Sudden phone call puts P.E.I. man in middle of curling stardom

Published on February 24, 2017

Larry Richards gets to complete a dream of his next week, when he travels to the Brier in St. John’s to make the ice.

©TC MEDIA/Carson Deveau

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. – Larry Richards will get to cross an item off his bucket list next week, when he’s making the ice for the Tim Horton’s Brier.

The annual national men’s curling championship brings the top men’s teams from each province together to compete for a chance to represent Canada at the annual world championships. This year, they’re heading to St. John’s, N.L., and that’s where Richards is going, too.

“I’ve always dreamt of working at the Brier. It’s one of the top things on my bucket list,” says Richards, who looks after the ice at both the Montague and Charlottetown curling clubs.

On Monday afternoon, he received a call from Jamie Bourassa, who was supposed to be the head ice technician at the Brier. However, he had broken his ankle and was no longer able to do the job.

“He had told me what happened and asked if I wanted to clear my schedule for a couple weeks so I could replace him at the Brier. And I said ‘of course I could’.”

Richards found someone to cover for him at the Montague and Charlottetown clubs and waited a get a call back from the Canadian Curling Association.

“I was nervous. I had my phone ringer up as loud as it would go, just waiting for them to call.”

The call came on Tuesday, confirming that Richards would be flying out on Friday to St. John’s.

Richards used to play hockey, but he quit because he “wasn’t any good at it”. And that’s when he fell in love with curling.

He curled for many years before becoming a board member at the Montague curling club, and it was there that he volunteered to be the club’s ice director.

“I thought I’d be supervising the people who were maintaining the ice. But, on my first day that following fall, they told me I was the one who’d be installing the ice. So they really threw me into the job.”

Though it wasn’t the job he thought he’d volunteered for, Richards couldn’t be happier.

“I love it out on the ice. It’s just you out there, nobody else telling you what to do, it’s great.”

Looking ahead to the Brier, Richards, who is a level three certified ice technician, said it’s a lot of pressure to maintain the surface because of how big the stage is. But he knows everything will go smoothly.

“We have a great crew working at the tournament, so the ice will be up to standard. And if it’s not, I’m sure the players will let us know.”

The Brier begins on Thursday, March 2, with the relegation round and ends March 12.