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Three alarm curling slated for QB this weekend

Firefighters’ championships have long B.C. history

From Qualicum and District Curling Club a reminder 25 teams take to the ice at the old barn this Friday through Sunday for the 2013 B.C. Firefighters Curling Championships.

According to Oceanside Firefighters Curling Association president and event chair Don Marshall, the Canadian Firefighter Curling Association “is a national organization started as the result of the dedicated efforts of a Vancouver firefighter named Aubrey Neff who founded the Vancouver Fire Department League and the British Columbia Firefighters Curling Association.”

In 1958, Neff sent correspondence to firefighters in every major city in Canada proposing a dream of a Dominion Firefighters Curling Championship.

The British Columbia Firefighters Curling Association was formed in 1958 and in 1959, the first B.C. Provincial Curling Championship was held in Vancouver with four teams participating. The event grew each year and by 1980 in Kelowna, 81 teams participated.

Worth noting is that the Oceanside team of Brian Thorburn, Brian Hale, Rob Hunter and Dan Ritchie won the Most Sportsmanlike Team at last year’s event in Delta.

The Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship points out Marshall, is a highly competitive competition that has included several decorated curlers including world and Olympic gold medalist John Morris and world champions Ed Werenich, Neil Harrison and Gerry Richards.

This year’s championship in QB, he said, promises to be a highly contested affair with 25 teams vying for the right to represent B.C. at the Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Among the teams seeking the trophy will be defending champion Don Burris rink from Burnaby returning to defend their title, along with 2010 Canadian Firefighters Champion Dean Thulin team from Campbell River, 10-time provincial champion Brad Clark and his team from Saanich, and seven-time B.C. champ Al Heath and his rink from Burnaby, which includes 1994 World Champion curler Gerry Richards, who played for the Rick Folk rink from Kelowna.

Oceanside will also be well represented with three teams in the mix: Qualicum Beach skips Don Marshall and Brian Thorburn’s rinks as well as the Ralph Christian rink from Errington.

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