Ottawa Citizen

Ferraro’s hack innovation remains curling standard


No matter what the sport, event or activity, everyone wants to get off on the right foot.

Marco Ferraro has made that possible for curlers worldwide.

Ferraro, the lead for the Quebec rink participat­ing this week at the senior national curling championsh­ips at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, is the proud designer of the Marco Hack, which has been used at all levels of curling since 1987.

A hack is the rubber device at either end of the sheet of ice on wish curlers push off to deliver their stones. Ferraro wasn’t pleased with the product available 20 years ago so he took up a challenge.

“ The hacks we had used to be kind of slippery and I used to bitch about them,” Ferraro said. “So one guy told me to come up (with a solution) or shut up.”

He did — come up with a solution, that is. While working for a rubber manufactur­er, Ferraro asked some of the veterans for input. He was told to make a model out of tin, put layers of rubber around it and cook it.

He tested it out at a few curling clubs before making adjustment­s. He went through five or six prototypes until he found one that everybody liked.

He started producing them though a deal he had with Labatt Breweries and they paid for the mould. The f irst 300 hacks were blue, so the Labatt Blue Hack was introduced. Ferraro sent them out as a promotiona­l item across Canada and everybody liked them. It grew from there.

“I would send them to the major cash spiels in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Regina, and then you could see the sales from around the area where the bonspiel had been held. … Once they were out there they sold themselves.”

About 95 per cent of the curling clubs around the world use the Marco Hack.

“They’re standard equipment at the Brier, the worlds, at the Olympics and I’m proud of that. When you get the equipment book it says you have to use the Marco Hack. I never played in the Olympics and probably never will but at least I see my hacks are there so I’m part of the game. It’s fun,” Ferraro said, adding the hack has one flaw.

“The only mistake I made is that they don’t wear out fast enough so I don’t sell as many. I should have made them out of cheap rubber so I could sell more.”

On Wednesday, Ferraro and the rest of the Quebec rink skipped by Pierre Charette scored a 10-3 victory over Robert MacDiarmid and his New Brunswick rink to stay in contention for the senior title which brings with it the opportunit­y to represent Canada at the 2011 world championsh­ips in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In other games yesterday, Gareth Parry and his Ontario foursome were 9-4 winners over Brad Heidt from Saskatchew­an while Alberta’s Mark Johnson defeated B.C.’s Wes Craig 7-5 to create a log jam at the top of the standings.

Heading into the final draws today, Ontario, Saskatchew­an and Alberta are tied for first at 7-2. Quebec and Northern Ontario are 6-3. The top three teams qualify for the weekend playoffs with the top team earning a bye directly to Sunday’s final.

The late draw Wednesday night featured only the women and the standings were just as tight as for the men. B.C led at 7-2 while Northern Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchew­an were all tied at 6-3.

 ?? CHRIS MIKULA, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ?? Quebec lead Marco Ferraro put his complaints into action in creating a hack that is now a staple in curling clubs around the world.
CHRIS MIKULA, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN Quebec lead Marco Ferraro put his complaints into action in creating a hack that is now a staple in curling clubs around the world.

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