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'Just the ultimate to play in this': Sask. welcomes Scotland for one of curling's oldest tournaments

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Sixteen Scottish curlers and 16 Canadians squared off against each other Friday morning as part of the 2023 Strathcona Cup, a tournament taking place across Canada.

The 32 curlers were led into the Sutherland Curling Club by a bagpiper and flag bearers.

“It means a lot to represent your country. You're very honoured to play,” said Bruce Porteous, one of the Scottish team members.

Porteous's father played in the tournament back in 2003.

“It’s a selection process which is very hard to get through,” he said.

In total there are three Scottish tours each, with 20 players per team – a west, central and east. Players can only compete in the tournament once.

The West tour played its first game in Delta, BC and will end in Winnipeg.

One of the players representing Canada Friday morning was 1980 Men’s World Champion Jim Wilson. For Wilson, the opportunity to play against Scotland brings back some old memories.

“The Scottish team at the time had Barton Henderson, which in talking with some of these guys last night, they knew him, and it was nice to catch up and see how he was doing,” said Wilson.

Wilson has a long list of curling accomplishments, and getting to play in Strathcona Cup is an event he’s wanted to play in for a while.

“I’ve accomplished everything I need to in curling, but this gets right up there,” said Wilson.

On the Scottish side, it has plenty of heavy hitters too. Robert Clark placed 5th at the 1985 world Championship.

“It’s a great honour to play in the Strathcona Cup. My father came to Canada in 1983, and he played in the Strathcona Cup. This is just the ultimate to play in this.”

According to organizers, it is the longest continuously running curling tournament worldwide. Curlers are only eligible to play in the event once in their lifetime.

"It is such a great event to make friends in curling and to make friends across the ocean with Scotland and Canada,” said Western Canada Strathcona Cup host Derek Hay.

The tournament has been around longer than the curling rink it was being played in – dating back to 1903.

Canada won it back in 2018 and is currently leading with only a few games left to be played. It runs on a total points scoring system.

After Saskatoon, the Scotts will head to Winnipeg for their next match.

The Strathcona Cup gets its name from Donald Smith, 1st Baron Lord Strathcona who donated the trophy. The Scottish-born Canadian business man, became a commissioner, governor and principal shareholder of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the person who drilled the last spike for the trans-Canada Railway. 

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