Indigenous curling making a comeback
- Robert Merasty | July 09, 2018
Hurry hard! Hurry hard!
Seventeen-year-old Joseph Desjarlais, lead curler for the Morin team in this year’s Canadian Aboriginal Curling Championship (CACC), is an example of youth who are turning to curling as a winter sport.
His team swept their way to victory at the CACC and Desjarlais says he was “elated.”
The Ile La Crosse youth has grown to love the sport and although this season is over he intends to continue participating in the sport for years to come.
“As soon as the T-line Curling club has ice, I’m on it until it melts,” he said.
That enthusiasm is music to Duane Favel’s ears.
Not only is he the mayor of Ile a la Crosse, he also helped organize the CACC bonspiel because he believes strongly in the sport.
This year’s event attracted 26 men’s teams and six women’s teams from across the province.
Keith Goulet, 72, has been curling for decades and remembers when curling was in its heyday.
In the mid-1970s, teams travelled from Manitoba, Alberta and even from the Northwest Territories to participate. Goulet said the tournament was special because it was the final big event of the season.
Although the Bonspiel has seen a decline in attendance over the past five years the atmosphere of this
prestigious event was uplifting and positive.
Goulet remembers, as many as 65 men's rinks competing in the bonspiel.
In the mid-1970's, teams from The Pas, Manitoba; Yellow knife, Alberta and Saskatchewan came to play in the various venues held in Melfort, Regina, North Battledored and Prince Albert, says Goulet.
In an attempt to revive interest in the game of curling, Mayor Duane Favel and spouse Elaine Favel teach curling to young students like Joseph through their physical education program at Rossignol High School.
“We push curling in this community,” said Favel. “In high school every student from grade seven to 12 participates in curling for two weeks as part of the physical education curriculum."
Mayor Duane Favel of the Northern Village of Ile a la Crosse and Lawrence Corrigal president of the T-line Curling Club teamed up to fund raise $30,000 to fund the event.
Of that $22,300 went to guaranteed prizes establishing a precedent for next year’s curling Bonspiel.
Favel says the competition is always held during the Easter long weekend to make it a family outing.