December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
WHEN Sue Elias first saw the trophy that bears her husband's name, she almost had to look away, washed by waves of grief and gratitude.
Her husband, David Elias, was only 43 when he died in June. Cancer took him from family and friends and the curling world far too soon. But in the new Canad Inns Prairie Classic championship cup, his legacy now has shape and weight.
"I couldn't look at it at first," she said Wednesday, when the trophy was unveiled at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre. "Once I did, it was lots of emotions, just seeing his name on there."
Which is to say, right where it belongs. The Prairie Classic, which kicks off on Oct. 18 this year, was David Elias' favourite event on the curling calendar. He wouldn't have wanted to miss it. Now, he never will. Victors' names will be inscribed on the David Elias Memorial Trophy, which will stay in a place of honour at the Portage Curling Club. The event had no permament trophy before.
When the winner is honoured Oct. 21, Sue and the couple's children, Mackenzie, 13, and Nicholas, 8, will present the trophy. Mackenzie already shuffles down the ice in her father's footsteps, vowing to go "all the way" with the sport.
"They just think it's wonderful," Sue said. "It'd be nice for them to bring forward that legacy. I see a lot of him in them. They know that was dad's passion."
There's a good chance whoever they hand it to could be a friend. This year's Prairie Classic lineup includes 12 Manitoba teams, many of whom knew Elias well. He made something of an impression on the community, with his sharp curling mind and habit for kicking a rock or two. But as aggressive as he was on the sheet, after the final rock was thrown he'd buy a round, flash that infectious smile, and put everyone at ease.
"Everyone will remember him, and this is an even better way now," said Reid Carruthers, the second on Team Jeff Stoughton, who curled with Elias over the years. "I think he'd be honoured. He's one of the guys who doesn't really like being in the limelight all that much, but he deserves it."
That was the first thought Canad Inns CEO Paul Robson had too, when Elias' brother Colin and father Art approached him about finding a way to keep David's connection to the event.
"We talked about it for awhile, and this is the right thing to do, and we're happy to do it," Robson said.
And Art Elias' eyes welled with tears as he stood next to the trophy on Wednesday. In his son's absence, a brand-new legacy, one that belongs to the community David put his heart into.
"I don't think it could be any better," Art said. "We're all missing him a lot."
Thirty-two teams from across Canada and the world will compete in the Canad Inns Prairie Classic, curling for their share of a $60,000 purse. The World Curling Tour event promises to be especially electrifying this year, as the Canadian curling world gears up for the Olympic trials at MTS Centre in December. Last year's winner Team Kevin Koe will compete, as will two-time Prairie Classic winner Team Mike McEwen and other top teams.
Tickets for the draw, day, weekend or whole event are available by calling 204-857-9745. Among the Prairie Classic competing teams are:
Manitoba: Team Stoughton, Team McEewen, Team Daneault, Team Bohn, Team Grassie, Team Sigurdson, Team Lyburn, Team McDonald, Team Trimble, Team Kolomaya, Team Fowler, Team Hyde
Saskatchewan: Team Virtue, Team Laycock, Team Jordison, Team Hartung
Alberta: Team Koe
Ontario: Team Jacobs, Team Howard, Team Epping, Team Kean, Team Adams
British Columbia: Team Morris
Newfoundland: Team Gushue
Minnesota: Team Shuster
Sweden: Team Edin, Team Eriksson
Norway: Team Oppdal
Russia: Team Arkhipov, Team Drozdov
China: Team Liu
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 10, 2013 D4