The Haliburton Curling Club was a hive of activity this past weekend as the popular Men’s Skyline Bonspiel returned after a three-year hiatus.
Featuring 24 teams, including three from Haliburton, the event is a long-standing tradition of the local curling club, with this marking its 62nd year. Organizer Kent Milford said it was a successful return, with all players in high spirits throughout the weekend.
“The Skyline has always been a special event. Sure, it’s about curling, but there’s so much more that we put into it to try and make it a memorable experience. We try and give everyone a special weekend,” Milford said. “Our mantra has been to put on an event that appeals to everyone – so we’ll feed people, we schedule entertainment… it’s a lot more than just turning up, playing your games and then leaving.”
That has proven to be a recipe for success for the Haliburton club. Milford said many curling associations have struggled to relaunch bonspiels post-pandemic, but noted the Skyline was quick to fill.
“Teams love coming to Haliburton,” Milford said.
All teams played two games on Friday before being split into A, B and C brackets. Play continued Saturday, with 10 teams qualifying for Sunday’s championship series.
Haliburton’s Steve Culliver has been involved with the Skyline for over five decades. He worked the event as a kid, helping to clear the ice in between sessions. His dad, Bob, was the long-time ice maker at the curling club.
This year, Steve played on a team with his brother-in-law, Brent, son Jess, and nephew Chris. They finished as runner-up in the A bracket.
“It’s just nice to be back,” Steve told The Highlander.
Team O’Neill, consisting of Darrell O’Neill, Fred Jansma, Steve Belanger and Hugh Nichol, were also representing Haliburton. All eyes were on the team Saturday as they put up a seven-ender in an eventual 11-1 win over a team from Toronto.
“A seven-ender is very rare. You might see one in the club one or two times a year,” Milford said.
Team O’Neill finished as runners-up in the second chance bracket, made up of teams who performed well on the Friday and Saturday but didn’t qualify for the championship series.
Team Nelson from Unionville took home the win in the A bracket, with Team Betts from Oakville and Peterborough winning the B event. A Minden team consisting of Jeff Cook, Doug Hall, John Sexton and Rick Wood won out in the C bracket.