A two-time world champion and Olympic silver medal winning curler from Scotland has recently moved to Okotoks.
Born in the small farming community of Lockerbie, Scotland, David Murdoch was surrounded by curlers.
"My mum and dad curled. My older brother and sister curled. My mum was a coach there, my dad was a director there and a chairman. So, it was kind of natural that I was going to fall into this curling world, so to speak," explain Murdoch.
There was also a curling club across the street from his school.
"It just felt like a natural place that when school was done you wandered over there and you could curl or skate and yeah, I was hooked pretty young," Murdoch says.
Murdoch was part of the Scottish curling teams that won the 1995 World Junior Curling Championships in Peth, Scotland and the 1996 World Junior Curling Championships in Red Deer, Alberta.
After that, he was part of teams that competed at the highest levels of curling in the world.
"Sochi 2014 was my third Olympic games. We came extremely close in 2006 and we unfortunately finished fourth. We didn't quite get the medal we were looking for and we ended going to the World Championships a month after that and won the Worlds," Murdoch explains "The next Olympic games was Vancouver 2010, and we just had a bit of a battle with Kevin Martin and his Canadian team over the few years, where he beat us in the '08 final, we beat him in the '09 final and we were hoping to have a battle in the final Olympics."
Unfortunately, that game never happened, because Murdoch and his team didn't make it past the playoffs.
Then, for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Murdoch was the skip for the Great Britan team that won silver, after they lost to Brad Jacobs and Team Canada in the final.
After retiring from playing in 2017, Murdoch focused on coaching and eventually became the British Curling's National and Olympic coach in September of 2018.
Now Murdoch is the new Director of High Performance for Curling Canada.
"That encompasses all aspects of our teams on the international scene, whether it's a World Championships, qualifiers, Olympic games, Youth Olympic games, and it's a wide variety of disciplines too. So, men's, women's, mixed doubles, [I] oversee the NextGen program and wheelchair program too. So, quite a lot to encompass really," explains Murdoch.
Why the jump?
"The job was advertised," Murdoch says.
Murdoch then spoke to a few people about what the job would entail to figure out if it was something that he would find enjoyable.
After coming to Canada for 30 years as an athlete, Murdoch loves the country, which helped in his decision to make the move to Canada.
"Always wondered about living in this beautiful country and also my wife is Canadian, too. She is from Vancouver Island and had lived in Scotland for ten years. We've got three young kids and we applied for the job, got the job, and with a big decision to make, say, 'Well, are we doing this?'" says Murdoch.
Which they did.
Murdoch and his family now live in Okotoks.
After initially contemplating moving to British Columbia, they ruled it out due to higher cost of living.
"We thought, even with the job we work Eastern time, plus getting around the country, because there is quite a bit of travel involved, and we thought Calgary might be a better base," says Murdoch.
Murdoch's wife also has family in Calgary, which helped with the decision.
"We've never been, really, city people, but we like some of the towns that are a little bit smaller, and we asked a few questions to some of our friends and staff at Curling Canada, that, you know, around Calgary what would be a nice place to live? And Okotoks reared its head a few times and we've been absolutely delighted to be part of this amazing community and so welcome too," Murdoch explains.
When they moved to Okotoks, they planned to get involved with the community and meet new people.
On top of being part of the Okotoks curling club, Murdoch also plays in a beer league hosted by Hub Town Brewing.
"I think my wife saw some advertisement on Facebook that there was going to be some outdoor curling and we thought, 'You know, what better to go and meet some people?' And obviously it's pretty different to the high-performance end that I've really came from, but it's just such a great advertisement for the sport and a great opportunity to, obviously, meet new friends."
The Beer on the Rocks outdoor curling league at Hub Town Brewing takes place every Sunday on their patio until mid-February.
This is their third year offering outdoor curling and will host their 3rd annual BEERspiel on February 24th and 25th.