Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ray Turnbull

What does the name Ray Turnbull mean to you? If you are a relatively new convert to the sport of curling you may only know of him as one of the analysts of TSN's television coverage of the sport. For example, you can listen to him on TSN's video-on-demand of Sunday's final, and other games, at the Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Swift Current, see here. That's him above with Linda Moore. Ray, Linda and Vic Rautter have been the commentary team for a fair number of years, but Ray is set to hang up his mike after the Worlds in Cortina next week. He's 70 now, and feels it's time to move over for a new voice.

You may not be aware that for many years before joining TSN, Ray Turnbull was an influential curling coach. Not all Canadians appreciated his efforts in hosting curling clinics in Europe and Asia, inspiring players and teams. In 1978, the Canadian team, skipped by Mike Chernoff with Ed Lukovich playing last stones, was beaten in the semifinals of the Silver Broom by a young Norwegian team, skipped by Kristian Soerum. Turnbull was in the stadium as one of the officials when a fan yelled down from the stands, "It's all your ...... fault, Turnbull!" Ray is quoted as saying he took it as a compliment.

Indeed, curlers in many countries benefited from Turnbull's expertise, including the Scots, when he was invited (by Richard Harding as I recall) to bring his curling clinic to Forest Hills and to Gogar Park. At the time, this was all rather controversial, especially to some of the traditionalists in the Royal Club. But his courses were great.

He was a good player too. I saw him in action as Terry Braunstein's lead in Perth in 1965, the year the Canadians lost to Bud Somerville's USA team in the Scotch Cup final. Seems like just yesterday! Enjoy your retirement Moose.

The photo of Ray and Linda was taken last week in Swift Current by Hugh Stewart.