Category Archives: Announcements

The Future…

Brother and Sister curlers,

When I first started The View From The Hack a little over two years ago I always knew that the time would come when I could no longer devote as much time to the blog as I would like – one other thing that I was certain of was that I never wanted to walk away from or give up on this project entirely.

It is with these two thoughts in mind that I write this post today.

As of Monday 17 November I will be starting a new job as a Reporter with the Dunfermline Press – a publication that I am sure many of you will be familiar with and one which you can now expect to feature curling on a regular basis!

Working full-time means that I simply won’t be able to dedicate as much time and effort to writing for TVFTH as I have enjoyed in the past.

But this is not the end.

You know something? I love this sport of ours far too much to not continue researching, writing, taking pictures and talking to members of the great curling community to merely give up or call it a day.

Believe me when I say that I am my own harshest critic and I am fully aware that the blog needs changes both aesthetically and in terms of content – the timing would now seem to be ideal to make all the tweaks and improvements I have been wanting to do for a long time.

I intend to take TVFTH in a new direction alongside working full-time so expect to see the blog evolve in the future, hopefully for the better.

All of this means that for now the blog is in hibernation while I settle back in to the world of work and, with any luck, make the necessary changes.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and invaluable contributions these last few years in terms of photos, quotes, corrections and even the odd tip-off – the blog would not have been the same without this help.

So here’s to the future and, in the words of a famous Austrian, I’ll be back…

Curl Coach Competition Winner

You may remember that I recently ran a competition on the blog to win a copy of Curl Coach, the latest app for curling coaches.

I had 19 entries from all over the world – New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and the USA to name a few.

The winner was Ole Olmanson from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Ole is a member of St. Paul Curling Club, the largest in the USA, and he is also President of a curling brush company called Hogline Brooms.

Many congratulations to Ole, thanks to everyone who entered and special thanks to Stephen Orr the app developer for offering the prize.

If you are interested in the app then take a look here at the official website.

Image is © Stephen Orr

Competition Time – Curl Coach

I was recently contacted by Stephen Orr, developer of the newest curling application for the iPad called Curl Coach.

Stephen is a long-time software developer and as well as curling for approximately 12 years he is also a trained competitive curling coach.

Stephen has very kindly offered you, the readers of my blog, the chance to win a copy of this brand new app (worth $39.99) but first, here’s what Curl Coach can do:

The most recent entry into the world of charting apps for iOS, Curl Coach stands out from other charting apps by focusing on providing tools to coaches that help them to coach their teams, rather than simply delivering a bewildering array of shot-making statistics.

Curl Coach takes a novel approach to charting. Every shot starts with a broom position and the movement of the stones, and then adds the shot type, difficulty, turn and score. This enables Curl Coach to provide a fully animated replay of every shot in every game. The Strategy Book features the same animated playback, enabling the ability to take actual in-game situations, copy them to the strategy book, and add all the ‘what-if’ scenarios that you desire.

Entering all of the stones may seem like a big chore, but with a little practice it becomes very quick and natural. Curl Coach automates a number of areas of charting to make things as easy as possible, including determining the shot type and turn based on the motion of the stones, and setting the shot difficulty based on the type. If the shot is scored as a miss, Curl Coach automatically asks you to chart the miss reason (or reasons). If you do get behind in your charting, Curl Coach provides an easy way to catch up by just placing stones.

A true curling application requires stats, and stats is an area where Curl Coach over delivers. There are three main reports: the Player report summarises an individual’s career, the Team report summarises the performance of a team, and the Competition report provides analysis of all the games from a competition. In each of these reports, Curl Coach provides a number of standard sections and many optional sections. As a coach, you can customise which sections are included to suit your needs.

Curl Coach includes the capability to use the charting data to help plan and run practices. Select from more than 30 built-in curling drills, or create and share your own. During the practice, Curl Coach enables you to record the score achieved in each drill, and take notes for the team and individual players. With practices, Curl Coach provides functionality not found in any other curling app.

That’s only the beginning of what Curl Coach has to offer. If you are working with a competitive curling team, you should take a closer look at Curl Coach.

Here’s a list of notable coaches who are using Curl Coach today:

Bill Tschirhart – Canadian National Senior Coach
Al Moore – National Trainer, Swiss Curling
Daniel Rafael – Head Coach, Czech National Team
Shari Leibbrandt – National Junior Coach
Brett Kury – Coach for team Kelley Law
Murray Etherington – Head Coach, Brock University Curling
Byron Scott – Head Coach, Men’s Curling, University of Guelph
Allen Coliban – Romanian Curling Federation

Find out more at www.curlcoach.com

Stephen was good enough to provide me with a copy to have a play around with and I have to say I was very impressed.

