The ‘Roarin Game’ with a long history continues today

Curling continues next week with the Men’s Worlds Championship and fans of the ‘Roarin Game’ will be watching with interest to see if Canada’s own Brad Gushue and his team can rule supreme as the best Men’s curling team in the world.

‘Roarin’ comes from the noise of a granite stone as it travels over the ice and, although the exact origins of the game are unclear, curling is widely believed to be one of the world’s oldest team sports.

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Local curling fans have heard tales of a great local curler from an era that goes back more than 100 years ago. There is some telltale information around the Southampton Curling Club and the family of Brock MacAulay, who donated some very interesting memorabilia to the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre that can be viewed online or researched in the archives room.

I have been through the information and there are some great pictures of Brock, his teams and some unbelievable pictures of trophies that will make your eyes bulge. Over the years, I have been able to see and touch some of these majestic masterpieces from a bygone era when I curled at some of the old clubs in Canada and in Scotland.

BUT; How good were the teams of Brock MacAulay back in the early 1900’s?

Well, I was given a copy of a book titled, “Curling in Ontario 1846- 1946”, written by John A. Stevenson that tells the story of Curling over the 100-year period, and low and behold, Southampton’s own Brock MacAulay is lauded for his superb play. One also needs to keep in mind that there were no such things as the MacDonald Brier to declare a Canadian Champion until 1927.

What we do find though is that there were some years that Brock and the local boys set Ontario curling on its ear by competing and winning major competitions.

Curling had arrived in Southampton with many of the Scots that made up the early settlement of the town. They curled outdoors early on and, in 1896, they formed a club. It was not until 1901 however, that they joined the Ontario Curling Association and began to compete in Provincially sanctioned competitions.

By 1906, the Southampton Club had a rink (team) that was as good as there was in the province of Ontario. The following paragraph from Mr. Stevenson’s book tells the story.

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“On January 22, 1906, a cup called the Glen Challenge was competed for at a bonspiel held at St. Thomas entered by 72 rinks from 21 different clubs. At the end of 6 rounds the Southampton Club, which then enjoyed great prestige under the leadership of a celebrated skip, Brock MacAulay, emerged as the winners. Apparently, they had, later in the same season to defend their possession of the trophy on their own rink, where they again proved victors after 6 rounds. In the following year they were again in the role of defenders at Southampton and this time they had to vanquish 8 opponents to retain the cup.”


The book includes a great picture of SOUTHAMPTON TANKARD RINKS with the caption “Well known as competitive curlers in the 1900’s.”

The names of the eight members of the two rinks (teams) are: Geo. Stirton, Jno. (Moose) McIvor, Geo. (Toots) McIver, Geo. MacAulay as a team and Wm. Logie, Pete Foster, D. (Brock) MacAulay and Ed. Williscroft as the other team.

   Another photo of the ‘winners’ – Brock MacAulay, Alton “Dad” Huber, W.J. Cameron and “Moose” McIvor (photo submitted by Diane Huber)

In October of 1930, Brock MacAulay was inducted as an Honorary Life Member of the Ontario Curling Association.

Curling continues today to be a big part of Southampton’s recreation and social activities. The recent Tankard event played in Port Elgin is an example of the continuing popularity of the “Roarin Game”.