Canadian 'King of Ice' sets the stage for curling in Sochi
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:08PM EST
As they prepared for the Sochi Games, Russian Olympic officials made it clear that they don’t need help from outsiders.
But among the exceptions is one Canadian expert -- known as “the king” of ice technicians -- who was called in to perfect the Olympic curling rinks.
Hans Wuthrich, a 56-year-old from Gimli, Man., has been grooming ice for 30 years. He is now overseeing a 25-man ice-making crew at the Ice Cube curling centre in Sochi.
Ryan Fry of the Canadian men’s curling team says Wuthrich’s skills are invaluable.
“What he does to control air flow and temperatures and all that, that's the science that's he's become master of,” he said.
For his part, Wuthrich said he’s curious to see how interested Russians and international spectators will be in curling events at the Sochi Games. He was the chief ice technician at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and said the curling stands there used to fill up at 7 a.m.
“I have no idea what it's going to be like in Sochi, whether there's going to be 10 people, 100 people, or 5,000,” he said.
Wuthrich has a young Canadian apprentice with him, but he still does all the finessing.
“It’s such a treat to play on his ice because there isn’t a shot in curling that you can’t make on Hans’s ice,” said Canadian curler Brad Jacobs.
There are high expectations for Canadian curlers at the Sochi Games. The men’s team is aiming for a third consecutive gold medal -- and they may feel like they’re on home ice thanks to Wuthrich’s handiwork.
With a report from CTV’s Daniele Hamamdjian in Sochi