A true legend of Canadian curling has received one of our country’s highest sporting honours.
Two-time world champion and 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Russ Howard will be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, it was announced on Thursday.
Howard will officially enter Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame during the induction ceremony on Oct. 16 in Toronto.
He is part of a Class of 2013 list that includes hockey’s Joe Sakic, cycling’s Alison Sydor, the 1992 women’s coxless four Olympic gold-medal rowing team, wheelchair marathon athlete André Viger and builders Murray Costello and Dr. Jean-Guy Ouellet. They’ll be enshrined at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in Calgary.
“It’s really exciting and it’s pretty humbling,” said Howard. “I was looking at the list of Hall of Fame members the other day and you see guys like Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. You think about the magnitude of those guys, and here I am on the same list. It’s kind of neat. Going in with Joe Sakic and the rowing team is pretty cool. I’ve had a decent career, but when you’re talking about the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, you’re thinking about athletes you’ve watched on TV forever in hockey and baseball. I think it’s neat to have a curler in there with all these other great athletes.”
During a brilliant playing career, Howard made 14 appearances at the Tim Hortons Brier — eight on behalf of Ontario (with his younger brother Glenn alongside for seven of them) and six more after he moved to New Brunswick.
He won two Briers (1987, 1993) and followed up with world championships on both occasions.
Then, in 2005, he was asked to join the Brad Gushue team prior to the Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax. Throwing second rocks and calling the game, Howard earned a trip to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, where he won a gold medal, the crowning achievement on his splendid career.
“Russ has been a first-class representative for Canadian curling, both on and off the ice,” said Canadian Curling Association Chief Executive Officer Greg Stremlaw. “His achievements speak for themselves, but being named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame reinforces the point that Russ Howard is one of the best who’s ever played the game, and we’re excited to see him honoured this way.”
Howard’s curling achievements go beyond on-ice success. He created the forerunner to the current Free Guard Zone, the so-called Moncton rule, as a means to creating more offence in curling. As well, he has become a popular broadcaster with TSN.
Howard is the 14th curler to be named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, and the first since the Sandra Schmirler team (Schmirler, Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit) was inducted in 2000.
Other curlers in the Hall of Fame: Don Duguid (1991), Howard (Pappy) Wood (1977), Matt Baldwin (1973), Ron Northcott (1970), Ken Watson (1969), and the Ernie Richardson team (Arnold Richardson, Sam Richardson, Wes Richardson, 1968).
“The Class of 2013 is truly an inspiring group of Canadian sports heroes,” said Colin MacDonald, the Chair of the Board of Governors of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. “We are proud to be able to share the stories of their achievements so that we can inspire all Canadians to be the best they can be in all aspects of life.”