|History - Page 2|
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Recollections by Gordon Hall
The “Roaring Game”, as Gordon Hall called it, was played on natural ice in the second rink which was located on First Avenue, next to the blacksmith shop. There were two sheets of ice with a boardwalk between the sheets.
The scoreboard was a blackboard for each sheet and the score was marked with a piece of chalk. If it was -30Foutside, it was -30F inside the heavy clothing had to be worn, complete with overshoes. Getting to the rink was sometimes a problem because of deep snow and the cold. Most people in town walked o the rink, those from the country rode saddle horses. Earl Whittle and Bob Hogarth came from Horse Creek in a horse drawn cutter with an enclosed box, complete with a door and a little stove to keep warm. There was a little slit in the front for the reins from the team. Gordon remembers one bonspiel when the roads were blocked. Ed Thompson lived about 5 miles south of town. Bill Andison Jr. flew his little plane out and picked up Ed to curl. D.P. Mac Donald used to ride in from the Mount Royal Ranch, a distance of about 15 miles each way.
Bonspiels were the highlight of the season. Prizes were mostly donated by local businesses and merchants. There would be4 blankets, 4 flashlights, 4 gallons of Prestone Antifreeze or a ton of coal tobe divided among 4 players. Teams would come all the way from Calgary, Canmore, Banff and other places.
By 1930 the Club was tired of hauling water and decided to dig awell. The only spot available was in the coal in the south –east corner of the curling rink. Bailey’s Bakery building was on the north side of the curling rink. Whoever was digging the well struck a massive rock about 4 feet down. To overcome the problem some dynamite was bought and Arthur Kirkland from Cochrane Lake was hired to blow up the rock. Baron Cyvossey had a Tiger Moth airplane which he used to fly up the river from his home at the Bow River Horse Ranch. On this day Baron was flying at about 200 feet over the town and as luck would have it the dynamite cut loose just as he approached the curling rink. Kirkland was a good well man, but he must have used enough dynamite to blow up half of Cochrane. Ricks and pieces of roof went skyward and there wasn’t a war vet who wasn’t lying under a wagon or a car. Everyone though that Baron had dropped a bomb. The curling rink finally got it well at a depth of 100 feet. The roof was repaired and an electric pump installed.
Frost used to hang from the ceiling. If someone threw a fast rock and hit the end boards all the frost would land on the ice. Whenever they had fungames it was customary to go to the blacksmith shop after about the third end for a little drink and then come back and finish the game.
Old memories by Cyril Camden
Cyril recalls that at the end of each year, all teams were redrawn fora mixed bonspiel. The prizes consisted of groceries such as a box of apples, tins of coffee, 10 lbs of sugar, a great big block of cheese, a ton of coal, 10 lbs of butter.
Curlers used heavy-handled brooms. Dave Murray used to sell them for$1.25, the Hardware store would charge $1.50. The brooms were normally retired after one season and then used for cleaning and rug beating.
Normal curling clothing consisted of a heavy white wool sweater, oxfords,spats and toe rubbers were the usual footwear. Some wore Scotch tams. The second curling rink was located on First Avenue, approximately where the Senior Center is today. It had two sheets of ice with a club room. There were benches for spectators. At times certain matches drew a considerable crowed, usually determined by the intensity of the game. There was a cook stove n the clubroom. Besides a cooking surface the stove provided heat and also had a reservoir which was used to heat water for pebbling the ice.
IN the 1947 bonspiel at Banff Cyril Camden played with Bill Boothby and Steve and Paul Makaluk. They won 8straight games. But there were a totalof 7 teams entered from Cochrane and they were the only team that did not win a prize. The bonspiel had to be interrupted because of a sudden Chinook. The spiel was finally completed one week later. Warren Cooper had three big Swedes on his team. They had a barrel of black rum at each end of the ice. Each time before throwing a rock, they would take a little snort. They did not seem very steady on their feet anymore and Cyril thought it would be an easy game, but much to his surprise he ended up on the losing side.
There were no block heaters in the old cars. Every couple of ends the curler would have to go out and start their cars which were covered with blankets to keep them warm. When they arrived back home the water had to be drained from the radiator until the car was used again.
In the old days, curling was not just a sporting activity, it was also an important social function for the town. People that never curled would come and watch certain games. Some curlers’ were very serious about it. When Billie Davies played Bob Chapman there would usually be a room full of people. Andy Chapman lost to Bob Chapman one night and Andy escaped through aside window to avoid the crowd in the club house. According to some stories you could mention a game 6 months later and they would have it all set out on the table with all kinds of utensils and they would replay the exact shots all over again. If there wasn’t curling in the old building you could always find a game of crib or checker. The curling rink was an important gathering place for the community.