ST. JOHN’S—Manitoulin-raised police curler Kyle Chandler has recently returned from the Canadian Police Curling Championship in St. John’s, Newfoundland, earning a fifth place finish out of the 12 teams who competed.
“I was extremely proud to wear the Northern Ontario colours, representing our province and our police service. My team included Cst. Tony Chilton of Timmins Police Service, Sgt. Steve Meunier of OPP South Porcupine and Cst. Charlie Robert of OPP Sault Ste. Marie,” said Mr. Chandler, who is a member of the Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS)’s tactical unit and explosive disposal unit.
The Canadian Police Curling Association is run in much the same format as Curling Canada, with one important exception: all players must be sworn peace officers. This includes police officers, corrections officers, border security officers and conservation officers. Some of the competitors also play competitively on a national level.
Mr. Chandler was unable to offer The Expositor an interview by press time, but he shared a debriefing memo he penned to GSPS’s police services board. Mr. Chandler’s team won the Northern Ontario Police Curling Championship and, by extension, the right to represent the province at the national level.
By finishing in fifth place, they were just one spot away from advancing to the playoff round. Team British Columbia ultimately won the title in the final match against Team Saskatchewan.
“The competition was excellent, considering several curlers have played at national events such as the Tim Hortons Brier, Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Canadian Mixed Nationals,” wrote Mr. Chandler. These are all world-stage events that are televised nationally and determine the players who go on to compete in international and Olympic tournaments.
There were many activities as part of the event that went far beyond the games themselves. Mr. Chandler said the camaraderie and fellowship was outstanding and that a live band played every night. Many of the attendees and supporters gathered to socialize, sing and play music.
Every night at 10:35 pm—chosen because 10-35 is the police 10-code for ‘off duty’—the group held a memorial for a fallen officer. A member from each team was asked to honour an officer from their province and Mr. Chandler was chosen to speak on behalf of Northern Ontario and shared the story of Constable Joseph MacDonald of the Sudbury Regional Police Service. He was murdered during a traffic stop in Sudbury in 1993.
“You could hear a pin drop in the room as I spoke of Joey’s last shift, how his memory lives on and the impact his death had in relation to police firearms. It was difficult to hold back emotions, but a truly privileged moment. I then placed a coin with Joey’s name on the map designated for fallen officers,” said Mr. Chandler.
Several retired police officers volunteered with the event by driving competitors around to the various events and on tours of St. John’s.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, being able to play a sport I love at an incredible location, surrounded by members who share my passion for policing, at an event that raised over $15,000 for charity,” said Mr. Chandler.
In 2015, Mr. Chandler helped to host the Canadian Police Curling Championships in Sudbury through Team Northern Ontario. Next year’s event will be held in Toronto and Mr. Chandler says the team is already preparing in the hopes of finding even more success then.