Slave Lake curlers raise money for accessibility in bonspiel

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

Skip Barb Severson eyes up a shot in the Leard Robertson Memorial Funspiel, held on Nov. 4 at the Slave Lake Curling Club. Ten teams participated in the event, which served as a fundraiser for Everybody Plays!, the program started in Slave Lake by Robertson.

Slave Lake Curling Club’s first bonspiel of the year was just for fun and for a good cause.
The Second Annual Leard’s Legacy Funspiel was on Saturday, November 4.
“It was all for fun, no winners or losers,” says organizer Max McGregor.
Ten teams competed to raise money for a Slave Lake version of Everybody Plays! event.
In 2021, Robertson died in a boating accident on Lesser Slave Lake. He worked at the Slave Lake Curling Rink making and maintaining the ice and in the summer as the grounds keeper at Gilwood Golf and Country Club north of Slave Lake.
Robertson had a passion for helping people with special needs get involved in sports, says McGregor. One of the guys with special needs in the community, Myles Gole, helped Robertson at the golf course with his mom Sherry.
In March 2020, Robertson and Sherry Gole organized the first Everybody Plays! event in Slave Lake. This was accessible curling.
In a Leader article before the event, Robertson said, “two main points – participation and public acknowledgement. Local youth or adults with any special needs are encouraged to come out and try different sports. Experience the excitement of playing and being cheered on by the fans.”
At the time, other ideas included sledge hockey and something to do with baseball in the summer. Robertson also played baseball.
Robertson’s death and the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the progress of Everyone Plays! in Slave Lake.
However, in November 2022, the First Annual Leard’s Legacy Funspiel included some Everyone Plays! teams.
That year, eight or 10 people with special needs took part in the bonspiel, says McGregor.
This year, the bonspiel was a fundraiser to hold an Everyone Plays! event later in the winter.
It had a good turnout and raised quite a bit of money, says McGregor.
“We’re trying to keep it going,” says McGregor, of Everyone Plays! The goal is to have it set up so anyone can curl, wheelchair-accessible, stick curling, etc.
He figures Everyone Plays! will be close to the end of the curling season.
Curling goes into March.

Back in March 2020, the organizers of the first Everybody Plays! event in Slave Lake. Left to right, Leard Robertson (who died in 2021), Myles Gole (who Robertson called “the poster boy” for the event), and Myles’ mother Sherry Gole

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