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Around the House: Stick curler makes it a clean sweep

Listen! Can you hear it? That’s the sound of skips calling and rocks sliding on the ice as another season gets underway. Ice techs, club managers, league conveners, coaches, and curlers of all ages – let’s not forget fans, too – are ramping up for the 2013-2014 season.

Of course, there’s tons happening on the competitive front (did someone just say “Olympics?”), but let’s keep our attention focused on people and events closer to home, on the grassroots side of the curling life. This season, as we have for the past three years, Around the House will tell the stories of curlers and their winter homes: the fresh sheets of pebbled ice where they play the game, and the warm club room where they gather to socialize afterwards. We’ll hear about some big anniversaries, special people and fun events, all taking place at curling centres across the country.

Gloria Clarke and Ruth Stavert (Photo Curl PEI)

Gloria Clarke and Ruth Stavert (Photo Curl PEI)

Here’s a story to start the new season off on a high: a curler who won not one, not two, not even three, but four curling titles last year.

This champion of the two-person stick curling circuit is Ruth Stavert, of the Cornwall Curling Club in Prince Edward Island. Last season, Stavert won the provincial Curl PEI championship and the Maritime Stick Championships with teammate Gloria Clarke.

When Clarke had to bow out because of illness, Stavert teamed with club mate Eileen Blanchard to win the Vogue Optical Provincial 55+ Games, and completed the circuit by taking the title at the Canadian Stick Curling Championships.

Yes, Stavert achieved a clean sweep of championships on the provincial, regional and national scenes, all in one season. Perhaps that’s not such a stretch for a curler who has been on the ice for over forty years, competing at the provincial level in Scotties, Women’s Seniors, Masters, Seniors Mixed and the 55+ Games, and representing P.E.I. four times at the Canadian 55+ Games. Leading up to her stellar 2013 season, Stavert had already won four provincial and three Maritime championships.

Ruth Stavert, Cornwall Curling Club (Photo Curl PEI)

Ruth Stavert, Cornwall Curling Club (Photo Curl PEI)

Stavert started her two-person stick-curling career in 2007, when she decided to help promote the game even though she was still able to use the standard slide delivery. Although she has competed in both regular and two-person stick curling in the past, a hip condition now restricts her to using only the stick delivery.

“The delivery stick has been a real boon to our continued participation in curling as my curling career would have been finished in 1994 and Ruth’s done two years ago,” says Ruth’s husband, Ernie, who started using a delivery stick in 1998, and who adds that he was the first person on P.E.I. to do so, using a piece of plumbing pipe. “We both curl regularly with the daytime curlers at the Cornwall Club and compete on the P.E.I. stick curling circuit”.

Ruth’s accomplishments on the ice are only part of the story, of course. Like so many curlers, both Ruth and Ernie are very active in their community, including as volunteers at the organizational level in local, provincial, and national curling events.

It comes as no surprise that Curl PEI presented Stavert with the 2013 Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award.

“I felt very honoured to be recognized by my fellow curlers,” she said after the presentation last May at the Curl PEI annual meeting.

Do you have a story about the curling life that we could share in Around the House? Send it to editor Jean Mills at [email protected]