John and Earle Morris Visit with the Strathcona Curling Team

WO Urquhart

Curling has often been compared to chess on ice. It is game of strategy and etiquette between two teams where the winner is not necessarily the fastest nor hardest hitting.  The Regiment has for many years enabled members to take part in this popular winter sport and has been successful in winning championship games during past Strong Contender competitions. This year, the Regimental curling team had a unique opportunity to receive instruction from two world class curlers.  At the Jasper Place Curling Club here in Edmonton, John Morris and Earle Morris took time out of their busy schedules to spend it with our LdSH(RC) curling team.

John Morris won Gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver curling on Kevin Martins’ team. Mr Earle Morris proved himself to be a Canadian curling legend, participating in three Briers in the early 1980s and being inducted in the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2016.  We took to the ice and set up for instruction from the best on delivery and sliding techniques.  I, as an experienced curler, found this to be most beneficial and I was even able to correct a balance issue I have had for years. Equally, the other team members received great instruction and feedback.  

Delivery and setting the rotation of the rock has always been one of the more difficult tasks to master.  Earle Morris was able to break this process down and give all of us a better understanding of what we were doing right and what we were doing wrong. Each one of us had the opportunity to throw several rocks while being critiqued by the pros.  This type of one-on-one instruction was making its mark on the Regimental curling team and I was already seeing the benefits and the improved skill set with our young team.  

The remaining time we had on the ice we divided into teams and played two ends.  Cpl Lachapelle and Tpr Breau skipped each team and had John Morris provide each of them with game strategies and properly reading the ice. The two hours went by very quickly and we ended our time together with a group picture including the Regimental Flag. It was a privilege and honour to have Earle and John Morris pass on their curling skills to us, and we thank LCol Lubiniecki for putting it together.

With new knowledge and skills our curling team of Cpl Lachapelle, Cpl Langlands, Tpr Proctor and Tpr Wilson flew off to Kingston to participate in the Ironsides Bonspiel.  The three day event is held annually and brings together all members past and present of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. This year saw 20 teams mostly from Southern Ontario, with the Strathconas traveling the furthest. Opening ceremonies found one of our own, Tpr Proctor, throwing the first stone start the event.  The end of the first day our team was up three games with no losses. There was plenty opportunity for socializing and enjoying a beverage with key members of the armoured community which our members took full advantage of.  The second day the Strathcona team made it to the B finals but were unable to keep enough rocks in the paint to give them a win.  Overall they did exceptionally well and represented themselves and the Regiment in a manner fitting for this great game known as curling.