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“What It Was Like to Curl Against Sandra Schmirler!”

There is much that makes Prince Albert a good place to live.

Recently I was curling at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club. The ice was great. The rink, due to recent well planned improvements, was bright - well lit. I was with a bunch of great guys, ‘ribbing’ each other, and trying like (you know what) to win. What a fun time and what a great facility. You should have been there. I’d try to beat you too - but probably buy you a coffee afterwards, win or lose.

Prince Albert has fostered many great curlers. I, for certain, am not one. But it is nice to meet them, and watch them curl, or even curl against them. Elaine McCloy is such a curler. In the next few “Whale of a Tale” columns, I am going to talk about curling and the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club. Where to start? Well, I decided to ask Elaine to tell me a little about her experiences curling here in Prince Albert. What follows is her reply: 

“Our Scotties curling team was formed in 1992 with all of us coming from small rural Saskatchewan curling rinks - Sherry Anderson from Northside/Christopher Lake, Kay Montgomery from Livelong, Donna Gignac from Paddockwood, and Elaine McCloy from Wild Rose district, north of Holbein. We all had a common goal, to win the Provincials and soon realized that we needed to play competitive situations, find a coach and practice a lot.

Our first concern was to play at a competitive level in our home club, and at that time the Super League at the Prince Albert Golf and curling Club was for men only. We approached the Super League Executive... a vote was taken. The vote was favorable. The curlers were very supportive and accepting.

The first season was a bit awkward for us, as well as for the men’s teams, as we didn’t want to be beaten badly nor did the men want to lose to us. We managed to win half our games and the following year we were in the top three teams. We trained hard and curled in as many spiels as our home life and working life would allow.

In the fall of 1993, we acquired Ron Meyers as our coach and won our first Provincial Ladies’ Championship in Wadena traveling to Kitchener-Waterloo for the Canadian championships, winning a bronze medal. That year, Sandra Peterson (Schmirler) was reigning Team Canada and our first televised game was against her team. The fanfare and the build up to the game was highly publicized and we were so nervous the game only lasted six ends with a 10-2 thumping. In Sherry’s interview following the game she told reporters that, “We weren’t intimidated by the other teams but rather we tried to think of every team as Glenn Pryor back home in the Super League,” and laughingly added, “without the belly.” We were also relieved that the game wasn’t televised until 2 am in Saskatchewan due to conflicting programs.

The following year we were fortunate enough to again win the Provincials in Regina and attended the Canadian Championships in Calgary. We had a lot of friends and relatives travel to watch our games that week. Although we did not make the playoffs that year, Kay won the first ever Hot Shot Competition and took home a new Ford Car.

Throughout our competitive journey, our home curling club was overwhelmingly supportive of our team and there was no doubt that the members played a key role in our success. We are forever grateful.”

Elaine McCloy. 

And we, Elaine, as a community, are grateful that you brought so much recognition to our city. What a wonderful story. It leaves one with the feeling that we were right there with you, Glenn Pryor and all.

Prince Albert was, as aboriginal groups who gathered here long before white traders and settlers appeared in the area, a ‘good meeting place.’ It was a place to meet, eat, dance, engage in friendly competitions, renew old friendships, and develop new ones.

It still is! Come to the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club and find out.

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