A lifelong resident of the Kemptville area, Jim Dolan has always had an interest in local sports and in promoting those sports in our town and the community at large. In the spring of 2006, while a very active member of the North Grenville Curling Club, Jim heard that the Club would be hosting the first ever “OVCA Women’s Fall Classic”. He wanted to play an integral part in helping to promote competitive women’s curling in Canada and saw this as a great opportunity to also promote his hometown.
Jim started out by writing articles for the local newspapers about this event and in 2008, he became the event Vice Chair. In 2010, he became the first North Grenville Club member to Chair this event. Jim was once again approached by the OVCA to Chair the event, but said he would only do so if Bill White, a friend and fellow North Grenville Curling Club member, would agree to and be allowed to Co-chair the event with him.
When Bill and Jim assumed the roles of Co-Chairs of the Fall Classic, they had three goals.
To put on a World Class curling event that would showcase all that is good about ladies curling;
To put on an event that sponsors would be proud to be associated with; and
To put on an event that curling fans would want to come to our community to attend.
Jim stated “Bill was my voice of reason and I provided the enthusiasm to always seek ways to improve the event for teams, our sponsors, and our fans. We worked well together.”
Jim also had a fourth goal as he saw the event as an opportunity to promote his curling club and the community. As Jim will tell you, his small but outstanding Fall Classic committee literally introduced our community and curling club to the world with teams from Scotland, Great Britain, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and Japan competing in the event. Six World Champions have participated in the event as well as the current Olympic Gold Medalist, Anna Hasselborg of Sweden. In 2017, Jim was proud to see the event finally become a coast-to-coast competition with the participation of a young team from British Columbia.
The Fall Classic has attracted some of the best women curlers in Canada over the years, including five time World Champion Mary Anne Arsenault of Nova Scotia and the 2017 World Champion Rachel Homan of Ottawa. Jim is especially proud of the achievements of Lauren Mann, a former member of the North Grenville Curling Club who competes regularly in the Fall Classic. Lauren made it to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts twice as a member of the 2015 and 2017 Quebec Scotties Provincial Championship team.
To quote Jim “It is impossible to attract these world class curlers to the Fall Classic without the hundreds of North Grenville Curling Club volunteers and local businesses who embrace the event every year so that the players and fans can experience our incredible small town hospitality.”
Jim has seen the event grow from 20 teams in 2006 with a purse of $10,000 to 24 teams in 2017 and a purse of $20,000. For several years now, the Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic has remained the largest All Women’s World Curling Tour event east of Toronto in Canada.
Jim stepped down as chair of the event in 2017 but remains on the committee as past co-chair in 2018. He is pleased to note that the event continues to grow in 2018 with the inclusion of a team from the North West Territories skipped by Kerry Galusha.