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The “Roaring Game”
History of the Cochrane Curling Club
Written by Ernie Trosch, based on information provided by the Club
Excerpts from the minutes provide some interesting information. The Cochrane Curling Club started in 1913. A meeting was held on December3rd form the purpose of organization a curling club. R.J. McNamee moved that the secretary communicate with the Calgary and Banff Clubs to purchase some second-hand rocks. A membership fee of $5.00 was established. Expenses for the first year of operation were as follows:
Curling in the early days
In the early days the curling rules were not yet cast in stone and disputes were fairly common. Evidence of this is a motion by the Club, on December 10, 1914, state that any disputes arising during a game be settled at the first meeting following the dispute. Various stories talk about the rocks being different shapes and sizes. The weight of the rocks ranged anywhere from 35lbs. to 52 lbs. Many members owned their own rocks and some belonged to the Club. The rocks were always locked in a special box at the rink. Apparently Ernie Dickie had a set of 52 lbs. rocks. Cyril Camden said, “when they went through the house they just kept on going”. D. Whittle believes that young Dave Murray used his dad’s rocks. They were taller and narrower than the rest. They could go through ports and other rocks could not go through. A pair of black granite rocks, weighing35lbs., were once owned by Father Hermes. According to a story by Cyril Camden, the early rocks did not have numbers. In order to distinguish them the curlers made pom poms which slipped over the handle. It is also interesting to note that shavings and saw dust were used to form the base for the ice. The curling rink just east of St. Andrews Church had a Quonset type structure and was also used for other functions, such as wrestling matches, fund raisers, moccasin dances and roller skating. The rink on 1st Avenue was used for skating on one occasion to prevent the ice from building up. The kids could skate for a dime from 7 – 9pm.
Aileen Copithorne recalls a trip to a bonspiel in Banff. Back then you had to bring your own rocks. They were all packed I boxes in the trunk of a car. ON the way home they hit some black ice and Aileen says, “there were rear-enders everywhere”. Fortunately their car had hardly any damage because the guy behind hit a trunk with 4 boxes of rocks. On other occasions the rocks were shipped by train.
Old curling stories by Ed Beynon
Memories by Ed Beynon tell us that the very first rink was an outdoor rink with one sheet of ice. It was located at the east end of town, south of the Big Hill Lodge. During bonspiels the skating rink, on the grounds where the Holy Spirit School is located today, was also used for curling.
There were time when Ed would walk two miles from home, down Horse Creek road to the 1 A highway, to catch a ride with Bill Brasseur and Harry Coleman, his team members. They would curl 10 ends, then ride back to the Horse Creek road and Ed would walk home again from there.
His father, William Beynon, hauled water for the ice, first form the river and later form the Creamery, in a wooden water tank pulled by a team of horses. Bob Hogwarth would fill four 45gallon drums which were standing n the walkway between the two sheets. After dumping the barrels, two for each sheet, Bob would take the mail to Bottrel. By the time he returned the water would be frozen. Bob also remembers curling in a bonspiel one day at 10:00am. Where they started it was -30F. After the game he had to go home to do chores and when he stepped outside the snow was melting.