Busy volunteer's life swirls around curling

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

One way or another, Kim Tuck was going to be in the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

"I was kind of hoping to be a player," said the Londoner, whose life is consumed by the sport.

Instead she's a volunteer, keeping shooting statistics and working as a ice-charting observer.

As a last-minute surprise, she became a columnist in the tournament's newspaper, which is distributed daily to a circulation of 5,000 at the John Labatt Centre and the HeartStop Lounge.

Host committee chairperson Peter Inch asked her to write a column.

"I said 'Yes' right away, I'd be honoured to do that," Tuck said. It was a couple of days later when she became "nervous" about writing and finding things to write about.

To date, she's written about the committee and its work, curling in an arena as opposed to a curling club and the support provided for Team Ontario second Tara George, who is pregnant.

One column that generated comment and controversy was on the players' apparel.

The publication, printed by The London Free Press, has pages of updates, features and analysis as well as numerous pictures.

"I hope I have enough ideas to last until the end (of the tournament)," Tuck said.

Tuck curls on Jo-Anne Rizzo's rink out of the Brant Curling Club, which failed to qualify for the Hearts. They also came up short in the Olympic trials in Halifax, going 2-7. Fellow Strathroy resident Sara Gatchell is also on the Rizzo rink.

"I volunteered early (for the Tournament of Hearts), hoping it would cause a conflict. Unfortunately, it didn't," Tuck said.

But her manoeuvre did secure her volunteer jobs.

"My life is curling on and off the ice," Tuck said.

She operates a curling equipment and paraphernalia shop in Hyde Park in conjunction with Canadian Curling Stone Co., a stone manufacturing plant owned by her father, Fred Veale. Her mother Sandy works in the office and her husband Wayne works in the plant, along with her sister's fiance.

The all-in-the-family business helps support Tuck in her curling trips to qualifiers and cashspiels around the country.

Her store's main business is in the winter, naturally, but its office is open during summer.

Summer is when Tuck steps away from curling briefly to play golf.

"I pull the mental aspects of both games together," she said. "Each shot in both games is an individual thing."

Tuck began curling at age 13 at the Ilderton club when her father moved the family back to London from Guelph.

In Guelph, he learned to curl and later bought the Ice King sweeper company, a business he sold off when he went into stone manufacture and repair.

Those sweepers are being used at the tournament this week.


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