You could say Rob Swan is a man on a mission.
The Harvey Station, N.B. native began his “Curling Across the Nation” tour in October of 2014 to help bring more attention to the sport of curling, as well as to generate funds for much-needed renovations at his home rink (the Harvey Curling Club).
His idea was to curl in 100 different facilities a season, and since has curled in more than 270 of them.
The best way Swan believes raises awareness is that he shares news about his travels through his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/curlingacrossthenation) and via his Twitter account @curlthenation.
“Three years ago, social media on a lot of curling facilities was not heard of [Facebook, Twitter, and websites], and it was hard to find a lot of curling facilities that did that sort of thing,” Swan said during his stop at the Fort Frances Curling Club on Friday evening.
“But now they look at me because I have close to 4,000 followers on my own social media, and they see when I'm not out the road that I share as much as I can from every curling facility I go to,” he noted.
"If I share a post from [the] Maple Leaf curling facility in P.E.I. and they've got an idea for a bonspiel, maybe Fort Frances will look at it and go, 'Hey, I really like that idea, let's try it here.'
“So people look at that as an avenue of gaining ideas and it has changed hugely over the last few years,” Swan added.
“I can't say it's all my doing but any little bit helps.”
Swan believes curling is a great sport because of how inclusive it is, and continues to work to bring awareness to the sport.
This past October, for instance, he petitioned the New Brunswick government to take the first step in support of curling by passing a bill enacting “Curling Week” in the province, which would take place during the third week of January.
“Curling is more of a community sport than any other sport,” Swan remarked.
“You will find people here that are five years old and you will find people in their 80s curling,” he noted.
"You will not find that in any other sport in this community or any other community.
“This is a triple-medal sport in the Olympics,” Swan added.
“There is no other sport that you will find is wheelchair, visually-impaired, and deaf-friendly,” he said.
In October, 2016, Swan curled one game in 10 countries in 11 days to set a new Guinness world record.
At every curling rink Swan visits, he says he plays a match. And each one has to last at least six ends to be recorded as official, which he did here Friday evening against some members of the local club.
Swan's “Curling Across the Nation” tour will continue its current swing with stops in Grand Forks today, Killarney on Thursday, Wawota and Moosomin on Friday, and then Holland on Saturday.
Moving forward, does Swan see himself ending his tour anytime soon?
“I've got a lot of granite flowing through this blood,” he enthused.
“And I've got no intention of stopping anytime soon.”