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Consistency foremost on the mind of ice technician Jon Wall

Jon Wall remembers a time when he used to get stomach sick before crafting a perfect sheet of curling ice, but now it’s all second nature to him as one of the top guns in the ice technician world.A native of Renfrew, Ont., a small town west of Ottawa, Wall is plying his pebbling trade as the head icemaker for the 2015 M & M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships Jan. 24 to Feb. 1 at the Corner Brook Curling Club and Pepsi Centre.

Wall, along with a group of volunteers from the local curling community, began transforming the Pepsi Centre into a five-sheet curling rink Monday morning with hopes of having the job completed in 36 hours.

He was all business Monday as he worked his magic. He figures the ice will be ready for some rock throwing on Thursday.

The 26-year-old strives for consistency. His goal is to have the top junior curlers in the country hit the ice with four-and-a-half feet of curl and 24-26 second ice from the first practice rock to the final stone of the championship final.

“If you can create that, then it’s a lot easier for them to make shots consistently and get the best out of their game,” Wall said during a short break from his work.

Wall grew up throwing stones in his hometown as an avid curler where he was forced to pick up the trade of pebbling because icemaking was done on a volunteer basis. When he graduated from high school he moved to Ottawa to attend architecture college, and he just happened to know the ice technician at the Ottawa Curling Club who offered him a part-time job as an ice technician on that same day.

His mentor has been Mark Shurek, head icemaker for Grand Slam of Curling Events, which is where he spends a lot of his time honing his craft outside of his contract work at curling clubs back home.

He’s pleased with the progress so far and gave credit to the volunteers and staff at the civic centre for a job well done. Having the ice fairly level out of the gate makes the job less tedious because there are less floods required and he doesn’t feel rushed in his quest to get the ice done sooner.

He’s been at the business long enough to know what it takes to create a fine piece of work, but he’s quick to point out that he’s had scenarios where things went awry. He acknowledged that it’s how a person deals with a particular challenge that ultimately makes a difference. Over the years, he said, he’s learned that mistakes happen because long hours are required and fatigue can be a factor, so the big thing is to never panic because things will only get worst instead of better.

“If you take it in stride and slow things down, then you fix it before it becomes a major issue,” he said.

He will be monitoring the ice on a regular basis to ensure players show up every morning to a fine sheet. He’ll be in the city until the final stone is thrown.

“At the end of the day, our job is never really done, even when we go back to the hotel at night to go to bed,” he said.

Wall, along with a group of volunteers from the local curling community, began transforming the Pepsi Centre into a five-sheet curling rink Monday morning with hopes of having the job completed in 36 hours.

He was all business Monday as he worked his magic. He figures the ice will be ready for some rock throwing on Thursday.

The 26-year-old strives for consistency. His goal is to have the top junior curlers in the country hit the ice with four-and-a-half feet of curl and 24-26 second ice from the first practice rock to the final stone of the championship final.

“If you can create that, then it’s a lot easier for them to make shots consistently and get the best out of their game,” Wall said during a short break from his work.

Wall grew up throwing stones in his hometown as an avid curler where he was forced to pick up the trade of pebbling because icemaking was done on a volunteer basis. When he graduated from high school he moved to Ottawa to attend architecture college, and he just happened to know the ice technician at the Ottawa Curling Club who offered him a part-time job as an ice technician on that same day.

His mentor has been Mark Shurek, head icemaker for Grand Slam of Curling Events, which is where he spends a lot of his time honing his craft outside of his contract work at curling clubs back home.

He’s pleased with the progress so far and gave credit to the volunteers and staff at the civic centre for a job well done. Having the ice fairly level out of the gate makes the job less tedious because there are less floods required and he doesn’t feel rushed in his quest to get the ice done sooner.

He’s been at the business long enough to know what it takes to create a fine piece of work, but he’s quick to point out that he’s had scenarios where things went awry. He acknowledged that it’s how a person deals with a particular challenge that ultimately makes a difference. Over the years, he said, he’s learned that mistakes happen because long hours are required and fatigue can be a factor, so the big thing is to never panic because things will only get worst instead of better.

“If you take it in stride and slow things down, then you fix it before it becomes a major issue,” he said.

He will be monitoring the ice on a regular basis to ensure players show up every morning to a fine sheet. He’ll be in the city until the final stone is thrown.

“At the end of the day, our job is never really done, even when we go back to the hotel at night to go to bed,” he said.

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