Winning at home special for Armour

Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame


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As the third for Mel Logan’s Souris team that reached the semifinal round at the 1982 Labatt Brier in Brandon, Doug Armour knows what it’s like to be the home rink for the national event.

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As the third for Mel Logan’s Souris team that reached the semifinal round at the 1982 Labatt Brier in Brandon, Doug Armour knows what it’s like to be the home rink for the national event.

In 2005, Armour and his teammates Frank Gudz, Don Barr and Ken Sabad were able to win a national title on home ice.

After capturing the Manitoba men’s masters crown earlier in the season, the Souris Curling Club squad captured the Canadian championship at the Riverview Curling Club in Brandon.

Doug Armour of Souris delivers a shot in the seventh end of the 2005 Canadian masters men’s curling championship at the Riverview Curling Club. (Brandon Sun files)

“I don’t think we felt any pressure being the home team or anything like that,” Armour said. “We had played so many competitive games over the years that we kind of blocked all of that out.

“It was definitely special though, especially since we had so many of our family and friends there. So many people congratulated us after the final and it was great to shake hands with people that we knew instead of complete strangers if we had won some place else.”

The team will be honoured on Sunday at the Victoria Inn during the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame’s 2023 induction ceremony.

Armour and Barr will there to accept the induction. Gudz died in 2021 and Sabad is unable to attend.

It will be a special evening for Armour — who was inducted into the Hall for his individual accolades in 2006 — as he was the third for Kelly Robertson’s 2011 Canadian senior men’s championship team that is also part of this year’s class.

“It’s really cool to be inducted with both teams,” Armour said. “Kelly and I curled with each other from the early 2000s until just before COVID shut everything down. We had a lot of great years together and Peter (Prokopowich) and Bob (Scales) are great guys.”

Armour’s masters rink had pretty good chemistry before their run to the 2005 championship, as they had crossed paths over the years in various bonspiels and leagues around Westman.

Gudz and Sabad had won the 2000 masters provincial title with Rollie McKay and Gene Cory, while Armour, Barr and Sabad reached the final of the 2003 Canadian senior curling championship with Martin Bailey.

“I don’t know if there was one thing in particular that made us a pretty good team,” Armour said.

“Our goal every year was to get into the provincial final and see what happened from there.”

The team accomplished that on Feb. 28, 2005, in Portage la Prairie. Armour scored two points in an extra end to beat Bailey’s rink from the Heather Curling Club by a score of 8-6.

That earned the squad a spot at the nationals at Riverview, where they were easily the fan favourites.

“The hospitality we got during that week was tremendous,” Armour said.

“The thing I actually remember the most from were the tarts … everyone loves the tarts there,” he added with a laugh.

After finishing second in round-robin play with a 5-2 record, Armour defeated Ontario’s Ron Matheson by a score of 7-3 in the semifinal to earn a spot in the final against British Columbia’s Dale McKenzie on April 9, 2005.

The two teams traded points through the tenth end, when Armour scored a single point to tie the game up at seven after McKenzie — who was raised in Cartwright — made an impressive takeout to force Armour to a draw.

In the extra end, McKenzie was looking to come around a guard and tap back Armour’s shot rock on the button on his final stones, but he crashed off a guard and Manitoba stole one to win 8-7 and win the title.

“It’s something you don’t expect,” Gudz said to the Brandon Sun’s Rob Henderson after the game. “But I guess if you throw rocks for 50 years like we all did and got into all these national championships, sooner or later you may just happen to get one.

“We did it the hard way here.”

In looking back on the week, Armour felt like the team played just as well at the nationals as they did during the provincials.

“In fact, it might have been tougher to come out of Manitoba with how good the field was, but that is always the case no matter what level you are at in this province,” Armour said.

The rink competed in two more provincial finals and qualified for the masters men’s final in 2006, but lost a 7-6 extra-end contest to Dauphin’s Ralph Wilson.

Armour and Sabad returned to the national stage in 2008 with Gill Van Daele and Ken Davis. They finished in second place after a 6-3 loss to British Columbia’s Rick Pughe.

While the rest of the rink didn’t appear at any more national events, Armour would make three trips to the seniors with Robertson’s Neepawa squad.

In addition to the Canadian title in 2011, the team also won a silver medal at the 2012 worlds in Denmark.

“I still think about that final,” said Armour, who lost to Ireland’s John Jo Kenny in an extra end.

“I’ve played it over a million times and we won it every time … except for that one.”


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