Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Godfather of curling in the Czech Republic

So, have you ever wondered about curling in the Czech Republic?

Didn't think so. However, just in case that topic comes up at your next cocktail party, here's a good background piece on the Roaring Game in that country, written by the Ottawa Citizen's Gord Holder.

Basically, it all flows through one guy, Karel Kubeska.

If you want to find out about curling in the Czech Republic, Karel Kubeska is the man to see.He served 16 years as president of the Czech curling federation, and he’s still on the World Curling Federation rules and competitions committee. Heck, he even helped arrange financing and construction of his country’s first dedicated curling rink, which opened in Prague in 2003-04.With four sheets of ice, it’s still the only such facility in a country with just 500 registered curlers — slightly more men than women, 80-90 junior-age competitors — but the Czechs have enjoyed occasional flashes of international success, including 2012 silver and a 2013 fourth-place finish in world junior women’s competition, plus European men’s championship bronze in 2011.

Kubeska knows that his country has a long, uphill climb to respectability, but he is at least charting the path. 

“We need more years, we need more people with 20, 25 years of (coaching) experience, and then we have a chance to build the right structure of the association and teams and everything,” he said.

And on the plus side, there's no relegation in the Czech Republic! 

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