A great turnout of 46 Umpires attended the 8th Annual Refresher Day at Lanarkshire Ice Rink recently, along with Umpiring Convenor Graham Lindsay, Scottish Curling Head of Development Judith McCleary and top International Ice Technician Mark Callan.
Graham opened with a review of the activities of the Umpiring Committee over the year along with the number of competitions both at home and abroad at which Scottish Curling umpires had officiated.
Graham then introduced Fiona Harfield, the new Scottish Curling Workforce Development Manager who explained her role. Fiona has come from the world of Hockey so already has a good idea of sport development.
Judith McCleary then gave a tribute to Alan Stephen who is retiring after many years in charge of IT for all aspects of Umpiring. This was all done on a voluntary basis and helped us to keep up to date with all the technology changes. He will be a hard act to follow, however Judith announced that Eoin McCrossan has been appointed to IT Support and also Competitions Co-ordinator for Scottish Curling.
Alan Stanfield then covered a number of off-ice developments that had taken place during the season as well as future ones planned, including a website based Umpiring Toolbox to support umpires of all levels in fulfilling commitments.
Alan then went on to highlight the proposed rules changes that were being discussed at the WCF Congress taking place the same weekend.
This led on to Mark Callan giving a very interesting insight into what is involved in being an Ice Technician at a major competition, from installing the ice (usually 5-7 days prior to an event), marking the sheets, including multiple logos, preparing the ice for play, then the on-going maintenance and prep during the competition. Mark emphasised that for a competition to run smoothly good communication between the Ice crew and Umpires was essential, and this was something he always tried to establish early on at an event.
Splitting into small groups those present looked at a number of videos and written scenarios considering the relevant rules and how they were applied. As usual they provoked plenty of discussion points!
The morning concluded with Harold Forrester explaining the new procedure on ‘Time Clock –Team Low on Time’, before Robin Turner gave a summary of his first-hand experience of 1-2-1 CU feedback.
After lunch an exercise on ranking from last season’s Glynhill Ladies International proved a good test of which rules needed to be used to decide who played in each of the play-off games.
The afternoon then moved out on to the ice where everyone had the chance to practice their measuring skills, and also to work with the laser measures and the Curl Distance app, something which some Umpires had started using the previous season.
There was also some more scenarios to consider as well as an Anti-doping quiz which proved very popular, with some groups managing a perfect 10 out of 10 score..!!
The day could not finish without the result of the traditional caption competition which this year was won by Gordon Whitelaw with Scottish Curling Vice -President Graham Lindsay presenting the prize.
Graham then summed up another very successful day with a vote of thanks and wished everyone a good season both on and off the ice.