Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Bet you he still has those jammies.....

Bet you he still has those jammies…..

W… T..  F…? is the only phrase that covers this photo of one of Ireland’s finest senior statesmen in his carefree youth…..

Waiting for some sort of explanation from the Past President –  should be worth waiting for.

Quiet time for the website just now, or at least until Eoin and Clare arrive in Hollywood, to guest star with Katie and the rest of the Bond Girls.

But…..I am now the custodian of the ICA archives with photos that go way back to the early 1990s. So look out for some of the very best ones appearing from time to time.

WCF sweeping summit closes

The sweeping summit is over and it looks like the results are in but no proposals until their conference in Sweden later in the year.

The WCF statement said:  “The World Curling Federation (WCF) Sweeping Summit 2016 closed today (Friday 27 May) as the participants passed their findings to the WCF Competition and Rules and Athletes’ Commissions, who also received a preliminary report from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

“The Summit organised by the WCF, with the support of Curling Canada, brought together top-level athletes and other curling experts to test brushes and sweeping techniques following the challenges that the sport has faced this past season. Various sweeping techniques and more than 50 different brush constructions were considered over three days of intensive testing near Ottawa. The testing was independently supervised by the NRC.

“The WCF Commissions will now take the information from the Summit and formulate it into proposals for new rules and equipment standards, which will in turn be presented and voted on at the WCF members Congress and Annual General Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden, in September.”

Canadian curler, and 2006 Olympic Gold medallist, Brad Gushue said: “I was very impressed with the collaboration of all the athletes, manufacturers, governing bodies, ice makers and observers. We feel the game is in a better position after this Summit. I’m looking forward to playing next season.”

Swiss curler, and current World Women’s Curling champion, Christine Urech said: “All the players were absolutely motivated to find a solution to the sweeping problem. We tested different pads from different manufacturers looking at how to keep the stone straight, make it curl more, travel further or shorter distances. We looked at different materials with different textures and levels of waterproofing and what does and does not damage the ice. We are happy that we have found a great suggestion which will solve the problem and let us look forward to next season.”

Representatives from all of the WCF’s Member Associations were invited to send their high performance experts to observe the testing and offer their input which along with that of the manufacturers helped influence the tests being conducted.

WCF President, Kate Caithness, congratulated all the participants for their efforts to help ensure a positive future for curling. She said: “It is wonderful to see the commitment and enthusiasm here at the Summit. Everyone who is present has come together to find a practical solution to one of the biggest challenges our sport has faced. The spirit of curling that has been on show this week reinforces my belief that we have so many great people in our sport who are willing to work long and hard to help positively develop the game.”

Japanese curler, and Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2015 Silver medallist, Kosuke Morozumi supported this by saying: “I feel happy to be here in Ottawa to work with the team for the sport I love. I am proud of what we did this week and believe the Summit is going to be something that helps the next step for curling.”

WCF announce sweeping summit’s main players

Ottawa, Canada – The World Curling Federation has confirmed the participants that will take part in the Sweeping Summit 2016, that begins today (Tuesday 24 April), near Ottawa, Canada.

Elite athletes from the WCF’s three zonal regions – Americas, Europe and Pacific-Asia – and representing the main curling equipment manufacturers will be present along with senior WCF officials and curling professionals. The WCF has also recruited the National Research Council of Canada, who will provide unbiased scientific analysis and testing over the coming days to ensure well informed decisions are made.

As well as some of the world’s top sweepers, two elite level skips will play a part in the Summit. The sweepers are Canada’s Ben Hebert, Marc Kennedy, Nolan Thiessen (all Balance Plus), Emma Miskew (Goldline) and Mark Nichols; USA’s Matt Hamilton (both Hardline); Japan’s Kosuke Morozumi (Balance Plus); Christine Urech (Asham) of Switzerland and Håvard Vad Petersson (Goldline) of Norway. These athletes’ experience in the sport is vast, sharing 21 Olympic and World Curling Championship medals between them.

They will be joined by two times World Men’s Curling champion and 2014 Olympic bronze medallist, Niklas Edin (Goldline) and 2006 Olympic Gold medallist, Brad Gushue (Hardline).

From the World Curling Federation, Vice-Presidents Graham Prouse (Americas), Bent Ramsfjell (Europe) and Hugh Millikin (Pacific-Asia) will take part, with Millikin chairing the proceedings. Also, Director of Competitions and Development, Keith Wendorf, the WCF’s technical adviser, Leif Ohman, and chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Anne Swisshelm will be involved.

From Curling Canada, is Director of Curling Club Development and Championship Services, Danny Lameroux and High Performance Director, Garry Peckham. Finally, Fredrik Lindberg, coach and team leader of the Swedish men’s team and Jon Mead, chair of the World Curling Players Association will be in Ottawa taking part in the Summit.

During the Summit the results of the World Curling Federation’s recent Sweeping Survey – a public survey, which heard the views of any interested parties – will be passed to the participants. With around 5,000 submissions those who took the survey were clear on the following points:

  • A curling shot is more about the thrower than the sweepers
  • Sweeping in curling is not meant for slowing down a stone or backing it up

After the Summit new regulations will be proposed for approval by the WCF Members at the WCF’s Annual General Assembly – to be held in September in Stockholm, Sweden. More information will be published about the decisions reached and the next steps of the process at the conclusion of the Sweeping Summit on Friday (27 May).

Support Bill’s charity bike ride

BillGrayProfilePicIf you want to give ICA secretary Bill Gray the support that lycra can’t, read on:

Bill writes:  I apologise if this goes against the grain for you but I am taking part in the Blenheim Palace Team Triathlon with my younger brother and sister on 5th June. My sister Kathy will be doing the 750m swim; I will be doing the 20km bike ride and Ian will finish with a 5km run.

