2022-2023 MCA President’s Letter

Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:

Autumn is right around the corner, and I can almost hear the compressors whirring away to usher in the 2022-2023 curling season! That whirring mimics many of the conversations curlers had over this off-season about national, regional, and club-level issues. To cut through this noise, I would like to touch upon the MCA goals mentioned in my inaugural President’s letter last year and address some recent developments.  

Return to Safe Curling and Increased Number of Events: Last season, our clubs reported increased numbers and renewed interest in events. We anticipate a further increase this year. As always, the MCA offers our free, “no-frills” events to grow the sport of curling and increase camaraderie in our region. As all of our clubs are returning to normal operations, the responsibility of event hosting will also return.  MCA events will be split among clubs and follow our yearly rotational schedule to help our member clubs plan their seasons in advance. Please visit the 2022-2023 MCA Calendar to plan your next bonspiel.

Improve Member Club Support: As highlighted by recent events involving the GNCC region, a strong curling region is important to grow the sport of curling. In addition to the events mentioned above, the MCA advances our region and the sport of curling by:

  • Advocating for our regional clubs and members | USA Curling’s recent decisions involving U18 Nationals, the GNCC vote, and US Arena Nationals were poorly communicated to the MCA and its entire membership. I, along with other members of the MCA Board, have directly expressed our frustrations. As the regional association, we want it to be known that we expect:
    • Clear and transparent communication from USA Curling
    • Involvement in decisions that affect our region and our curlers
    • The actions and decisions of USA Curling benefit all types of clubs (paper, arena, and dedicated) and all levels of curlers, not just Olympic hopefuls
  • Rock rental | One of the biggest benefits of the MCA is our ability to purchase curling stones and rent them to new clubs at a reduced cost. Several of our clubs use this benefit and over the summer, we were contacted by Glenview Park District to help start a program at their ice arena. We hope we will be able to kickstart more clubs in our region to grow our region and sport.
  • Shared knowledge | The “spirit of curling” to share best practices for events, ice making, and club governance was never more evident than over the pandemic. We will continue to foster these connections to make curling better for everyone in and visiting our region.
  • Communicating regional events and successes | The MCA’s Website, Facebook Page, and Facebook Warm Room Page all experienced increased traffic and participation. We will continue to publicize not only MCA events and winners but any information provided to us from our member clubs. To us, club success is regional success and we want to hear from you.

Strengthen Our Region’s Curling Potential: As I stated last year, the Midwest is still filled with dedicated and passionate curlers and we want to harness that commitment and build toward a better Midwest curling community. Unfortunately, progress on most of these items was hindered.

  • Host a USAC Level I/II Officiating Clinic | Without these certified volunteers, our regional playdowns would not be possible. The number of officials in our region is in the single digits, therefore, the MCA believes a clinic is imperative. The MCA contacted USA Curling regarding these clinics all last season to no avail; however, we received more information this summer and plan to announce information about a Level I/II Officiating Clinic soon.
  • Host USAC Level I/II Instructor Clinic | We want to increase the number of certified instructors and, as a result, improve the Learn2Curl experience for new curlers. As part of our discussions with USA Curling, the MCA expressed a desire to have a yearly officiating and instructor clinic put into their trainer’s schedules. A successful clinic was hosted last year within our region, and we will continue to work with our member clubs to add these events to our regional calendar.
  • Providing resources and in-person timing instruction | Last year, our regional timing materials were updated, and many new volunteer timers were successfully trained at our numerous regional competitive events. The MCA will continue to work to grow our timer network and invest in the materials and equipment required to support these individuals.
  • Improving ice conditions at our clubs | We want all of our clubs to make great ice and for all curlers to enjoy it. In May, the USA Curling Ice Making Summit was announced for early June. The MCA notified all our clubs and committed to financially supporting the attendance of one ice tech per club. Two members from Windy City Curling attended. We aim to offer similar opportunities in the future, hopefully with more notice from USA Curling. Also, the MCA Board ice improvement sub-committee will continue to examine regional ice techs’ opportunities.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MCA Rep or myself. 

