Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame names class of 2023
Family affair for Minnedosa’s Orrs
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The weight of the world was on Ray Orr’s final rock.
It was the final of the 2009 Canadian Curling Open Masters in Saskatoon and Orr’s rink from Minnedosa needed a draw to win it.
“I started to head down to the far end of the ice to throw that rock and I thought ‘Oh you better slow down. Don’t go running down the ice and throw it through the hacks. Take your time, slow down.’ So, I took my time, I slowed down and I ended up throwing it probably halfway down the ice,” Orr told the Free Press on Wednesday.
“The guys that were sweeping, I can’t really repeat in public what they said.”
Fortunately for Orr, his teammates swept like they’ve never swept before, and they came away with a 4-3 victory over British Columbia’s Rick Pughe.
“When I let that rock go, I don’t think many people thought it would even make it past the hog line. But the boys really pounded it,” said Orr.
“I think those guys almost wore a hole in the ice sweeping that rock down there.”
The historic victory for Orr and his teammates Dennis Peckover, Bob Manns, John Mendrikis, and Brian Manns hasn’t gone unnoticed as it was announced Wednesday that they will be enshrined into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum on May 7 at Brandon’s Victoria Inn.
In total, the 2023 induction class features five teams (2004 Martin Bailey Canadian masters champions, 2005 Doug Armour Canadian masters champions, 2011 Joyce McDougall Canadian masters champions, 2011 Kelly Robertson Canadian senior champion and 2012 world silver medalist), two individual curlers (Doug Harrison and Ruth Wiebe), and two builders (Dave Petursson and Bob Flock).
Orr’s group are the first Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame inductees from Minnedosa. Minnedosa also happens to be where they won the Manitoba Masters that year. They went into the event hoping to win a few games, but it ended up taking them to a national title and a spot in the hall of fame.
Orr isn’t the only person in his house to get called to the hall as his wife, Cheryl Orr, played second for the McDougall team that’s also being enshrined. Between 2011-13, McDougall, Linda Van Daele, Orr, and Karen Dunbar won back-to-back-to-back Manitoba Masters championships. In 2011, they won the Canadian championship at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club in Winnipeg.
They’re one of only four teams to win three consecutive Manitoba crowns at any level with the same lineup.
“The (hall of fame committee) have a hard decision to make because there’s a lot of people that (are deserving) and just to be a part of it is really nice,” said Cheryl Orr.
The committee had an easy decision with Wiebe as her list of accomplishments made her a slam dunk. One of the most reliable front-end players the province has ever produced, Wiebe competed in a total of 31 senior and masters provincial playdowns. She won two senior women’s titles and nine masters championships.
She also owns the record for most women’s Masters appearances (18), games played (116) and victories (94).
“Oh my goodness, it’s overwhelming. I just couldn’t believe it because I kind of just don’t feel I’m worthy of it, but it’s amazing,” said Wiebe.
Wiebe played for three skips in her career: Marlene Cleutinx (1992-97), Elaine Jones (1999-2011), and Pat Malanchuk (2012-2019).
Wiebe finished her competitive curling career with 11 Manitoba titles which puts her in a tie for third place all-time with Elaine Jones, Jennifer Jones and Jill Officer. Karen Fallis is in second place with 12 victories while Jeff Stoughton owns the provincial record with 15 wins.
“I really love the game. It’s a great sport and you meet so many different people and make friends. It’s just a wonderful sport because you can do it for so long,” said Wiebe, who started when she was 26 and still curls today at the age of 82 at St. Vital Curling Club.
Flock will go down in history as the first Manitoba police curler to be inducted. He played in 19 Manitoba Police Curling Championship events and won nine of them. He also won the Canadian police curling championship in 1981. One of the main reasons for Flock’s induction is for his role in the annual Police & Pal Bonspiel. Flock started it in the spring of 1974 and the event lasted for 19 years. It was a way for the police and youth in the community to get to know each other and come together.
Flock, an officer for St.James-Assiniboia before joining the City of Winnipeg police force, said Olympic gold medalists Jennifer Jones and Ryan Fry played in the event when they were kids.
“I heard from several policeman that years later that some of the kids would still get in touch with them and go for coffee and things like that,” said Flock.
“I suppose something good came from it.”
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