Ian MacAulay of P.E.I. recently faced off against some of the best curlers in the world at the World Senior Men’s Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alberta. The team finished with the silver medal.
“Representing Canada is pretty special,” said MacAulay, who is back on P.E.I. at his cottage near Souris for a couple of weeks.
“Putting on the jacket the first time, I got choked up a bit and to see all of your family out there it’s pretty special.”
There was a large contingent from P.E.I. at the Worlds to cheer him on. Not surprising considering MacAulay has 42 first cousins on his mother’s side, and even more on his father’s.
Steep learning curve
MacAulay got his start at the Souris Curling Club as a teenager, working as a volunteer to the club’s ice makers.
He moved to Ottawa as a mechanic, but needed to find another career after injuring his back. He found it making curling ice.
“Passion for the game, I guess,” recalled MacAulay about what attracted him.
“I really loved making ice and turned it into a full-time career.”
He admitted he learned the hard way, having many disasters along the way.
“Every mistake I made, I tried to learn from it and I made plenty of mistakes,” said MacAulay.
Major melt down
One of the biggest disasters was in making ice in Scotland for the Women’s World Curling Championship, a last minute assignment just two months before the event.
“I said to the ice maker, ‘Do you know that building?’ He goes, ‘No.’ I said, ‘I think we should go see the building,’ and he said, ‘No, we’ll be all right.’ We got over there and it was an absolute nightmare,” MacAulay said.
“I was up for a 72 hour stretch trying to get the ice in, lost the ice for the first draw, it was all water but we got through it.”
Keep it clean
Ice making also took him to Bulgaria, Switzerland, Italy and “every small town in Ontario.”
“My secret is keep the ice level and clean and pure ice.”
MacAulay is currently the ice maker for two clubs in Ottawa, where he sometimes comes in at 6 a.m. to get in some practice time.
He has also helped to get curling up and running again in Souris, on a makeshift curling sheet at the local rink.
“My son and I came down to help Colin LaVie,” he explained.
Islanders take the world
MacAulay joins an impressive list of Prince Edward Islanders who have curled at world championships, including the Bill Jenkins rink, world…