Local curling club pays tribute to late mentor, true gentleman

Published on March 17, 2017

Left to right, Erna Duchemin, Donna Sharpe and Elizabeth Portman share a laugh during the recent Cecil Hicks Memorial Bonspiel.


SACKVILLE, N.B. – In spite of being billed as a memorial bonspiel the Sackville Curling Club was echoing from the rafters with laughter as a good time was enjoyed by the 48 curlers and dozens of onlookers all day Saturday as tribute was paid to the late Cecil Hicks in the manner in which he would have been totally supportive.

Cecil, of course, had been a dominant figure within the walls of the “ice palace” for more than 40 years, providing guidance, instruction and encouragement to a group of new curlers each season. He had led the morning men’s group for many years before failing health meant his turning the role over to Don Macintyre.

Throughout the day, from 8:30 in the morning until late afternoon the various rinks each curled three four-end games in a fun manner. Some times the skips were not permitted to throw takeouts while at other times they were forced to use sticks or to throw opposite coloured rocks.

Nearly 50 curlers took part in the inaugural Cecil Hicks Memorial Fun Bonspiel recently. Hicks was a dominant figure in the local curling club for many years and was well known for mentoring other curlers. Above, Hicks granddaughter Erin Morice and Alexander “Bubsy” Grant take part in the event.

The day was set up so as not to create a competitive atmosphere but one of strictly fun as Cecil would have appreciated. 

Some appropriate fun prizes were awarded for some weird accomplishments. 

However, two curlers – Jack Clark and Jean Hart – were presented with special awards for having shown the same type of approach to the game of curling as that shown by Cecil Hicks for so many years.

Five long-time curlers paid tribute to Cecil during the noon break as they shared experiences and told of how he constantly shared his wealth of knowledge of the game not only to teammates but also with opponents, especially if he got an early reading on the ice conditions. 

One of those paying their respects was Allister Symes of Moncton, who described Cecil as a true gentleman who was always prepared to provide encouragement and advice.

Alan Smith and Nick Portman headed up the committee, arranging the event, which met all expectations. Smith said it has been in the planning stages for some time and that plans call for the staging of an annual Cecil Hicks Memorial Fun Bonspiel.

A highlight of the day was the presentation of a cheque for $500 by Mrs. Hicks (Vivian) to the club, which will be known as the Cecil Hicks Memorial Fund. Smith said it will be placed in a separate account and, hopefully, will grow with the club’s board of directors determining what projects it will be used for.

Left to right, Sharon MacIntyre, Arnold LeBlanc and Dan Reyno are shown in action during the first annual Cecil Hicks Memorial Fun Bonspiel.

Smith said that while the day was dedicated to Cecil there was another positive in that the club generated considerable income.

In a special ceremony a special number 8 red handle was placed on a rock, which will remain on the centre ice for the use of the skip of the time using that particular colour. 

This was the token memorial for the occasion.

Hicks had led the senior men and it was that group that decided to pay their respects in such a manner and all of those in the club on Saturday got into the mood. As a bonus, the kitchen staff served soup and sandwiches for the participants and visitors.

The only negative came when The Four Corners was unable to perform due to an attack of the “flu. 

This group is made up of Cecil’s two daughters, son and daughter-in-law. 

But Smith said other than that hitch the day of tribute went perfectly and he is confident the late Cecil Hicks would have been wearing his trademark smile.

The organizing committee for the inaugural Cecil Hicks Memorial Fun Bonspiel included, left to right: Doug Key, Hugh Fensome, Don MacIntyre, Al Smith, Colin White, Linda Trenholm, Nick Portman, Lloyd Varner and Sheila Parker. Missing from the photo are Kathy Best, Jerry Ward, Les Hicks and Sharon Hicks. Visit www.sackville tribunepost.com for more photos from the event.