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Friday, 26 March 2010 11:19

Sharing a Legacy, team Germany

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Elizabeth Huber
Swift Current

Playing lead for Germany in the World Championship, Stella Heiss is only seventeen-years-old. The number of years in her life now equal the number of World Championships the team skip, Andrea Schoepp, has competed in.

Both living in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in southern Germany, Heiss began curling five years ago. Her curling career has been under the direction of Schoepp since she started.

While watching Schoeep skip the European Championship in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the sport piqued Heiss' interest and thought she would give it a try.

Today, they remain coach and student and teammates.


“She practiced with me and gave me everything I have to know,” said Heiss.

Heiss has stood out as an exceptional curler, added Schoepp.

“There are people who started with her who are not as good as she is ... She is talented and she is practicing a lot.”

When she first started practices came about three times a week for an hour or two, now it is almost daily.

With five years curling experience, the 17-year-old played lead for Germany at the 2008 and 2009 European Championships, the 2009 Worlds and the 2010 Olympic Games.

The old adage, “a student can only be as good as the teacher,” may be true in this case. After-all, she started her career under the direction of the most veteran skip at the competition.

Schoepp, 45, skipped her first world's in 1985 and has seen many changes to her team over the years.

“It is not a problem that the team is changing,” said Schoepp. “It is the problem that we don't have many players in Germany, So I have to teach young ones to get into the team.”

As a result, Schoepp isn't just focusing on her game, she is focussing on the development of new players.

“That is the hard thing in this,” she said, the focus dedicated to beginners to make them as good as possible and as quick as possible to get them into the team to play in the Worlds.

“What we are missing is the base I think,” and they are trying ways to get more people interested at a junior level.

Curling as a sport is not highly celebrated or publicized as it is Canada.

“I think curling should be promoted better in Germany,” Sabine Zocher, a Grade 11 International Exchange student living in Hazlet. Until attending school in Saskatchewan she really didn't have any exposure to the sport.

As the curling season wraps to a close, Schoepp hopes the increased exposure through the Olympics helped raise the curling profile in Germany.

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