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February | 2016 | CurlingZone
 Monthly Archives: February 2016

CURLING: VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2016 set for action

For immediate release: Monday 29 February 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark – The World Curling Federation’s (WCF) VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships 2016 will be staged at the Taarnby Curling Club, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, from this coming weekend.

Some 18 sessions of round-robin play commence on Sunday 6 March at 09.00, with medals being played for on Sunday 14 March, at 09.00 for the Women, followed by the Men at 14.00. All times are Central European Time (CET).

The Taarnby Curling Club was built in 1978 and previously, the World Senior Curling Championships of 2006 and 2012; the 2011 and 2014 European Mixed Curling Championships; and the European Junior Curling Championships of 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012, have all been held at this venue.

To be eligible to play in the World Junior Championships, a player must be less than 21 years of age by the end of the 30th day of June of the year immediately preceding the year in which the championship is to take place.

Altogether ten women’s and ten men’s teams have qualified to take part, representing 12 different nations.

The ten women’s teams are: defending champions Canada, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.

USA skip Cory Christensen will be making her fifth appearance at this event as she leads a team that includes twins Sarah and Taylor Anderson. Christensen was 17 years of age when she skipped at this event for the first time – the same age as Canada’s skip this year, Mary Fay from Nova Scotia. Fay has already won this season, skipping a mixed Canadian team – that included her second player Karlee Burgess – to Gold at the recent Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

For this year’s Championships onwards, the World Curling Federation has introduced a new qualification arrangement. Instead of separate qualification events via the European Junior Curling Challenge and the Asia-Pacific Junior Curling Championships, a new World Junior-B Championships has been introduced. From this event, held in Finland in January, Russia, Japan and Hungry qualified for places in the women’s field, which means a first-ever appearance at this level by Hungary, who are skipped by two-times World Mixed Doubles champion Dorottya Polansca.

Turkey is also making a first appearance at this level after qualifying as host, as the event was originally scheduled to take place there.

Under new skip Sophie Jackson, Scotland’s team includes two Silver medallists from last year – Naomi Brown and Rachel Hannen, and while Russia’s skip Uliana Vasilyeva returns with a new team, Japan, Korea, Sweden and Switzerland are all represented by new line-ups this year.

The ten men’s teams involved this year are: defending champions Canada, Denmark, Korea, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.

Canada’s skip Matt Dunstone returns to these Championships for a third time, having skipped to a Bronze medal in 2013 and acted as alternate in 2014. Scotland’s skip Bruce Mouat won Bronze last year with a team that included his current third player Bobby Lammie.

USA skip Korey Dropkin will be making a fourth World Junior appearance, while Russia, who won the men’s division of the World Junior-B Championships (WJBCC) to qualify for this event, and their skip for this year, Timur Gadzhikhanov, returns from last year’s line-up. Denmark and Korea also qualified from the WJBCC men’s event.

Rasmus Wranaa returns to the World Juniors as skip of the Swedish team, while Norway’s team includes skip Magnus Ramsfjell and third player Bendik Ramsfjell, the latest members of a well-known curling family to gain international representation. The 2015 Silver medal winning Swiss team and 2014 champions, skipped by Yannick Schwaller, travel to this event with the same team line-up.

As is the case for their women, Turkey’s men are making their first appearance at this level.

In addition, Sportsmanship Awards are presented at the closing ceremony to a junior man and woman selected by their peers as those ‘who exemplify the traditional values of skill, honesty, fair play, sportsmanship and friendship in the world of curling.’

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of the Championships on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel,


From the Sandra Schmirler Foundation Website:


The Sandra Schmirler Foundation was created in January 2001 as a legacy to three-time world curling champion and Olympic gold medalist, Sandra Schmirler, in recognition and celebration of her love of family.

She was the queen of curling, affectionately called “Schmirler the curler”. Sandra always seemed to find a way to win. In so many games, in so many different situations, and in so many different places. Even when we knew she was sick, we believed she would find a way to beat her illness.

While she lost her biggest battle, she ultimately won through her continued growing legacy with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and the many families with premature and critically ill babies across Canada who have benefited from life-saving equipment the Foundation has funded in her name.

The Foundation has now contributed over $3.2 million to 40 Canadian hospitals’ newborn intensive care units, in every province and the Territories. The list continues to grow every year with the generous support of our many donors.

