Dave Merklinger demonstrates the proper way to scrape the ice during an ice making course Wednesday at the Priest Valley Arena.

Dave Merklinger demonstrates the proper way to scrape the ice during an ice making course Wednesday at the Priest Valley Arena.

Merk puts chill on workshop

His resumé includes the Vancouver Olympics, a handful of Tim Hortons Briers and Scotties Tournament of Hearts, along with world and international championships.

His resumé includes the Vancouver Olympics, a handful of Tim Hortons Briers and Scotties Tournament of Hearts, along with world and international championships.

So it is fair to say that Vernon Curling Club ice maker Dave Merklinger is among the best at making curling ice in the world.

Or, as far as Norm Scott from the Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster is concerned, the man they call Merk is alone at the top.

“Dave’s the best in the world,” said Scott, one of 32 attendees at an ice-making session hosted this week by Merklinger at the Vernon Curling Club and Priest Valley Arena. “There are lots of guys at Dave’s level but as far as personality, he’s got the best. He’s the most down to earth and incredibly knowledgable.”

Merklinger got the idea for the ice-making workshop when a friend talked about hosting a junior curling camp in the Okanagan over the summer, but couldn’t find any ice.

Merklinger talked to the City of Vernon about using the Priest Valley Arena which, as of last weekend, was turned into a five-sheet curling club for the Curl BC Rockslide Summer camp, which began Thursday.

“With the ice already in, I could show the ice makers scraping and pebbling techniques which are all important to having good ice,” said Merklinger Wednesday on the ice at Priest Valley.

“The purpose of the clinic was to talk about championship ice and how to get the best ice possible. With the junior camp coming here, I thought it was a good time to have an ice tech course. There hasn’t been one around here in a long time.”

Merklinger talked about the duties of the curling club ice makers and brought in some noted guest speakers.

Dave Loverock discussed water quality and the benefits of having good water to help in ice making.

Fred Veale, one the world’s foremost authorities on curling rocks, talked about how to maintain the stones.

“It was definitely worth it,” said Josh Firman, ice maker at the Creston Curling Club and originally from London, Ont., of the three-day session.

“It’s probably more advantageous than the day-to-day work at the club. Dave’s a fountain of knowledge. Any information I can get out of him is beneficial.”

Firman will have a chance to put what he learned in Vernon to good use later this year, as the Creston club will host the women’s zone playdowns.