After 25 years, Turnbull is stepping away from the microphone

CanWest News Service
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Ray Turnbull's hotel room resembles an upscale men's clothing store.

Turnbull always books a room with two beds when he's on the road as TSN's curling analyst. One bed is for resting his 70-year-old body when he's not on the air. The other is covered with the 140 ties he brings to each assignment. There is even a temporary closet for the 13 jackets and two suits he wears over the duration of major curling events such as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"I never wear the same thing twice during a competition," Turnbull said. "So you can imagine how much clothing I have to bring."

Ray Turnbull's hotel room resembles an upscale men's clothing store.

Turnbull always books a room with two beds when he's on the road as TSN's curling analyst. One bed is for resting his 70-year-old body when he's not on the air. The other is covered with the 140 ties he brings to each assignment. There is even a temporary closet for the 13 jackets and two suits he wears over the duration of major curling events such as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"I never wear the same thing twice during a competition," Turnbull said. "So you can imagine how much clothing I have to bring."

That means the clothes horse has to turn to Greyhound bus lines to get his wardrobe to each site.

"People call me the poor man's Don Cherry," said Turnbull. "I say the difference between Don and me is about $800,000 a year . . ."

The 2010 curling season marks the end of the road for Turnbull and his well-travelled wardrobe. After 25 years, Turnbull is to retire as a curling analyst with the TSN. Turnbull's final telecast will be the final of the Ford women's curling championship beginning today in Swift Current, Sask.

"It's time," said Turnbull, who has served as TSN's curling analyst since 1984. "I also feel it's time for a new voice and honestly, I'm tired."

Turnbull got his TV start with Cable Regina during the 1983 men's world curling championship.

Turnbull sent tapes from those broadcasts to TSN and was among the first on-air personalities hired when it went on the air in 1984. Since then, Turnbull's folksy style has become a staple of the network's curling coverage.

"It's his passion," said Vic Rauter, who has worked in the booth with Turnbull since 1986. "We all love the game but he's passionate about it. He has always and will always believe that this is the greatest game in the world. Curling for Ray is his life. He has a great family but there isn't a game in all aspects better than this one for him."

Turnbull is more than an analyst. He is among the best instructors in the world and has coached and trained 17 world champions. He was also a curling official, serving as an umpire at five world championships and eight world junior championships. He also served as the head umpire at some European championships.

He shared in the 1965 Canadian men's championship with Winnipeg's Terry Braunstein and was named an all-star lead at the Brier and world championship.

His first national event for TSN was the 1984 Canadian mixed championship.

He. Rauter and Linda Moore do between 75 and 80 live curling matches a season and Turnbull makes it sound easy.

"It's not an easy thing to do because that red light going on separates the men from the boys," said Turnbull. "There are times when my emotions get me in trouble but it's my enthusiasm for the sport that comes across. It has been a touch educational because you're trying to teach people. I try to analyze it and not criticize but there are times when you have no other way. You also want to have to some fun with it. We're not any different from other entertainers and we know that it's not life or death."

At the completion of the season, Turnbull will turn his attention to Jane, his wife of 22 years, Allan and Reggie, his twin 18-year-olds sons nicknamed Out-turn and In-turn, his three children from his first marriage and two grandchildren. He also operates a successful insurance agency in Winnipeg, which will provide him with the finances to travel even more. Because Turnbull is leaving on his own terms, there isn't a hint of regret.

"I'm really pumped for this year," said Turnbull. "I know it's my last one but it's a celebration. I will miss it but John Madden said it best: 'It's time for me to leave.' I feel good about my career and what I've done."

It's believed Russ Howard, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist with Brad Gushue, will take over for Turnbull. Howard has been groomed for the position while serving as the morning analyst for TSN's coverage of the Season of Champions.

Turnbull will be missed but he leaves the booth confident that he did make a difference.

"The one thing we're all so proud of is we have brought so many people to the game," said Turnbull. "Every time I go some place people will say they know me as the curling guy. I will ask them if they are curlers and they say they have never curled but they watch it on TV. I'm the king of the senior citizen home. TSN recognized that we were bringing in all of these non-curlers and we were doing our job properly."

Geographic location: Swift Current, Sask., Winnipeg

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  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Ray, along with Vic and Linda, are simply the best when it came to covering a game. His and Lindas insight into the nuisances and strategy of the game, made it very enjoyable to watch, especially for us novices. Vics folksy charm made it a complete package.

    Enjoy your retirement Ray. Youll be missed.

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    It will be sad not to see Ray's coverage in the future. Hard to believe it has been 25 years but together with Linda Moore, they were such a welcome reprieve for curling fans everywhere from listening to Don Duguid and his two schools of thought. Thanks for the memories Ray!!!!!

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Ray, along with Vic and Linda, are simply the best when it came to covering a game. His and Lindas insight into the nuisances and strategy of the game, made it very enjoyable to watch, especially for us novices. Vics folksy charm made it a complete package.

    Enjoy your retirement Ray. Youll be missed.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    It will be sad not to see Ray's coverage in the future. Hard to believe it has been 25 years but together with Linda Moore, they were such a welcome reprieve for curling fans everywhere from listening to Don Duguid and his two schools of thought. Thanks for the memories Ray!!!!!