Curl BC News

2017 BC Senior Curling Championships start in Salmon Arm

By Rebecca Connop Price

The best senior curlers in BC have gathered in Salmon Arm for the 2017 BC Senior Curling Championships.

Eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams from across the province are vying for the opportunity to represent BC at the 2017 Canadian Senior Curling Championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

On the men’s side, most of the team that won last year’s event will be back to defend their BC title. Kelowna’s Rob Koffski will skip the team made up of defending champions Dave Stephenson (Kelowna), Don Freschi (Trail) and Fred Thomson (Nelson). The team made it through to the championship round at nationals last year when they were skipped by Bob Ursel. They will be joined in Salmon Arm by another team with a Kootenays connection – Team Kent, from Cranbrook and Elkford.

The men’s teams from the Lower Mainland include Richmond’s Team Moss, Royal City’s Team Wright, Langley/Vancouver/Penticton’s Team Lepine and Royal City/Langley’s Team McArdle.

Representing the north will be Quesnel’s Team Plant and representing Vancouver Island will be Duncan’s Team Craig.

On the women’s side, Teams Richter, Cowan, Deputan and Lepine will represent the Lower Mainland. Karen Lepine, who skipped a team which won gold nationally in the 2014-15 season, is at the helm of a new team in 2016-17. This year’s team includes Susan Beuk, who also won gold nationally in 2014-15, as well as Claire Morrison and Karen VanOs.

One women’s team will be supported by a home crowd, with Salmon Arm’s Team Jenkins winning the Okanagan berth.

The women’s team representing the Kootenays is Team Nichol from Castlegar Curling Club, and the women’s team representing Vancouver Island is Team Noble, from Qualicum and District Curling Club.

Team Bulleid from Terrace rounds out the women’s roster.

To follow the scores at the championships in Salmon Arm, visit The first draw started at 2pm today with the championships wrapping up on Sunday, February 26.

The full roster of teams is available at

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Field now complete for 2017 AMJ Campbell BC Mixed Curling Championship

By Rebecca Connop Price

The eight curling teams who will compete for the provincial Mixed crown at Parksville Curling Club from March 2-5 have now been decided.

Regional qualifiers for the 2017 AMJ Campbell BC Mixed Curling Championship took place over the weekend, with six teams successful in their bid for a berth.

Team Baier from Vancouver Island, comprised of Chris Baier, Stephanie Jackson-Baier, Will Duggan, Sydney Brilz and coach Brett Kury won the Island playdowns. Stephanie Jackson-Baier was a member of the winning BC Scotties team from 2014, while Chris Baier is a former BC Junior Champion and Will Duggan was on the Mixed team that won provincials in 2009.

The Kootenays qualifier was won by Team Buchy, representing Kimberley Curling Club. Tom and Lori Buchy teamed up with Dave and Robyn Toffolo again this year, looking for a repeat of their 2006 and 2012 seasons, when they won this event.

Four Lower Mainland teams will also be part of the championship.

Team Forrest, from Vancouver and Richmond curling clubs, features Andrew Forrest, Becky Abbot, Dave Marchant and Allison DenToom. The Alan Roemer rink from Delta Thistle Curling Club includes third Lynda Roemer, second Bill Longmuir, lead Jorda Maisy and coach Marion McNeil. Richmond’s Team Shimizu, featuring Vic and Kelly Shimizu, Trevor Bakken and Laurie Schimizu are also on the roster. The final Lower Mainland team to qualify was Team Watson, representing Vancouver, Richmond and Delta. The team is skipped by Aaron Watson, who featured on the 2013 BC Men’s team who went to the Brier, and includes Jaime McLaren, Chris Chute and Heather Hansen.

A team from the North and a team from the Okanagan were successful in qualifying without having to play down.

Team Groundwater, from Williams Lake, with Simone Groundwater, Ryan Bailey, Laura Ball and Robert Gudbranson, will represent the North.

Team Longworth, from Vernon, with Mike Longworth, Morgayne Eby, Brian Roberts and Kristina Langs will represent the Okanagan.

To follow the scores at the championship, please visit – the complete roster and draw times will be added in the coming days.

The BC Mixed Curling Championship first began in 1964 and was won by the Gil Moel rink from the Trail Curling Club. This event has hosted many of BC’s and Canada’s top curlers throughout its history. 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsay Sparkes, 2000 World Men’s Champion Bryan Miki, 2000 World Junior Men’s Champion Brad Kuhn, 2002 Olympic Bronze Medalists Georgina Wheatcroft and Diane Dezura and 2009 World Senior Champions, Pat Sanders & Roselyn Craig are just a few of the event’s past winners.

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Fundraising raffle project for curling centres launched

By Rebecca Connop Price


A province-wide raffle project has been launched with the aim of helping curling centres raise money.

The project has launched today with a pilot that includes Richmond Curling Club, Golden Ears Winter Club in Maple Ridge and Comox Valley Curling Centre.

More curling centres across the province are expected to come on board with future licences.

The raffle is the result of a partnership between Curl BC and the three curling centres taking part in the pilot. 5050 Central (formerly Pointstreak) is the gaming service provider.

The raffle will be a weekly draw during the curling season and will see curling clubs participating in a coordinated raffle. The fundraiser has the potential to benefit learn to curl and junior programs, Curl BC members (as prize winners) and help grow the sport across the province.

