Monday, June 15, 2009

Curling Camps: the HOT SHOTS

Our second posting in a series on summer curling camps focusses on the original “Fantasy” camp which has since dropped the moniker: the HOT SHOTS.

Now in it’s 15th year, the HOT SHOTS Curling Camp was the first camp to pioneer the “fantasy” concept of pairing high-performance elite competitors with the participants, who of course range anwhere from brand-new rookie to pretty accomplished competitive player (and all points in between).

The subtle name change has, in the words of veteran camp director David Gravelle, come about because “you the curlers, have demanded more from us. And, we’ve delivered.

“We’ve moved away from the celebrity participation to bring you more intense curriculum with highly qualified instructors and some of the top national and international coaches.

“This transformation has been a natural and gradual evolution of our sport with increased participation in the game but the lack of qualified instruction to keep our new curlers progressing on the path to increased enjoyment of this great game.”

There are three HOT SHOTS Curling Camps running this summer-slash-fall, and there are limited spaces available at all three.

First up is the traditional home of the HOT SHOTS, the Oakville Curling Club in Oakville, Ontario (one half-hour west of Toronto) on August 28-20. The second camp is on Ottawa, Ontario at the RA Centre on October 2-4, and the final camp is in the United States for the second consecutive year. The Utica Curling Club in Utica, New York is one of the oldest curling clubs in the USA and it hosts the HOT SHOTS from October 16-18.

Click here for the camp website and here for the registration page.

Anything else going on? But... of course...

• Those crazy Kiwis are working to launch another season of outdoor curling at Naseby, following a $200,000 rink upgrade ...

• Here’s a report on the recent Rocky Top Bonspiel held in Knoxville, Tenessee ...

Joel Retournaz – that Italian Olympic hero from three-plus years ago – is back with a new youthful team, ie. an “ambitious project: ...

• PEI’s world junior runner-up Brett Gallant has picked up two local awards ...

• CTV News says the Banff curling rink is being torn down and a new facility is scheduled to open in late 2010 ...

• Can you guess the name of the influential curling coach who dropped this zinger on us recently...?

“I must talk far too much. Dean Gemmel put my interview into two parts.”

It’s Quebec’s Dan Rafael, of course, who is the head coach of the Chinese national curling team program. Indeed, he has a two-part show posted to The Curling Show and the occasionally blunt Canadian is always a good interview. You can listen to part one here, and we can direct you to part two here.

Rafael, by the way, has been in China for a couple of weeks already, as this is officially the start of the 2010 competitive season (say what?). Fresh from Beijing and then Harbin, Rafael is now in Qinhuangdao and will train with the teams until the inaugural New Zealand Winter Games in August. After that, Teams China head to Canada for September, October and part of November until the Pacific Curing Championships in Karuizawa, Japan ...

• And finally, there is movement within the foundations of the World Curling Players’ Association. At last.

Nominations for new board positions have closed and several new board members have been acclaimed. Now representing women on the WCPA are Calgary’s Heather Rankin and Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh, while Europe’s single position has gone to Switzerland’s Simon Struebin, who throws lead pucks for front-running Olympic hopeful Ralph Stoeckli.

Voting will decide the men’s reps. Vying for a seat at the table are the following:

• Quebec’s Pierre Charette (currently Interim President)
• Vancouver’s Brent Pierce (a former WCPA regional rep)
Scott Pfeifer, second man for Team Randy Ferbey
Craig Savill, the Team Glenn Howard lead
Garth Smith, who is Kerry Burtnyk’s opening rocker
Nolan Thiessen, yet another leadman who plays for Kevin Koe.

The United States’ position features a pair of nominees, with John Benton taking on Bill Todhunter.

The new WCPA Board will consist of eight elected members, with a minimum five positions reserved for Canadian representatives. The group of five Canadian representatives will feature three male and two female members.

Read all about the nominees, their positions and the URL to go to to vote at this link ...

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