Curling Canada high-performance director Peckham to begin transition to retirement

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Curling Canada will begin a review and search for new high-performance leadership this summer as longtime director Gerry Peckham begins the transition to retirement with a reduced role next season.

Peckham, who has spent almost 32 years with Curling Canada, will move to a part-time role on Sept. 1 and help "guide and shape" the next phase and generation of leaders in the program, the organization said Monday.

"Since joining Curling Canada in 2016, I’ve come to realize just how impactful Gerry’s presence on our sport and our Canadian sporting community truly is," said Curling Canada chief executive officer Katherine Henderson.

Peckham has overseen a high-performance program that excelled for many years on the international stage but has recently slipped at major competitions.

Canadian teams made dozens of podium appearances under his watch at world championships, Olympics, Paralympics and other events. However, the last two quadrennials have seen middling results for a country that has traditionally been a curling powerhouse.

Canada did not reach the team podium at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games although John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes did win gold in mixed doubles, a discipline that was making its Olympic debut.

Four years later in Beijing, the Canadian women's and mixed doubles teams missed the playoffs while Brad Gushue's men's side salvaged a bronze.

World championship results have also sagged in recent seasons.

Canada's last women's world title came in 2018 when Jennifer Jones won gold in North Bay, Ont. Canada's last men's world title came a year earlier when Gushue was victorious in Edmonton.

Canada's best result at the world mixed doubles championship has been silver (in 2019 and '17).

An off-season of significant change on and off the ice was expected on the domestic curling scene ahead of a new quadrennial leading to the 2026 Milan Olympics.

Most elite Canadian teams made roster changes in recent weeks and now there are developments with the federation.

Curling Canada also announced Monday that Danny Lamoureux, the executive director of curler experience and curling club development, would also begin the transition to retirement. He'll continue to work full-time until next June.

In addition, national development coach Paul Webster recently joined Team Brendan Bottcher to serve as coach for the next four-year cycle.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Lamoureux's position would have a single successor or if his role will be divided among existing staff. A Curling Canada spokesman said via email that there will be succession planning of some nature, but that specifics will be determined at a later date.

Henderson said Peckham approached her this past season with an overview of his future intentions. She requested that they delay formalizing any transitional plans and announcement until the completion of the campaign.

"Words from Gerry don’t come casually — they have meaning and offer so much insight and lived experience, and I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside him," Henderson said.

Lamoureux, meanwhile, joined Curling Canada in 1998 as manager of curling club development. In recent years, he helped handle logistics for national championships among other duties.

He was also a member of the World Curling Federation’s competition and rules commission since its inception in 2013.

"I've often said that Danny has forgotten more about curling than I could ever begin to learn and it’s that experience — as a player, as a manager, and as a Curling Canada staff member — that made him so valuable to our sport,” said Henderson.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2022.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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