Crews led by Icemaker Mark Shurek spent the weekend transforming the Memorial Arena and Western Financial Place into topnotch curling rinks. Above

Crews led by Icemaker Mark Shurek spent the weekend transforming the Memorial Arena and Western Financial Place into topnotch curling rinks. Above

Ice is King In Cranbrook

One of Canada’s top icemakers talks about transforming hockey arenas into a curling rink for the Grand Slam of Curling

  • Nov. 6, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Barry Coulter

Cranbrook has undergone a transformation this weekend, and for the next week will be, inarguably, the curling centre of the world. Hence known as the Land of Rock and Ice.

More than 60 teams from across Canada and the world are arriving in town for the largest sporting event Cranbrook has ever hosted — Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, part of Sportsnet’s Tour Challenge. Opening ceremonies and the first draw are set for Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Western Financial Place.

Both Cranbrook’s main ice surfaces — WFP and the Memorial Arena — are hosting the action. And over the weekend one of Canada’s top curling icemakers and a team of curling technicians and volunteers were working long hours transforming hockey rinks into Grade A curling rinks.

As the crew was getting set to lay out the lines and etch the outline the outline of the rings on the newly painted ice at WFP, icemaker Mark Shurek took a moment to discuss the science of curling ice making. Consistency over the course of the tournament is the desired goal.

“The main thing curlers are looking for is not much change,” Shurek said.  “As ice makers, we want to start the event out with ‘x’ amount of curl, four and a half feet of curl, and maintain that throughout the week so there’s no change for the curlers.

“It’s much easier for them to play their games, and know what they’re getting.”

The process is writ on the arena scale, for major tournaments like the Grand Slam.

“It takes about three days for us to transform this nice hockey rink into a curling rink, essentially,” Shurek said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of man hours — we’ve got 16 volunteers in this arena, 16 in the other.”

Once the curling ice is set to go — painted and flooded — the work of maintaining its consistency will last right through to the finals on Sunday.

“For every game we’ll scrape the ice, pebble it, nip it, and run the rocks up and down so it’s nice and keen for the curlers, and very consistent,’ Shurek said.

Shurek became one of Canada’s top curling ice makers by apprenticing with the best. He grew up curling in Manitoba, and when he 16 found himself curling with Hans Wuthrich, legendary Canadian curling ice maker — who’s made curling ice for the Olympics, the Briers and other major events.

“Five years after that I ended up helping [Wuthrich] out on the rink, and  a couple years after that I got the opportunity to make the ice for the Grand Slam of Curling. So that’s how I got into it.”

Making curling ice in an arena, for the top teams in the world in a major televised tournament, is a different manner of beast than for a little small town country club, although the principles are the same.

 

“Some people find it difficult,” Shurek said. “I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of arena events — I’ve done over 150 events. So this is like a curling club to me now. You always learn something — there’s something new every day, but I’ve got a pretty good handle on it, and we try to do our best for the curlers.”

Shurek spoke about what set the Grand Slam apart from other major tournaments.

“This is an event for the players. It’s a very free and open atmosphere. Players talk to the crowd, give autographs to the kids, even in the middle of a game. And the end of the day, players want the sport to grow. The players work at it to make the event joyful for everyone.”

Shurek also had words of praise for the community and the local staff and volunteers from their efforts and help.

“I want to stress that the arena staff has been excellent,” he said. “The arena staff, the volunteers, it looks like it’s going to be a great event. Everything’s coming together through teamwork.”

Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, to be broadcast on Sportsnet, runs Nov. 8-13 at Western Financial Place and the Memorial Arena in Cranbrook.

 

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

1914
It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media stock photo)
RCMP name 2015 homicide victim near Creston, investigation ongoing

26-year-old Clint Wolfleg was found dead in a private residence on May 31, 2015

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

Most Read