The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame will be the temporary home for the Brier Tankard trophy for the next two months ahead of the 2024 Montana’s Brier men’s national curling championship being held in Regina.
Thanks to Curling Canada and Curl Sask., the Hall of Fame is displaying the Tankard trophy when it isn’t otherwise making a public appearance around the province. One of the most enduring and iconic trophies in Canadian sport, the Tankard will be making appearances at a number of events and venues before the Brier begins on March 1.
Handcrafted in England in 1927, the Tankard trophy features a heart-shaped metal plaque with the names of each of the winning foursomes since it was first awarded. The original Brier sponsor was the Macdonald tobacco company. Macdonald made a “Brier” pipe tobacco that contained a heart-shaped silver plug that was inserted with a purple plastic heart. That heart motif was the inspiration for the purple heart patches the competing teams receive as provincial champions and the silver hearts applied to the Tankard for each winning rink.
The original Brier Tankard trophy was awarded from 1927 until 1979 when it was retired once Labbatt Brewing Company took over as the title sponsor and created a golden stein for the winners. When their sponsorship ended in 2001, the original Brier Tankard trophy was restored and reinstated as the trophy. The Labatts Brier winners from 1980-2000 may not have received the Tankard trophy, but their names have all been engraved on the trophy retroactively.
While title sponsors have changed in the 21st century – Nokia (2001-04), Tim Hortons (2005-23), and now Montana’s (2024) – the original trophy has endured as the grandest prize in Canadian men’s curling.