Following a two-year hiatus, the Prince Edward Island Curling Hall of Fame and Museum is set to host its fourteenth annual induction ceremony on Monday November 14th 2022 at the Silver Fox Entertainment Curling Complex in Summerside.
Four inductees, two in the “Curler” and two in the “Builder” category, are being honoured for their achievements in and contributions to the sport of curling: Mel Bernard (Curler), Roger Gavin (Builder), Earle Proude (Curler), and Blair Weeks (Builder),
“Recognizing the accomplishments of curlers and builders who have dedicated their time and energy to the sport of curling is an important component of our curling history”, says Jerry Muzika, Chairman of the PEI Curling Hall of Fame and Museum. He invites everyone to come out and honour the inductees.
The main objectives of the Curling Hall of Fame and Museum are to recognize, honour and pay tribute to individuals or teams on the basis of playing ability, as an amateur or a professional (“Curler” category), and to individuals who have given distinguished service and have made major contributions to the development of curling on Prince Edward Island (“Builder” category).
The event, with host Paul H. Schurman, gets underway at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 per person and will be available at the door.
This year’s ceremony is sponsored by Peter and Karen MacDonald, along with Peake & McInnis Ltd. Insurance Brokers, Beaton’s Wholesale Dry Goods Ltd., Phillips Feed Service, the City of Summerside, and Consolidated Credit Union Ltd., Summerside.
Here are the biographies of each of the inductees:
Mel Bernard (Curler)
Mel began curling in 1967 in Summerside. That year, playing with skip Kendall Forbes, third Paul Gunn, second Paul Atkinson, and with Mel at lead, they won the PEI Junior Men’s Curling Championship, then known as the Provincial School Boy title. Along with coach Ken Gunn, they played in the national championship in Flin Flon, Manitoba.
Fourteen years later, in 1981, Mel skipped his team of third Duke Costain, second Dale Cannon, and lead Vance Enman to the 4 Year and Under PEI Championship.
Mel, as skip, won the 8 Year and Under PEI Championship in 1984. Playing with him were John MacWilliams at third, Dale Cannon at second, and lead was Gerard McNeill. They went on to be runner-up team in the Maritime 8 Year and Under Championship.
Mel played third stone on the Grant Somers-skipped team which won the Prince Edward Island Tankard Men’s Curling Championship in 1986. Second on the team was John MacWilliams, and lead was Don Bourque. The team earned a trip to the Labatts Canadian Men’s Championship in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Mel played on three Prince Edward Island Senior Men’s Curling Championship teams. His first was in 2006, playing with skip Ted MacFadyen, Mel was at third, second was Sandy Foy, and lead was Mike Coady.
Mel skipped the other two provincial Senior Men’s winning teams in 2007 and 2009 with team members Blair Jay playing third, Doug Simmons at second, Earle Proude at lead and Al Ledgerwood as coach. Playing in the national championship at home in Summerside in 2009, they won the bronze medal. Mel and Earle were named to the second all-star team at this event.
Mel skipped teams to three Prince Edward Island Masters Curling Championships. His first was in 2011, with Ted MacFadyen at third, second Lou Nowlan, and lead Earle Proude. The same team won it again in 2012. In 2015, Mel won again with Lou Nowlan at third, Earle Proude at second, and lead was Alan Montgomery.
Mel won the Prince Edward Island Canadian Legion Curling Championship seven times, starting in 1986 and ending in 2000. He played third for Grant Somers in 1986, then third for Steve Costain in 1987, then third again for Grant Somers in 1991, 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2000.
In the PEI Senior Legion Curling Championship, Mel skipped his own teams from 2003 to 2011. During these years, Mel had numerous players on these teams, including Lou Nowlan, Blair Jay, Ted MacFadyen, Doug Currie, Doug Simmons, Wayne Gardiner, and Earle Proude. He won the event in 2013 and 2015.
In 2004, with Mel skipping, Lou Nowlan playing third, Doug Currie at second and Wayne Gardiner in the lead position, they won the Dominion Command Senior Legion Championship in Calgary, Alberta.
