Another successful year of bonspiels at the Mindemoya Curling Club

The winning team of the Dr. Jack and Mary McQuay Memorial Mixed Bonspiel including skip Owen Legge, vice Shirley Legge, lead Jackie Legge and second Frank Haner.

MINDEMOYA—Owen Legge of Mindemoya skipped his team to a win in the first event at the Dr. Jack and Mary McQuay Memorial Mixed Bonspiel on the second weekend in February. Shirley Legge played vice, daughter Jackie as lead and Frank Haner of Mindemoya was second.

Sixteen teams competed this year, an ideal number for a weekend bonspiel at the club, which has just two sheets of ice. The Mixed Bonspiel, which has been running as the Dr. Jack and Mary McQuay Memorial Bonspiel since 2004, wrapped up the 2014 weekend bonspiels for the Mindemoya Club after the men’s and ladies’ weekend bonspiels in January.

Now a two-time winner, Mr. Legge quipped, “It’s not getting any easier.” Shirley Legge added, “It was really nice that Jackie could come up from Barrie.” The Legges have both been curling since early high school.

Another Mindemoya team, skipped by Christine Yanke, with Stu Yanke, Jim Corrigan and Susan Bebonang, took second prize in the first event. Williamson’s Pro Hardware donated the first event prizes.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Chris Yanke. “We get a lot of people who don’t curl regularly, like families and kids curling with their parents like Jackie.

The 90-member club is going strong. “We have mixed curling three nights a week and curfling one night a week, as well as curling on two afternoons,” said club President Lenora Tann. “It’s a sport for all ages. Some of our members are teenagers and some are over ninety years old.” Lots of curlers who have trouble bending down to throw the rocks from the hack have switched over to using a stick for delivering the rocks. The club also helps out the Special Olympics curlers by providing the ice for their weekly training.

“We try to keep our membership fees down low so we really rely on people volunteering,” said Ms. Tann. It’s not just for the bonspiels, but for the ice-making, cleaning and maintenance, plowing snow from the parking lot, making up the draws, fundraising and administration. It works if everyone pitches in.

The club was first incorporated in 1951. Back then the curlers played at the Mindemoya arena, the same ice where the hockey games and skating were held. They used temporary hacks, and it must have been quite a different game because the movement of the sliding rock is very sensitive to scratches or dirt on the ice.

In the early 1960s the curlers built their own two-sheet arena and a small clubhouse. It served until 2008, when former club President Mark Love spearheaded construction of a new much larger clubhouse. The new building was also largely a volunteer effort, with curlers contributing their construction skills. The fresh, new building has a larger dining area and kitchen, and change rooms and lockers downstairs. It has become a popular spot for local events like awards nights and anniversary parties, all year round.

As it happened, the two winning teams at the Mixed Bonspiel both played a major role in the success of the weekend, as volunteers. Chris and Stu Yanke organized the food, work schedule and clubroom preparations. Owen Legge prepared the ice, his brother Keith Legge organized the schedule and Cathy King made sure the bar was tended. The pulled pork dinner on Saturday was a big hit, along with salads, desserts and other items contributed by club members. Club volunteers served the food, washed dishes and took care of the bar.

“We have so many volunteers. I look around and people are doing something all the time,” said Ms. Yanke. “It’s a beautiful club, and almost everything is done by volunteers.” The work doesn’t stop at the end of the curling season. Last summer the Yankes made new signs and scoreboards to replace the old ones.

The second event of the spiel was dominated by Providence Bay teams. Harold Arnold’s team, with Ellen Holroyd, Bill McCoy and Judy MacKenzie, took first prize, beating out Carl Lewis’ team, with Lorene Lewis, Donna Kay and John Novak. Manitowaning Mill Home Hardware contributed the gift certificates for the second event.

First Prize in the third event went to Darryl Van Horn’s team from Mindemoya, with Shannon and Marc Drouin and Terry Groombridge. Lew Lanktree’s team, with Beth and Henry Dykalski and Deborah Karn, took second prize. Mum’s Restaurant in Mindemoya contributed the gift certificates for the third event.

The bonspiels may be over in Mindemoya, but the curling season is far from over on Manitoulin. Bonspiels are coming up every weekend, in Providence Bay, Manitowaning, Gore Bay and Little Current, which caps off the winter season with a ladies’ bonspiel on the weekend of March 28.