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2-time world champion David Murdoch named Curling Canada high-performance director

Curling Canada is going international to find a replacement for longtime high-performance director Gerry Peckham.

Two-time world champion David Murdoch, who has been national and Olympic coach for British curling since September 2018, was appointed to the post on Thursday.

He will begin his new duties at the end of the 2022-23 season, Curling Canada said in a news release on Thursday.

“It is truly a privilege and an honor to have this opportunity and I will not take it for granted,” Murdoch said. “Canadian curling is the benchmark for excellence worldwide and I look forward to being part of this amazing team of athletes and coaches and part of the Canadian curling community.”

Peckham, who has spent over three decades with the organization, has retired this season. He oversaw an Olympic/Paralympic program that had excelled for many years but had underperformed in the last two quadrennials at top international events.

Murdoch overtook Scotland to world titles in 2006 and 2009. He also overtook Great Britain to a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games, the last year Canada topped the Olympic podium in four-player curling.

“There is still work to be done but I feel there is opportunity for growth and accountability and I believe the conditions are in place for Canada to excel on the world stage and continue to live up to the expectations of Canadian curling fans can fulfill,” Murdoch said.

Murdoch retired as a player in 2017 and switched to coaching. He helped establish British Curling’s National Curling Academy and worked closely with Scotland’s top teams.

“Ideal Opportunity for Canadian Curlers”

Eve Muirhead won Olympic gold in Beijing last year and Scotland’s Bruce Mouat took silver in the men’s event. Mouat and Jenn Dodds just missed out on the podium in mixed with fourth place.

“We are so fortunate to have landed the most qualified high-performance director in the world,” said Peckham. “His achievements as an athlete and as a coach are unparalleled. At this point, I truly believe he is the best possible leader of our high-performance program.

“It is an ideal opportunity for Canadian curlers to seize the opportunity to learn from a world-leading performance expert.”

Curling Canada began a review of its high-performance program last year. Canada’s only curling medal at the Beijing Olympics was a men’s bronze, and the gold shutout continued at the World Championships.

Canada won gold in their Olympic debut in mixed doubles at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games but missed the podium in the team events.

Plans to move to Canada

Canada’s last women’s world title came in 2018, a year after the country’s last men’s world title. Canada’s best result at the World Mixed Doubles Championships was silver (2017 and ’19).

“We wanted to cast as wide a net as possible to ensure we found the right person for this position because of the high standards and expectations that go into our high-performance program,” said Michael Szajewski, Curling Canada’s CEO. “This process brought in some incredibly talented applicants and we are grateful that they made our final decision so difficult.

“But in the end, David’s commitment to excellence, his passion and of course his track record made him the right person to move us forward as an organization.”

Murdoch, 44, plans to relocate to Canada with his wife and three children after he begins his new role. His wife Stephanie is from Vancouver Island.

Murdoch also won two silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships during his playing career.

“Scottish teams played at a very high level and David was clearly an important part of that,” said Canadian leaders Kerri Einarson. “We look forward to working with and learning from David.”

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