Rich Ruohonen might have embraced the “Old is Gold” moniker, but his American squad is about to get much younger.
With vice skip Greg Persinger stepping back from curling, the two-time U.S. champion Ruohonen has added Andrew Stopera to his lineup for next season.
“We won a lot of events over the past few years and went on to play in a world championship together,” Ruohonen said Tuesday in a Facebook post. “It was a good run with a lot of great memories together. Greg is a great guy and we wish him all the best!”
Stopera had a stellar junior career claiming seven medals at junior nationals including three consecutive gold medals from 2017-19. The 22-year-old from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., also earned a silver medal at the world juniors in 2017. After aging out of juniors, he threw third stones for Todd Birr on the men’s circuit this year.
“I’m really excited to join this team for the upcoming season,” Stopera added in the post. “This team has accomplished a lot in its few years together and to be asked to join them is truly an incredible opportunity. I’m looking forward to learning from such an experienced team, while also adding my own qualities to hopefully take us to new heights.
“I can’t wait to get back on the ice and to start working towards future success!”
The 49-year-old Ruohonen, from Brooklyn Park, Minn., won the USA Curling national championship in 2008 and 2018. His team, which also includes second Colin Hufman and lead Phil Tilker, finished runner-up to John Shuster’s crew at nationals this season. They competed in one Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event during the 2019-20 campaign reaching the quarterfinals of the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge Tier 2.