Manitoba is sliding closer to establishing an International Curling Centre of Excellence (ICCE) by selecting the committee that will help guide its development, Premier Brian Pallister and Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox announced today.
“Manitoba has a reputation as a world leader in curling, and we will build on that excellence with a centre to develop and support the sport at all levels,” said Pallister. “We are bringing together some of curling’s best and brightest to help us develop a training ground that will nurture great talent from at home and abroad, and inspire the next generations of curlers.”
The committee will make recommendations to government on how best to establish a centre in Winnipeg. ICCE will be designed to promote curling at all levels, train and develop curlers and coaches to achieve top-class international performance, engage students from across Canada, and seek out and host international competitions. ICCE will strive to be recognized by every level of curling, the premier noted.
“We have assembled a winning team with Manitoba’s top curlers, coaches and technical experts,” added Cox. “We’re bringing together people who are passionate about this project and truly love the sport to help us find ways to fulfil our vision of a centre that will attract curlers to Manitoba and help grow the game.”
Committee membership represents 13 players, coaches and icemakers with experience ranging from grassroots to top-level international competitions. The committee will be chaired by Mark Olson, a Brier champion, international level coach and past-president of the Manitoba Curling Tour, and includes some of Manitoba and Canada’s biggest names in curling including Jennifer Jones and Connie Laliberte.
“We’re excited to get started,” said Olson. “Having Winnipeg and Manitoba as the home to where the international curling community can come and raise their game to the level they desire makes perfect sense to me. We’re going to do our best to see that it comes to fruition, right here in the modern-day home to curling.”
Among its first tasks, the committee will review similar centres in other jurisdictions and look for ways to partner with the private sector. The committee is expected to provide recommendations to government by summer 2018.
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INTERNATIONAL CURLING CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
Mark Olson* (chair) – 1981 Brier champion, international level coach, past-president of the Manitoba Curling Tour.
Kelly Collett – past-president of the Portage Curling Club, 12-time participant in the Manitoba Men’s Provincial Championship, 1989 MCA Bonspiel champion.
Resby Coutts – former president of CurlManitoba, highly involved member of the curling community through his service on national and provincial boards and committees, board of governors chair for Curling Canada.
Lois Fowler* – three-time Manitoba senior women’s champion, Canadian and world senior women’s champion.
Cathy Gauthier** – four-time national champion in women’s and senior women’s play holding world gold, silver and bronze medals, high-performance coach and colour commentator for TSN.
Daniel Grant – two-time Canadian junior curling champion and university national champion.
Jennifer Jones* – Olympic gold medallist and five-time Canadian women’s champion.
Connie Laliberte** – world champion and six-time provincial champion and director of high performance, CurlManitoba.
Rose Neufeld – past-president of CurlManitoba, provincial championship chief umpire and national championship game umpire.
Jill Officer* – Olympic gold medallist and five-time Canadian women’s champion.
Dennis Thiessen* – Paralympic gold medallist and two-time Wheelchair Curling National champion.
Ron Westcott* – Manitoba senior men’s and masters men’s champion, and Canadian masters champion, coach.
Hans Wuthrich* – world-renowned international ice technician and consultant, and chief ice technician of the Olympic Games since 2010.
*Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame member
**Manitoba and Canadian Curling Hall of Fame member