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International Tankard comes roaring back after three years

March 31, 2023

By Ross and Katherine Johnson

The International Tankard came back to life after a three year hiatus due to COVID-19. The event was held at the eight-sheet Chilliwack Curling Club facility. Curlers started to gather on the Friday evening of March 24th. The Americans were from Tempe, AZ; Ogden UT; Park City, UT; Stockton, CA; Beaverton, OR; and Seattle, WA. The Canadians were from Courtenay, Richmond, Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody, Langley, Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack. No curling took place on Friday as this was a time to reacquaint and find your team mates for the weekend of curling.

The friday night social

The Opening Ceremonies took place on Saturday morning. Teams were bagpiped (Will Clark) onto the ice, lead by Flag Bearers Kevin Rush and Brig DeWirth. Ceremonies were directed by emcee Wayne McAlpine, flanked by three Mounties in red serge.

Emcee Wayne McAlpine in red hat, flanked by 3 red serge Mounties. Chilliwack Counsellor, Jason Lum on his right. 1st rock thrower, 96 year-old Manny Delorme on his 2nd left. Chilliwack Club Manager Bruce Renwick on his 3rd left.Pacific Northwest Curling Association’s Gina Triolo, American side organizer on his 4th left. Piper, Will Clarke, to the far left of the picture.

Both national anthems were sung by the Chilliwack Heritage Choir. Chilliwack councillor Jason Lum welcomed the curlers to the city of Chilliwack, while Bruce Renwick, Chilliwack Curling Club Manager, welcomed curlers to the Chilliwack Curling Club. 96 year old Manny Delorme threw the ceremonial first rock,and  the broom was held by Donna Allan (both of the host club). The rock landed on the button, skillfully swept by Gina Triolo (president of the Pacific Northwest Curling Association) and Regan Taylor (Langley Curling Club). Toast to the piper by dignitaries and the group picture ended the ceremonies.

The Chilliwack Heritage Choir

By the end of the morning games, Canada had taken the lead in the standings, 10 to 6 (2 points for a win, 1 for a tie and 0 for a loss). During the afternoon games, there was a reversal of fortunes by the Americans and both sides were tied at 16 to 16. A delicious banquet of roast beef and trimmings with dainty cakes for dessert took place at 6:00 PM. The last draw of the event was on Sunday morning and it turned out to be a dramatic affair. It went down to the final rock of the last game remaining on the ice to determine final standings. The Americans were down one but were laying one with the hammer. If they could eliminate one Canadian stone and stick, they would win the game thus tying the Canadians in the standings at 24 to 24. But alas, the hammer rock slid through a narrow port and the game ended in a tie. The tie was significant as it allowed the Canadians win the International Tankard, 25 to 23.

Prior to the closing ceremonies, everyone was treated to the 2023 Tankard Cake made by Tiki. Closing Ceremonies took place in the upstairs lounge with the Tankard Cup presented to the Canadians represented by Helen Murray and Claude Latulippe, both of the host club.

Claude Latulippe and Helen Murray receive the International Tankard on behalf of the Canadian side.

The host banner was presented to Gina Triolo of Seattle as the Seattle Granite Club will be hosting next year’s Tankard. The tradition of joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne brought the 2023 International Tankard to a close.

Mike Desante presenting the Tankard Banner to Gina Triolo, next year’s host, the Seattle Granite Club.

Thank you to Bruce Renwick and his staff including ice makers, bartenders, and kitchen staff and to Mike Desante and his group of host committee volunteers for making this a memorable event.