Mel won the PEI Senior Mixed Legion Curling Championship in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, Mel skipped, third was Jeanne Duffenais, second was Earle Proude, and lead was Helen MacDonald. The next year, the team was the same except at lead position, where Paula Baglole replaced Helen McDonald.
Mel was awarded the PEI Senior Male Athlete of the year honours in 2007. He received a Certificate of Achievement by Amalgamated Dairies LTD and Sport PEI at the Curl PEI annual awards. Mel received the same award in 2009.
Mel has volunteered at a number of provincial and national curling events as a scorekeeper and as a statistician.
Roger Gavin (Builder)
Roger began to curl in 1979 at the Western Community Curling Club in Alberton and started volunteering for the club almost immediately.
Roger started his 14-year coaching career in 2007, receiving his level 1 coaching certification, followed by his level 2 in 2008. His certificates show that he is a Club Coach Youth-Trained, Club Coach-Trained, Competition Coach-Certified, and Competition Development Coach-Trained.
In 2007, he coached the Under 18 junior team skipped by Spencer Pitre. They went on to curl in the Under 18 Atlantic Championship.
In 2015, Roger coached the Under 18 junior team captained by Leslie Noye. They went on to curl in the Atlantic Championship. In 2017, he again coached the Leslie Noye junior team, this time in the Under 21 event.
Roger coached the Under 18 junior team skipped by Donald Dewolfe in 2017. The team curled that year at the Canadian Under 18 Championship held in Moncton.
Roger received the Asham Coaching Award in 2009 at the PEI Provincial Juniors Championship. This award is voted on by the coaches at the event. Coaches choose an opposing coach who best exemplifies the attributes of coaching during the event. He received this award again in 2017.
Roger received the Coaching Fair Play Award in 2013 at the PEI Under 16 Championship. He received the Coaching Award in 2014, at the PEI Under 18 Championship. In 2017, Roger received the Coaching Award again at the Under 18 Championship.
Roger received his level 1 certification in officiating in October 2002, and his level 2 in March 2009. Roger has participated as an official at provincial championship events held at the Western Community Curling Club since 2002. He also officiated at the national Dominion Curling Club Championship held in Charlottetown and Cornwall in 2010.
Roger has performed drawmaster duties for all provincial events held at the Western Community Curling Club, and as the club’s Games chair, he scheduled all bonspiels for the club as well as all nightly draws for the club for more than 20 years. He was on the committee of the Canadian Legion Curling Championship held at the Western Community Curling Club in 2011 and made up the draw for this event.
He was a Board of Directors member of the curling club from 1992 to 1994, and went on the Board again in 1998, and has been on the Board continually since then. As well as games chair during this time, Roger was on the bar committee from 2007 to 2020, ice committee from 1994 to 2006, and chaired the ice committee from 2007 to 2020. Roger was vice-president of the club in 2005, president in 2006, and past president in 2007.
Roger received the ADL Curl PEI Volunteer Administrator of the year Award in 2013. As well as volunteering with ice maintenance, draws, and bar duties, he also helps with the junior program, new curler program, coaching, banquets, and publicity, to name a few.
Roger was on the committee of Stick Curling PEI, which hosted the Canadian Stick Curling Championship at the Cornwall Curling Club in 2013, and in 2019. His main responsibility was as drawmaster. In 2019, he developed and used a pool format to determine which teams tied in a pool would advance to the playoffs. This tie-breaking formula saw ties broken by their cumulative total with each team member throwing two draw shots to the button. Some aspects of his work have been adopted by the Canadian Stick Curling Association.
Roger has a level 1 in Ice Technicians Certification. He has helped install the ice and helped out with ice maintenance for the past 25 years.
Roger has been the Western Community Club’s delegate to Curl PEI for 20 years. He attends their meetings and organizes the duties of the club when holding provincial events including preparing ice, looking after the draw, and arranging for timers and kitchen, and bar staff.
He assisted in the junior program from 2005 to 2015, and also involved students of Westisle High School from 2007 to 2020, scheduling their ice times and on-ice instruction.
