Knobby’s Memorial Funspiel returns to SLGCC with some changes, surprises
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
Curlers of all skill levels took to the ice for the annual Knobby’s Memorial Funspiel at the Sioux Lookout Golf and Curling Club (SLGCC) on Tuesday, December 28.
Prior to the funspiel Austen Hoey, SLGCC Manager, spoke with obvious enthusiasm as he looked ahead to the day’s events, stating, “I just took over as the Golf and Curling Club Manager so this will be my first time running it. It’s called the Knobby’s Memorial Funspiel, just because Knobby Clark was such a huge curling advocate in town and wanted to make sure that there was something for families to do over Christmas Break. It’s kind of been a staple here at the curling club for as long as I can remember.”
The funspiel ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and saw 14 teams of four split into four pools. Each team played three games against their pool members, after which the first-place team in each pool moved on to the semi-finals.
In an effort to keep things interesting for all participants, this year the funspiel added a twist to the proceedings in the form of random format changes during the games.
As Hoey explained after the event, “We had an interesting format where during the games, each team had a number of envelopes, and during one end of each game, a team had to open an envelope and they had instructions for that end. Those could have been anything from a team having to curl with their off hand, (so if they normally curl with their right hand they had to curl with their left), or they couldn’t sweep, or you had to use the curling stick for the entire end… just kind of fun little interesting things like that. It was good because there was a good mix of experienced curlers and curlers that were just looking to have a good time there yesterday. It allowed the teams that were maybe not regular curlers to have a little bit of fun with the more experienced curlers. For the most part everyone seemed to enjoy that aspect of the tournament, even teams with guys who’d been curling since forever really enjoyed it and thought it was a cool twist, it worked out really well.”
One of this year’s participants was Marlene MacDonald, who entered with her daughter Kelli-Dawn Baker, son-in-law Terry Baker, and grandson Bryson Baker. As MacDonald describes, being able to play with her family made for a memorable day, explaining “It was so much fun, such a treat for me to have my grandson there, and my daughter and son-in-law. It was a great day, a great family day and a really good funspiel.”
MacDonald went on to add, “We had a marvelous time and didn’t curl too bad. We ended up being in the playoffs. Because it was a one-day family funspiel they had to have shorter games. So, we only played three of what they call ends. We were fortunate enough to be the winner in our pool, so we played off against the Poirier team, a very experienced team. We had lots of fun, it was a good game and we ended up having to throw skip’s rocks to break the tie. A couple of the ladies made up big pots of chili; everybody had chili and buns and was very COVID careful. Each team only sat at their own tables, so we couldn’t mingle, but it was still social. I think that’s what it’s about these days.”
Another participant was Glen Poirier, whose team took first place. He too appreciated the chance to have a fun day of curling with friends and family, stating, “I would like to thank the club for hosting a fun curling event. Knobby Clark was such a big supporter of curling at our club, so it was great to see the number of people who participated in this tournament in his memory. On a personal note, it was fun to curl with my family, which we haven’t done in a number of years. My new son-in-law was able to enjoy his first ever curling bonspiel. We had good food, good curling and had a great day.”
Another change to the format this year was the requirement to run the event without allowing spectators. As Hoey explained, “We unfortunately couldn’t allow any spectators as that would push us over our capacity limits, but with our curling club having a capacity of over 120 depending on the area, the rink itself or the upstairs, we actually fit within the parameters of the 56 people that we had, half on the ice at all times and half off the ice at all times.”
Taking first place in the funspiel was Team Poirier, comprised of Glen Poirier, Jenna Poirier, Drew Hannah and Kaitlyn Hannah.
Team Van Horne took second place with members JoAnne Van Horne, Cathy Bowen, Bruce Van Horne and Brad Bowen, and Team MacDonald took third with members Marlene MacDonald, Kelli-Dawn Baker, Terry Baker, and Bryson Baker. All participating teams took home prizes which ranged from gift cards to holiday sweets, and everyone got a Knobby’s 2021 hat.
With the Knobby’s Memorial Funspiel wrapped up for another year, Hoey reflected as he looked back on the day’s events, “It was awesome… it was so nice to have something that people were looking forward to, with how crazy things have been. It was just nice to have something like that to take their mind off it, get together with family and have a fun time. Thanks to everyone who came out to make it a good day and make it a fun experience for everybody. We really look forward to having the Knobby’s funspiel again next year.”