Member Association Spotlight – September 2019

World Junior Curling Championships 2019, © WCF Richard Gray

New Zealand 

From Ian Ford

Visas secured, flights booked and hosts ready! The first Kiwi participants in New Zealand Curling’s Overseas experience (NZCOE) are counting the days until they head for Canada and Sweden to expand their knowledge and love for the game. They’ll spend the season at either Cargill Curling Training Centre, in Manitoba or Sundbyberg CurlingKlub, working at the clubs or in the local communities to earn money to pay for their ice time, their coaching support and their bed and board.

The initiative is the brainchild of New Zealand National Coach, Peter de Boer, who first floated the concept four years ago, as he considered the best ways to fast track New Zealand born curlers. “Sending them overseas for six months will expose them to knowledgeable, passionate curlers and coaches every day – they can’t help but come back better players, better people and most importantly, huge advocates for our sport in New Zealand.”

It’s hoped that New Zealand is able to send athletes each year on their “OE” to help build their pipeline of talent and ultimately help improve their international results. In return, the New Zealand curling community is happy to host young curlers over the New Zealand winter (northern hemisphere off-season), allowing them to curl and spend time embedded in the heart of New Zealand curling country.

For more information on the NZCOE, contact Peter de Boer.

Canada

From Al Cameron, Curling Canada

Some of Canada’s up-and-coming curling athletes will get a little financial breathing room after being named recipients of the 2019 Curling Canada For the Love of Curling scholarships.

A total of 62 applications were received from across Canada for the scholarships, which are one of the highlighted initiatives of Curling Canada’s philanthropic programme.

A selection committee then took on the difficult task of whittling that list of deserving applicants to the ten recipients announced.

“I was extremely proud to be part of this process, and while it was difficult to narrow the list down to the ten recipients, it was also encouraging to learn more about such an amazing group of young athletes,” said Maureen Miller, Chair of the Curling Canada Board of Governors and a member of the selection committee. “As a sport, I can tell you that we are in good hands going forward. We have extremely talented young curlers, but just as importantly, they are exceptional citizens within their communities.”

The 2019-2020 scholarship recipients are:

  • Skylar Ackerman, Chamberlain, Saskatchewan (Science/Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan)
  • Émile Asselin, L’Île Bizard, Quebec (Masters-Physiotherapy, University of Montreal)
  • Chantele Broderson, Lacombe, Alberta. (Education, University of Alberta)
  • Bella Croisier, Sudbury, Ontario (Forensic Sciences, Laurentian University)
  • Émilia Gagné, Alma, Quebec (Doctorate-Pharmacy, Laval University)
  • Lauren Lenentine, New Dominion, Prine Edward Island (Science, University of Manitoba)
  • Paige Papley, Edmonton, Alberta (Earth and Atmospheric Science, University of Alberta)
  • Wil Robertson, Moncton, New Brunswick (Political Science/Great Books, St. Thomas University)
  • Desmond Young, Banff, Alberta (Science/Kinesiology, University of Alberta)
  • Emily Zacharias, Altona, Manitoba (Science/Kinesiology, University of Manitoba)

The scholarship programme is an investment in Canada’s curling community, with applicants being assessed on their academic accomplishments and aspirations, their curling achievements and, finally, their volunteer contributions within the community. The successful recipients will utilize the award to cover a portion of their education and curling costs during the 2019-2020 school year.

Canada

From Chad McMullan, Rock Solid Productions Inc.

In January 2019 Egg Farmers Rocks & Rings presented by Curling Canada celebrated its ten year anniversary by going back to the school where the first session took place a decade ago. The celebrations continued throughout the school year with Rocks & Rings partners and elite athletes, including John Epping, Reid Carruthers, Liz Fyfe, and Selena Njegovan, joining in on the fun to provide surprises and giveaways.

In only ten years Rocks & Rings has grown from just one city to reach more than 1.7 million students across Canada. Every year more than 200,000 students receive the program and it has now become a household name. Rocks & Rings has expanded to include multiple programmes that give students the opportunity to learn about curling, including the Rocks & Rings tournament day.

Czech Republic

From World Curling Federation Competitions and Development Officer, Darrell Ell

At the 13th World Curling Federation Adult Camp in Prague, 64 campers were registered representing 23 Member Associations.

In addition to the usual delivery, sweeping, strategy and video analysis campers were able to use all of the latest state-of-the-art equipment from the Prague Curling Club. For the first time, they could make use of a Smart Brush and all of the campers were able to test their skills and receive feedback on their technique. Thanks to Czech Republic’s national coach Brad Askew for his technical assistance.

