The Trail Curling Center is losing one of its most valuable assets.
After spending the past five years as a trail ice technician and eight years at the Rossland Curling Club, Mike Williams announced his retirement last month.
Williams enjoys his job at the Trail rink, but when asked what he would miss most, he replied, “The people, of course. Whether it’s club members, volunteers or athletes, that’s who we do it for… And I want to thank everyone who has helped me in my career over the years.
Being an ice tech comes with its share of challenges, but what really makes a great slab of ice and consistent running rocks almost transcends the day-to-day work associated with it.
“There’s the science and various techniques, but there’s a bit of artistry and a bit of luck,” Williams said. “It’s kind of a combination where all of these things come together. Once you can learn to read what the blade shows you when you scrape ice or what ice looks like then you look at humidity, air temperature and ice temperature and air temperature. water, it all makes a difference. So it’s about juggling all those things to try to get the best result.
For Williams, each sheet was a work in progress, and the adaptation and reworking of the ice can vary from sheet to sheet. In Trail, Williams struggled with the E and F sheets, which were continually hit by frost heaves.
“Each facility has its own quirks, but E and F, we flood them about every six weeks and start fresh. It was a lot of work on these two sheets in particular. It was impossible to keep them flat.
Williams honed his art of ice making to such an extent that he was invited to participate in several international tournaments including the BC Men’s Provincial Championships, the Scotty Tournament of Hearts and the World Curling Championship. .
“I really enjoyed working with the other ice technicians and of course all the other volunteers from all the rinks,” said Williams. “They are passionate about what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t be volunteering. »
Additionally, Williams was vital to the Trail Curling Club and to hosting big events like the BC Club Championship in March, the Torchlight Brewing Classic in September and the 2019 BC Seniors Curling Championship.
But no matter the level of curling, there seems to be one common trait among curlers that ice techs everywhere must quickly adapt to or perish.
“I don’t want to criticize the curlers too much, but it’s never their fault. It’s either the rocks or the ice – in their minds. When I started I used to take it personally, but I soon learned to look at the scoreboard and ask, ‘Did this guy win or lose? resident Murray Walsh.
Once Williams completes the sale of his Rossland property, his plan is to travel the world for the next two and a half years.
“Nothing is set in stone, I’m going to fly by the seat of my pants,” Williams said. “It will be a great adventure, that’s for sure.”
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