He was also named “Volunteer of the Year” for the town of Alberton in 2017.
Earle Proude (Curler)
Earle started to curl in 2000 in a recreational league in Summerside.
In 2005, he joined Mel Bernard’s team, and in 2006, he won his first PEI curling championship – the PEI Senior Legion Championship, with Mel skipping, Blair Jay playing third, Doug Simmons at second, and Earle in the lead position.
The same team won again in 2007, 2008, and 2010.
In 2011, they won again but with a different third, Ted MacFadyen.
In 2013 and 2015 Lou Nowlan played third, and Blair Jay played in the second position.
In 2007, Earle won the PEI Senior Men’s Curling Championship, playing lead with skip Mel, third Blair, and Doug at second stone. They went on to curl at the Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. They lost 6-5 to Rick Folk, and in an extra end to Pat Ryan’s team. The team finished with a 5-6 win-loss record.
In 2009, they won the PEI Senior Men’s Curling Championship with the same team. At the Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Summerside, they won the bronze metal. They beat New Brunswick’s Russ Howard, and Saskatchewan’s Eugene Hritzuk in a tiebreaker. Mel and Earle were named to the second all-star team.
In 2014, Earle again won the PEI Senior Men’s Curling Championship, with a different team, and went on to compete in the Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Yellowknife. Ted MacFadyen was skipping, third was Lou Nowlan, Pat Aylward was at second, and Earle played lead.
In 2008, Earle’s team won the PEI Senior Mixed Curling Championship. Mel Bernard skipped, Jeanne Duffenais played third, Earle was at second, and Helen MacDonald was in the lead position. In 2009 they won again, but with Paula Baglole playing lead instead of Helen MacDonald.
Earle’s teams won the PEI Masters Curling Championship every year from 2011 to 2020, for a total of ten championships, the first in 2011, with skip Mel Bernard, third Ted MacFadyen, second Lou Nowlan, and Earle at lead. They won again in 2012 with the same team.
In 2013, Lou Nowlan moved up to third, and Blair Jay played second stone. The 2014 team had Ted MacFadyen at skip, Lou Nowlan at third, Earle at second, and Alan Montgomery at lead. In 2015, the skip changed with Mel Bernard coming back. The skips changed again in 2016, with Ted MacFadyen coming back again. The same team won in 2017. In 2018, Lou skipped, Ted MacFadyen was at third, Earle at second, and Alan Montgomery played lead. In 2019, Lou Nowlan skipped, Dave MacFadyen was at third, Earle at second, and Alan Montgomery at lead. In 2020, they won again with the same team.
In 2021, Bill Hope’s team broke their reign, however, in 2022, Lou, Dave, Earle and Alan returned as the PEI Masters Champions.
Earle volunteered to do scoring statistics for Canadian Curling Championships held in Summerside, including the Juniors in 2002, and the Seniors in 2006 and 2013, along with the Grand Slam of Curling events in 2012 and 2014, plus the Road to the Roar Olympic Pre-Trials in 2017.
Earle was on the curling executive of the Silver Fox from 2015 until 2019. He has helped install the ice at the Fox for the past ten years. As well, he has served on the ice committee from 2019 to the present.
Blair Weeks (Builder)
Blair won two Junior Men’s Curling Championships. The first was in 1981 when he played third for his brother Doug. Doug skipped the team, had Billy Dillon at second, and Mark O’Rourke at lead.
Blair’s next junior championship win was in 1983. Wade MacRae skipped the team, Blair played third, second was Paul Dillon, and lead was Mike Dillon. The team came in third place at the Canadian Junior Curling Championship.
Blair won the PEI Men’s Curling Championship in 1989, with his brother Doug skipping the team. Blair played third, Roy Rodd played second, and David Weeks, another brother, played lead.
In 1996, Blair won the PEI Mixed Curling Championship. At third was Janice MacCallum, brother Doug was at second, and Shelley Muzika was lead.
In 2015, Blair won the PEI Senior Men’s Curling Championship. Rod MacDonald skipped the team, Kevin Champion was at third, second was Blair, and lead was played by Mark Victor.
