Hangover Bonspiel another huge success

Great atmosphere at curling centre attracts out-of-town teams

Bonspiel chair Steve Thurber (left) presents Jared Spencer with the Spirit of the Spiel award.

Bonspiel chair Steve Thurber (left) presents Jared Spencer with the Spirit of the Spiel award.

The annual Hangover Bonspiel, held at the Comox Valley Curling Centre last weekend, once again lived up to its reputation as the largest local ‘spiel.

They came from Nanaimo, Victoria, and this year 10 teams made the trip from the Lower Mainland.  Our liaison with Vancouver explains the increased interest saying, “Guys are not believing our stories about what a great weekend they put on in the Comox Valley! They are signing up teams to see for themselves.” Great news to the organizing committee as this is the product we attempt to sell year after year.

It is not only the show at the curling centre that creates special moments; the local community shares in our success. We are pleased to hear positive comments about how well our visitors are treated at places such as the Anco Hotel, Crown Isle, and the Whistle Stop Pub to name a few. Imagine arranging seating, grub and libations for a group of 40-plus hungry and thirsty guys on a road trip!

Kudos also to ABC Printing who, due to misplacement of two event sponsor banners, were able to reproduce them in a matter of days, in one case using nothing but the logo off a curler’s jacket. Great customer service!

The committee also thanks our local event sponsors who provide the much-needed support. On the Level Custom Finishing, The Joint Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre and the Barry Edgett Memorial (JR Edgett) and Engrave It.

There is a lot to be said about what makes this a special weekend for all participants. From the time people start to walk in the door for the first draw Friday, until they start to leave Sunday after the presentations, the whole building gets louder and louder with old acquaintances being renewed and new friendships being formed.

It is simply a wonderful feeling of good spirit and camaraderie that exists throughout the entire weekend. As one guy told it during the prize presentation years ago, taking a turn at the prize table was the gravy, the true prize was the pure joy of 160 guys getting together, some old friends you see only once a year, sharing stories and telling lies, having a ton of fun and playing the game we love to play.

In that theme, the Hangover Bonspiel committee each year is tasked to present the “Spirit of the Spiel” award to the participant that “most demonstrates the true spirit of the Hangover Bonspiel.”  This award goes back a lot of years and was introduced by our own Eric Chayco and in fine fashion the 2015 recipient was Jared Spencer, in recognition of his assistance with the ice maintenance crew and that if any team was in need of a player, at any time, he was the guy. He played for at least five different teams!

The On the Level Custom Finishing A event came down to the teams that, up to the final game were undefeated. The Ron Schmidt team (Jim Bostock, Darren Richards and Ken Crewe) vs. Shawn Holland (skipped by Norm Cote, Trevor Buckingham and Ryan Sullivan). An interesting note is Norm curls third for Ron during league play.

The Holland rink broke it open early, racking up a big four points in the first end, and after forcing Ron to a single in the second, took another deuce in the third end. Not looking good for the Schmidt team, but anyone who has played this guy knows he can find a way.

He was nicely set up in the fifth after Norm rubbed a guard but had to settle for a steal of one. The seventh end once again had a ton of granite in and around the house, and a gutsy call was well executed by the Holland squad to earn the two points.

Norm and Shawn called the draw to a piece of the four-foot, but they had to navigate around an opposing stone that could have been promoted for shot stone. Norm made no mistake in the throw, the line was called well and the sweepers put it where it needed to be. A true team effort that put them up four coming home, and the Schmidt’s were run out of stones. Bruce Joanisse of Victoria claimed third and Mike (pick on his last shot cost them the semi inal) Imrie fourth in the event.

The Joint B event came down to two local teams, each suffering only one loss through the weekend: Malcolm Passey (Andy Quant, Mike Franetic and John Hobson) against Peter Olsen (Fraser Irwin, Dwight Fulmore and Cris Holmes).

It looked one sided as Passey was up three after two ends, but Olsen was not to be denied. Putting up a nice three in the sixth end put him one point behind and a steal of one in the seventh had a tie game coming home. Olsen was left with a tough shot for the win and missed the mark, giving Passey the hardware. Ron Shymmko of the Comox Valley and local Chinook Forest Products (Brent Aitken) finished third and fourth, respectively.

In the Engrave It C event, a Vancouver rink, Mike Caton with Trig Peterson, Greg Grieves and Mark Kellar squared off against locals Harvey Jenkins (skipped by Les Norman) with John Davies and Tom Shaw.

This was a fun-to-watch, low-scoring, edge-of-your-seat game as each team played through the ends to be tied at three after six ends of play.  Jenkins put up a deuce in the seventh that proved to be enough as the Jenkin’s squad left Caton nothing to hide behind in the eighth and captured the win. Nanaimo’s Brian Scorer took third and the Valley’s own Rick Aker finished fourth.

The D event Barry Edgett Memorial (also known as the endurance round as these guys play four consecutive back-to-back games) was a match up between Stu Dixon, our Vancouver liaison, with teammates Peter Spencer, Darren Ainsley and Keith Budd and local Don Bolivar with Terry Woloshyn, Josh Pisto, and Gary Routledge.

It looked like the Bolivar squad was pretty much in control with a three-point advantage after four ends of play. However, Stu being the crowd pleaser he is made it interesting with a two-pointer in the fifth, leaving them down one point on the home stretch. An interesting end was shaping up until Dixon miscued on his last shot, removing his own shot rock and the pickle dishes (yep, real pickle dishes) were awarded to the Bolivar foursome. Nanaimo rink G Spot Welding (Ferdie Hobson) and local Duffy Simpson finished off in the prizes at third and fourth spots.

An event of this magnitude doesn’t just happen without a lot of organization, planning and execution. Our league president, Steve Thurber, took on the leadership role and started making this happen from the ground up as chairperson and volunteers such as Laina Fiert and Janice Ainsworth took on the tasks that needed to be done.

Our ice tech Cody Hall and his group of helpers kept the curling on time and Brett our ice tech assistant and custodian did his best to keep up with 160-plus guys.

The curling centre management and staff deserve a huge thank you for their part in making this event what it was. Thank you to the person who recognized these boys needed hydration, and, due to the water advisory, brought in bottled water. The centre’s Comox Valley Catering put out a wonderful banquet on Saturday evening, thanks Mark, Becky and staff, and the ribs were to die for!

The Sunday Morning Men’s Hangover League is always looking for more curlers.  If it sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, we’d love to hear from you.


– Hangover Bonspiel



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