Colin Hodgson happy to strip down to raise funds for mental health

On this edition of the Sheet Show Ben Hebert interviews his fellow curlers about their Olympic pre-trial picks and best and worst of the men’s curling calendar.

Colin Hodgson’s Men of Curling calendar picture will leave you wondering one thing: Why?

Hodgson, a chef by trade, is posing in a kitchen with a turkey … oh, and he’s only wearing an apron. It’s either the greatest photo in the calendar or the worst (at least according to his fellow curlers who appeared in the Sheet Show).

A portion of the calendar’s proceeds go towards the charity of each athlete’s choice. Hodgson opted for the risqué route as he believed it would help raise the most funds possible to a cause near and dear to him, the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation.

Lindsey More, who suffered from depression, was Hodgson’s close friend on and off the ice. Hodgson was shocked when More took her own life in 2015 and her family started the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation to help those battling mental health issues.

“There are many very worthy charities, this one was a no-brainer,” said Hodgson, who throws lead stones for Winnipeg’s Team Carruthers. “The first thing that came to my mind was wanting to donate anything I could to the More family. The first phone call I had was to Lindsey’s father, Rick More, in Red Deer. That was a hard phone conversation because we hadn’t spoken in a little while and their foundation was doing great and lots of great things in the local community.

“There were definitely some tears shed. We reminisced about a lot of the great things that Lindsey did and brought to the community and everybody around her. It was a really humbling experience and I’m really happy that I was able to do it.”

That’s why Hodgson had no problem wearing only an apron and posing with a turkey.

“That gave me more than enough motivation to just do it,” Hodgson said. “I know how hard she was struggling with the things going on in her life. This is just really a small thing in the grand scheme of things.”

Hodgson admitted he wasn’t among the first batch who were asked to get involved in this year’s Men of Curling calendar, however once he received the call he decided to take the plunge.

“I was literally making jokes the year before about ha, ha, when am I going to get asked to do this?” Hodgson said. “I was really surprised when I got the phone call but it gave me a ton of motivation to really focus more on nutrition, going to the gym seven days a week and putting myself in a much better state of health, which I’ve been super happy with. The calendar is one of the best things that I could have done for confidence because I didn’t think I was ever going to be in a calendar.”

Hodgson worked extensively with a nutritionist and a trainer over the summer to not only prepare for the calendar but also a busy curling season ahead with Olympic trials taking place. He even abstained from alcohol for six-and-a-half months to be in peak physical condition. It wasn’t always the most comfortable experience for Hodgson as he went for his first spray tan prior to his photo shoot and hilarity ensued.

“I pretty much made fun of people who ever had spray tans but I’m a little fair-skinned and I’m very pale,” Hodgson said. “Going into the photo shoot, you need any definition you can get so I spoke to Sierra Noble, who is a friend of mine. She did my makeup and she’s also a musician from Winnipeg. She recommended a place, an organic spray tan place, right before I did my photo shoot.

“I’ve never been to a spray tan place, especially an airbrush or organic spray tan place. I had no idea what I was getting into. I show up and I assume that there’s a booth where you just strip down, get completely naked and it gets you everywhere. I was completely wrong about that. I show up and the lady asked me if I’ve ever done this before. I said no. She said, ‘Are you comfortable with yourself?’ Sure. I was feeling confident that day. We go into the spray tan booth and she proceeds to say, ‘Take everything off and just do the moves as I do them.’ The first move she did was she bent straight over forwards so that her head was by her knees. That very first moment I had was being completely naked with a stranger in a room and she’s airbrushing all of the crevices of my body.

“This proceeded to go on for about 10 minutes. Needless to say, when I had to do the photo shoot wearing just an apron, I was completely comfortable the next day with about 10 people in the room because I had already prepared myself mentally by what I had to go through the day before.”

Hodgson was fortunate his team’s main sponsor, Princess Auto, was all on board with his endeavour and even pitched in at the photo shoot, too.

“We had their photographer and videographer come out and help set up everything,” Hodgson said. “I wanted a photo that they approved of for the image of their company, so it’s really great to have such a close partnership with a company like Princess Auto because they really had everybody come to the photo shoot.

“We had probably eight people there to do the lighting and some of the lighting people had to stand in some pretty interesting places to make sure we got the right lighting for the shots. … It was pretty cool to see them support it like that.”

It was all worth it to Hodgson to help the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation and while his fellow curlers may disagree with the final product, his fan base has shown support.

“I’ve got a few pretty wild curling ladies and fans out there that have given me some awesome reactions,” Hodgson said. “I feel that I’m a little closer to some of the fans out there and anyone really who has bought the calendar. … The reactions have been very positive and it’s so exciting that the calendar sold out this year so fast. A lot of money is going to a lot of great charities so I commend all of the other players who stepped up and did it.”

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