Wrench did wonders for curling

GEORGE KARRYS, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Toronto's legendary "Dream Team" of curling received another honour during the Argos game at the Rogers Centre on Saturday.

"1983, that's 26 years later... that brings back a few memories," said Eddie (The Wrench) Werenich.

Werenich's world champion squad of that year, which included Paul Savage, John Kawaja and Neil Harrison, was a part of an induction ceremony into the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame.

Also inducted were football stars Mike (Pinball) Clemons and Doug Flutie, Leafs hockey legend Ted Lindsay, marathon swimmer Cliff Lumsdon and figure skater Elvis Stojko.

"It's great," Werenich said. "What we started, the revolution, I got a ton of flak over it, even from my friends.

"They said the four skips routine would never work. I guess we kind of blew that (thinking) out of the water."

Bringing four powerhouse captains together into one curling team wasn't the only revolution the foursome brought to the ice.

The Wrench was brash and blunt. He always spoke his mind, which threw the sport's mandarins into a tizzy.

Werenich also was the first to throw a corner guard, the future cornerstone of aggressive curling strategy.

"We started throwing corners in the first end," Werenich said. "I had just started skipping in 1981, and I remember playing Jimmy Sharples at the old Humber Highland rink, in the Major League. In those days the Major League was a big deal, we had 16 really good teams in it.

"We threw a corner guard on the first shot of the game and Sharples calls a team meeting. They talk and talk, and they decide to peel (hit) it.

"We threw another corner, and they had another team meeting. It was hilarious. They didn't know what to do."

The team, which also made it to the 1984 Brier final, scored hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Gold Trail cashspiel circuit, decades before today's made-for-TV Grand Slam series.

"Paul Savage, you'll never meet a greater guy, but when things got tough, he'd tended to get a bit excited," Werenich said.

"And then you'd have the youthful John Kawaja staring him down at second, and steady Harry at lead."

Werenich went on to win the 1990 Brier and worlds with Kawaja, and also made it to the final three at the 1997 Canadian Olympic trials in his last real kick at the can.

He stowed his broom for a few good years ago, after a brief comeback attempt with one of his two sons, Ryan.

Savage has retired to southern Ontario cottage country, but occasionally works on promotional campaigns for the Canadian Curling Association.

Harrison still plays in both senior and firefighter competitions, and has recovered nicely from a health scare in 2007.

Kawaja is far removed from the ice wars. He moved to the U.S. a number of years ago, and is now executive vice-president of TaylorMade Golf, responsible for Adidas Golf and Ashworth businesses worldwide.

Broom bits

The Sunday Sun previewed the Road to the Roar Olympic pre-trials event, which runs tomorrow through Saturday in Price George, B.C.

Curling fans can watch the action online at curltv.com, and on TSN from Thursday through Saturday.

GEORGE KARRYS, AN OLYMPIAN, IS PUBLISHER OF THE CURLING NEWS


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