Blair was runner-up in the 1982 Juniors, the 1983 Canada Winter Games playdown, the 1985 Mixed, 1986 Mixed, the 1995 Mixed, the 1986 Men’s, and the 2016 and 2019 Seniors.
He played in numerous cash bonspiels and won several of them. He won the Souris Cash Spiel in 1980, the Choice Tobacco Cash Spiel on four occasions, the Charlottetown City Championship in 1988 and in 1996, as well as the Summerside Cash Spiel in 1997.
His teams were the Charlottetown Super League winners in 1987, 1988, 1993, and 1996.
Blair has a long history of volunteering for the sport.
Blair has his level 1 and level 2 certificates in Coaching. Level 1 was obtained in 1987, and level 2 in 2011. The certificates show that he is Club Coach Youth-Trained, Club Coach-Trained, and Curling Competition-Certified.
He coached numerous teams in his curling career. He started with coaching Junior teams, the Miles MacLure rink in 1984, Chris Hickey foursome in 1990, Jamie MacCarthy squad in 1991, Mark Kinney junior team in 1995 when they were provincial champions, and Eddie Mackenzie’s men’s team when they were provincial men’s champions.
Blair received his Level 1 Curling Official’s certification in 1984, and Level 2 in 1987. He was an official and worked with the ice crew at the 1984 Canadian Women’s Curling Championship held in Charlottetown, and an official at the 1987 Canadian Mixed Championship held in Summerside.
Blair was the Ice Chair at the TSN Skins Game in 1991, organizing the ice makers course with the well-known ice maker, Shorty Jenkins, and working with the ice crew to ready the ice for the weekend competition.
During the years 1983 to 1992 he was an instructor at the Charlottetown Curling Club beginners clinics. He delivered several strategy courses and rules clinics on behalf of Curl PEI for the development of juniors. He was the head official for the PEI Curling Association in 1987.
In 1984, Blair co-chaired the Kirkwood Cash Maritime Men’s cash spiel. Blair, brother Doug and Mark O’Rourke also hosted the spiel in 1985 and 1986.
Blair chaired and promoted the Ultramar Cash Spiel from 1988 through to 1993. He promoted this same spiel during the years 1994 to 1997.
In 1986, Blair promoted a move to change the Final Eights in the Tankard to a triple-knockout. At the PEI Curling Association annual meeting, he made the motion to implement the change and it was passed.
In 1990, he was the PEI Curling Association’s junior representative for junior men. Blair was responsible organizing the provincial tournament and responsible for the behavior of the men at the Canadian Junior Curling Championship. Blair also organized the first Maritime Junior Curling tournament for provincial junior champions in the fall of 1989.
Blair wrote many articles on curling, sometimes as co-writer, and was the Curling Feature Writer for the Guardian for many years. From 1988 to 1991, he had a weekly column in the Guardian, called 26 Weeks of Curling. He was a co-writer of a column in the Scotties Heart Chart during the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship held in Charlottetown in 2011.
Blair wrote a daily story on women’s curling during the 1991 Canada Winter Games held on the Island. He was a correspondent for the Guardian on several Canadian Curling Championships, including the Scott in Ottawa in 1990, the Brier in Hamilton in 1991, and the Brier in St. John‘s in 2017.
He was a feature writer for Canadian Curling News, and Atlantic Curling Reports. He also enjoyed serving as a commentator for Cable 10 on Eastlink curling broadcasts.
Blair was a member of the 1991 Charlottetown Curling Club Brier Bid Committee and is currently a member of the Bid Committee for the 2025 Scotties.
He served as the Chair of the Charlottetown Curling Club Future Options Committee in 2021-22. In November 2021, he was elected as President of the Charlottetown Curling Club and is working with a group of directors to bring curling back to the Charlottetown Curling Club.
Finally, Blair received the Curl Canada National Scholarship Award in 1986 and in 1987. He was awarded a Volunteer Award from the Charlottetown Curling Club for long service in 1995. In 2019, Blair was awarded the long-time sport volunteer award from Sport PEI for his volunteer work in the sport of curling.