Edmonton's Wally Ursuliak has been inducted into the curling Hall of Fame as a curler/builder.
Ursuliak won a world championship in 1961 as a member of the Hec Gervais rink, but his biggest contribution came as a builder.
During the '60s and '70s, along with Don Duguid and Ray Turnbull, the trio operated a series of clinics in Canada and in Europe, notably Switzerland.
In 1980, as part of an exchange program, Urusliak received one-time funding to introduce curling to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The program proved so popular that Ursuliak returned to Japan 15 times over the years.
"The governor of Hokkaido came over here," recalled Ursuliak. "I took him to the St. Albert Curling Club and he was so impressed he invited me back."
Among his first students was the father of the Japanese women's team skip at this Olympics, Ayomi Onodera.
"I can't even remember his first name," said Usruliak. "We always called him Onodera-san."
Ursuliak received the news he was going into the Hall of Fame a week ago.
"I was very happy," said Ursuliak. "I was very pleased they thought of putting me in the Hall of Fame. It's a good thing it didn't happen later, especially at my age (76). I might have not been around long enough to enjoy it."
Although he brought the game to Japan, there's no question where his curling loyalties lie.
"No, no," he said, when asked if he was cheering for Japan. "You definitely want to see them do better, but you don't cheer against your own country."
Also named to the Hall of Fame yesterday: TSN announcer Vic Rauter and former curling reporter Laurie Artiss in the media section; Team Canada women's coach Lindsay Sparkes and her team; Scotts media bench den mother Robin Wilson and former Canadian Curling Association president Barry Greenberg.