Feature: The many beards of superfan Hans Madsen

  • WCF Trainee Journalist Michael Houston catching up with Hans Madsen at the WWCC 2015 in Sapporo, Japan Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

There are dedicated curling fans and then there is Hans Madsen.

The many different disguises of Hans Madsen Photo: WCF/Alina Paulichyk

Curling fans are well-known for their passion for the sport, but it’s hard to see anyone with more passion than Hans, and his wife Judy.

The couple dress up in different costumes, wigs and hats at the matches, with Hans dyeing his beard a different colour every day.

WCF Trainee Journalist, Michael Houston caught up with Hans at the recent ZEN-NOH World Women's Curling Championship 2015 in Sapporo, Japan.

“Today is Saint Patrick’s Day so I’ve dyed my beard with a shamrock so that I’m like a lucky little Leprechaun,” said Hans.

He is clearly a colourful character, but it’s not all for attention. He knows that it makes the crowd and the athletes happy when they see him.

“Sometimes if one of the girls at the game is down, we can put something in their colours to make them smile,” he said.

It’s acts of kindness like this that make the couple well-known on the curling circuit. Despite being two pensioners from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, they are friends with many of the athletes.

“I’ve met a lot of teams over the years, for example, Stella Heiss (German second) has met us a few times and when she first saw us she came over and gave us a big hug, as did Team China and the Russian girls.”

Hans and Judy travel across the world following women’s curling, from their national championships in Canada to the big events such as the World Championships.

“We go mainly where the ladies go because they are exciting teams to watch who work harder for their points,” said Hans.

Hans and Judy have been following women’s curling for ten years, with their first international travels being Denmark and Latvia for the Women’s World Championships.

“We support the Canadian team and all the ladies’ teams,” he explains, “I would still come even if Canada weren’t in the championships. They should always be in the championships, but if they’re not, there’s 12 ladies teams and that’s what we go and watch.”

Hans and Judy have been ever-present at these championships, not missing a match even when Canada aren’t playing.

Hans, 64, already has his tickets for next year’s championships in Swift Current, Saskatchewan which he jokes is “staying ahead of the game.”

They go to several events a year, something that many would find financially concerning. When I asked him about the high costs involved he shrugged: “It costs a lot of money, but it’s enjoyable. You can’t put a price on happiness!"

Hans and Judy brighten up every event they attend. They are just two of the millions of fans who watch curling each season who are vital to the continual development of the sport.

Keep your eyes peeled for them at the next curling event, they will be hard to miss!