The World Curling Federation (WCF) has announced today (June 18) that two Canadians have been selected as curling ice technicians for the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
Hans Wuthrich of Gimli, Manitoba, has been named Head Ice Technician and Dave Merklinger of Vernon, British Columbia, has been named Assistant Head Ice Technician for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, which will take place February 12-28, 2010.
The official press release notes that the pair will also team up to test the competition surface a year earlier. The 2009 World Junior Curling Championship will be staged at the Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium Park and will serve as an official test event.
The full WCF release, with all the quotes, is already up on The Curling News Blog, and will also be here.
Wuthrich is generally acknowledged to be the world's leading ice technician. Last year he looked after the 2006 Le Gruyère European Championships in Basel, Switzerland, and the 2007 World Women's Championship in Aomori, Japan. Merklinger too is right up there with the best. He introduced a 'clean ice' zone at the Ford Worlds last season, in response to criticisms that came his way following lots of pickups at the Brier.
The Olympics has to be the biggest challenge for any ice technician. The best curlers in the world deserve the best ice. It is the showcase for our sport, with so many watching it for the first time. At the Pinerolo Palaghiaccio in 2006 the championships were somewhat let down by the quality of the ice. Let's hope 2010 will be different!