It’s all cool when Hans Wuthrich is in town.
The renowned ice maker, with assistant Dave Merklinger, has prepared and maintained the ice for most of the world’s top curling events for over 15 years.
They prepared the curling ice for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and the 2005 World Men’s Curling Championship in Victoria, among others.
Wuthrich, based out of Gimli, Man., arrived to Victoria on Friday, and started the process of turning the ice of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre from a hockey rink into four sheets of world class ice for the Ford Men’s World Curling Championship, March 30 to April 7.
The ice is key for the tournament, and will be debated about no matter what, Wuthrich said. But Wuthrich also manages the curling rocks, which debuted to much criticism at the Brier in Edmonton earlier this month.
“Actually we didn’t get (access to) the rink until Saturday at midnight so we spent time Saturday and (refit) all the curling stones. They were brand new (for the Brier) but there was some squabbles about them so we completed that first,” Wuthrich said.
He politely pointed out the rocks couldn’t have been that imperfect, as the Brier finished with its highest shooting percentage ever.
The process for the ice in Memorial Centre is multi-staged. To start, the zamboni scraped it down. Wuthrich and company put levelers in before an additional “three-quarters-of-an-inch of ice,” will be laid onto the existing “three-quarters-of-an-inch of hockey ice” in a three stages of floods, Wuthrich said. Then come the final tweaks and pebbling later this week.
Tickets for the event are selling slow but event organizers expect a heavy portion of walk-up fans.
“That’s good news,” said event co-chair Keith Dagg. “People can show up and get tickets at the door,” which tends to be the habit of Victorians, he added.
Sweden top Vic Classic
Many of the World Curling teams competed in the Victoria Curling Classic at Esquimalt’s Archie Browning Sports Centre last week, with Sweden skipper Niklas Edin and team edging Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen 9-8 in the final for the $25,000 prize.
It was no easy draw for Edin, who defeated McEwen in the opening bracket, then beat Kevin Martin and Jeff Stoughton in the playoffs to reach the final.
Team Canada’s Brad Jacobs rink from Northern Ontario, the recent 2013 Brier champions, will land in Victoria on Thursday to represent as Team Canada at the Worlds.