Dauphin
1967: Winnipeg
1968: Brandon
1969: Winnipeg
1970: Dauphin
1971: Winnipeg
1972: Virden
1973: Winnipeg
1974: Winnipeg
1975: Brandon
1976: Flin Flon
1977: Winnipeg
1978: Brandon
1979: Winnipeg
Both Brier and British Consols were Macdonald Tobacco brand names. Note that curling’s much sought after ‘purple heart’ was a logo on the Brier tobacco can!
(l-r) M.D. McIntyre, Grant Watson, C.P. Kerr, J. Ken Watson with their 1936 Macdonald Brier Tankard and Macdonald Brier Trophy (British Consols) trophies
1970 & 1971 British Consols, Canadian & World Champions (l-r) Don Duguid, Bryan Wood, Jim Pettapiece, Rod Hunter (Granite Curling Club)

The British Consols name first appears in the 1937 MCA Annual Bonspiel publication as a replacement name for the Macdonald Brier Trophy: same trophy – new name. The book states: In 1936 the name of the trophy was changed from “Macdonald’s Brier” to “British Consols” to correspond with trophies given in other provinces for Macdonald’s Brier representatives.”

Both Brier and British Consols were Macdonald Tobacco brand names so the name change removed the confusion surrounding the name but also expanded the company’s corporate brand name recognition.

Over time, the name evolved into simply “The Consols” in the mind of the competitors.

It is noted there is some confusion about the actual timing of the change to British Consols as the 1937 MCA Bonspiel publication pictures the Ken Watson team with the provincial trophy for the previous year and still refers to it as the Macdonald Brier Trophy.

In 1936, the qualifying rule remained the same as the previous year, namely: teams still had to be entered in the bonspiel but now city clubs were allowed one entry for each four teams in the bonspiel while other clubs were allowed one entry for each two in the bonspiel.

Until 1958, with one exception, the British Consols was played as a single knockout championship in conjunction with the MCA Bonspiel. The exception was 1949, when a 12 team round robin format was played.

Various qualifying systems were in place over those years. For example:

** 1949 – 12 team round robin: 3 Winnipeg and 7 out-of-town district reps plus two main bonspiel event winners (MCA bonspiel Grand Aggregate winner did not win an event, then it would be the Aggregate winner and the winner of a playoff between the two main bonspiel event winners.

** 1950 – 32 team single knockout: 4 Winnipeg and 12 out-of-town district reps plus teams reaching the 8’s of the two main bonspiel events. (If a team qualified twice, they received only one entry so, for example, in 1950 there were actually 28 teams and in 1951 there were 31 teams)

** 1955 – 64 team single knockout: 8 Winnipeg and 24 out-of-town district reps plus teams reaching the 16’s of the two main bonspiel events. (As noted above. if a team qualified twice, they received only one entry so the actual number was often less than 64)

From 1959 onward, the championship format provided a two-loss guarantee for competitors. Qualifying continued to take various forms and included representation from out-of-town bonspiels, later evolving into “Berth Bonspiels” .

** 1960 – 20 teams: 4 Winnipeg and 8 out-of-town district reps plus teams reaching the 4’s of the two main bonspiel events.

** 1968 – 32 teams: 7 Winnipeg and 14 out-of-town district reps, teams reaching the 4’s of the two main bonspiel events, plus teams from Brandon, Gimli, and Dauphin bonspiels.

** 1970 – 32 teams: 7 Winnipeg and 15 out-of-town district reps, teams reaching the 4’s of the two main bonspiel events, plus teams from Flin Flon and Portage bonspiels.

** 1978 – 32 teams: 7 Winnipeg and 14 out-of-town district reps, teams reaching the 4’s of the two main bonspiel events, teams from Brandon and Dauphin bonspiels, plus a team representing clubs ‘North of 53’.

(* = Canadian Champions ! = World Champions)
1936: Strathcona – Skip Ken Watson
1937: Deer Lodge – Skip Jimmy Welsh
1938: Glenboro – Skip Ab Gowanlock *
1939: Strathcona – Skip Ross Kennedy
1940: Granite – Skip Howard Wood Sr.
1941: Strathcona – Skip Albert Wakefield
1942: Strathcona – Skip Ken Watson
1943: Strathcona – Skip Ken Watson
1944: Strathcona – Skip Leo Johnson
1945: Granite – Skip Howard Wood Sr.
1946: Strathcona – Skip Leo Johnson
1947: Deer Lodge – Skip Jimmy Welsh
1948: Granite – Skip Howard Wood Sr.
1949: Strathcona – Skip Ken Watson
1950: Elmwood – Skip Dr. Bill McTavish
1951: Strathcona – Skip Roy Forsyth
1952: Fort Rouge – Skip Billy Walsh
1953: Dauphin – Skip Ab Gowanlock
1954: Deer Lodge – Skip Jimmy Welsh
1955: Strathcona – Skip Roy Forsyth
1956: Fort Rouge – Skip Billy Walsh
1957: Granite – Skip Howie Wood Jr.
1958: Granite – Skip Terry Braunstein
1959: Elmwood – Skip Dick Bird
1960: Strathcona – Skip Mac Scales
1961: West Kildonan – Skip John David Lyon
1962: Strathcona – Skip Norm Houck
1963: Maple Leaf – Skip Hersh Lerner
1964: Strathcona – Skip Bruce Hudson
1965: Granite – Skip Terry Braunstein
1966: Maple Leaf – Skip Hersh Lerner
1967: Strathcona – Skip Bruce Hudson
1968: Dauphin – Skip Burke Parker
1969: Maple Leaf – Skip Bob Robinson
1970: Granite – Skip Don Duguid * !
1971: Granite – Skip Don Duguid * !
1972: Fort Rouge – Skip Orest Meleschuk * !
1973: Granite – Skip Danny Fink
1974: Glenboro – Skip Don Barr
1975: Granite – Skip Rod Hunter
1976: Heather – Skip Clare DeBlonde
1977: Lac du Bonnet – Skip John Usackis
1978: Heather – Skip Doug Harrison
1979: Deer Lodge – Skip Barry Fry *