Good Curling,

Sara Gaum

President, Midwest Curling Association


USA Curling Representative for MCA/GLCA – Seeking Applicants

Interested candidates send resumes/letters of interest to midwestcurlingassociation@gmail.com by Friday, May 27th.

14th Annual MCA 5 Year & Under

From April 9-10, twenty teams participated in the MCA 5 Year & Under at Chicago Curling Club. Established in 2007, this event is free to all MCA members who have played less than five full curling seasons. The event aims to give newer curlers the opportunity to gain more experience and curl against their peers. The winner qualified for the 5&U National Championship hosted at Southern California Curling Center on May 12-15, 2022. The Midwest Curling Association would like to thank Chicago Curling Club for hosting, and we would like to extend our gratitude to all new MCA curlers who attended!

Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

1st Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

James-Grant Robertson, Tycho Spardaro, Adam Goettcshe, Beth Hinson

1st Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club

Gregory Dowell, Steven Coberly, Adam Baxter, Eric Bertram

2nd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Matt Peterson, Joel Miller, Ryan Shaw, Ryan Besch

2nd Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club

Lauren Visser, Aaron Visser, Eric Williams, Jason Weible

3rd Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Ryan Koralik, Gary Harman, Diane Greening, Lee Brunz

3rd Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club and Chicago Curling Club

Girithar Anthay Suthakaran, Chris Hadac, Megan Mackinson, Tom Sikma

4th Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club and Waltham Curling Club

Nicholas Haws, Tom Arra, Angela Haws, Linda Arra

4th Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club

Oivind Naess, Scott Seymour, Janet Naess, Gio Seymour

Statement Regarding MCA U18 Playdowns

Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:

As mentioned in my President’s Letter for the 2021-2022 Season, the MCA aims to strengthen our region’s curling potential. With this in mind, I wanted to address a recent situation regarding the registration for the MCA U18 Playdowns.  This year only one team, Team Ponzio, signed up by the deadline in our region. Team Ponzio curls out of Minnesota and could not make Minnesota playdowns through no fault of their own. They sought the input of USA Curling, who directed them to look to other regions for two reasons: 1) USA Curling does not hold juniors to the same standards as adult curlers, as U18 teams aren’t required to be league-playing members of a regional club and 2) our region’s playdowns had not occurred. To fulfill the requirement to play at MCA U18 Playdowns, Team Ponzio paid dues to an MCA member club.

I’d like to point out several things about this situation:

  • We believed this situation could pose future problems for junior MCA curlers, as we did not want to set a precedent that encouraged larger regions to send their teams to the MCA Playdowns and displace the juniors from our regional clubs. Whether you win or lose every game, National events are a great place for MCA juniors to learn and grow as a curler and team.
  • No MCA teams signed up for this event by the deadline other than Team Ponzio; therefore, no MCA team was being denied the opportunity to attend U18 Nationals this year. The MCA believes rules make games fair, fun, and in line with the ‘spirit of curling.’
  • The club that allowed Team Ponzio to pay dues is not to blame. All clubs accept members to grow the sport, and few survey why individuals are joining.
  • Team Ponzio was not at fault, as they acted appropriately to safeguard others’ health, reached out to USA Curling, and followed the course of actions suggested by USA Curling.

With all of this in mind, the Midwest Curling Association called a special meeting on February 28th to discuss this situation. We voted to defer the responsibility of determining the representative of the MCA region to USA Curling for the 2021-2022 season. Therefore, it was USA Curling’s decision whether to send this Minnesota team in the MCA slot or turn this slot into a vacant slot that an eligible team would fill, as dictated by the USA Curling Rules of Curling & Competition Handbook.

We did not take this decision lightly. Team Ponzio fulfilled the requirement outlined by USA Curling to register for our region, and we did not want to deny juniors the opportunity to play. However, the MCA Board was disappointed with how USA Curling handled this situation and felt the implications on a regional level were not considered. To prevent this situation in the future, the MCA plans to update our bylaws to ensure that only curlers active within our region can register for our U18 MCA Playdowns. 

