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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When The Detroit Curling Club Hosted The Brier

The Detroit Curling Club has had a long and proud association with the Ontario Curling Association.  Three of the Club’s members have been past-presidents and at least two DCC members were designated Life Members of the OCA.  That is common knowledge to our American and Canadian friends.  But, they probably do not realize that the DCC played a role in the creation of the Canadian curling championship.  It dates to 1925 when the MacDonald Brier Tankard was offered as an extra event to the annual Winnipeg bonspiel.  The company offered to present a trophy and a prize which would include a trip to Toronto, Montreal and other eastern points for the winning rink with the object of fostering the granite game and inducing more frequent curling visits between eastern and western Canada.

The winning rink that first year arrived in Montreal on February 23, 1925. They headed to Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto.  According to the report, the weather turned mild and ice conditions were poor.  The report stated: “The ice for the Toronto games was in very poor shape for curling owing to the mild weather, but play took place at the Granite Club in the afternoon and evening.”  The Toronto organizers had planned on four days of curling between Winnipeg, Toronto, and Hamilton rinks, but owing to soft ice it was decided to pay Detroit a visit.  The Detroit club was one of the few curling clubs which enjoyed artificial (compressor made) ice.  The DCC extended a hearty invitation.

Arriving in Detroit, the champions received a very enthusiastic greeting. The visiting teams found the local hosts on hand early at the new Book-Cadillac Hotel to welcome them.  DCC President Richard Watson and J.M. Kerr gave the boys a ride all over the big city, which included a visit to Belle Isle and the Ford Motor Works.  Lunch and dinner were served at the clubhouse where the Detroiters have a splendid ice-making plant which was installed in 1924 at a cost of $28,000.  The DCC members enjoyed curling from December 1, 1924 until April 1, 1925.  The club reported much added interest in the game, especially compared with the increased number of playing days possible after the artificial ice plant was installed. 

Afternoon and evening games were played by the Winnipeg champions.  The first was a win for the Detroit’s Ontario Tankard rink, composed of F.W. Kerr, R. Kerr, J.M. Kerr and Ben Guiney as skip.  The evening game resulted in a victory for the Winnipeg team. 

The MacDonald Brier Trophy winners the following year (1926) were the last of the Manitoba champions to travel East before play for the MacDonald Brier Tankard became the Canadian men’s championship.  The Detroit Curling Club was visited again this year.  The 1926 Brier Tankard champs spent 24 hours in Detroit: curling, sightseeing and experiencing general enjoyment.

The 1st MacDonald Brier Tankard as the Canadian men’s national championship, was held March 1-3, 1927 at the Granite Club in Toronto.

So, now you know the rest of the story…The Detroit Curling Club, the only USA curling club, hosted a portion of The MacDonald Brier “Minus 2” and “Minus 1”.

I’m fair puckled!  Angus MacTavish

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