Our vision is to fund the purchase of life-saving equipment to Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs) so every baby in Canada born too soon, too small or too sick has the chance to grow up and become a champion, like Sandra Schmirler.

The core values of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation help describe what makes the Foundation a unique and special place. Respect, Integrity, Commitment, Compassion, Passion and Gratitude are core to the way we work to achieve the Foundation’s mission and aspirations.


We affirm the dignity, potential and contribution of volunteers, donors, partners and staff.


We act consistently with the Foundation’s mission, being honest and transparent in what we do and say, and accepting responsibility for our collective and individual actions.


We work together collaboratively, cooperatively and effectively.


We are kind and considerate and show concern for the well-being of families with premature and critically ill babies.


We believe in having a positive and optimistic attitude about everything we do because we realize that this inspires others.


We are thankful and expressing gratitude drives our words, thoughts and actions.

Our mission is to raise funds to purchase life-saving equipment for premature and critically ill newborns and provide scholarships to junior curlers, giving each the chance to grow up to become a champion, like Sandra Schmirler.

Make a donation


In some unfortunate news today coming out of Denmark, a player at the European Curling Championship playing for the Denmark Women’s team has tested positive for a banned substance. Helle Simonsen who plays with Lene Nielsen will be facing an investigation and considering the reason for the positive test, we hope that a reasonable solution can come of this case.

See the press release from the Danish Curling Federation for more information:

Danish Curling player tested positive

During the recently European Championships in Esbjerg, the Danish curling player Helle Simonsen was doping tested. It has now been found that the test is positive.
Helle Simonsen has a hormonal imbalance called PCOS and in relation to that she has taken some alternative medicine that would help her become pregnant. One of the substances in the medicine is on the doping list.

Helle has not been aware that the drug was on the doping list. It is not taken with performance enhancement in mind and she is very sorry about what happened.

The consequence of the positive testing is that Helle Simonsen with immediate effect will be excluded from all tournaments and competitions until the case is dealt with and the authorities have made a decision. The proceedings of the matter in hand will be World Curling Federation.

Since this only relates to one player on Team Lene Nielsen’s team it will not affect Team Lene Nielsen results or current ranking.

For more information contact:
Ulrik Schmidt
Sports Director
Danish Curling Association
Mobile: +45 40 86 26 64
Susanne Slotsager
Danish Curling Association
Mobile: +45 40 25 20 08


Friday – UPDATE

Brad Gushue’s team is the latest to put hair brushes through the sweeping test, and while they weren’t able to back a stone up like Norway’s Team Hoiberg, they did manage to put the hair up against the original IcePad brush, with insert in it and it showed very similar results.

It seems the type of hair brush being used is really the crux of the issue. Here at the USA Nationals in Jacksonville, Florida, one of the top ranking teams has been using Performance brushes that seem to out-perform other hair brushes. Goldline’s hair brushes have also sold out, another brush you can bottom out when sweeping and putting a lot of pressure on it.

The thicker the hair is on the brush, the less effect the sweeping has as a thin/short brush allows the curler to press the hard base into the ice like it’s an insert. The World Curling Federation will be under intense pressure to ban hair from it’s upcoming championships as teams learn these new trick, but a source close to the situation said that they can’t do much until they’re able to put the brushes through proper testing.

Norway’s Team Hoiberg, the second ranked team behind Thomas Ulsrud and ranked #51 in the World Rankings (Order of Merit) videotaped some testing over the weekend using hair brushes to show what can be done to control the rock. Very reminiscent of the BalancePlus videos shot earlier this season with their BlackPad Directional Fabric, you see how using one sweeper they were able to make a rock fall, and make a rock overcurl the normal path of travel.

Interesting results and based on a lot of discussion around the game, we predict hair brushes will be the next to be banned in competitive play.

Amazing! Hair brushes will be banned from #curling very soon, as this test by Norway's Team Hoiberg shows.

Posted by CurlingZone on Monday, February 8, 2016

The commentary on this video has been taking off. One thing about the video, it does show releases that don’t seem to be perfect, but to suggest they are what causes the rock to fall 3 feet or curl 9 feet on ice that has a natural 3 foot curl is just deflecting the results of the hair brushes. Another comment suggested that the rock changes handle, but if you watch until the end of each shot you see the curl come to a stop finishing in the same rotation as being released. The tight video appears to be a bit of an optical illusion as the rock travels down the ice.

Ben Hebert responded to the video and fan comments about his sweeping prowess with these kind of brushes:

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