Registered: Oct 2004
Coutts reflects on curling career with Hall of Fame nod
At the tender age of seven, Resby Coutts threw his first rock at a one-sheet curling rink inElva, located in the deep southwestern corner of Manitoba.
From there, a love of the game was ignited for Coutts. On Monday, the 70-year-old was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame on Monday as a builder.
“I learned to curl and I played hockey as a kid as well, but hockey, it didn’t resonate with me the way curling did,” the former Brandonite said in a phone interview from Winnipeg.
Coutts was able to find a sense of calmness when he was playing the roaring game.
“Right from the very start it was going to be my game and I’ve always been at peace on the curling ice,” he said. “I sincerely mean that. When you’re a competitive player, and I thought I was at one time, it’s a different kind of peace. It’s that whole competitive thing and all the rest of it.”
The time out on the ice with friends was what Coutts really appreciated.
“When you’re out on the curling ice for that two-hour period, the rest of the world doesn’t matter,” Coutts said.
“Every person in their lifetime goes through ups and downs … and things that are challenging and during those times that two hours on the curling ice with friends, I genuinely mean it when I say it, I just find it a place of peace.”
Coutts’s list of accomplishments in the sport of curling could take up an entire page of this sports section. What Coutts hasn’t done is probably a shorter list.
He was a member of the Manitoba Curling Association council for a three-year term in the mid-1990s and was a part of the MCA and Manitoba Ladies Curling Association amalgamation in 2000.
“That was a very important step, that was a necessary step in the history of Manitoba curling,” Coutts said.
Later, he served as the president of the CurlManitoba board of directors, becoming the first two-term president of the organization since, get this, J.B. Mather served two in 1888-89. He also served as the chair of the Canadian curling board in 2017-18. Coutts represented Canada at the World Curling Federation’s annual and semi-annual meetings for three years.
As president, he was able to place his mark on the governance model of CurlManitoba, which is still in use today.
“When you use that term governance model people’s eyes tend to cloud over and they say ‘How can you get excited about that?’” Coutts said. “And yet, organizations, if they are going to function to serve their constituents, need to be properly governed.”
Coutts, who began his broadcasting career in 1982, was able to parlay his experience working in media as president of CurlManitoba.
Coutts hosted radio shows and did play-by-play for various tournaments. He also established a curling newspaper called The Curler, which was printed from 1988 to 2002.
“I suppose I’m proudest of the fact that what skill I may have as a writer overlapped from the journalism side into the volunteer side that I could help write documents that were perhaps a little simpler,” he said.
Coutts was quick to say that he was not the sole reason for his success as a president.
“You have to say no one individual accomplishes that stuff alone, it is always the group,” he
said. “It’s always the committee. I think I did have the writing skill to help make some of that happen.”
Coutts was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2019 but was honoured to be included in his home province’s Hall.
“To know that people think I’ve had a positive impact on the sport is really just a wonderful compliment,” he said.
“To be included with so many names of so many people that I admire and respect, both curlers and builders, to be included with them is a wonderful honour.”
Coutts ended his term with the Canadian Curling Association at the end of September and from there he said he was “disengaged” from the sport for a couple of months. But, Coutts couldn’t stay away from the game for long.
He became involved with the Bob Picken Memorial Bonspiel held in Winnipeg, the money raised from that tournament helped benefit the Riverview Curling Club last year. Coutts also started volunteering with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in promoting their new play the “New Canadian Curling Club.”
This past weekend at the Manitoba junior provincial championships in Dauphin, Coutts was the master of ceremonies.
Coutts quipped that he would like to be a part of the 100th anniversary of the Manitoba men’s provincial championships in 2025. “I’ve been very involved with the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum and honestly as a guy gets on in years sometimes that history is what really matters to me,” he said.
With the curling rink that Coutts got his start in now gone, he said he’d like to do more research about one- and two-sheet curling rinks in rural Manitoba.
“It seems to me that someone like me could have a lot of fun tramping around the province finding out where all the curling rinks were,” he said.
“It’s one of those things, does it really matter? Not a darn bit, yet I think it would be an indication of part of the early settlement of our province if you could identify all those one- and two-sheet curling rinks that were there.”
In other words, Coutts isn’t done with curling.
“It does not look like I’m going to be walking away from the sport anytime soon,” he said.
EXTRA ENDS: The Swan Lake Curling Club is hosting an open bonspiel Jan. 24-26. Cost is $120 per team, entries can be sent to Christine at cgundrum15@hotmail. com. Deadline is Jan. 22 … The Neepawa Curling Club is hosting a men’s spiel Jan. 24-26, entries are $160 which includes a banquet. Contact Jack Follows at 204-476-5327 … The Brandon Curling Club is hosting the 39th annual Silver Belles Bonspiel Feb. 12-13. Cost is $180 per team, entries can be sent to Edith Easton at email@example.com. Deadline is Feb. 3.
(Matt Goerzen/The Brandon Sun)
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