As an RCCC Assistant Coach I am always keen to see what is new in the field of coaching or developing our sport – Curl Coach would appear to be a fantastic resource.

While it is perhaps more detailed than the average Sunday morning volunteer would need I have no doubt that for coaches and performance personnel at the elite level it is a great tool to have.

I found the layout to be clear, simple and relatively intuitive with handy tips to help you along the way when first experimenting with the app’s capabilities – the quick start feature is useful in this regard.

The built-in stopwatch with a logging facility was a nice touch as was the user guide which is embedded within the app itself.

It is the complete package with every possible detail a coach could require but I believe it would take patience and practice to enter all the relevant information and to get the most out of the app.

If you are willing to stick at it, however, I think you will have a very powerful and useful weapon in your coaching armoury.

So, fancy getting your hands on a copy?

Before I tell you how to enter and to avoid any disappointment, Curl Coach will only run on an iPad 2 or later or an iPad Mini running iOS 6 or later – the next version will require iOS7.

All you have to do to enter is send a message to the blog email address, theviewfromthehack@gmail.com, with the subject ‘I Want An App!’

This competition is open to anyone and you have until 23:59 UK time on Thursday 13 February 2014 to get your entry in.

One lucky winner will receive a download code to obtain a copy of Curl Coach and they will be notified shortly after the end of the competition.

Good Luck!

Images are © Stephen Orr

Hacky Christmas!

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from Norway! 🙂

Do you like my new tree ornament? Anyone who says it looks like me will be in trouble…

I hope everyone got a lot of nice new curling gear as we approach the Winter Olympics and all the excitement that it brings – get out there and be inspired when you’ve worked off all the wonderful food.

God Jul fra Norge!

Photo is © Ted Edmunds / TVFTH 2013

A Ladies’ Branch?

I promise that will be the only arboreal or furniture-related pun in this post.

Yes, it’s one of those wonderful occasions when curling pops up where you would least expect it.

Oak Furniture Land are opening a new shop in Glasgow this weekend and they will have a very special guest in attendance to do the honours:

Rhona Martin MBE, Olympic curling Gold Medal winner, will be officially opening Oak Furniture Land’s brand new Glasgow store from 1100-1200 on Saturday 9 November. Rhona is promoting the Royal Caledonian Curling Club’s (RCCC) Try Curling initiative, which aims to attract new curlers to the sport and increase public awareness of curling. This will be Rhona’s first public appearance since the announcement that her 2002 Olympic win has been voted one of the top 10 Team GB Winter Olympic moments of all time.

Bill Dawson, Oak Furniture Land Glasgow store manager said: “We are looking forward to Rhona officially opening the store and welcoming customers through the door. This is our second store in Glasgow and the seventh in Scotland, and to celebrate the official opening we’re offering our customers £25 off their first purchase when they spend £250 or more in-store.”

Rhona Martin MBE said: “I’m looking forward to being part of the official opening of the new Oak Furniture Land store – it’s great to have more local shopping choices and great to see new Scottish jobs being created. I’m proud to be involved in the Try Curling initiative especially with the Winter Olympic season upon us. It’s important that we attract new people to the sport to make sure we have future curlers to follow in the footsteps of our men’s and ladies’ teams going to Sochi, Russia in February 2014. I am working hard on a daily basis with the ladies’ team and I hope both teams are successful. I’m also looking forward to saying a public thank you to everyone who has supported me and Scottish curling over the years. I hope local Glaswegians come along to the store and find out how they can get involved in this initiative and our exciting sport.” 

Steve Knight, Oak Furniture Land’s Regional Manager said: “The new Glasgow store is a major investment in the area and plays a significant role in our on-going store opening programme across the UK, which will see us opening a new store each month for the next three years. So far this year we have created over 80 jobs nationwide. We like to support local initiatives and we’re delighted to use the occasion of our new Glasgow store opening to promote the Try Curling initiative.”

I am told that Rhona will be cutting the giant ribbon to open the store, will have her curling kit and Olympic medal with her and she is also going to be available for photographs with the public.

So if you are in the area on Saturday morning, get down to Unit 6, Great Western Retail Park, Glasgow and meet one of Scotland’s greatest curlers.

I should, of course, point out that other furniture retailers are available.

If you want to relive the magic of 2002 then this video should do nicely.

Image is © Oak Furniture Land

2013-14 Season Calendar

You may have noticed that my Calendar page has now been filled in with events for the 2013-14 season.

If anyone out there would like an event included then do get in touch and I will add it to the list – take a look at my Contact page to choose your preferred method of communication.

Competition Winners

You may remember that I recently offered three lucky readers the chance to win a brand new Foxglide Shoebag (above).

Thanks to everyone who entered – there were over 30 entries from the UK, Slovenia, Croatia and the USA.

