Dave MacDougal and Terry Murphy with the trophy (and crests) they brought home after winning the provincial title in stick curling. Eric Bourque photo
By Eric Bourque
Having won the Nova Scotia championship in stick curling, Dave MacDougal and Terry Murphy are moving on to the Maritime championships in Moncton.
The Yarmouth pair went into the recent provincials in Truro hoping to reach the playoff round and ended up capturing the Nova Scotia title.
“We just wanted to get into the playoffs,” MacDougal said. “That was our goal and, as you know, once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen and we really curled well on Sunday.”
Stick curling is a relatively new form of curling involving two-member teams and some other specialized rules.
It is said to have begun only about a dozen years ago and a big part of its appeal is that it can be played by people who otherwise – perhaps because of an injury or other physical condition – find it difficult to play the regular game of curling.
In MacDougal’s case, for example, he was an avid curler for a long time, but a few years ago hurt his knee.
He recalls visiting a friend and fellow curler from Yarmouth – former Canadian champion Penny LaRocque – who told him about stick curling.
“I was telling her how I hurt my knee and she said ‘well, why don’t you try a curling stick?’ A curling stick, what is that? So she explained it to me and I went down to the curling store in Dartmouth and saw one and I said ‘I’m going to try that.’ It was the best thing I ever did.”
MacDougal notes that there are two delivery techniques in stick curling.
“I’m what you call a slide curler, so what I’ll do is I’ll still get in the hack like a normal curler, but instead of going down into slide delivery, I’ll slide out on my foot standing up with a curling stick and then I’ll deliver it out by the hog line,” he said. “Terry (Murphy, his teammate), on the other hand, he doesn’t slide out. He walks out and then he’ll push his rock with his curling stick after he gets out where he wants to be.”
MacDougal says he would like to see more people get involved in the sport.
“More and more people are stick curling and they’re getting younger and younger,” he said. “When we were at the provincials, the ages of the people there were anywhere from mid-40s to mid-80s.”
He added, “We’re really trying to promote it so that maybe some people who have stopped curling in Yarmouth will think about it and maybe come back and give it a try.”