Nanaimo Curling Club raises third championship banner in 61 years.

By Dan Marshall
April 11, 2018 - 1:19pm

Nanaimo's 2017 Travelers Cup champions Bart Sawyer, Steve Waatainen, Craig Burton, and Keith ClarkeDan Marshall

NANAIMO — For only the third time in the club's history a championship banner will be hung at the Nanaimo Curling Club.

Bart Sawyer and his rink won the 2017 Travelers Cup championship in Kingston Ontario in November and presented the banner at the club on Tuesday in a special ceremony.


The only other championship banners are from the 1957 Canadian Women's team, and the 1970 Senior Men's rink.

The Travelers Cup is the Canadian club championship, and for Sawyer's rink with Steve Waatainen, Keith Clarke, and Craig Burton, the road to the cup included winning in Nanaimo, at a South Island tournament, and at a provincial tournament in Richmond before getting the chance to represent BC at the national level.

Sawyer says none of the curlers had ever represented BC at that level, and the feeling was surreal.

"To actually wear the BC jacket and wear the BC flag and represent the province for the first time was very nerve wracking, but it was very cool," said Sawyer.

One of the unforgettable moments from the Travelers Cup was having Gord Sinclair and Daniel Langois of the Tragically Hip in attendance.

Sawyer says Sinclair is actually a member of the Cataraqui Curling Club in Kingston and he actually threw out the first rock at the event.

In Canada curling fans pay the most attention to the big events like the Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts but Sawyer says it's a special feeling to become a champion at the club level.

"I think it's actually more exciting because you're actually representing every club curler. You're not spending thousands and thousands of dollars throughout the entire year traveling everywhere, you're just playing your club. You actually get to compete for a national championship as a regular Joe Blow," Sawyer explained.

Walking into a curling rink almost anywhere in Canada you'll see some championship banners hanging down.

Sawyer is very proud that he and his teammates are forever a part of Nanaimo curling history.

He referenced the first banner still hanging from 1957 and calls the honour of knowing that the names Sawyer, Waatainen, Clarke, and Burton will still be on display another 60 years from now a 'pretty cool thing'.

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