Good Curling,

Sara Gaum

President, Midwest Curling Association


Quick Guide to Curling at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

While the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are on February 4th, viewers have the opportunity to begin watching curling on February 2nd. There will be 17 days of curling for you to enjoy this olympics. Below is a list of things you should know before the games start.

History of Curling in the Olympics

Curling was first introduced at the 1924 Winter Olympics held in Chamonix, France. The sport then reappeared as a men’s demonstration sport during the 1932 Winter Olympics in New York. For many years, curling was set aside; the sport returned again as a demonstration sport for both men and women in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. Curling was officially added to the Olympic program as a medal sport in the 1998 Winter Olympics and a women’s and men’s event has remained ever since. In 2015, the International Olympic Committee decided to add a new event, Mixed Doubles, which was included for the first time at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympics 2022 Curling Schedule

Team USA Curlers

Women’s: Tabitha Peterson, Nina Roth, Becca Hamilton, Tara Peterson, and Aileen Geving (alternate)  

Men’s: John Shuster, Chris PlysMatt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, and Colin Hufman (alternate)

Mixed Doubles: Chris Plys and Vicky Persinger


Never watched curling before, check out this awesome video created by USA Curling: Watch Curling Like A Pro

2022 MCA Mixed Playdowns

From January 21-23, four teams participated in the 2022 MCA Mixed Playdowns at Exmoor Country Club. The events format was a single round robin (double elimination). COVID safety guidelines were in place, games were timed, and a USCA-certified official oversaw the event. Team Brundidge finished the semi-finals with a 4-0 record and advanced to the finals against Team Miller who finished with a 3-1 record. Team Brundidge was declared the winner of the MCA Mixed Playdowns after finishing the event undefeated, while Team Miller secured second place.

We look forward to having Team Brundidge represent the MCA at the USA Curling Mixed Nationals. Thanks to all the teams and volunteer timers who attended the MCA Mixed Playdowns. Thanks to Exmoor Country Club for hosting such a great event, and we want to extend our gratitude to David Haverick for officiating!

Team Brundidge: Jed Brundidge, Bella Hagenbuch, Cameron Rittenour, Mae Hagenbuch

Team Miller: Adam Miller, Sara Gaum, Matt Sherry, and Kailey Meyer


2022 MCA Men’s and Women’s Club Playdowns

From December 3-5, the MCA Men’s and Women’s Club Playdowns were hosted at Exmoor Country Club. Seven men’s teams and three women’s teams participated in the event, our largest group in many years. We want to extend our gratitude to David Haverick for officiating the event; in addition, thanks to all the teams, coaches, and volunteer timers. Congratulations to the winners, Team Wright (Men’s Division) and Team Collins (Women’s Divison). Both teams will represent the Midwest Curling Association at USA Curling‘s Club Nationals later this season.

MCA Club Playdown Winners:

Team Wright (Exmoor Curling): Jeff Wright, Steve Waters, Steve Wright, Russ Brown, Ken Brown

Team Collins (Chicago Curling Club): Elisabeth Collins, Kailey Meyer, Laurie Longee, Ellen Dickson

MCA Club Playdown Runner-Ups:

Team Iwanga (Windy City Curling Club): Naoki Iwanaga, Aaron DeGagne, Girithar Anthay Suthakaran, Raymond Stone

Team Iwanga (Windy City Curling Club): Isabella Hagenbuch, Genevieve Salander, Mae Hagenbuch, Brianna Massey

8th Annual Prairie State Challenge

Established in 2012, the Prairie State Challenge was created to give curlers, especially those who don’t have dedicated facilities, the opportunity to get on the ice for an exciting weekend of comradery, gameplay, and socialization. Sponsored by the Midwest Curling Association, this open event is free to MCA members and provides curlers the chance to mingle with other teams in the Midwest region at the beginning of the curling season.

This year, 20 teams from seven regional curling clubs played in the two-day event hosted by Exmoor Country Club and Chicago Curling Club. After the cancelation of the event in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were excited to welcome teams back on the ice. Thanks to all those who participated, and congratulations to all the winners and runner-ups!

We look forward to seeing everyone again at the next Prairie State Challenge!

