History of KAISC
History of the Kingston and Area Eisstock Club:
The playing of Eisstock in the Kingston area began in the late 1950’s and early 60’s. Under the beam of flood lights, members of the Austrian community (many part of the Austrian
International Club’s “Boys from the Austrian Alps”) would meet once or twice a week to play
the sport at Ernst Prohaska and Otto Egger’s properties located on Eunice Drive, just off
Sydenham Rd, near the 401. It didn’t take long to attract the attention of Canadian folk and the
sport made its first slide on the ice of Kingston sport and culture.
One such Canadian member of the Kingston Eisstock Club was Gord Hodgson. Gord was a giant of a man and an enthusiastic eisstock player. He also worked for Corrections Canada. Under Gord’s supervision, many “Holtzstocks” (wooden curling stones) were crafted at Collin’s Bay Institution. Many of these stones (four decades old) still survive today and are actively used each winter and each has their own story. Other original players were Karl Johann Hammer, Ernst, Bert, Bill and Ferdinand Prohaska, Karl Weissenaider, Kurt Weissenaider, Russel Rines and Franz Moeslinger.
In the beginning, wooden stones were the “stocks” used. In the 1970’s, modern stones began to appear with interchangeable plates and more members began to acquire the modern style equipment. In the mid-70's, for example, original KEC member Karl "Johann"
Hammer brought to Canada two of the modern LADLER STOCKS for his sons Walter and Karl
HEINZ. Proceeding through Customs Canada he ran into some difficulties, as Custom's Officials thought the stocks to be makeshift bombs! Many of the modern stocks were brought back from Austria when visits were made to the old country by KEC members (such as Bert Prohaska and a small company of KEC members who observed the European Eisstock Competitions in the 70’s). Another source of modern Eisstocks was right here in Ontario. In Kitchener Waterloo, a company called “CANPORT MANUFACTURING” built modern Eisstocks. Many members have such Eisstocks (known also as "Huddle" stocks; taken from the last name of the manufacturer). Unfortunately, this company is no longer in operation, but members of the "Huddle" family now reside in Kingston!
The glory years for the KAEC is probably found throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s. At this point, beautiful locations for playing were found in the Elginburg area. Bert Prohaska had a property on Unity Road with many ponds as well as Willi Frankle's large pond on Sydenham Road. In both locations, Sunday afternoons would find the “dads” playing Eisstock while the “kids” would skate and play hockey. Before the fun, the members would have to work hard to clean and prepare the rink. During this time, games were played for quarters. Quarters were the currency of choice for many years, but today loonies have replaced quarters! In time, Bill Bosman (an accomplished artist and musician) crafted the first KAEC insignia. Dan Kerr (son of long time member Harry Kerr) has now donated his graphic / web design skills for our club.
During this time the growth of the sport in the Kingston community reached an all-time high and the club began to make connections to other clubs in Ontario. Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener all had ice stock clubs, and friendly competition among these clubs began and led to the formation of the Canadian Ice Stock Federation. Competitive tournaments were organized and Kingston had many teams participate in such events, as well as hosting tournaments in our area. Some of these
tournaments were huge. One in particular was held at the Humber Highland's Curling Club in
Toronto. Brian Mulroney was running for Prime Minister at this point and campaigned there;
shaking hands with many of the competitors. Kingston teams also travelled to other tournaments at Hans Schweighofer's large pond in Milton and Kitchener-Waterloo's Concordia Club. Always teams celebrated together at competition’s end in the spirit of friendship and sport. Eisstock continued to be played throughout the 1980's and into the early 90's.
By the end of the 90's, sadly, the sport in the Kingston area began to be played less and less and the Kingston Eisstock Club was nothing more than whisper of its former self. The organized focus had disappeared.
Or had it?
With every passing generation it becomes that much more important to find a way to keep the
traditions and culture of one's heritage alive. Not only this, but the greater reward has to be in the sharing of cultural past times with the greater community. With realizing the decline of Austrian and German culture within the Kingston community, the playing of ice stock is a win-win outcome in that it allows the continuation of Germanic culture into the cultural mosaic of Canada and provides the individual with a sense of competition, activity and enjoyment. The Canadian landscape is conducive to this game. All that is required is basic equipment, some ice and the company of family and friends to produce hours of fun. In fact, in modern times the game is played year round, both on ice or asphalt and concrete surfaces.
It is with great excitement and pride that we now move the re-born Kingston and Area Ice Stock
Club (formally Kingston Eisstock Club) forward for its next “slide” into the future. Together the
original surviving members, our new members and the ones to come will continue to enjoy and
grow the sport. We have renewed our membership with the Canadian Ice Stock Federation and this has led to further connections and collaboration. The internet has allowed us to connect with ice stock clubs throughout the world (Europe, Australia, South America, Africa and USA) and this will lead us to interesting and exciting opportunities. I can't wait!
As always, "Keep Calm and Ice Stock On"!
Karl G Hammer
President, Kingston and Area Ice Stock Federation