Participating clubs will get 45% of revenue generated in a week. The prize winner will get 40%. The remaining 15% will be used by Curl BC for 5050 Central’s royalty payment and the cost of central office equipment.

The raffle proceeds that go to the club can be used for youth curling and/or learn to curl programs.

Tickets can be purchased at participating clubs at 1 for $2, 3 for $5, 7 for $10 for a maximum estimated weekly sales total of $4,000-$5,000.

Participating clubs can still run their own separate ticket raffles.

Curl BC would like to talk to any club who would like to participate in future licences.

Here are some of the details:
· No need for your club to purchase any equipment
· Equipment lease fee of $34/month per club (only in season)
· If the club does not have reliable wifi, a cellular plan with Bell is available for an additional $20/month
· Clubs will be supplied with
o Android LTE tablet – Samsung Galaxy
o Wireless ticket printer
o Wireless screen – 19” to 21”
· All bank transactions between the clubs and Curl BC will happen electronically once a week after each raffle

If you would like to talk to Curl BC about participating, please contact Scott Braley, Curl BC CEO, at

If you would like to purchase any tickets, please visit Richmond, Golden Ears or Comox Valley curling centres. Tickets can also be purchased at the Curl BC office in Burnaby.

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Super volunteer Kate Barratt wins Curling Canada award

By Rebecca Connop Price

A volunteer from BC was among three women who won prestigious Curling Canada awards today.

The Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award has gone to Kate Barratt of Gibsons, BC.

Barratt, from Gibsons Curling Club, will be honoured at a ceremony at the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in Newfoundland in March.

The other national awards went to Regina’s Bernadette McIntyre (Curling Canada Award of Achievement) and Kentville’s Kathy Siddall (Ray Kingsmith Award).

“As much as our sport is about the athletes, it’s the people behind the scenes whose names rarely, if ever, make the headlines who make it possible for those athletes to perform at a high level,” said Curling Canada Board of Governors member Scott Comfort, who chairs the Awards and Hall of Fame Committee. “But these committed volunteers also work hard at developing the grassroots of our sport. This truly is a gratifying day because we get to thank, and honour, people who make our sport so special.”

The Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award is based on the nominee’s contributions from the previous curling season, in any number of areas.

While Barratt’s contributions to her hometown Gibsons Curling Club go back further than the 2015-16 season, it was then that she stood tallest to ensure that her fellow curlers on the Sunshine Coast had a dependable ice surface on which to play.

With the club’s 40-year-old ice plant on its last legs, Barratt immediately went to work to secure funding for a replacement. She applied for grants and donations of all kinds, and in the end, her single-minded tenacity would end up producing a remarkable $140,000 of the $160,000 total cost of the project.

At the same time, she took a lead role in establishing a selection committee to determine the contractor for the project, while getting volunteers together to work on a facelift of the club to coincide with its 40th anniversary celebrations.

As if that weren’t enough, she did her usual volunteer work for the Gibsons Curling Club, including producing a club newsletter, keeping the club website updated, developing an online registration system, helping to organize leagues, organizing curling clinics for members and maintaining an annual five per cent growth rate in membership.

Barratt will be honoured during an on-ice ceremony in St. John’s.

Curling Canada’s 14 Member Associations submitted applications for the Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award, and among some amazing submissions, it was narrowed down seven finalists, including Barratt.

The other National Finalists were as follows:
• Darlene Danyliw (Saskatchewan)
• Keith Stoesz (Manitoba)
• Ron Watt (Ontario)
• Cathy MacCallum (Quebec)
• Andrew Paris (Nova Scotia)
• Shirley Kelly (Newfoundland and Labrador).

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Julie Bilesky is still a threat on the ice aged 95

By Rebecca Connop Price


A long-time curler from Rossland Curling Club was recognized by his club for his dedication to the sport.

Julie Bilesky, aged 95, who lives in Trail, is not only still playing the game, he is also winning.

In recent years his name has been on a club trophy five times — playing with a different team each time.

Bilesky, whose grandson is 2013 BC Men’s champion Andrew Bilesky, was a steel fabricator for Teck Cominco for 45 years.

But he was also a local athlete.

“I started curling when I finished the active sports like baseball, fastball, soccer and lacrosse,” said Bilesky.

The 95-year-old started using a stick after hip replacement surgery.

During his first few games he used a crutch, like the one pictured, but he has now moved on to bigger and better things.

“I make my own stick. I started out with a crutch, and now I have made a different version. I use a hockey stick handle, part of that, and then I combine that with the broom part. So then I have a pusher and a brusher so that I only have to carry one thing.”

Curling was a big part of Kootenay life when Bilesky started curling in the late 1940s. Frenchy D’Amour lived two houses away, and was the first BC skip to lead a team to a Canadian championship win.

Bilesky didn’t compete at quite that level, but once made it the BC Interior Curling Association final, an event that featured 64 teams.
His games are not as competitive these days, but Bilesky still curls twice a week. “But then we’ll have a competition with the neighbouring cities, and we get a bit of extra time in,” added Bilesky.

received_10154618285180225Lloyd Joyce, who curls with Bilesky, said he was a great guy to have on the ice. “The guys love to play with him but fear when they play against him.

“He is a wonderful man, his background in sports is vast, his competitiveness is unbelievable.”

In his honour, the club surprised him with a gift and a cartoon during a recent banquet.

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