September 4 2015 Edition

    What happened this week and last:

    ü  USA’s Korey Dropkin and Sarah Anderson earned the silver medal in Mixed Doubles at the New Zealand Winter Games. The championship game between USA and Canada and other coverage can be viewed here.

    ü  With the revised World Curling Tour Order of Merit points system finally published (on Sunday), the USCA’s World Team Qualification Process advisory group met on Tuesday to discuss the 2015-16 qualifying process. The group has a second conversation scheduled for next Tuesday to hopefully finalize any changes to be made to the process.

    ü  New USCA Administrative Assistant This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. started on Thursday.

    ü  There were some problems being experienced with various staff email accounts this week, so if you have been trying to reach someone in the last week and have not gotten a response, it is possible that the messages are not being received. USCA sponsor AtomOS has been assisting with the troubleshooting and has someone traveling to the office today to assist further.

    ü  Several more USCA instructor courses have been planned for this fall.

    ü  The host sites for the USCA Arena National Championships in both 2016 (West Chester, Penn.) and 2017 (South Bend, Ind.) have been announced.

    ü  Growth & Development Director Kim Nawyn has finalized the application for a 2015-16 World Curling Federation Development Assistance Program grant, and will be submitting it very soon.

    ü  Secretary Gordon Maclean has submitted his initial draft of the Aug. 20 USCA Board of Directors meeting minutes to Chairman Rich Lepping and me, and will be sending them to the rest of the Board for review soon.

    ü  Ann Swisshelm has been named as the North America Team Captain for the 2016 WFG Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas.

    ü  USCA’s WCF representatives Leland Rich, Jennifer Stannard, Mark Swandby and Beau Welling are participating in the WCF Congress and Annual General Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia, this week, as am I and USA’s Andy Anderson, a member of the WCF Board of Directors. Items of interest included the following:

    ü  Update on preparations for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics, including for the 3,500-seat Gangneung Curling Center, transportation plans, and other infrastructure.

    ü  Update on 2016 Youth Olympic Games, set for Feb. 12-21 in Lillehammer, Norway. For the round robin play, USA will compete in the “red group” with New Zealand, China, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, Italy and Turkey.

    ü  WCF will be staging a camp to help teach Mixed Doubles strategy in early December in Budapest, Hungary. Registration information will be posted at www.worldcurling.org.

    ü  Proposed changes to the format of Mixed Doubles are being discussed (to be voted on Saturday in the General Assembly). Many of these proposals were tested at events this past season, including the New Zealand Winter Games just concluded.

    ü  Others rules or format discussions include increasing the length of time (thinking time) for games in the wheelchair curling championship, and changing the playoff structure from the Page system to traditional semifinal/final format for world championships.

    ü  Curling Night in America on NBCSN series opportunity discussed in depth with WCF and other member associations.

    ü  Discussions held with WCF staff and technical delegates regarding WCF Club Development Loan Program projects involving USA clubs.

    ü  I met with chief executives of several other WCF member nations to discuss common challenges and strategies, and share ideas for working together. One idea we are pursuing immediately is the potential for a joint effort toward sponsorship solicitation with strategic international corporations.

    ü  The Athletes Commission (chaired by USA’s Ann Swisshelm) and Rules & Competitions Commission (with USA’s Mark Swandby) met at the start of the Congress.

    ü  The Americas Zone Zonal Commission met during the Congress.

    ü  The majority of Nike apparel ordered for the 2015-16 season has now been received. We have to place the order in the fall prior (last November), and will soon be working on the forecast for the 2016-17 season. Nike provides the USCA with approximately $85,000 in value-in-kind sponsorship annually. This year we received an additional $20,000 to outfit all the teams competing in the 2016 WFG Continental Cup in Las Vegas.

    ü  Final input received on the Deputy Manager position description, so I will be finishing this ASAP and posting the position for applications.

    ü  Secretary Gordon Maclean did a thorough “neatening up” of the USCA bylaws, making the formatting consistent throughout, fixing spacing issues, etc., and presented it to me, Chairman Rich Lepping, and Governance Committee Chairman Leland Rich to move ahead with. 

