I received an e-mail over the weekend about the passing of Earle Hushagen, a legend in GTA curling circles. Earle is probably best known as the guy who ran Humber Highland, a 16-sheet facility in Toronto’s west end. He held court there from 1961 to 1990 when he retired and moved to Peterborough.
I played at Humber for a brief period in the early 1980s and competed in the Toronto Major League there for years. Earle was always front and centre either behind the counter or on the ice. He was always competitive and generally had good teams, and won the Ontario men’s once competing in the Brier in 1955, playing out of the Royals.
There was always a joke that when important games were played at Humber, Earle arranged the draws so he played on one of the same two sheets (I can’t remember which they were anymore) which came to be known as E and H.
Earle also won the mixed a number of times and then blossomed as a senior, too. He also ran a great pro shop, one of the biggest and best in the early days. People would come from all over the city to buy stuff there because you were generally assured of getting it.
With Humber being the home of the rental league and rental ice, it’s safe to say that Earle taught thousands of people how to play the game. He was a good teacher although I never really liked his slide; he always seemed to be riding out on the outside edge of his shoe with his weight too far back. But it was obviously effective.
Humber died a slow death not long after Earle left. I remember him telling me that he tried to help the owners get the City of Etobicoke (now part of the amalgamated GTA) to buy the place and it came close a number of times, but it never materialized. The place was sold to a religious group who turned it into a place of worship. Finally, a couple of years ago, it was torn down.
It’s gone and now, so too is Earle. His contributions, however, will live on.