Curling Canada honours annual award-winners

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Three women who have put in countless hours behind the scenes to advance the sport of curling have won prestigious Curling Canada awards, it was announced on Monday.

Regina’s Bernadette McIntyre has been named winner of the Curling Canada Award of Achievement, while Kathy Siddall of Kentville, N.S., has won the Ray Kingsmith Award, and Kate Barratt of Gibsons, B.C., has won the Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award.

“As much as our sport is about the athletes, it’s the people behind the scenes whose names rarely, if ever, make the headlines who make it possible for those athletes to perform at a high level,” said Curling Canada Board of Governors member Scott Comfort, who chairs the Awards and Hall of Fame Committee. “But these committed volunteers also work hard at developing the grassroots of our sport. This truly is a gratifying day because we get to thank, and honour, people who make our sport so special.”

Here’s a closer look at each of the award winners:

Bernadette McIntyre, Award of Achievement

Curling Canada’s Award of Achievement recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to curling in one of four areas: builder, technical development (instructor, coach, official, ice technician), marketing and media.

McIntyre’s name is synonymous with curling in her home province of Saskatchewan, as she has put in countless hours in all aspects of the sport.

She has served volunteer time on boards ranging from her home club, to the Saskatchewan Curling Association (now known as CurlSask) and Curling Canada, for whom she served a five-year stint as a member of the Board of Governors.

If there’s a major curling championship in Regina, chances are very good that McIntyre is playing an active role. She had leading roles with the 1998 Scott Tournament of Hearts (president, host committee), the 2001 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings (president, host committee), the 2006 Tim Hortons Brier (president, host committee), the 2008 Scotties Tournament of Hearts (executive vice-president, host committee), the 2014 Curling Canada-CIS Canadian University Championships (chair, host committee) and the 2016 Canadian Wheelchair Championship (chair, host committee). Additionally, she chaired the committee that bid successfully to play host to the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier.

McIntyre is a past recipient of the Joan Mead Award for her contributions to women’s curling, and also is a certified Level 3 Official.

Kathy Siddall, Ray Kingsmith Award

The Ray Kingsmith Award is named after the man who played a leading role in bringing curling to the Winter Olympic family, and was a tireless volunteer in administration and management roles in the sport of curling. The award honours individuals who best demonstrate a similar commitment and dedication to our sport that made Ray Kingsmith the consummate sport executive.

Siddall’s past experience working with events, as well as being a regional director with the Nova Scotia Curling Association, made her an obvious selection for the Ray Kingsmith Award.

She has played a lead role in making Nova Scotia curling centres more prominent within their respective communities, and has stressed the importance of communication between those curling centres to share successful strategies.

Siddall has also served numerous volunteer roles at her home clubs — currently the Glooscap Curling Club in Kentville, and prior to that the Halifax Curling Club.

And, over the years she’s handled countless different positions with organizing committees for international, national and provincial championships in Nova Scotia, including, most recently, the 2017 Canadian Mixed Championship in Yarmouth, 2016 Canadian Masters Championships in Kings County, the 2016 Everest Canadian Seniors in Digby and the 2015 Ford Word Men’s Championship in Halifax.

Kate Barratt, Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year

The Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award is based on the nominee’s contributions from the previous curling season, in any number of areas.

While Barratt’s contributions to her hometown Gibsons Curling Club go back further than the 2015-16 season, it was then that she stood tallest to ensure that her fellow curlers on the Sunshine Coast had a dependable ice surface on which to play.

With the club’s 40-year-old ice plant on its last legs, Barratt immediately went to work to secure funding for a replacement. She applied for grants and donations of all kinds, and in the end, her single-minded tenacity would end up producing a remarkable $140,000 of the $160,000 total cost of the project .

At the same time, she took a lead role in establishing a selection committee to determine the contractor for the project, while getting volunteers together to work on a facelift of the club to coincide with its 40th anniversary celebrations.

As if that weren’t enough, she did her usual volunteer work for the Gibsons Curling Club, including producing a club newsletter, keeping the club website updated, developing an online registration system, helping to organize leagues, organizing curling clinics for members and maintaining an annual five per cent growth rate in membership.

Barratt will be honoured during an on-ice ceremony at the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s.

Curling Canada’s 14 Member Associations submitted applications for the Curling Canada Volunteer of the Year Award, and among some amazing submissions, it was narrowed down seven finalists, including Barratt.

The other National Finalists were as follows:

  • Darlene Danyliw (Saskatchewan)
  • Keith Stoesz (Manitoba)
  • Ron Watt (Ontario)
  • Cathy MacCallum (Quebec)
  • Andrew Paris (Nova Scotia)
  • Shirley Kelly (Newfoundland and Labrador).