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Days after U.S. gold in curling, ice crew preps Fargo ice for national championships

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FARGO -- Days after an American curling team won an Olympic gold medal for the first time, a crew of ice technicians and volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the curling ice for the 2018 national championships at Scheels Arena in Fargo.

Kevin Madsen, an ice technician from New London, Minn., said the ice needs to be as level, and the water needs to be perfect.

"You have to be a curler in order to understand how to be an ice maker." Madsen said.  

The 2018 USA Curling National Championships begin with round robin play Saturday, March 3, and conclude with a champion crowned March 10.

Scheels Arena, a 5,000-seat hockey arena, hosted the 2011 national championship and the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for curling.

During the week, there will be a fanzone at the arena where fans can try out floor curling, take a selfie with various curling related items and meet the teams.  Additionally, fans will have an opportunity to try throwing a curling rock on the fan sheet.

The ice crew will travel to Las Vegas, where it will make the ice for the men's world curling championships.

Earlier this week, Team Shuster -- the gold medal team based in Duluth and comprised fo John Shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and Joe Polo -- returned from the Winter Olympics to an event featuring bagpipes, a tunnel of chanting fans and community celebration. The team defeated Sweden 10-7 in the gold medal match Feb. 24.