Joey Hyde-Wilson would be thrilled.

When she left us in 2021, it was a heartfelt loss to the area's sturling community. She had championed the sport in the Cochrane area for years, and created an annual bonspiel that has since been renamed in her honour.

Her daughter, Jodi Stephenson has been attending the event for the last three years. Each year, she is delighted to see some new faces in the crowd.

"This is absolutely amazing what Myrna (Fink) and the rest of the volunteers have done to keep the bonspiel going, and the legacy of my mom on behalf of my brother, who's unable to make it here, and my daughter who's here," said Jodi. "Just a big thank you to everybody for keeping this going."

This year, 22 teams of two participated in the bonspiel and it continues to attract curlers of all physical abilities.

Winners of the progressive held at the bonspiel were won by three teams of the Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association. Each won all three of their games. The cash prizes went to the teams of Terry Fowler and Martin Purvis, Wendy Frazier and Fran Purvis, and Ann Hiebbert and Brian Bolt.

Joey began curling when she was 22 and talked about her love of the sport in an interview with Cochrane Now in February 2018.

 "Apparently, it was in my marriage contract, although I didn't see it there the first time I looked," she said with a sly grin.

"It's all about the love of the game and I adore the sport."

joeyJoey Hyde-Wilson, right, during the 2018 sturling bonspiel in Cochrane. (file photo)

"When I came to Cochrane Curling Club there were a lot of people who came up to me and asked me to teach them to play with a stick because they were dealing with ailments."

At the time, she had been stick curling for 15 years and was the curling club's sturling league coordinator.

"It keeps you in the game," she says. "I will continue to organize this league as long as I can get one person away from sitting in front of the TV. If I can get that person on the ice, I've done my job."

By that point, she had already taught the sport to over 70 people

Twenty-five years ago, sturling, first called stick curling, was co-created by Carson Schultz and Brian Dingman in Didsbury, AB.

"Brian, who just loved the sport of curling, experienced a health problem which limited his mobility to the use of a cane and was no longer able to chase or sweep rocks up and down the ice," recalls Schultz. "He would come to the rink and watch fellow curlers participate and wished there was some way to play the game he so dearly loved."

For oldtimes' sake, the pair decided to throw a few rocks against one another.

"Delivering the rocks went well for Brian; the struggle was to get to the other end of the rink. After a few ends; a couple of friends saw what we were doing and joined us so Brian did not have to travel up and down the ice.

The sport later transformed into "sturling" with the addition of Garry Sherman to the team, explains Schultz.

"The innovation stemmed from a realization that players using the stick could compete on equal footing with traditional slide curlers, eliminating the need for divisive rules."

Since then, the sport has continued to evolve and grow in popularity.