As Prague has a history for brewing beer, a small brewery tour and dinner was planned.  After dinner, there was great entertainment provided by the campers including singing challenges and even a Scottish highland dance challenge.

From all reports, the campers went home with more knowledge, improved technical skills and all looking forward to the start of the upcoming curling season.

A special thanks to the instructors Darryl Horne, Oliver Dupont, Viktor Kjaell, Betty Baudysova, Jiri Snitil, Lajos Belleli, Kate Horne and Victoria Dupont. Also to Katerina Urbanova for her administrative support.

Registration for the 14th World Curling Federation Adult Camp in Prague in 2020 will open in early next year.

England and Wales

From World Curling Federation Head of Development, Scott Arnold

Barton Grange’s unique Flower Bowl Entertainment Centre was the host of the 2019 Stepping Stones Programme. The first of two camps were held in August for women’s, men’s and mixed doubles teams from England and Wales and junior women and men from England. All of the athletes and coaches were challenged off-ice by planning and psychology specialist Ken Bagnell while honing their curling skills on-ice with Competitions and Development Officer Karri Willms and Head of Development Scott Arnold. The Programme will now continue virtually with the teams reporting on their planning and progress over the coming season.

During the able body camps, wheelchair athletes from England attended an off-ice training session with Ken Bagnell. Later in September, they came back to attend a training camp with high-performance wheelchair curling coach Chris Bowden.

Since its inception four seasons ago, Stepping Stones has had a positive impact on the high-performance programmes in Estonia, Australia, New Zealand and Latvia raising the awareness of curling. Hopefully, now England and Wales will enjoy the same success.

Applications for the 2020 Stepping Stones Programme will be made available in the coming months.

Luxembourg

From Karen Wauters, Luxembourg Curling Federation

It was a great match – LUNEX International Sport Management Students and Luxembourg Curling. The stakes were high – to identify an innovative, realistic and detailed plan to increase the footprint of youth curling in Luxembourg. For the sustainability and success of our sport we wanted to formalize and professionalise our operating model and the opportunity to be assisted by the University was ideal.

Our local curlers introduced the students to the curling ecosystem and the game and then they were off to do their research.  Some even got involved in club curling and our local competitions.  At the end of the match we were provided with professional oral and written presentations which provided recommendations including associated risks, contingency planning, monitoring and evaluation.

The tap in– to a motivated, focused, creative student group under the guidance of professors who value experiential learning gave Luxembourg Curling a score.

Our thanks to Professor Mathieu Winand and the students of the International Sport Management programme at LUNEX, International University of Health, Exercise & Sports.

Russia

From Olga Jarkova, Russian Curling Federation

Curling was included on the programme of the 2019 Eastern Economic Forum, Vladivostok, Russia.

The curling programme includes:

  • the WCT Pacific Ocean Mixed Doubles Curling Cup, which was held from 3 to 5 September 2019, with teams from Russia, China, Japan, Korea and Australia;
  • and Curling tournaments for Forum participants and media.

The other remarkable moment was the inauguration of the construction ceremony of the new dedicated curling facility in Vladivostok. Top mixed doubles curlers participated in the ceremony and symbolically put a capsule into the ground with small curling stone and a message to the future generation of the athletes.

Construction is due to be completed in 2021. The location of this facility is quite beneficial thinking of the curling growth in Pacific-Asia region. We hope that the arena will become not only the training centre for Russian curlers, but also the centre of attraction for Pacific-Asia Zone athletes.

United States 

From Competitions and Development Officer, Darrell Ell

This summer Darrell Ell facilitated two Business of Curling Symposiums, one hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club (SFBACC) and the other hosted by the Malmo Curling Club (MCC) and Swedish Curling.

There were 22 participants representing 12 clubs in attendance at the symposium. The SFBACC had hoped to host the symposium in their new facility, but unfortunately, construction was moving slower than hoped.

In the background of the group photo you can see an elevated signboard, and that sign and neighboring building represents the future home of the SFBACC.

Sweden

From Competitions and Development Officer, Darrell Ell

At the Malmo Business of Curling, nine Member Associations sent representatives. Fred Randver the driving force behind Estonian curling served as a guest facilitator and shared his experience of taking Estonia curling from its first home in a former rocket factory to a dedicated three-sheet facility. Fred has also authored a book (From a rocket factory to Curling Tallinn) and provided all participants with a signed copy.

Included in the group were representatives from the BRNO Curling Club, in the Czech Republic, who are in the process of converting a former factory into a three-sheet facility and will be opening their doors this autumn. They left the symposium having confirmed they are on the right track.

Special thanks to USA Curling’s Shane Stein and Nils Lundhal, from Malmo Curling Club, for setting up these symposiums.

 

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Perth, Scotland

20 September 2019