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Curling events a grind for the TV crew, too

The view inside a WCTV truck

By Luke Coley

EDMONTON – The round robin portion is a grind for the players; two games a day and it can take quite the toll both mentally and physically.

For some of us who are involved with the event, we too are having very long days. There are multiple days where many on the TV crew will be working all three draws. My role this week is as a commentator and by the end of the week I will have called 18 of the 22 draws. But I am not complaining… I love it!

There is always a short turnaround between draws but I find it important to stick to a familiar routine. After a quick meal between games, I head up to our booth and put together my notes on the game. For me, it is important to write down key information that I will refer to numerous times throughout the game. I make sure I have team rosters written down in my notepad with their current statistics throughout the championship.

Along with those stats, I put records as well as the other games on the ice and future opponents to be played for quick reference. Sometimes there isn’t time to reference a schedule in the moment and the more information I have at my disposal, the better.

After that I will normally head down to the ice and see if there is any anecdotes from curlers or icemakers. Sometimes it is a note from a coach from their last game or a unique tale of what they have done during their time in Edmonton. It is always nice to add insight from the people closest to the action.

As we get closer to the game, I will go over the start of the show with my partner to determine how we will approach the show and any interesting notes about the game. We also look at any unique information about players, the ice and what we should expect in game coming up. For example, this week Team Canada’s Geoff Walker is the only member of the team to not curl 100% in a game, including alternate Tom Sallows.

Next up, we watch practice and the teams throw their last stone draw challenge to determine hammer in the first end, we will go through a mic check with the truck and then await the opening stone. It is a blast to get to work with great people beside me like Canadian champ Alison Kreviazuk (now in Sweden), Olympians Ann Swisshelm (USA) and Hans Frauenlob (New Zealand) and the very talented broadcaster Alison Walker from Scotland.

As the round robin nears a conclusion, the playoff picture becomes clearer. For many countries, they may not make the playoffs but have qualified their country for the 2018 Olympics. Every outcome has to be calculated and changes every single draw as to how each nation ranks. The final day of round robin is always fun for those very reasons.

I hope you are enjoying the curling and if you have any questions or comments about the event or curling in general, I’d love to hear from you. I’m on Twitter @coleynotes and on Facebook at

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March of time at curling worlds

By Luke Coley

EDMONTON – I always look forward to working at the world championships, but this year is extra special because the event is taking place in Edmonton, where I live.

It’s hard to walk into Northlands Coliseum without remembering the atmosphere during the 2005 Brier and 2007 men’s worlds. It still gives me chills as I remember the ovation for Team Randy Ferbey, winning their fourth Brier title at home, as the crowd was on their feet for that final shot by David Nedohin. The entire crowd singing the Canadian anthem while waving the Alberta flag.

Then to see Glenn Howard and Team Canada come out to a packed house wearing cowboy hats to a sea of Maple Leafs on clothes, hats
and flags.

How things have changed for curling and for me, since that world championship in ’07. Back then I was living the single life, working for CurlTV (remember that?) and covering my second world championship. Now I am doing commentary for the World Curling Federation and I have a lovely wife and two amazing children.

It’s been so much fun to bring them in and show them the experience of a world championship that I have now covered more than a dozen times.

Players that were participating at those ’05 and ’07 events are now on the coaching bench, like Peja Lindholm as national team coach for Sweden and Brier champ Marcel Rocque leading the Chinese team – in the same building in which he raised the Tankard for the fourth time. At this championship they are honouring all past champions to win major curling events in Edmonton, which includes Rocque’s part in the Ferbey Four win in 2005.

The World Curling Federation now also has a live YouTube channel – World Curling TV – that allows fans around the world to watch the live coverage throughout the event. There are two full broadcast trucks producing live coverage that is reaching 90 countries on TV and many more via the YouTube channel.

The building that is hosting this event will probably be the last curling event ever here as a new state-of-the-art arena, Rogers Place, has been built in Edmonton. While the Coliseum has seen its share of great curling moments, I am sure there will be new ones created as the championship continues through the week.