1st Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Ryan Murphy, Katherine Stewart, Aaron Horowitz, and Stephanie Martin (not pictured)

1st Event Runner-up: Windy City Curling Club

Bella Hagenbuch, Genevieve Salander, Mae Hagenbuch, Brianna Massey

2nd Event Winner: Waltham Curling Club

Maxwell Salander, Logan Brandner, Logan Fahr, Dagen Setchell

2nd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

David Kassner (only one pictured), Steve Wright, Chris Schallmo, Wilson Gottschild, and Koen Brown

3rd Event Winner: Cedar Rapids Curling Club

Cale Tesch, Andy Beland, Emily Johnson, Robert Wallraff

3rd Event Runner-up: Exmoor Country Club

Anthony Fowler, Gloria Chao, Kevin Burns, Elaine Burns

4th Event Winner: Chicago Curling Club

Matt Peterson, Staffan Axelsson, Randall Cross, Eric Bertram

4th Event Runner-up: Chicago Curling Club

Tycho Spadaro, Gregory Dowell, Steven Coberly, and Missy Dowling

2021-2022 MCA President’s Letter

Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:

Like many of you, I am keen to get back on to the ice…and the curling season is right around the corner! As the new MCA President, I’m excited to build upon the great work done by Jeff Wright and continue to expand the MCA and help our member clubs. To improve MCA transparency, I wanted to highlight some of  the MCA’s recent goals:

Return to Safe Curling and Increased Number of Events: Improving upon lessons learned from last year, all of our member clubs are excited to return to a more ‘normal’ curling and events. Clubs are working collaboratively to share best COVID safety practices, and the Midwest Curling Association continues to provide support and resources to our regional clubs during this time. Our goal is to ensure all curlers feel comfortable and to see an increase in participation in member club and MCA-sponsored events. For a list of member club and MCA events, please visit the 2021-2022 MCA Calendar.

Improve Member Club Support: While the Midwest region faired better than other regions, we understand that most of our clubs were hit hard by the 2020-2021 season. Our goal is to support our clubs and help them capitalize on the upcoming Olympic year.

As a first step, the Board of the MCA approved the continuation of the MCA Grant Program at a pre-COVID membership rate. Available to all MCA clubs, the grant money determined by each club’s annual membership can be used to enhance or promote the sport of curling. Secondly, the MCA is committed to promoting member club events and sharing best practices so each club can return to levels of pre-COVID success. Examples of these initiatives include:

If you haven’t already, we highly recommend following the MCA’s Facebook Page to receive the latest news and the MCA’s Facebook Warm Room to share your club’s and member’s curling success stories. Reach out to your MCA Representative with any ideas to improve curling in our region.

Finally, the MCA Board established a sub-committee to examine future opportunities to give back to member clubs. The committee will look into what can be funded (e.g., money for dedicated ice or capital improvements), how much can be funded, and so forth.

Strengthen Our Region’s Curling Potential: The Midwest is filled with dedicated and passionate curlers.  We want to harness that commitment and build towards a better Midwest curling community. The MCA is currently looking into:

  • Hosting USCA Level I/II Instructor Clinics within the region to increase the number of certified instructors and, as a result, improve the Learn2Curl experience for juniors and new curlers.
  • Hosting USCA Level I/II Officiating Clinics within the region and grow our network of officials. Without these certified volunteers, our regional playdown events would not be possible.
  • Providing resources and in-person timing instruction for upcoming competitions. We need timers for multiple competitive regional events this season, including all MCA Playdowns, USCA Men’s & Women’s National Championships, and USCA Senior Men’s National Championships.
  • Improving ice conditions at our clubs. We want all of our clubs to make great ice and for all curlers to enjoy it. The MCA Board approved a sub-committee to examine regional ice technicians’ opportunities and develop resources for them to learn best practices. We hope improved conditions will increase opportunities for all our member clubs.

We look forward to a successful curling season, and we hope you and your families stay safe during this time! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MCA Representative or myself. We are glad to help!

Good Curling,

Sara Gaum

President, Midwest Curling Association


Capitalize on Curling Night in America