Northern Ontario Rocks the Brier – For Now?


The BrierTHUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay – Canada’s New Democrats have launched a campaign they call “Northern Ontario Rocks the Brier (est. 1926) which aims to keep the 84 year old tradition of having a Northern Ontario team represented at the iconic Canadian curling championships.

New Democrat MPs from Northern Ontario today launched the “Northern Ontario Rocks the Brier (Est. 1926)!” campaign on Thursday and are calling on Northern Ontarians, including the estimated 10,000 curlers in the region to make their voice heard. “Northern Ontario has held a spot in this tournament because we have an exceptionally large curling population, a distinct geographic region and culture, and a tradition of excellence in the sport,” Rafferty noted.

“We believe that the national curling leadership got it right way back in 1926 recognizing the distinctness and vastness of Northern Ontario and that is the way it should stay,” said New Democrat Sports Critic, Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury). “Northern Ontario in addition to being a huge land mass has a huge curling population. It’s a day long drive for Fort Frances, Kenora and northwest curlers to compete in play downs in North Bay, so a spot in the Brier has always respected our unique geography and regional traditions.”

The New Democrat MPs also pointed to the success of various Northern Ontario teams over the years as a reason to ensure that a Northern Ontario team is able to compete at the national championships. “In the Northwest in particular we have had some outstanding teams lead by greats like Al Hackner and Rick Lang who have won World Championships and done our region proud,” Rafferty said. “We want to ensure that the next generation of curlers from across Northern Ontario have that same chance to represent our region with pride on the national and international stage.”

There’s been annual chatter at the Brier about the unique two-rink Ontario representation but three-time Brier champion Rick Lang of Thunder Bay notes, “What makes the Brier one of Canada’s great sporting events is the tremendous history and tradition. Northern Ontario has been a significant part of that tradition, both on and off the ice, for over eighty years”

The New Democrat MPs have created a petition for the “Northern Ontario Rocks the Brier (est. 1926)” campaign which can be printed or signed online. To find the petition, go to

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