M J becomes Korea’s first-ever licensed Chief Ice Technician

© WCF / Stephen Fisher

The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and the World Senior Curling Championships are currently running within Gangneung’s Olympic Park, at the venues of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

This presented the perfect opportunity for the World Curling Academy to put on a practical Chief Ice Technicians’ Course, using the ice-install—that had to take place anyway—to take candidates through the various stages of setting up a championship ice arena.

This meant that the candidates could get involved in the set-up, all the way from painting the floor, flooding, scraping, maintaining and finalising all the prep-work needed to hand over a pristine field of play for the athletes. And that is exactly the content that needs to be covered on this World Curling Academy course.

And among the candidates of the five-day course, 26-year-old Kim Myung-Ju (known as M J) became Korea’s first-ever licensed Chief Ice Technician. And by now, she has gone on to be a key member of the ice crew looking after the mixed doubles field of play.

But what started M J on this route?

She explains, “I started curling in middle school and then carried on as an adult. Then I was offered a role as an ice-maker and I’ve been making ice ever since, that’s some four or five years now.”

M J took her first basic ice-making course in Fuessen, Germany in 2019. Then, when Covid came along, much of the World Curling Academy’s learning material had to go online, and she worked her way through that too. Now, with the online work done and ratified, she was ready to go onto the practical course in Gangneung.

She is now a full-time ice-maker, but why did she take up ice-making in the first place?

“I enjoy ice-making and I feel good about it when new curlers come in and appreciate that the ice is good.”

When asked, M J is clear about the main thing that has changed for her through taking this course.

She says, “The biggest thing I’ve learned here is how to do pebbling.”

M J pebbling © WCF / Stephen Fisher

So, what does the future hold for MJ now? She says, “I see there is a difference between female and male ice-makers, so I’m going to work extra-hard to keep up. I want to learn from ice-makers from around the world.”

And looking forward to future opportunities, she adds, “If there is a chance for me to be invited internationally, I’d be happy to get involved.”

M J also has advice for anyone else who is thinking of following her example, saying, “If there is anyone out there who loves curling, I’d advise them to try out this ice-makers’ programme. It’s good fun!”

The World Curling Academy is a partnership between the World Curling Federation and the World Academy of Sport. It aims to provide education and certification for all aspects of the sport as well as provides resources to develop and grow curling locally and globally.

The Chief Ice Technicians’ course is one of a growing number of courses available at the Academy, where one can find numerous courses and resources from time clock operation to wheelchair curling, from coaching to umpiring. Visit the World Curling Academy website for more information.

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Gangneung, South Korea

27 April 2023
Ice technician
World Curling Academy