A legacy of curling: It’s in the Horgan genes

by Scott Haddow | March 1, 2013

Horgan Family

The Horgans, from left: Jacob, Tanner, Gerry, Jenn and Tracy.
PHOTO BY SCOTT HADDOW

Gerry Horgan has a lot to be proud about raising his four children in the sport of curling and seeing them all earn high levels of success in their young lives.

Jenn, Tracy, Tanner and Jacob have all made their mark in the sport and have the potential to climb to even greater heights.

Jenn and Tracy have won the Ontario Scotties championship and competed in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Tanner and Jacob have been bantam provincial champions. The family members all have the potential to be elite competitors for a long time.

Accomplishments and trophies aside, Gerry smiles the widest and beams the brightest when he thinks about the character and integrity his kids carry in life and sport. Gerry has worked as hard to instil strong values and morals in his children as he has with them on the ice to make sure they had the skills and strategies to compete. These are the traits that define people regardless of wins and losses. These are the traits Gerry wanted his family to
have.

Gerry, 59, has been curling for more than 25 years. He loves the sport and even helped start the Little Rock Curling program. Gerry introduced his kids to curling each at the age of five. He also introduced and encouraged them to try other sports.

But they were Horgans after all, and all four picked curling as their passion in life. He said he is proud his children have chosen their own paths in life and have done it with enthusiasm, courage and open minds.

“My kids followed their own hearts,” Gerry said. “There was never any pressure on them to curl. We put them in 10 different sports each and they all ended up choosing curling. They were naturals at it and it took off from there. They’re dedicated to the sport. They’ve always been that way and I think they always will be.”

Gerry has been instrumental in the lives of his children because of curling. It has allowed him to maximize his time spent with each offspring. At one point, he has been a coach for each of them. He coached Jenn until she was 20 and Tracy until she was 18. He is still coaching the two brothers. Most importantly, Gerry has been a father first and foremost and Jenn, Tracy, Tanner and Jacob are grateful because they know they are better people for it.

“It’s our dad we all owe our success to,” Jenn, 28, said. “He drove us all over. He spent hours teaching us. He put his kids before his own curling aspirations to help us. He gave a lot and gave us a lot.

“My dad always thought it was important to have a passion for sport. This is what he gave us. He’s an amazing father. We’re all thankful he gave up so much of his life to allow us to play at the level we do.”

Horgan children

The Horgans, from left: Tanner, Jenn, Jacob and Tracy.
PHOTO BY SCOTT HADDOW

It was anything but sacrifice for Gerry. He came from Halifax 30 years ago to work at Laurentian University. Gerry had never curled before coming to the Nickel City, but the university held annual curling bonspiels. So Gerry gave it a try and took to the sport. He never played seriously though, keeping to the yearly work event.

Three years later, Gerry was showing three people how to curl at the Sudbury Curling Club when a fellow curler asked the foursome to join a social league.

This is the precise moment when the Horgan curling family legacy began.

Gerry soon after joined the Idylwylde men’s league and was curling three times a week in his heyday. He reached the provincial playdowns level before curbing back his own play in order to coach his children as they started playing. It almost never
happened.

“I think back and if that guy at the Sudbury Curling Club didn’t pass me by and ask me to join the social league, I don’t know if any of this would have happened,” Gerry said. “The social league got me started and it was fun and I wanted to do it more.

“Once Jenn started, I figured I wouldn’t play as much. I made a better coach than player anyway.”

He said curling has done “good things” for his family.

“Curling is the one thing that keeps us together. I didn’t sacrifice anything. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my kids because of curling. It’s still going on. I love it.”

Curling has created strong sibling bonds as well. Jenn and Tracy are “best friends.” They have been through the best times and the worst times together, sharing victories and defeat on the same ice. They know they can count on one another no matter how hard the challenge they may face. They’re even both chartered accountants. Jenn and Tracy see themselves curling until their skin wrinkles and they have to be dragged off the ice.

“It’s special we can do something together a lot,” Tracy, 26, said. “It means everything to us to spend a lot of time with our family. We all still live in the same city. I love it we are so close.”

Tanner, 15, and Jacob, 12, represent the next generation of Horgan curlers with pride. They have grown up idolizing their older sisters because of their tremendous feats in the sport.

Curling is a game of knowledge. Tanner and Jacob appreciate this factor. They have seen what their sisters have accomplished and it inspires them.

“We do look up to them,” Tanner said. “We see what they have done and we want to do the same. It gives us something to strive for. It gives us confidence. We see someone in our family being successful and we know we can do it, too.

“We are lucky to have the family we do. They love the game like we do. Curling is the biggest part of all our lives.”

Curling has served many roles for the Horgan family. There is no denying their passion for the sport. From Gerry to Jacob, the passion burns brightly and with purpose. When any of the Horgans speak about curling, their eyes light up. Their voices ignite with energy.

“Curling has been my life, it has been my family’s life,” Jacob said. “I couldn’t imagine doing something different. Nothing compares to curling. My family means everything to me. I wouldn’t be curling without them and what they have done for me.”

The family gets the chance to play against one another from time to time, mostly in funspiels. The sisters and brothers readily admit they have each scored impressive victories and suffered big defeats at the hands of their siblings when they have squared off.

Last year, the Horgans played as a team in the Idylwylde All Sorts league, and of course, Gerry was at the helm. They finished in first place in the A Division and loved every second of it.

This is why the Horgans curl. They are following their passion, competing in sport and keeping close connections to their family.
There is no substitute for the Horgan curling family.

“It’s priceless,” Jenn said.

HORGAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Tanner and Jacob

2009-10 – NOCA bantam provincials, champions; Tanner, 11, and Jacob, 9, qualified for the Ontario Winter Games when the minimum age was 13.

2010-11 – NOCA Bantam Provincials, silver; All-Ontario Elementary School, silver

2011-12 – All-Ontario Elementary School, champions; NOCA bantam provincials, silver; Ontario Winter Games, bronze

2012-13 – Inter-region Juniors, champions; Regional bantam champions

2013 – NOCA bantam provincials, champions

­— ­— ­— ­—

Tracy and Jenn

1999 – Bantam mixed provincials, champions

2005-07 – Canadian Juniors, 4th (Tracy named all-star skip in 2006, Jenn did not compete in 2007)

2007-08 – Canadian University Championships, 4th 2007, 3rd 2008 (Tracy named all-Canadian skip)

2009 – Mixed provincials, champions (Tracy only)

2010-13 – Ontario Scotties: runners-up 2010, 3rd 2011, champions 2012

2012 – Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Team Ontario

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