Russ Howard, Ray Turnbull and Hiroyuki Saito inducted into World Curling Hall of Fame

  • WCF President Kate Caithness presenting Hiroyuki Saito with the Freytag Medal Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

The World Curling Federation (WCF) announced today that Canada’s Russ Howard and Ray Turnbull, and Japan’s Hiroyuki Saito, are inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made following an on ice ceremony celebrating the lifetime achievements of Hiroyuki Saito at the ZEN-NOH World Women’s Curling Championship being held in Sapporo, Japan.

Russ Howard and Ray Turnbull, along with 2014 World Curling Hall of Fame inductee Randy Ferbey, will be formally inducted at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015, which is taking place in Halifax, Canada from 28 March until 5 April.

Speaking about this news, WCF President Kate Caithness said: “We are delighted to induct three outstanding ambassadors of our sport into the World Curling Hall of Fame - Russ Howard, Ray Turnbull and Hiroyuki Saito. We are also looking forward to formally inducting Randy Ferbey who has waited patiently to receive this honour in Canada.”

She continued: “All four individuals have been hugely influential in our sport both on and off the ice. Their endeavours have not only inspired generations of curlers but more importantly helped develop our sport considerably around the world. Their dedication to curling is reflected by this honour which recognises their remarkable achievements in our sport.”

Hiroyuki Saito

Japan’s Hiroyuki Saito was a Member of the WCF Executive Board for six years, from 2002 until 2008. Saito brought the first World Curling Championship level competition to Asia in 2007 when Aomori, Japan hosted the World Women's Curling Championship.

He was also a long serving President of the Pacific-Asia Curling Federation, during which he ensured the region received permanent spots in the men’s and women’s World Curling Championships.

In his homeland, Saito also served as President of the Japan Curling Association, overseeing a considerable increase in the number of curling clubs in Japan.

Speaking of his induction, Saito said: “I am truly honoured to be given this prestigious honour by the World Curling Federation. I have worked in curling for many years having been driven by the successful development of our sport, not only in Japan, but also throughout the Pacific-Asia region and beyond. I believe this award recognises the tremendous progress that has been made in our sport in recent years and look forward to what the future holds for curling.”

Russ Howard

Canada’s Russ Howard will be inducted on Saturday 4 April during the evening session of play at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015.

He won Olympic gold skipping Team Canada in 2006 in Torino, Italy, in addition to winning Canada’s national championship (the Brier) and World Curling Championships in 1987 and 1993.

Howard played an important role in revolutionising the way the game is played. The current four-stone Free Guard Zone rule can be traced to Howard’s so-called Moncton Rule, which was introduced at a bonspiel in his hometown in 1990.

Today, he works as a commentator for Canadian sports broadcaster TSN. Speaking of this announcement, Howard said: “Curling has given me so many opportunities over the years, for which I will always be thankful.” He continued: “I consider myself blessed that I’ve had these opportunities to play the game I love and be rewarded so richly for it, and I’m truly appreciative to the World Curling Federation for this honour, and to Curling Canada for its support over the years.“

Ray Turnbull

Fellow Canadian Ray Turnbull will be honoured earlier that day, during the afternoon session of play.

Turnbull, a Brier winner in 1965, played a crucial role prompting the Canadian Curling Association (now Curling Canada) to create a junior-age national championship.

During his years as a player, he developed teaching techniques and was among the first to offer formal instruction for players and coaches, both in Canada and around the world, in addition to his work as an official.

Turnbull moved into the broadcast booth with TSN in 1985 and stayed there through until 2010, becoming one of the sport’s most familiar and trusted voices.

After receiving news of his induction, Turnbull said: “I’ve always thought I was extremely lucky to have been able to make a living from this wonderful sport that has given so much pleasure to people around the world.”

He added: “There are so many friends, teammates and family members who’ve helped me to get here, and I’m sharing this honour with all of them.”

Randy Ferbey

Canada’s Randy Ferbey will be formally inducted in an on ice-presentation the previous day, on Friday 3 April during the evening session of play.

You can read more about his induction into the World Curling Hall of Fame in 2014 here: http://www.worldcurling.org/ferbey-huerlimann-and-ramsfjell-inducted-into-world-curling-hall-of-fame

It’s the fourth year the World Curling Federation has accepted nominations for induction into the Hall of Fame, which is described as “the highest ‘non-playing’ honour that the World Curling Federation can bestow. This recognises outstanding achievements and contribution to World Curling.

Prior to 2012, the WCF awarded the World Curling Freytag Award, named after the late Elmer Freytag of the US Curling Association, who was a founding member of the International Curling Federation (now the WCF).

For more information on the World Curling Hall of Fame, go to: www.worldcurling.org/world-curling-hall-of-fame.