Team Dennis, coached by Greg McAulay, is pictured at the Opening Ceremonies for the 2020 BC Curling Championships at Western Financial Place on Tuesday night. (Barry Coulter file)

Coach Greg McAulay reflects on the past 20 years in curling

McCaulay is in Cranbrook this week, coaching the Dennis Rink in the 2020 BC Curling Championships

Coach Greg McAulay is in Cranbrook this week with Team Dennis, who is competing in the 2020 BC Curling Championships at Western Financial Place. McAulay is well known in the curling world for being the skip on the last BC team to win the World Championships.

Back in the year 2000, both the Kelley Law and Greg McAulay rinks won the provincial, national and world championships. According to the BC Sports Hall of Fame, not since 1980 had one province been the home of both the men’s and women’s championship curling teams. The McAulay rink consisted of Greg McAulay (skip), Bryan Miki (second), Brent Pierce (third), Jody Sveistrup (lead).

This spring marks the 20th anniversary of the McAulay rink winning the Curling World Championships, which were held in Glasgow, Scotland. It is fitting then that the World Men’s Curling Championships will also be held in Glasgow later this year. Teams from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States will attend the Worlds in Glasgow from March 28 to April 5.

Before making history in the year 2000, McAulay skipped his team to a 7-4 finish at the 1998 Labatt Briar, before losing to Saskatchewan (skipped by Rod Montgomery) in a tie-breaker. McAulay has played two Biers in his career.

At the worlds, McAulay finished with an 8-1 record, defeating a US rink in the semi-final, and a Swedish rink in the final.

The Townsman caught up with McAulay mid-week to see how the Dennis rink was doing, and how the sport of Curling has changed over the past 20 years.

READ MORE: Opening ceremonies celebrate 2020 BC Curling Championships

“We’ve just finished up and we’re now de-briefing,” said McAulay Wednesday morning. “Our team has lost a few tough ones now, we’ve had a few heartbreakers. You know, we’ve thought we maybe deserve other outcomes but that’s the game of curling.”

He says that this is Dennis’ first big competition in quite some time, and it’s a different game at the championship level.

“There’s some great competition out there and so far it’s going good, we’re having fun,” McAulay said.

When asked how things have changed over the last 20 years, McAulay explained that rules, atmosphere, and rank have all changed over time.

“For example, it used to be a three rock rule, then it changed to a four rock rule and now five,” said McAulay. The added rocks in the house not only make for a more exciting game but a more challenging game as well.

READ MORE: Leak in WFP roof disrupts play during first day of BC Curling Championships

McAulay went on to say that with the growth of curling as a national sport, grassroots teams are finding it challenging to make their way to the top.

“European curling, it’s a lot better at a world level, they come to play here and that’s great, but there aren’t a lot of grassroots teams at the world level,” said McAulay. “This hurts the younger curlers, there’s less opportunity for cashspiels. Cashspiels are not around anymore at that level. The lower tier of Canadian curlers don’t have that same avenue. You have to really earn your way in, you can’t just break into it. That’s tough for teams here. Even the young Team Tardi here, they’ve won three Junior Worlds but they can’t break into that elite level.”

He adds that sponsors are also easier to find at an elite level.

“That lower tier has a much harder time, it’s tough to get good sponsors,” McAulay explained.

In terms of etiquette, McAulay says that not unlike golf, the rules always apply in a curling rink. However, he says, there’s always an opportunity to have fun.

“Curling has always been a gentleman’s sport. It’s a fun game. The cost of the sport has definitely gone up over time; the cost of events and going to them, that hurts too,” said McAulay. “The camaraderie is still there, but you don’t see teams hanging out together as much as they used to, say, 30 years ago. It’s more of a business atmosphere I would say.”

As a coach, McAulay says it’s great to see his former opponents and players also coaching and passing on the torch.

“Going from playing to coaching, it’s a good transition. Seeing the players that I once played against also coaching, it’s great to see,” said McAulay. “It’s still lots of fun and I’m enjoying coaching. My curling days are over, but I’m enjoying giving it back. It’s fun to get back into it this way and to see the team progress.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The Dennis Rink, coached by Greg McAulay, competing at the 2020 BC Curling Championships at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. (Corey Bullock file)

The Dennis Rink, coached by Greg McAulay, competing at the 2020 BC Curling Championships at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. (Corey Bullock file)

Just Posted

Cranbrook Bucks add two more players to growing roster

A forward and a goaltender have committed to the newest BCHL franchise for next season

EKASS still providing help to those dealing with substance use amid COVID-19

With COVID-19 dominating headlines it can be easy to forget about other… Continue reading

Veterinary clinics considered essential services, continue to help animals

The B.C. government recently released an official list of businesses that are… Continue reading

Travelling couple in self-isolation in Cranbrook grateful for friends’ support

Bob and Wanda Diachuk got back from Mexico and are in quarantine in Mt. Baker RV park

Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19

Ways to cope with anxiety, stress and fear during these uncertain times.

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

District reports case of COVID-19 in Elkford

Owner Ahmed El-Maddah requests any customer who visited pharmacy on March 17 self-isolate

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read