Kim Dolan is one of PEI’s greatest curlers and many consider her to be the best female curler ever from the province – winning 10 provincial PEI Women’s Curling Championships. She made her first trip to the nationals in 1983 then appeared again in 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2012 and finally in 2014. Kim skipped in seven of those appearances. Her best finish was fourth at the 1995 Scott Tournament of Hearts playing third with Rebecca Jean (MacPhee) MacDonald as skip of the PEI rink.
Born on April 12, 1958 in Charlottetown, Kim grew up in a curling family. The MacLeod family were active in the sport with both parents playing and teaching her the game. Kim says she had little help in getting her start. “Mainly because of school is how I began” she said. “I was introduced to curling through my parents. A family friend, Anne Hennessey, was looking for a new player and that was it.”
Her career started in 1974 at the Charlottetown Curling Club and that year she won her first of three Prince Edward Island Junior Women’s Curling Championships. Kim was the lead on the rink skipped by Gloria Basha with Janet Wood (third) and Anne Hennessey (second). The Basha rink repeated in 1975 and in 1976 Kim played third on a rink skipped by Anne Merkinger. The Merkinger rink were the runner ups.
In 1980, Kim began her women’s curling career and went on for a record 10 PEI Women’s championships – holding the record for the most provincial Women’s championship victories on PEI.
1983 was the first provincial title for Kim. The MacLeod rink consisted of Kim at skip, Cathy Dillon at third, Karen MacDonald at second and Kathie Burke at lead. Kim married in 1984 and the same team (now the Dolan rink) repeated as Island champions in 1985. Kim won the provincial title again in 1987 – this time with team mates Karen Jones, Shelly Muzika, Nancy Cameron and Cathy Dillon as alternate/coach.
The 1988 Calgary Olympics introduced curling as a demonstration sport and Kim was invited to an elite Canadian camp which would form teams that would move on to the Olympic trials. Kim was part of an Atlantic team (skipped by Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones) that played in the trials.
Back surgery in 1990 put her on the sidelines for a few months, but she ended up winning the provincial title on a team that included Karen Jones (third), Shelly Muzika (second) and Janice MacCallum (lead). This was her fourth trip to the Scott Tournament of Hearts.
With new team mates in 1992, she would again represent Prince Edward Island at the Scotties. This time her team included Susan MacInnis at third, second Julie Scales and lead Marion MacAulay.
In 1995 Kim decided that she needed a change from skipping and joined the Rebecca Jean MacPhee rink at third along with Marion MacAulay at second and lead Lou Ann Henry. PEI finished fourth at the Scott Tournament. The new look rink also repeated in 1997 and 1999.
The ’99 championship was special as Prince Edward Island was the host rink for the Scott Tournament of Hearts at the Charlottetown Civic Centre. Kim not only competed on the ice, but also chaired the Host Committee for the Scott Tournament of Hearts.
In 2012, twenty years after skipping her last team at the National Championships, she returned and skipped Prince Edward Island once again. Her team included Rebecca Jean MacDonald (third), daughter Sinead Dolan (second) and Michala Robison and Nancy Cameron sharing the lead spot. They became only the 11th team in the Women’s nationals to score a 6 ender.
Kim’s last appearance in the Scotties came in 2014 as skip. This was her fifteenth trip to the nationals. The team included Rebecca Jean MacDonald at third, Sinead Dolan at second, Michala Robison as lead and Jackie Reid as alternate.
Not only did she represent PEI at the Scotties, but she also represented the Island four times as part of a Mixed rink. With John Fortier as skip, Kim represented PEI in 1980 and 1981. In 1980 they were the National Runner-ups. She was on the 1982 PEI Mixed Champions on the rink skipped by Bill Merlinger. Kim made history in 2005 becoming the first Island female skip to win the Provincial Mixed Championships and became only the second woman to skip at the Canadian Mixed Championships.
Kim also donned the volunteer hat for many events. These included:
1980 – Co-chair Canadian Junior Women’s Championships with Diane Blanchard
1984 – Draw and Media Facilities Chair Scott Tournament of Hearts Championship Committee
1996 – Co-chair Canadian Mixed Championship with Bob Matthews
1999 & 2011 – Chair Host Committee Scotties Tournament of Hearts
2004 – Chair Special Olympics Winter Games. Kim holds this event very close to her. During this event White Juan hit PEI on February 20th. 96 athletes were involved in curling and by the time everyone made it back to the host hotels, Kim and many of her volunteers couldn’t make it home so the floor of the Charlottetown Curling Club was bed. One for the memory books.
Kim also served as the President of the Charlottetown Curling Club in 1993-94 after serving as Vice-President in 1992-93. She has also held other committee positions at her local club.
As a Level 2 coach, Kim coached and served as the fifth player for many teams in Canadian championships. She was the fifth player in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and coached the women’s team in 2008 and 2015.
Family being very important, Kim has had not only the opportunity to coach her daughter Sinead, but as previously mentioned had the opportunity to play at the highest level with her as well. The mother and daughter represented PEI at the Scotties in 2012 and 2014 and during this time reached the milestone of 100 games in competition. After winning her last women’s title in 2014 with a 6-4 victory over the Kathy O’Rourke rink, Kim was over joyed. “I’m pretty ecstatic,” she said “I have a great group of girls, my daughter being one of them. I feel very fortunate I can go to another Nationals with her.”
Kim’s final match was at the 2014 Scotties in Red Deer, Alberta. It was an 11-4 win over New Brunswick which resulted in her team finishing 3-8. “It’s a great way to go out, although it would have been nice to have a few more wins,” she said. Moments after that game she announced it was her last game in competitive curling.
Not done quite yet. In 2015 she won her first Provincial Senior Championship with Susan McInnis, Sandy Matheson and Julie Scales.
Kim Dolan goes down in PEI curling history as one of its greatest players, one of its strongest builders and one of its biggest supporters.
A game she has loved all her life.