Why Omaha is a good omen for United States curlers
Team Shuster will feel right at home on Omaha ice at the Ralston Arena
American curling fans will hope Omaha continues to be a lucky charm when their three rinks take to the ice in the Nebraskan city in the second leg of the Curling World Cup.
Recent history has shown Omaha to be a happy hunting ground for American curlers, most notably just under a year ago when the city’s Baxter Arena hosted the U.S. Olympic trials.
Team John Shuster were the men’s winners – for the fourth time in succession – coming from behind to win the best-of-three play-off final against Team Heath McCormick.
Team Shuster, of course, then went on to claim the United States’ first ever Olympic medal in curling at the Games in PyeongChang, beating Sweden’s Team Edin 10-7 in the final.
Late last year Omaha’s Baxter Arena also held the fourth edition of Curling Night in America, a made-for-television special for NBC’s Sports Network, which brings several teams from all around the world for an eight-episode series.
Matt Hamilton, who was part of the Olympic gold medal-winning Team Shuster, teamed up with his sister, Becca, and produced a perfect record of six wins with no losses.
It is hard to deny the impact that the two events had on the largest city in the Midwest state of Nebraska, as Ian Bremmer illustrates below. Many of the sessions at the Olympic trials were sold out.
USA Curling CEO, Rick Patzke, said it was the largest crowd that the he has seen at an event like that and the 8,000-capacity Baxter Arena was packed out for the Curling Night in America show.
Donna Kush, chair of the Omaha Sports Commission board of directors, commented: “Last year the Omaha community demonstrated tremendous support for the U.S. Olympic Curling Team Trials and Curling Night in America.
“As a result, we continue to enhance our reputation as a premier sports destination and draw more interest from organisations who know our community will enthusiastically embrace their sports and athletes.”
The arrival of the Curling World Cup in Omaha sees the action move across town to the 4,400-capacity Ralston Arena. Let’s hope we see plenty more edge-of-your-seat action when the second leg gets under way on 5 December.
You can buy tickets to all 11 sessions here.