Hub curlers hit ice in Canadian Masters

photo courtesy of Janie Hobart The NWT women's team at the 2016 Canadian Masters Curling Championship stand in front of the scoreboard following their victory over the Yukon. The team consisted of, left to right, Davida Delorey of Hay River, Doreen Scheller of Hay River, Cheryl Hval of Fort Smith and Janie Hobart of Fort Smith.

photo courtesy of Janie Hobart
The NWT women’s team at the 2016 Canadian Masters Curling Championship stand in front of the scoreboard following their victory over the Yukon. The team consisted of, left to right, Davida Delorey of Hay River, Doreen Scheller of Hay River, Cheryl Hval of Fort Smith and Janie Hobart of Fort Smith.

Hay River was well represented at this year’s Canadian Masters Curling Championship.

Paul Delorey and Davida Delorey travelled to their home province of Nova Scotia to compete in the championship in Kings County from April 4 to 10.

Both Hay River curlers were skips of their respective NWT teams.

They were joined in representing Hay River by Doreen Scheller.

Paul said he was pleased to win two games out of 10 but felt the NWT could have done better with more practise as a team.

“We didn’t have the chance to practise together much,” he said. “It was the first time our team had played all together, so that didn’t help us out when it came to the competition. Most other teams curl together and have regular competitions so we are a bit behind the eight ball. But we do what we can to represent the NWT.”

Plus, other teams compete with teams from their own province, he said. “But we only have one masters team in the NWT.”

The men’s team was made up of Paul and three athletes from Yellowknife: Jack MacKinnon, Gary Tkachuk and Ben McDonald.

The men won games against the host team, as well as Team P.E.I.

Davida’s team won one game against the Yukon.

“It was pretty tough competition,” she said. “This is an over-60 division, and in the territories it’s hard to obtain that. We had to pull from a few clubs. We did manage to make it to Fort Smith a few times to play but we are at a disadvantage in the territories because many of the provinces have more numbers to pull from.”

The ladies’ team included Janie Hobart and Cheryl Hval, both from Fort Smith.

Because there were no other entries from the NWT for the masters tournament, the men’s and ladies’ teams were directly entered.

Paul and Davida are fully immersed in the curling culture in Hay River.

Davida, who is president of the Hay River Curling Club, said she spends most of her time at the club now that she has retired from her job at the Canadian Coast Guard.

Paul retired from his position as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and MLA for Hay River North in 2011, and is now a director and icemaker at the club.

The two curl together often in mixed leagues on their home ice, and have raised their children in the sport.

But curling was not a part of their early lives in Nova Scotia.

“We both grew up in Nova Scotia, and I came up North before her,” said Paul. “She followed a year later, and it wasn’t until I was probably 24 that I got into curling. Where I was born and brought up, there was no curling and I wasn’t exposed to it until I came North.”

Their investment in the sport has paid off, especially when tournaments are held in their home province.

“It’s always nice to return and be able to curl in the province I still partly call home,” said Paul.

“We have both decided to take a few more days and visit relatives, and probably have some lobster,” added Davida.

Paul has also been participating in other bonspiels in the area since the masters tournament ended last week.

The two both hope to enter the masters competition again next year in Ontario.

–Diana Yeager