Kevin Glessing of Wilkie will experience his first world curling event as he takes his place on the officiating team at the Tim Hortons Brier and Men’s World Curling Championships being hosted in Calgary in March and April.
Glessing has been an official at the provincial level for 20 years. His national umpire resume spans 12 years.
“Even though umpires are volunteers we must be invited to work at these events,” Glessing explains.
Officiating within the curling “bubble” comes with more than an emphasis on curling rules. Glessing says officials are to isolate for three days prior to leaving for Calgary. They then must have a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of arriving. He, along with others in the bubble, are required to download the federal and Alberta COVID-19 Alert Apps to their phones before arriving.
Glessing says he arrives in Calgary March 3 for the Brier and practices will begin the next day. Curling Canada was clear that they did not want anyone there any earlier than absolutely necessary.
“As far as the safety of the bubble in Calgary, I’m very confident that Curl Canada, Health Canada and Alberta Health have made it very safe, so I have no worries at all regarding 19,” Glessing says.
He also mentioned that the women’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts, hosted prior to the Brier, will have given organizers an opportunity to work out any hiccups.
Upon arriving in Calgary, Glessing says officials are instructed to go directly to a testing site. From there, he will head to the designated hotel and isolate in his room until he receives test results. Other stipulations include wearing a mask at all times. Officials are not allowed to touch rocks with their hands and must maintain social distancing when dealing with players and coaches.
“This will be a different experience, but I won’t know how different until I get there. However, as always, I look forward to seeing some excellent curling,” remarks Glessing.
His days at the rink will be long, as he will be present for all three games each day of the event, returning to the hotel after 11 p.m. He says he will miss the social factor that has been part of the tradition of these championship events.
Glessing’s duties as an umpire include performing all the measuring during the game, including last shot draw measures.
“We are there to help the athletes with any judgements or rulings that may arise in the game, monitor time outs and other such duties.”
After a full 10 days at the Brier, Glessing will return home for a couple of weeks before proceeding with the protocols again before returning to officiate at the World Men’s Curling Championship, also being held in the Calgary bubble, April 2 to 11.