Brandon-born Mike McEwen has earned the cover of the first edition of the Men of Curling calendar, with part of the proceeds from sales to go to charities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/BRIAN GOULD PHOTOGRAPHY)
Westman will have more than just a representative on the CurlManitoba board of directors this winter, it lays claim to the president.
Carberry’s Rob Van Kommer, who served as vice-president last year, was voted into the presidency at the organization’s annual general meeting on Saturday at the Brandon Curling Club and it’s a role he’s grateful to be in.
"It’s a pretty good honour to be selected by your peers to hold this position," he said. "Knowing you’re the ninth person from rural Manitoba to hold it, it’s pretty amazing and I’m pretty proud."
Van Kommer takes over from Resby Coutts, who stayed on for a second straight year to help the organization deal with all the internal changes that it was going through at the time.
Van Kommer, a 50-year-old Carberry resident, has a lot of experience with CurlManitoba. He served on the 44-member board for the organization when it was known as the Manitoba Curling Association 10 years ago, but was dropped off the board when it shrunk to 10 people. He rejoined three years ago and was voted in for another three-year term at last week’s AGM.
Van Kommer initially joined the board because his son, Max, is coming up through the junior ranks and he wanted to tackle the issue of declining curling memberships around the province. While registration numbers are decreasing in most Manitoba clubs, that’s not the case in Carberry, which has a strong junior program, and Van Kommer hopes other clubs can start to emulate Carberry.
"You need a core group of excellent individuals that are prepared to take an extra step for a cause," he said. "Our cause for some of us is the Carberry Curling Club. There are excellent men and women and you always have that core group of people.
"If other clubs can find that core group of people, they can succeed. It’s sometimes very hard to find. People have to sacrifice. As a volunteer, you’re always sacrificing and you have to find those people willing to sacrifice."
While there will be some challenges for the board, this is also an exciting year for CurlManitoba. The Safeway Championship is returning to Winnipeg for the first time since 1995, the MCA Bonspiel becomes the Manitoba Open and women’s teams will be allowed to enter for the first time in its 126 year history, while the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifier will be played in Winnipeg in December.
Van Kommer is looking forward to what the new year will bring for CurlManitoba as he takes over as president.
"I’m really looking forward to it," he said. "It’s something that’s been building up for me. I want to get in. … I want to do my part and continue the good representation from western Manitoba and do a good job."
CALENDAR: A former Brandonite is the cover model for the inaugural Men of Curling calendar.
Mike McEwen graces the cover of the calendar, which was inspired by the success of the Women of Curling calendars for the past seven years, and is Mr. November as well. Also appearing are Albertans Ben Hebert and Carter Rycroft, Winnipeg’s Jon Mead, Ontario’s Craig Savill, Brad Jacobs and E.J. Harnden as well as Paul Fleming from Nova Scotia. Sweden’s Niklas Edin, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and Scotland’s David Murdoch are also featured.
McEwen got permission from his new wife, Dawn (nee Askin), to take part in the shoot and was surprised to learn that he’s the coverboy.
"It was an honour to be asked to pose for the calendar, but I was really surprised when they told me about the cover," McEwen, who captured the men’s title at the China Open in Beijing last week, said in a press release. "There’s 11 other awesome athletes participating, and any one of them could have been chosen to represent this project."
The calendar can be purchased for $29.95 at menofcurling.com.
Part of the proceeds will go to charities, including the Canadian Spinal Research Organization, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, the Movember movement, Parkinson’s UK and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
WCT: Rob Fowler and his Brandon Curling Club team will be in Saskatoon to play in the Point Optical Curling Classic from Friday to Monday. The field also includes former Brandonite William Lyburn and Kevin Koe’s Alberta squad that includes former Brandonite Nolan Thiessen … The Brandon Curling Club will hold its AGM on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Its league games will begin on Oct. 7 … The Riverview Curling Club’s leagues start play on Oct. 15. The women’s leagues that play at 1:15 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays are lacking players. Anyone interested can call Colleen at 204-728-1181.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 26, 2013