The winners were:

Graeme Fisher from Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, Scotland
Emma Hair from Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Marissa Messier from Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA

Congratulations to all three.

If you recognise the name Marissa Messier, she is one of the Bond Girls Curling Team – Bob gave them some coverage on Skip Cottage Curling here in 2011.

Weekend Words

I feel that after my trip to Norway and the excitement of the World Men’s there is a lot to catch up on so here is a range of news from the world of curling that I haven’t covered in the last week or two.

Firstly, the latest World Curling Federation Rankings have been published – the final rankings for the 2012-13 season. All the details are here.

In men’s curling, here is how the ‘home’ nations finished up this season:

2. Scotland / Great Britain (No change)
22. England (Up one place)
23. Ireland (Down five places)
28. Wales (Down four places)

The big movers were Russia who went up five places and Ireland who went down five places.

And in the women’s game:

4. Scotland / Great Britain (Up three places)
19. England (No change)
29. Wales (Down three places)
30. Ireland (Down one place)

Significant movers here were Turkey and Kazakhstan who went up four places and Netherlands who went down four places.

One of the reasons the Swedish women top their world rankings is because of Anette Norberg (above, far left with her 2011 World Champions) and during the World Men’s she announced that she was retiring from the sport. Norberg is one of the most successful players in curling history with two Olympic golds, three World titles and seven European crowns to her name in a thirty-year international career – read the full story about one of the greatest European curlers of all time here.

It is not often that curling is mentioned alongside crime and bad news but I came across two upsetting stories from Canada during the World Men’s.

Two Hills, Alberta, is currently coming to terms with losing its curling facility due to fire – you can read all about it here and see a video clip here. I’m sure we all wish the community well as they rebuild.

Four-time World champion Randy Ferbey has had his prized curling jacket stolen – it features eight purple hearts from his appearances at the Canadian Championship. See the story here.

The Curling History Blog should be one of your bookmarks – there is an interesting new piece to read here about old curling places in England.

The Herald had an article about our sport this week and, specifically, about Rhona Martin and her role as a coach – find out just how hard our top teams train here.

As you may well have read at the bottom of that article, there is some very exciting news about next season.

It was announced this week that Dumfries will be hosting the World Mixed Doubles Championship and the World Senior Men’s and Women’s Championships in April 2014. This will be the first time that Scotland has hosted the World Mixed Doubles and only the second time it has hosted the World Seniors. Dumfries Ice Bowl is on the lookout for volunteers for what is sure to be a great week of curling – read the full story here.

On the theme of Scotland hosting big events, it has been officially confirmed that Murrayfield Curling in Edinburgh will be the venue for the 2013 European Mixed Curling Championship. All the details are here.

I have to finish with some sad news from Canada.

Clarence Jenkins, known throughout the curling world as Shorty, passed away on Thursday after a long illness. He was 77.

Shorty is widely regarded as the greatest curling ice maker that ever lived and his distinctive pink attire made him a real character – you might have seen him make a cameo in the film Men With Brooms.

He was influential in creating the playing conditions that make our sport what it is today. When I was fortunate enough to work with the team making the ice at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, my Canadian colleagues frequently spoke about ‘Shorty’ and there is no doubt he will be sadly missed.

Read all about the ‘King of Swing’ here and here.

Photo is © WCF / Richard Gray 2011

Competition Time!

Some of you will no doubt be inspired watching the World Men’s in Canada this week and will already be thinking about next season and your hopes and expectations.

Why not get your pre-season plans off to a great start by winning some curling gear thanks to Foxglide.

Foxglide are a new Scottish brand of curling clothing and equipment – you may well have seen their kit being sported by some of the top teams.

In fact, the outfits that the Scottish men are wearing over in Victoria at the World Championship is Foxglide gear.

The View From The Hack, in conjuction with Foxglide, is giving three lucky readers the chance to win a brand new Foxglide Shoe Bag (RRP £20) – perfect for curling shoes of all sizes.

A nice piece of kit I’m sure you’ll agree.

To win one of these bags, all you have to do is send an email to the blog email address (theviewfromthehack@gmail.com) with the subject ‘I want a bag!‘ before 23:59 BST on Monday 8 April – after the excitement of the World Men’s has come to an end.

Winners will be chosen at random and notified after the competition has ended.

Good luck and good curling!

Hacky Christmas!

I couldn’t resist that title…

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who follows my site, likes me on Facebook and follows me on Twitter a very Merry Christmas!

I hope the curling Father Christmas bought you what you wanted – comfy shoes, a shiny new brush, fancy clothing, perfect draw weight, better puns…

I know I asked for those last two.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about our sport thus far and I hope that 2013 is just as action packed and ultimately satisfying.

To everyone involved in our sport across the world at any level, Good Health and Good Curling.