The Labatt Tankard replaced the venerable British Consols trophy as Labatt Brewing assumed national sponsorship from Macdonald Tobacco.

An iconic gold Tankard trophy was won by the national champion. At the provincial level, a replica silver Tankard was awarded to the champions along with having their names inscribed permanently on a wall plaque.

As a permanent record, the champion’s names were inscribed upon a large shield which was displayed annually at the championship.

Championship hosting was shared almost equally between Winnipeg and rural southern Manitoba venues with the final Labatt Tankard being contested in Thompson. The 1994 event in Thompson was the last Manitoba curling championship to be broadcast on radio with Hall of Fame member Bob Picken as the lead play-by-play announcer. For some years, Global TV had been broadcasting the Manitoba final but the cost of a broadcast from the northern city was deemed excessive. CJOB was invited to provide a radio broadcast as they had in the years before television.

Qualifying for the Labatt Tankard initially followed the model of the British Consols’ final years and evolved from there.

** 1980 – 32 teams: 7 Winnipeg and 14 out-of-town district reps, teams reaching the 4’s of the two main bonspiel events, teams from Brandon and Shilo bonspiels, plus a team from the ‘North of 53’ bonspiel in Snow Lake.

(* = Canadian Champions ! = World Champions)
1980: CFB Winnipeg – Skip Earle Morris
1981: Assiniboine Memorial – Skip Kerry Burtnyk * 1982: Souris – Skip Mel Logan
1983: Valour Road – Skip Lloyd Gunnlaugson
1984: Pembina – Skip Mike Riley *
1985: Wildewood – Skip John Bubbs
1986: Pembina – Skip Mike Riley
1987: Brandon – Skip Brian Fowler
1988: Assiniboine Memorial – Skip Kerry Burtnyk
1989: Lac du Bonnet – Skip Orest Meleschuk
1990: Deloraine – Skip Duane Edwards
1991: Wildewood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
1992: Granite – Skip Vic Peters *
1993: Granite – Skip Vic Peters
1994: St. Vital – Skip Dave Smith

Labatt Tankard

The Labatt Tankard Shield

1980: Winnipeg
1981: Brandon
1982: Winnipeg
1983: Winnipeg
1984: Virden
1985: Dauphin
1986: Winnipeg
1987: Winnipeg
1988: Morden
1989: Winnipeg
1990: Winnipeg
1991: Brandon
1992: Winnipeg
1993: Selkirk
1994: Thompson
(L-r) Mel Logan, Doug Armour, Lloyd Lang, Al Granger (Souris Curling Club)

Safeway Select

1995: Winnipeg
1996: Brandon
1997: Morden
1998: Virden
1999: Portage la Prairie
2000: Brandon
2001: Selkirk
2002: Neepawa
2003: Portage la Prairie
2004: Brandon
2005: Selkirk
2006: Steinbach

2003 Safeway Select Champions (l-r) John Bubbs, Bob Jenion, Bob Scales, Dan Kelsch

The Safeway Select represented a next step in Canada Safeway’s sponsorship of curling. The company had been title sponsors of the 1991 Safeway World Championship in Winnipeg. Their world level sponsorship continued with Canada Safeway being the presenting sponsor of the Worlds in 1992 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

For the 1995 season, the company signed on as presenting sponsor of the Ford Worlds in Brandon AND as title sponsor of the provincial men’s championships across most of Western Canada. While the sponsorship lasted longest in Manitoba, initially it had included British Columbia and Alberta until 2003 as well.

The much talked about “Big Three” of that era of Manitoba Men’s curling (Kerry Burtnyk, Jeff Stoughton and Vic Peters) won the first three Safeway Select titles. Burtnyk and Stoughton went on to win back to back world titles in 1995 and 1996 while Peters was an ‘almost’, losing the final of the Brier in 1997.

The first Safeway Select was played in the Winnipeg Arena, the last provincial championship hosted in the old venue. Over the next eleven years, seven communities hosted the best Manitoba Men’s curling teams.

