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Smooth sliding at Scotties thanks to experienced Ice Technician

During a Curling Championship, there is a reason the ice looks so good. Jamie Bourassa is the Chief Ice Technician for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts which wrapped up on Sunday. He explains that there is a method to the pebbling and prepping of the championship curling rink.

“The water is basically pure water. It is de-ionized water which means we take all the minerals out of it and bring the pH down in it to be acidic. It helps the rocks run a little better and lasts longer.”

Bourassa likes to keep the rinks at 21 degrees Fahrenheit and never pushing much over 23 degrees Fahrenheit. He explains that if it gets too warm on the ice, the rocks would get a lot faster but then at a certain point slow down entirely due to pebble on the ice breaking down. Humidity outside, temperature and the amount of doors a facility has can affect play during a curling championship but the Ice Technician says there were little bumps in the road when it came to Revolution Place.

“Some buildings are really good and it doesn’t matter what is happening outside. Some it can play a big part.”

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Bourassa explains that although it is a long day working at these events, he loves his job and has been at it for 38 years. During an event like the Scotties, he will show up at the rink at around 5:45am each day.

“Get it all vacuumed… get the ice scraped, pebbled, nipped, drug, and ready for the draw. I make sure everything is good and I get the plant working so it running for what I need it to be for temperatures. That is where the day starts off.”

An Ice Technician stays during the entirety of the day’s draws and pebbles the ice in between games. At the end of the day, Bourassa re-pebbles the ice for practice and gets back to his hotel around 10:30pm.

He explains that having the Canada Cup at the same location helped with the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. He is now off to do the ice for the World Ladies competition and then off to Sweden for World Mixed Doubles with the World Curling Federation.

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