One of the more interesting stories in the sports history of Berwick involves the 1962 Berwick Legion Curling Team – a team that won a provincial championship when it didn’t have a home rink in which to play or practice. According to team members, the story of the Berwick Legion curling championship team really began in the mid 1950’s. At that time, Berwick had no curling rink of their own but through the generosity of the neighboring Middleton Curling Club; Berwick curlers were able to use their facilities several times a week. Among this group of dedicated Berwick curlers were four who decided to enter a team in the eligibility depended on being a Legion member and a member of a curling club. Thus, started the curling adventures of George Adams, Jim Barrett, Rod Bethune, and Reg Stevens.
Initially the Berwick foursome felt that if they concentrated on curling rather than indulge in the more “social” aspects of the sport, they would have an excellent chance since obviously the other teams would be there for that rather than actually trying to win the curling championship. However, the Berwick rink soon discovered that the competition was in earnest and every team was there for the same purpose – to win the championship. The level of curling skill was high. Thus, for five or six years, the Berwick quartet never reached the finals but they stayed together as a team and finally their dogged determination paid off. In 1962, they reached their goal and became provincial Legion champs earning the right to represent Nova Scotia at the Canadian (Dominion) Championships. By all accounts, a popular representative since the Berwick group had worked so hard to get there and always displayed great sportsmanship even in their losing years.
Among the most engaging and entertaining stories connected with this team are those involving the preparation of the new Nova Scotia Legion champs for the Canadian championships held that year in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Since the team didn’t have matching curling sweaters, there was a frantic around of knitting by spouses and curlers alike to ensure that the team was suitably attired. With suitcases packed with new curling sweaters, a supply of Berwick Curling Club pins, a trunk full of the Annapolis Valley’s best apples and the generous financial support of the Berwick Legion, the 1962 champions headed off to the Canadian championships. Although they were not winners at this level, they represented Nova Scotia, their home club and Legion post, and the Town of Berwick extremely well. Even on the trip home, the experiences of the team were somewhat unusual. A late winter storm forced the group to overnight in Moncton before returning home with their tales of some exciting Canadian championship curling.
Members of 1962 Berwick Legion Curling Team
Nova Scotia Legion Champions
Inducted June 1999