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Senior skips face off in odd-couple curling match

It was a battle of the titans at a south Edmonton curling club Thursday.

At 91 and 93 years old, two of the Ellerslie Curling Club’s most senior skips faced off.

While the two are similar in age, they take opposite approaches on the sheet.

“One is very competitive and one is very laid back,” said club manager Tiffany Game.

Lew Thoreson celebrated his 91st birthday in November. He curls for pleasure and prefers to shoot from the hip, skipping any pregame practices and letting the rocks land where they may.

“Just go out and pray for the best at the time,” Thoreson said. “It’s for enjoyment, not to be better than or anything else.

“Because one day you can’t do anything wrong, the next day you can’t do anything right.”

His fellow nonagenarian and opponent Cliff Holm prefers a more procedural approach.

Holm has been throwing rocks since he was 12 and joined the Ellerslie Curling Club in 1988. Now going on 94, he still takes his game seriously.

“I’m here for two reasons,” Holm said. “First one – to have fun. [The] second one is to win, and we usually do not too bad.”

Holm has been playing with his current teammates for around four years, and the group swept the senior’s championship in 2022 and 2023.

“I got tired of him beating me all the time, so I joined him,” said one of Holm’s teammates.

Unlike Thoreson, he can always be seen on the ice ahead of a match, getting in some pre-game practice shots.

“I think it’s essential really, you should be able to practice at anything, doesn’t matter what it is,” Holm said.

Game said the old-timer odd couple are just a few of the veteran curlers in house, and she appreciates what all of them bring to the sheet.

“I think it’s actually fantastic, it shows that our sport, you can play at any age. We have quite a few seniors who are topping to that 90 age, and it’s great. It’s great to see them out.”

After the game, the club celebrated the nail-biter match with cake.

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