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Pin collecting big part of curling

Your local curling club might have its own pin, and Dave and Halga Phillips probably have one.

This couple takes the common definition of a curling club, and stretches it to show the curling community has another club – those who collect and trade pins.

Dave and Halga Phillips at the pin-trading table.

Showing off a variety of pins they have have collected over the years from curling clubs all over Canada, as well as pins from numerous and varied championships, they usually sit in the Patch, striking up a conversation with passersby, or welcome a trade for pins you might not have.

“I remember, back at a Brier (in Saskatoon), there were about 14 or 15 pin collectors there,” Dave says.

He mentions that about four were at the Scotties in Red Deer.

Although both agree that those collecting pins is on the decline, there were no shortage of people coming to their table, and the conversations certainly weren’t in short supply.

The Phillips are extremely warm and amiable, ready to share an anecdote about their love of curling pins.

Dave boasts the family collection has more than 7,800 pins at home in Red Deer. But he has a friend who has  a collection of more than 18,000.

“He’s got pins all over his house, everywhere,” Dave says.

The curling collectors say it started back in the late ‘70s, when both were curlers in Europe. It was customary for teams to exchange pins before a game, Halga explains, and it was then the collection began.

The pin collection.

The meeting of collectors during curling’s major events is where the trading continued.

The Phillips have been to every Brier since 1984.

While it has helped build their own collection, they say the experience of traveling to each Brier has allowed them to see so much of the country and meet the people.

This Ford World Women’s Championship has allowed them to meet some of the athletes from other countries, although not all the teams had pins to offer. Nonetheless, Halga had put the pins they collected on their trip to Lethbridge on a scarf and jacket, making sure there were some varieties on display they weren’t about to trade away.

There are only a couple of days left in the tournament, so make sure you pay attention to the lapels, hats and other places adorned with pins. Each one has a story, and a very easy way to engage in a chat with another lover of the game.

– Mike Maguire
Special to the Eye Opener