Baxter Cup returns to Little Current after two-year hiatus

Members of the Baxter Cup curling team gathered at the home of Richard and Paulette Glaude to bask in the glory of the massive trophy last week. They are, from left, Richard Glaude, John Hodder, Mike Wall, Gord Bickell, Glen Case, Tom Callaghan and Jim Keatley.

ESPANOLA—It was the solid play in the first round of Baxter Cup play on home ice that solidified the return of the 89-year-old piece of hardware to the men of the Little Current Curling Club.

A group of curlers basked in the presence of the Baxter Cup at the Little Current home of Richard and Paulette Glaude last Thursday night—happy to have the cup back in Little Current after a two-year hiatus in Espanola. The massive trophy (it’s had an extension put on it to cover the nine decades of winners) no longer fits in its box, which proudly displays the logos of the two curling clubs. A pair of white gloves, a la Stanley Cup handling protocol, sits beside it.

The near nonagenarian event is one of Manitoulin curling’s biggest rivalries, with stories of early curlers taking the train from Little Current to curl in Espanola and vice versa—the Baxter Cup was once a days-long event.

It now spans two days, one week apart, the winner from the previous year hosting the second night—in this case the Espanola Curling Club. The Baxter Cup is always one of the most looked-forward-to events on the winter calendar with good curling, great camaraderie and plenty of stories between the two clubs including some stalwarts, such as John Hodder and Cam Spec, with tales dating back to the 1950s.

On night one in Little Current, the hometown team found themselves up nine points over Espanola, with the combined score of the five rinks 42 to 33. In Espanola, however, the tables turned, but not enough. Espanola won this night, but not by enough to keep the cup. Little Current finished the Baxter Cup 75 points to Espanola’s 73 and proudly hoisted the prize onto the bus for the trip home where it will be cared for by trustee Mr. Hodder.

Curlers in the Baxter Cup 2014 for Little Current included: Cam Spec, John Hodder, Richard Glaude, Glen Case, Jim Keatley, Gord Bickell, Tom Callaghan, Mike Wall, Rob Norris, Norm Hore, Ron McQuarrie, Ted Ferguson, Jordan Chandler, Jack Ferguson, Jim Keatley, Phil Blake, Joe Cooper, Ray Beaudry, Dave Marshall, Henry Dykalski, Jeff Crowell and Craig Boyer.

Alicia McCutcheon