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‘Give ‘er and get ‘er done’: Brier icemaker won’t let a damaged ankle stop him

ST. JOHN’S — Jamie Bourassa clearly remembers a initial time he pebbled a curling rink.

“I was 17. Fort Macleod [Alberta]. we managed a curling bar right out of high school.”

Four decades later, a 57-year-old has taken his ice-making poise around a globe, formulating a personification surfaces for a world’s many critical bonspiels.

For his latest job, Bourassa was tasked with branch a Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s, routinely an locus for a hometown American Hockey League team, into 4 ideal curling sheets for a Brier. And he didn’t have a lot of time to do it — a organisation of about 20 people worked around a time for days.

“We got a building on a Sunday morning [before subordinate began on Friday]. We started laying a substructure by that afternoon and we were finished flooding a ice by Wednesday,” Bourassa says.

“You give ‘er and get ‘er finished and hopefully it gets good from there.”

The routine strike a bit of a obstacle this time. Two weeks ago, Bourassa slipped on some snow-covered ice — outdoors, not his possess — and pennyless his ankle.

“The iceman falleth,” he laughs.

But zero is interlude Bourassa from removing a pursuit finished as he hobbles around on one foot, crutches in both hands.

“This is a initial and we don’t wish to do it again either,” he says.

Sleepless in St. John’s

For a march of 9 days during a Brier, Bourassa gets around 5 hours of nap a night if he’s lucky. He’s always on call. Early mornings. Late nights. Obsessed with creation certain a ice is pristine.

“It’s my passion,” he says. “It’s critical to make certain a players can make their shots, and if they do that I’ve finished my job.”


Even as he’s hobbled by a damaged ankle in St. John’s, Bourassa frequently consults with players for feedback on a peculiarity of his ice. (Devin Heroux/CBC Sports)

Making curling ice in a hockey arena is a high charge and not for everyone. It took a staggering bid by Bourassa and his organisation only to get their roving highway uncover of apparatus out to Newfoundland for a Brier.

Even after a ice is made, a smallest change in continue outside, heat inside, or variable issues can chuck all into chaos.

“I don’t know if I’ve been propitious or blessed, though I’ve never had any life-altering issues,” says Bourassa. “Knock on wood, since it can change in a minute.”

Like a cook with a tip recipe, Bourassa won’t hold a ideal heat inside a locus this week to safeguard ideal curling conditions. But he’s gripping an eye on a weather, since what’s function outward can impact how a ice behaves indoors.

“I start following a foresee about a week or dual before we come,” he says. “I can know in my mind what we competence have to demeanour brazen to. It’s been snowing and a steam has altered about dual per cent.”

Despite a damaged ankle, Bourassa can be seen hobbling around before any pull in St. John’s, entirely interrogating a players before any game.

He strives for coherence with his ice — no large twist or “swing” — and wants to know what a players are saying and feeling to safeguard his aspect is a best it can presumably be.

“The players are always appreciative. we do a lot of one-on-ones with them,” he says. “I only don’t ask a winners since they’re customarily always happy with a ice.”

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