Yes its only two weeks away (training going well) and I am asking if you would consider helping us raise money for Arthritis Research UK, a charity close to home.

We took part in the same event last year as ‘Three Shades of Gray’ as some of you will have been aware and raised an unbelievable £10,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research totally due to the generosity of our sponsors. This year we are taking part as Three More Shades of Gray!

I realise that everyone is bombarded these days with requests for sponsorship but if you don’t ask, you don’t get!!

If you could take the time to visit our sponsorship page that would be fantastic.

The page is : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Three-More-Shades-of-Gray If you just click the link it should direct you to the page.

If you felt that you would like to sponsor us, that would be even more fantastic but we quite understand if you don’t wish to.

If you decide to sponsor us, please remember to tick the Gift Aid box as that will boost the money going to the charity.

Thank you so much for even reading this email and considering our cause.”

 – Bill ‘Biker’ Gray


PJ to step down from world stage

PJ Wilson has decided to retire from the world seniors after winning a bronze medal in Karlstad.

PJ and Christine pose with their world senior championships medals - bronze for Ireland and gold for Scotland.

PJ and Christine pose with their world senior championships medals – bronze for Ireland and gold for Scotland.

He and his wife Anne, plus ICA President (me), were the guests of Jim and Christine Cannon last weekend to celebrate the success of Christine winning her second senior gold for Scotland and PJ winning his bronze for Ireland.

With a large glass of coca-cola in his hand (he was driving) the Irish stalwart announced: “Karlstad was my last appearance for Ireland. I have enjoyed every moment but have now decided it’s time to do other things. I started by winning a bronze world junior medal for Scotland 41 years ago and I finish with a bronze world senior medal for Ireland, so now is the perfect time to go out – at the top!

” I just want to thank all my team-mates down the years – I’ve been lucky to curl with great curlers on the ice who were also great friends off the ice.”

PJ say he will still turn out for Ireland for the Four Nations and take part in Irish bonspiels, but is now looking forward to taking things a bit easier now he’s in his 60s.

He has represented Ireland  68 times, (35 wins and 33 losses) starting at the very beginning with the European B League in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2004 where he won silver. He was on the team at the European A League in Garmisch, Germany, in 2005,  that secured Ireland a place at the world championships, for the first and so far only time, in Lowell, USA in 2006. He was back on the ice at the European A League in Basle, Switzerland, that December, when Ireland went down to B. But he was in the team that won European B League gold in Fussen, Germany,  before skipping the team at the A league in Onskolsvik, Sweden, in 2008. He then concentrated on the Seniors, skipping Ireland at the world seniors in Minneapolis-St Paul’s, USA, in 2011. He was back as a member of Peter Wilson’s Irish senior champions at the world seniors in Fredericton, Canada, in 2013 before his bronze medal-winning swansong in Sweden last month. He also was coach to the Irish mixed doubles teams at the world championships in 2014 and 2016.

Peter was also the skip of the rink that won the Scottish junior championships in 1974. That team then went on to win a bronze medal at the first world junior championships in Toronto in 1975.

PJ served as President of the ICA from 2013 to 2015.

Well done and thank you Peter JD Wilson  – what a terrific servant you have been to Irish curling.

Sarah beats the boys!

It’s nice to know that someone can get the better of both Peter AND Johnjo!

The Irish curling senior skips met up when Johnjo and Gillian were visiting Ireland last week and popped into Kilkenny to see Peter, Elaine and Sarah.

Of course, these two boys spend most of the curling season trying to get the better of each other on the ice, but both daddy and uncle JJ were no match for Sarah when it came to a game of ‘Who’s Who’.

Sarah WilsonWell done Miss Sarah Wilson!

WCF sweeping summit announced

The World Curling Federation’s Sweeping Summit, which will address the challenges faced throughout the 2015/16 season with brush head technology and sweeping technique, will take place near Ottawa, Canada between Monday 23 and Friday 27 May 2016.

On-ice testing will happen during the Summit, along with a period of consultation that will involve international athletes, sport experts, ice professionals and other important stakeholders. A series of proposals will then be made to the World Curling Federation’s Competitions and Rules Commission and Athletes Commission.

After consideration by the relevant Commissions, the aim will be to have definitive new regulations agreed and in place – which resolve this matter for future seasons – as the result of a vote at the WCF’s Annual General Assembly – to be held in September, in Stockholm, Sweden.

In the meantime, the World Curling Federation is inviting supporters, athletes, coaches and any other interested parties to complete a survey addressing how the challenges with brush head technology and sweeping technique are viewed and could be resolved.

The Sweeping Summit survey can be found at, www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3PP266G and should be completed by Monday 16 May 2016, so that responses can be collated and shared with those attending the summit.

ECC – C League – v France for B

Ready for battle!

Ready for battle!

Ireland 6 France 7

Heartbreaker of a game. Ireland came up just short with their last stone trying to get a two for the extra end against France, leaving a French stone the second shot.

Last stone comes up just short........

Last stone comes up just short……..

The team will be very disappointed but they fought all the way and did Ireland proud.

ECC – C League – 3v4 game – men

Ireland 9 Bulgaria 6 (after extra end)

It was a stressful last couple of ends to say the least but Team Ireland – Alan, Andrew, Bob and Tom – finally got the better of Bulgaria with a three in the extra end. Alan didn’t need to play his last stone after the Bulgaria skip missed. Phew……..

France up next at 3pm for the final B League place for Braehead in November. Follow every shot on Curling Geek.

COME ON IRELAND!! You’re doing us proud.