February 13, 2010

The ABCs of Curling - U

illum_u is for Ursel, one of Canada's great curling families. Jim Ursel learned to curl in Winnipeg, and had early success as a member of the 1954 Manitoba Provincial Schoolboy Championship rink of Gene Walker. Eight years later, as a third for Norm Houck, he won the Manitoba Men's Provincial Championship, and made his first appearance at the Brier, where the team finished in a three way tie for first place, losing in the tie-breaker to teams Hec Gervais and Ernie Richardson.

In the seventies, Ursel moved to Quebec, where he won the Provincial Championships six times between '74 and '80. His team of Art Lobel, Don Aitkien, and Brian Ross won the 1977 Brier - the first ever Brier win for a team out of Quebec - and went on to finish second at the World Championships in Karlstad, Sweden to home team Ragnar Kamp. In addition, he was selected first team all-star skip at both the '74 and '77 Brier.

Ursel later returned to Manitoba, where he won the Senior Provincial Championships in both 1990 and '91, going on to win the national title both years. As an interesting bit of trivia, his vice from 1977, Art Lobel, was on the 1989 and 1992 Senior Canadian Championship winning team of Jim Sharples.

Jim's son, Bob Ursel, following in his father's footsteps (or slider path?), is a former Canadian and World Junior Champion, and has appeared in the Brier three times.

1977 Brier Champions Jim Ursel, Art Lobel, Don Aitken, and Brian Ross
(plus some dude from MacDonald Tobacco)

<- Start at the beginning.


Call me Paul said...

With curling's long and storied history in Canada, I could have chosen a great player who has made a significant contribution to the game for almost every letter of the alphabet. I've tried to avoid doing that, as I wanted this series to be more than just a list of notable curlers. However, sometimes there just isn't anything else. Have you tried to come up with something interesting to say about the game based upon the letter U? Well, have you? When I started this series, I canvassed as many curling friends and associates as I could looking for suggestions - especially for the more difficult letters. For 'U', the only suggestions were, "us," as in us vs. them, and, "up-weight." Not much to write about, but better than I came upo with myself. Then Jordan came through with his Jim Ursel suggestion. Thanks, Jordan.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I am sure you are excited to see your country at home for the Olympics, hope you get to watch the curling.

Simon said...

One of the more fascinating submission so far, Paul. I had no idea who that family was.

cmh said...

Hi Paul! It has been a long time since I looked at blogs, but when my husband wanted to know about curling, I came right to here. I knew you'd be the perfect source for all things Curling. I hope you are enjoying your Canadian winter. We left UT almost 2 years ago and are back in CT.
Take care,