Thirty-two teams still qualified for the championship. While various qualifying models were employed through the Safeway years, the underlying premise was rural and Winnipeg zone reps, teams from the Winnipeg and Brandon bonspiels and from identified berth bonspiels.

As qualifying evolved, a championship entry was awarded to the reigning Manitoba champion, to the Manitoba Curling Tour (MCT) champion, and to top ranking teams on the MCT ranking list and the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS). The number of bonspiel berths was reduced to accommodate these changes while still maintaining zone berth numbers.

With the start of the Safeway years, there was a change away from the double knockout format. Added was a final eight playoff round which allowed four unbeaten teams and four teams with a single loss to advance to a new double knockout round. In 2003, a final four Page Playoff was added.

(* = Canadian Champions ! = World Champions)
1995: Assiniboine Memorial – Skip Kerry Burtnyk *!
1996: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton *!
1997: Granite – Skip Vic Peters
1998: Granite – Skip Dale Duguid
1999: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton *
2000: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2001: Assiniboine Memorial – Skip Kerry Burtnyk
2002: Valour Road – Skip Mark Lukowich
2003: Granite – Skip John Bubbs
2004: Swan River- Skip Brent Scales
2005: Valour Road – Skip Randy Dutiaume
2006: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton

The Safeway Championship trophy was an evolution in Canada Safeway’s sponsorship of the Manitoba Men’s Championship. Prior to the 2007 championship, the sponsorship agreement had been renewed for a new four year term and the re-branding of the event and the trophy was part of the new agreement.

On the corporate identity front, the name change had become necessary because the house-brand Select products had been phased out. However, presentation of a new trophy allowed Safeway another special opportunity. With a desire to incorporate Manitoba’s curling history back to 1925, and to remind the current champions they were winning the same championship which had been won by the legends such as Wood, Hudson, Watson and Duguid, the names of all past champions were included on the new trophy.

Safeway’s sponsorship ended in 2015. Jeff Stoughton’s Charleswood teams dominated the Safeway Championship era, winning the trophy six of the nine times the teams competed for the trophy of that name.

The nine Safeway Championships were played in seven different Manitoba communities: Dauphin (2007, 2012), Brandon (2008, 2015), Selkirk (2009), Steinbach (2010), Beausejour (2011), Neepawa (2013), and Winnipeg (2014).

(* = Canadian Champions ! = World Champions)
2007: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2008: Assiniboine Memorial – Skip Kerry Burtnyk
2009: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2010: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2011: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton * !
2012: Brandon – Skip Rob Fowler
2013: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2014: Charleswood – Skip Jeff Stoughton
2015: West St. Paul – Skip Reid Carruthers

Safeway Championship
2007- 2015


2007: Dauphin
2008: Brandon
2009: Selkirk
2010: Steinbach
2011: Beausejour
2012: Dauphin
2013: Neepawa
2014: Winnipeg
2015: Brandon


2007 Safeway Champions: (l-r) John Graham-Safeway, Jeff Stoughton, Ryan Fry, Rob Fowler, Steve Gould, Dale Brooks-CurlManitoba

Viterra Championship
2016 – present


2016: Selkirk
2017: Portage la Prairie
2018: Winkler
2019: Virden
2020: Wpg-Charleswood
2021: Not Played (Covid)
2022: Selkirk
2016 Viterra Champions (l-r) Mike McEwen, BJ Neufeld, Matt Wozniak, Denni Neufeld
2022 Viterra Champions (l-r) Colin Hodgson. Derek Samagalski, Coach Rob Meakin, Reid Carruthers, Mike McEwen

The Viterra Championship brought major agriculture sector sponsorship to the Manitoba Men’s championship for 2016.

In assuming the title sponsorship, a Viterra spokesman said the company viewed the partnership with CurlManitoba as “a great opportunity to support one of the province’s premier sporting events, as well as local talent from across its communities,” and that “the values exhibited by curlers – integrity, respect for others, and teamwork – are qualities that are shared by our employees as they work to provide our farm customers with superior service.”

The 2021-22 Viterra Championship was played for the second time in Selkirk. It was previously hosted by three other southern Manitoba agricultural communities as well as by the Charleswood CC in Winnipeg. The 2020-21 event had been scheduled in Selkirk but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2022 event was moved, however, from the Selkirk Arena to the Selkirk Curling Club and was played with pandemic protocols for the athletes and the limited number of media and spectators who were provided access. It was the first time since 1998 that club ice was used for the championship and the competition involved only 28 teams as qualifying for the last four berths was also cancelled due to Covid.

A re-newed Viterra sponsorship agreement came with a new trophy, re-designed as a result of a global re-branding by the company.

The 2023 Viterra Championship will be played in Neepawa.

(* = Canadian Champions ! = World Champions)
2016: Fort Rouge – Skip Mike McEwen
2017: Fort Rouge – Skip Mike McEwen
2018: West St. Paul – Skip Reid Carruthers
2019: West St. Paul – Skip Mike McEwen
2020: Morris – Skip Jason Gunnlaugson
2021: Not Played (Covid)
2022: West St. Paul – Skip Mike McEwen

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