Don Main revealed one aspect of his coaching style that clues into the fact he‘s been in the curling game for a while.
“I don‘t even own a computer,” admitted Main, now 71. “It‘s all on file and in pencil so I can erase some things.”
Crammed in Don and Wendy Main‘s filing cabinet is the story of Thunder Bay‘s top junior curling teams Main has coached for close to 30 years. Ever wonder what former Canadian champion Jeff Currie‘s percentage was at the provincial playdowns in 1996? How about current Main protégé Brennan Wark‘s overall record last year?
Pencils won‘t be needed on Saturday when Main will be officially inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame as one of two entries in the builders‘ category.
This is permanent.
“It‘s different,” said Main, comparing his earlier induction along with the Currie rink. “The team was in before which was just super, too. Individually this is different and it‘s kind of nice.”
He‘ll be joined by former NHL coach Dave Allison along with stock car racer Tom Nesbitt, ski jumper John Lockyer and former pro hockey player Sean Pronger in the athletes category.
The 1994-95 edition of the Thunder Bay Kings that won the Canadian midget hockey championship will be enshrined in the team division.
Growing up in Port Arthur, Main did not have dreams of the roaring game as a youngster. Instead, his first love was football and he starred as an inner line guard on the Ukes team in the city‘s intermediate league.
It wasn‘t until his 20s that Main signed up with friends to compete in a bonspiel in Dryden.
“I had never curled before in my life and I went in,” he recalled. “Much different than football. Still, you have to have pretty good stamina in curling. Especially at the front end (sweeping). That‘s why I went to skip pretty quick.”
But landing a spot on a Brier rink wasn‘t Main‘s goal. He stayed in the recreational leagues before jumping to the administrative side as a director of youth curling at the Port Arthur Curling Club in 1976. In 1981, Main, under the guidances of Neil Duncan, began his coaching career. He would go on to make six appearances at the nationals and a trip to the world championship and the Canada Winter Games. Outside juniors, he led rinks to podium finishes at the Ontario college and high school championships.
Currie may have been Main‘s biggest star, but other skips such as Andrew Mikkelsen, Brian Adams Jr., Colin Koivula and Jeff Sargent have had success under Main.
Main said he has an eye on who would make a good skip from an early age, but the work to improve has to be done on both sides.
“You pretty well let them go. We try to prepare real good and anything can happen,” Main said.
These days, Main coaches Wark at the junior level and Jordan Potter in the bantams. He finds time to catch up with his former students every Wednesday in the men‘s major league and doesn‘t see himself leaving the sport any time soon.
“Curling is just a great sport,” he said. “You‘re always meeting new people.”