No. 10 Sue Anne Bartlett curling team

Robin
Robin Short
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Before Strong and Cunningham, Bartlett dominated women's curling

Long before the tag-team duo of Heather Strong and Cathy Cunningham were dominating the provincial women's curling scene, the name Sue Anne Bartlett was synonymous with curling excellence.

Strong, with Cunningham throwing third stone, has won five provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and counting. Before that, it was Cunningham skipping teams to three Newfoundland and Labrador women's titles. And before that run, Strong won from 1998-2001.

- Telegram file photo

Long before the tag-team duo of Heather Strong and Cathy Cunningham were dominating the provincial women's curling scene, the name Sue Anne Bartlett was synonymous with curling excellence.

Strong, with Cunningham throwing third stone, has won five provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and counting. Before that, it was Cunningham skipping teams to three Newfoundland and Labrador women's titles. And before that run, Strong won from 1998-2001.

Back in the 1970s and early '80s, it was Bartlett and her team from Labrador City who were the top stone-slingers in the province, with Bartlett skipping 12 provincial women's championship teams and winning a pair of silver medals at the nationals.

Widely considered the best female curler this province has produced, Bartlett is a member of the Canadian Curling Association's Hall of Fame and the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.

Bartlett's first provincial win came in 1971 when she, Ann Bright, Francis Hiscock and Mavis Pike ended a run of four titles in five years by Grand Falls curler Violet (Vi) Pike.

Bartlett would repeat again in 1972 and would go on to win in 1974, '76, '78 and 1979.

In 1978, Patricia Dwyer replaced Bright as vice and would throw third stones for the next six championship teams.

Perhaps Bartlett's greatest moment - and maybe the most disappointing - came in 1981 at the national women's championship, the "Lassie," at Memorial Stadium in St. John's.

A slow start saw the team, which consisted of Dwyer, Joyce Narduzzi and Jo Ann Bepperling, lose three of its first four games. But Bartlett and Co. rebounded with six straight wins to finish third overall at 7-3, tying her record from the 1979 Lassie in Montreal where she finished third.

With a steal of one in the 10th end, Bartlett won the semifinal, a 6-5 decision over Joan Ingram of Manitoba, for a date with Alberta's Susan Seitz in the final.

An overflow crowd filled the Stadium for the final, but a storybook finish was not to be.

Alberta thumped Newfoundland 7-3, breaking a 2-2 tie with three in the sixth end.

"I really, really wanted to win that," Bartlett said in a 2005 interview with The Telegram. "Maybe I went in too uptight. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves.

"That's the only thing I will always regret ... that we didn't win."

The next three years would see the provincial title change hands three times, with teams skipped by Lori Quinn, Ruby Crocker and Kitty Barker.

With a new front end - Margaret Knickle and Debbie Herbert had replaced Narduzzi and Bepperling - Bartlett and Dwyer regained their provincial title in 1985 and headed for Winnipeg and the 1985 Canadian women's championship.

Bartlett again finished 7-3 in the round-robin, finishing in a tie with Alberta's Seitz and Nova Scotia. One of the tie-breakers was a rematch with Alberta, which Bartlett won 8-2 in eight ends.

After a semifinal win over Nova Scotia's Virginia Jackson, it was on to the final again. This time her opponent was Linda Moore of British Columbia, now a TSN curling analyst.

Just as it had been four years earlier, it was a disappointing outcome for the Newfoundlanders, who lost 13-7 after giving up a whopping five in the first end.

Bartlett would win another three provincial championships, but would not reach the national final again.

After her days playing for what is now the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Bartlett set her sights on the seniors, and didn't miss a step. From 1996-2000, she peeled off five straight provincial titles. At the '94 nationals, Bartlett posted a 10-1 record in the round-robin, but lost to Alberta's Cordella Schwengler in the final for her third national silver medal.

Bartlett moved to Nova Scotia in the early part of the decade, and represented that province twice in the national seniors, in 2004 and '05.

Selection criteria

The object: To select the 10 best teams Newfoundland and Labrador has produced. Six prominent individuals with an impressive sports background, together with Robin Short, Brendan McCarthy, John Browne and Kenn Oliver of The Telegram's sports department, were chosen to make the selections.

The criteria: Teams must have been primarily comprised of athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador, competed in or represented the province, or country, in athletic competition. The field was open to amateur and professional, and male and female athletes.

The selection panel

Jill Brewer: A long-time diving coach in St. John's, Brewer is head of the St. John's recreation department. A former Canada Games coach, she is a member of the St. John's Molson Athlete of the Year Committee.

Ian Campbell: A two-sport star (hockey and baseball) with the Guards in St. John's during the late 1950s and '60s, Campbell was the 1963 and '65 St. John's athlete of the year.

George Faulkner: Newfoundland's 'Mr. Hockey', Faulkner was voted the No. 1 athlete on The Telegram's Top 10 list of athletes last year. He is a Newfoundland Sports and Newfoundland Hockey Hall of Famer.

Kathy Gosse: A long-time sports reporter at the Clarenville Packet, Gosse knows how to play the game, too. She was the 1972 St. John's Female Athlete of the Year.

Chris Green: A Corner Brook radio personality for over 30 years, Green has called play-by-play in hockey from the old Newfoundland Senior Hockey League to the American Hockey League (Cape Breton Oilers). Today, Green anchors the morning news for CFCB radio in Corner Brook.

Joe Wadden: A long-time baseball and basketball standout in St. John's, Wadden is a member of both the provincial hardball and hoops Halls of Fame. He is a 2009 inductee into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.


rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall, The Telegram, Canadian Curling Association Canada Games Year Committee Newfoundland Senior Hockey League American Hockey League Cape Breton Oilers

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Alberta Nova Scotia Grand Falls Memorial Stadium Montreal Manitoba Winnipeg British Columbia Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Capture the Flag
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Great choice for number 10. She had an outstanding team for many years.
    I question how the members of the selection panel were chosen. Should they not be Newfounderlanders. Take Jill Brewer, She has been in Nfld only since 1983, what does she know about teams in Nfld. prior to her arrival in the province?

  • Capture the Flag
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Great choice for number 10. She had an outstanding team for many years.
    I question how the members of the selection panel were chosen. Should they not be Newfounderlanders. Take Jill Brewer, She has been in Nfld only since 1983, what does she know about teams in Nfld. prior to her arrival in the province?