XLCR Curling Team
It was a sunny day on Lake Minnetonka when Mike Dinndorf sparked conversation with his buds about his fascination for curling. There were four dads on the boat, ironically, the required number of people for a curling team. So they decided, why not? The current five team members met while taking turns coaching their daughters’ rec soccer teams. They’ve been lifelong friends ever since, and decided it was their time to shine in the athletic spotlight.
It was love at first “how to” clinic in 2006. “Anyone can play it,” Mike says, “whether you’re in a wheel chair or at the recreational level.” Curling is one of the highest rated watched sports in the Olympics, and is an exploding craze in the Twin Cities. The Excelsior Brewing Company Curling Team consists of Mile Dinndorf, Bryan Groll, Ed Hanzlik, Brent Fester, and Jim Sanford. The members all live in close proximity to the brewery – within a mile and a half – making it a convenient location for team bonding. They had other appealing offers for sponsorship, but figured “Why would we need any other, but Excelsior Brewing Company?”
The team competes at weekend curling tournaments known as bonspiels. Bonspiels are extremely social, competitive, and you’re able to drink beer during the event. What more could a group of dashing dads want? The cherry on top – there is an opportunity to travel and win trophies.
When they aren’t curling, the friends road bike or meet at the brewery for a few brews of XLCR. They enjoy ECB’s annual Oktoberfest, getting together at the cabin, and gopher football. You can detect the prestigious group of curlers by their chants of “Hurry Hard,” “Give it Everything You’ve Got,” and “Excelsior!” while they sport ECB Dickie-brand work shirts on the ice.
In 2016, there regular season record was 9-3. A highlight for the team was beating the undefeated Issacson Team (Jeff Issacson is a two-time Olympian). The team’s dream is to play in a bonspiel in Thunder Bay, Ontario during the 2016-2017 season to celebrate their 10th anniversary of curling together. Why? Mike affirms, “Canadians all seem to be born amazing curlers (and are great people)…and they drink a ton of beer yet never seem to get hungover, so the team has chosen Thunder Bay as its personal, international ‘Curling Mecca’ destination.”