Fallis-Kurz was a member of the Manitoba mixed team, featuring Jeff Stoughton, and Buckle, a Corner Brook curling legend, was making his national curling debut as a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador representative competing for the Canadian mixed curling title.
The two have reconnected many moons later, right here in Corner Brook, no doubt the occurrence a direct result of a sport that both have had success in over the years.
Kyle Kurz, third for the defending Canadian junior men’s championship rink from Winnipeg, is son of Lynn and Jim Kurz, and in the mix to win a second straight title as Corner Brook plays host to the 2015 M & M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships.
Fallis-Kurz was strolling around the concourse at the Pepsi Centre earlier this week. Buckle, meanwhile, was going about his business as a volunteer for the host committee.
“We were just walking and we looked at each other and recognized each other,” Fallis-Kurz said.
Fallis-Kurz, along with her sister Karen, helped Manitoba win the mixed crown in North Bay.
She also celebrated winning the national mixed tournament in 1991.
She was in her mid-20s and eager to have fun and meet people. Winning the title was just the icing on the cake.
What stood out about that particular tournament was a social event planned by the Newfoundland and Labrador squad that also included Gary Oke, who is sharing the co-chair duties for the host committee with Susan Curtis.
Keeping with tradition, Buckle and company held a ‘Screeching-in’ for all the players from other provinces.
The two had a chance to chat while taking in all the action. It’s a part of the social aspect of the game that people share — meeting people and forming lifelong friendships because of a shared passion.
Her son would be back for a run at the title again this year so Fallis-Kurz — a national women’s junior curling champion in 1981 for Manitoba — said she was pretty excited when she heard Corner Brook would be putting out the welcome mat for the national junior tournament.
While seeing familiar faces is nice and getting to see a piece of a province she’s only heard about have been worth the long journey, this mom knows the heat is on with a national title and a chance to represent the country on the world junior stage foremost on the minds of the big guns.
From her own experience, which includes a year curling with Olympic gold-medalist Jennifer Jones at the Scotties in 2002, she knows how difficult it is to go all the way. It’s even tougher to repeat, especially since many of the top challengers are gunning for the chance to knock off the champs.
She wasn’t about to make any bold predictions, but she sees no reason why the rink can’t be around on the final day.
“You need to have some of the, what we call, curling gods on your side,” she said.