The 1932 W.H. Burns Curling Team
Curling’s actual debut in the Olympic Games came in 1924, when a three-country competition was held. Only three 18-end matches were played, and Great Britain was the winner over Sweden and France. Curling was deemed a demonstration sport, and that also was the case eight years later in the Winter Games of 1932 at Lake Placid, New York. This time Canada and the United States competed in a two-country demonstration, with each nation entering four teams from provinces and states. Led by Manitoba, Canada won 12-4 in the inter-country round robin. The Manitoba team skipped by William Burns, with James Bowman, Robert Dow and future provincial lieutenant-governor Errick Willis at lead, won all four of its 16-end games. The 1932 W. H. Burns Rink defeated Massachusetts 19-10, Michigan 22-12, New York 15-9, and in the closest match, downed Connecticut 15-14.
During his years as lieutenant-governor, Willis gained a reputation for his uncanny skill at drawing to the four-foot-circle repeatedly in throwing the ceremonial first stone to open events like the MCA bonspiel and the Manitoba championships. “This is the kind of touch we had in beating the Americans in Lake Placid,” Willis often said. The Manitoba quartet received commemorative gold medals for their victory.
ROSTER: L-R: Errick F. Willis-Lead, Robert B. Dow-Second, James L. Bowman-Third, and William H. Burns-Skip.