A man who devoted his career to building the sport of curling in Canada and around the world will be leaving Curling Canada after 42 years, Curling Canada announced today.
Warren Hansen will vacate his role as Director of Event Operations, with his contract set to expire later this year.
“Warren’s impact on the game of curling can’t be overstated,” said Hugh Avery, Vice Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors. “He took our sport to levels that were never thought possible when he first got involved in the 1970s, and the success of our events, and their significant place on the Canadian sports landscape is in no small part a result of his tireless efforts. With preparations already underway for the 2015-16 Season of Champions events, it was time to start the process of finding a successor to Warren, and that process will get underway extremely quickly.”
Hansen, a competitive player himself who won the 1974 Macdonald Brier throwing second rocks for Edmonton’s Hec Gervais, had numerous roles over the years with Curling Canada, including in the areas of coaching, officiating and technical development. He was also active in putting together clinics around the world to get new curlers involved in the sport outside of Canada.
That, in turn, would help bring more countries into the curling fold with a long-term ambition of adding curling as a medal sport to the Winter Olympics — a dream Hansen and others would finally see come true in 1998 at Nagano, Japan.
But it was his constant desire to build Canada’s national men’s and women’s curling championships — the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts — into major sports and entertainment properties that not only determined national champions but also provided ticket-buyers with a show, on and off the ice, for which he may be most remembered. Additionally, he fought to modernize the image of the game to bring it in line with other Olympic sports, putting the emphasis on athleticism.
“I worked with some amazing people on these events over the years, and I share a lifetime of wonderful memories with them thanks to their tireless efforts,” said Hansen. “The sport of curling has provided me with experiences that I will cherish forever. The people — the fans, the curlers, the event staff — are what made it special.”