Kerry Burtnyk's championship curling career is reminiscent of the century old glory years of Manitoba curling in two very important ways - longevity and loyalty. His success at the Men's Championship level spanned three decades, a time from 1981 to 2008 with five Manitoba championships equally spaced in that period. During that time, Burtnyk never wore the crest of any other club but the Assiniboine Memorial.
Burtnyk's remarkable career began with four junior appearances in which he accomplished a win-loss record of 16-6 and captured the Manitoba Junior Men's title in 1978. A year later he played third on the Manitoba team which won the Canada Winter Games in Brandon, the only championship in his career when Burtnyk was not his team's skip.
Burtnyk and his team "just out of juniors" (Mark Olson, Jim Spencer, Ron Kammerlock) jumped into immediate prominence at the Men's level. In their second try, they went undefeated through the 1981 Manitoba Men's Championship, and went on to win the Canadian championship and the Bronze medal at the World Championship.
Burtnyk won Manitoba in 1988 and again in 1995 when he (with Jeff Ryan, Rob Meakin, and Keith Fenton) won the gold medal championships at the Manitoba, Canadian and World Championships.
While that championship at the Worlds in Brandon might be considered the pinnacle of a career, it seemed to be just the beginning for Burtnyk, who went on to win two more trips to the Brier as Manitoba champion in 2001 and 2008. His dominance of Manitoba curling was evidenced by the fact he also played in four other Manitoba finals (1997,1998, 1999 & 2009) and won three MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate trophies (1997, 1998, 2001) to go with a pair he had won in the 1980's.
Burtnyk fell a game short of a third trip to the World championship when he lost the 2001 Brier final to Randy Ferbey and a game short of a trip to the 2002 Olympic Games when he lost the 2001 Trials final to Kevin Martin.
In all Kerry Burtnyk played a record 160 games in the Manitoba Men's championship. His record of 117 wins was surpassed in 2011 by Jeff Stoughton.
In addition to that record of accomplishment, Kerry Burtnyk's was a name both respected and feared in cash bonspiels across three decades including the later years when the World Curling Tour and Grand Slam Series showcased championship caliber curling in clubs and on television across the country. The Burtnyk list of accomplishment at that level is equally impressive.
Kerry Burtynk's 1995 World Champion team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. His '95 champions (1998) and 1981 champions (2008) are both team members of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Burtnyk himself was recognized by the Manitoba Hall in 2000.
In a sport which respects longevity and loyalty as much as it respects excellence, Kerry Burtnyk's name stands among the very best in the 123 year history of organized curling in Manitoba.