Turku, Finland to trial WCF Portable Curling Facility initiative

The Finnish Curling Association has been selected to trial the World Curling Federation’s (WCF) first Portable Curling Facility.

An insulated tent-like construction, similar to this one, will be built as a Portable Curling Facility initiative in Turku, Finland Photo: OB Wiik

The initiative, launched at the World Curling Congress in September 2014, will see the WCF provide CopperHill Curling Club in Turku with a two sheet Portable Curling Facility (PCF), created within an insulated tent.

Speaking of the announcement, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “The WCF has recognised that there is often a threshold in the process of building a dedicated curling facility, especially for new member associations. With that in mind, the WCF has initiated the Portable Curling Facility (PCF) programme. The intent of this initiative is to help our member associations overcome the financial barriers of building dedicated places to curl.”

She continued: “We are delighted to trial this in Turku and are excited to see the benefits it can bring to the sport of curling in this part of Finland. We are confident that Finland can make this initiative work and will look to expand and develop the programme over the coming years for other member associations.”

16 projects worldwide were considered for this trial, with bids coming in from Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Serbia, USA and Wales.

The initiative was developed following advances in technology and equipment that have seen examples of curling clubs that are successfully operating in insulated tents.

It is hoped that these portable facilities could be the stepping-stone for WCF Member Associations to progress from the shared arena environment with other ice sports, to dedicated curling facilities, without the huge financial investment required for a traditional dedicated building.

Tero Tähtinen, one of the driving forces behind the bid, spoke of his delight at CopperHill being awarded the trial. He said: ”The Portable Curling Facility is an amazing opportunity for our club. We have been systematically developing our club but the fact that we are playing in three different hockey rinks and moving the stones back and forth between them means that we have reached a limit as to how much we can grow. Our target, with the dedicated two sheets, is to become the biggest club in Finland.”

His ambition was echoed by Finnish Curling Association President Olli Rissanen who said: “I don't have the words to describe how important this project is for curling in Finland. To keep the sport alive in the long run requires dedicated curling facilities where people of all abilities can play. With this facility we aim to get many more people involved in curling in Finland.”

This news comes shortly after Finland’s men finished fourth at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015 in Halifax, Canada - the first time that they had qualified for the play-offs since 2003.

In Sapporo, Japan, their women’s team finished 11th at the ZEN-NOH World Women’s Curling Championship 2015 while their wheelchair curling team won bronze, their first ever medal at a World Wheelchair Curling Championship, earlier in 2015.

For more information about this project and all of the other development support initiatives and programmes offered by the WCF, contact info@worldcurling.org.

Locations of the 16 bids:
Akureyri, Iceland
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Broadmoor Curling Club, Colorado, USA
Panichishte, Bulgaria (expression of interest)
Cedar Rapids Curling Club, Iowa, USA
CopperHill Curling Club, Turku, Finland
Curling Club Mechelen, Belgium
Hamar Curling Klubb, Noway
IceWorks, Philidelphia, USA
Brasov, Romania
Lake Tahoe Epic Curling Club, Nevada, USA
Auckland, New Zealand (expression of interest)
Ocean State Curling Club, Rhode Island, USA
San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club, California, USA
Surčin, Belgrade, Serbia
Deeside, Wales

Portable Curling Facility
For more information about this initiative, visit: http://wcf.co/131UTF9

Area that the Portable Curling Facility will be built upon

Location of the new Portable Curling Facility in Turku (marked in red)