    ü  Secured a $100,000 sponsorship from the U.S. Olympic Committee marketing division for this season and next ($200,000 total) for the Curling Night in America programming on NBCSN.

    ü  Finalized a 2-year agreement with The Pin People (Laurie Artiss Ltd.) as the Official/Exclusive Lapel Pin Supplier/Licensee for the USCA. Benefits to the USCA include a 15% discount off listed wholesale pricing (plus 5% further for pre-paying), and a 5% rebate on all USCA member clubs orders. Club will receive a 10% discount of listed wholesale pricing (plus 5% further for pre-paying). 

    ü  Completed the U.S. Paralympic Performance Partnership Agreement with agreed upon performance milestones.

    ü  Scheduled Oct. 24th as the night to formally recognize the 2015 World Senior Champion Lyle Sieg team at the Seattle Curling Club. Chairman Lepping is unable to attend due to other commitments, but I will present the championships banner to the team, and would welcome any other USCA representatives who might be in the area and are interested in joining me.

    ü  Confirmed that Chairman Lepping and I will participate in the St. Paul Curling Club Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 14 to have a discussion about the benefits of USCA membership, and to hear firsthand about what the club believes it needs most from the USCA.

    ü  Set Wednesday, Sept. 16, as the date for a Town Hall conference call with officers from all USCA member states/regions and clubs, led by Chairman Lepping and me. An invitation will be going out shortly, and will include all USCA Directors.

    ü  Attended USOC Best Practices conference and SportsLink in Pittsburgh, Aug. 25-27. In addition to the seminars, I also did the following while there:

    ü  Met with USOC Marketing Chief Lisa Baird to discuss the Dow partnership and VIK situation. She will be speaking with her IOC counterpart, as well as Dow’s global marketing chief in Lausanne to try to keep this moving along.

    ü  Met with Jeff Hansbro, Dow Senior Technology and Sustainability Leader, whom was on a panel at the conference. Jeff is one of the key people we have been working with on the partnership over the last several months.

    ü  Met with USOC Managing Director of Productions Brian Gordon to confirm details of Curling Night in America sponsorship (noted above). Also discussed likely third year (2017-18) support and working together on some promotions in conjunction with Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis in 2018.

    ü  Met with USOC Athlete Ombudsman to finalize drafts of USCA Athlete Agreement and Code of Conduct.

    ü  Discussed competitive analysis projects (both for on-ice and NGB-wide performance) with USOC Chief of Sport Performance Alan Ashley and others, and asked that USCA be included.

    ü  Met with a marketing executive from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, a panelist at the conference on sponsorship trends, who noted that her company had engaged with the Pittsburgh Curling Club to introduce curling to its employees.  (Well done, Pittsburgh CC, as she spoke very highly of this program.)

    ü  Met with a representative of Snohomish County, Washington, a bidder for the 2017 USA Curling Nationals along with the Seattle Granite CC, to discuss the bid and an upcoming site visit (being scheduled in conjunction with the Oct. 24 celebration for the Lyle Sieg team).

    ü  Attended separate SafeSport meetings for discussions and updates on the development of the stand-alone agency (U.S. Center for Safe Sport).

    ü  Attended NGB Council meeting, following the Best Practices seminar.

    What’s up next week:

    Ø  Inaugural World Mixed Curling Championship begins Saturday in Berne, Switzerland, and continues through Thursday. USA is represented by the team of Brady Clark, Cristin Clark, Sean Beighton and Jillian Walker, of the Seattle Granite CC.

    Ø  PyeongChang Olympic Planning Meeting, Colorado Springs, Tuesday-Thursday.

    What’s coming two weeks from now (Sept. 13-19)

    Ø  St. Paul CC Board meeting, St. Paul, Minn. Sept. 14 (Chairman Lepping and I will be attending).

    Ø  USCA Operations Group meeting by teleconference, Sept. 15.

    Ø  USCA Town Hall Teleconference (for region and club officers, and USCA Directors), Sept. 16.


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