What happened in the previous two weeks:
- The World Curling Federation leadership anticipates making a determination by early next week about whether to continue with staging the 2016 Men’s and Women’s World Junior Curling Championships in Erzurum, Turkey, in March. Many concerns have been raised by member nations about safety of the competitors and followers due to increased instability in that region of the world.
- USA’s Erika Brown and John Shuster teams helped the North America side win WFG Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas last week, with the competition decided on the last rocks. USA’s Ann Swisshelm was the captain of Team North America. Total attendance was over 62,000, a new record for not only this event but also any major curling event held in the USA. The USCA will receive a donation from the local organizing committee from 50/50 raffle proceeds, and we also earned revenue through other projects associated with the event.
- The Continental Cup drew volunteers from USA Curling clubs across the nation, in addition to those representing the Las Vegas Curling Club. While there I also had the opportunity to meet with new sponsor prospects, as well as WCF leaders testing new concepts for Mixed Doubles (including President Kate Caithness, Director Hugh Millikin and Keith Wendorf, WCF Director of Competitions). USCA Directors in attendance include Chairman Rich Lepping, Hawley MacLean, Jennifer Stannard, Mark Swandby, Chris Sjue, Beau Welling and Jessica Schultz. And of course Allison Pottinger, as a competitor!
- Many USCA ice techs were on the crew at the Continental Cup, including USCA Head Ice Technician David Staveteig (serving as the #2 guy to Curling Canada’s David Merklinger) and USCA Assistant Head Ice Technician Shawn Olesen.
- During a special meeting Wednesday of the USCA Board of Directors, Courtney Schmidt was elected as vice chairman.
- Among the topics covered at the Association for Chief Executives of Sport (ACES) conference I attended in Everett, Wash., this week were updates on Project Play and PHIT America. Both projects are designed to increase participation in sports and fitness, and PHIT America (currently before Congress) could provide tax incentives including the ability to count membership dues in organizations such as USA Curling toward FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Savings Account) programs.
- Terry Davis participated in an Olympic family communications/media relations summit at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Wednesday-Thursday.
- The playoffs have begun at the USCA Junior Nationals in Willmar, Minn. The Hunter Clawson team from Maryland has advanced to the men’s final with a win over the USCA HP team led by Korey Dropkin in the Page 1 v. 2 game. On the women’s side, the USCA HP team led by Corey Christensen qualified for Saturday’s final by beating Melissa Runing’s team from Minnesota in the Page 1 v. 2 game. The semifinals are this afternoon.
- A few seats are still available for the WCF Coach Mentor Program, which will take place next month in Jacksonville. CLICK HERE for more details.
- Want to watch the Jacksonville Nationals from the ice? Sign up as an officiating volunteer. There are spots remaining for curlers with officiating training and those without.
- The application deadline for the Optimist U18 International Curling Championships is Feb. 1. CLICK HERE for more details and links to the online application forms.
- The USOC Challenge Grant report has been filed and we met the level needed to qualify for the $25,000 matching grant from the USOC. We raised over $64,000 in the fourth quarter, bringing the 2015 calendar year total to over $87,000.
- Patrick McDonald, Steve Emt, James Joseph, Penny Greely and Justin Marshall have been selected as the five players on the 2016 USA Curling National Wheelchair Team that will represent our country in the 2016 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.
- Skills.com has renewed its sponsorship of the USA Curling wheelchair national team.
- Longtime USA Curling sponsor AtomOS had a technician in the USCA office last week fixing several IT issues that had been causing disruptions in our Internet and telephone service.
- The request-for-proposal (RFP) host site bid packets for both the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for curling and the 2018 USA Curling National Championships have now been released. Interested parties can view them on the USA Curling web site.
What’s up next week:
- USOC NGB Tier Working Group meeting, Jan. 26.
- NGB Council meeting, Jan. 28.
What’s coming two weeks from now (Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, 2016)
- USA Curling Men’s and Women’s Nationals, Feb. 6-13, Jacksonville, Fla.