'He's left an incredible legacy': Well-known Sask. curling fan Hans Madsen dies after cancer battle

If you’ve ever been to a curling event, chances are you’ve seen Hans Madsen. 'Curling’s Bearded Fan' has died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Madsen, a Yorkton resident, was a fixture at curling events across Canada, known for his colourful wigs and beards dyed to match. He was curling’s superfan.

"The curling community is hurting with the loss of Hans," Ashley Howard, executive director of CurlSask, said. "Everyone has a story, everyone has run into him at an event and he’s left an incredible legacy."

Madsen was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, but it didn’t slow him down.

Whether it was the Women’s World Championship in Swift Current, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw and many other events, small and big, in between, Madsen and his wife Judy could always be spotted in the stands, cheering for a different team each draw.

"Anything that could make a person smile, that’s what it’s all about," Madsen told CTV News in 2016.

Madsen was well-known amongst the curlers.

"One of the things I remember most about Hans is he was always at every event and he was always right by the boards watching the event and every time you went on the ice or off the ice, you always said hi to Hans and Judy," Kirk Muyres from Team Dunstone said.

Tributes have poured in from around the curling community, including TSN’s Vic Rauter.

"Curling has lost a wonderful friend and a lot of its colour," Rauter tweeted on Thursday.

He loved the game
He loved the people
Curling has lost a wonderful friend and a lot of its colour
The next rainbow..we'll think of you
Sympathy to Judy and family from TSN curling
It was a pleasure
Mr Hans Madsen pic.twitter.com/x2Ky7LPeml

— Vic Rauter (@TSNVicRauter) July 8, 2021

We always looked forward to seeing super fan Hans Madsen at our events and are saddened to hear of his passing. Rest easy, Hans. pic.twitter.com/VwyjfaFAKT

— Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling (@grandslamcurl) July 8, 2021

When we heard of the passing of Hans we remembered instantly all the times we looked up into the crowd to see his familiar friendly face and fabulous beard.

Our thoughts are with Judy and his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/vTX6lsPzjd

— Team Bottcher (@TeamBottcher) July 8, 2021

Madsen’s impact wasn’t limited to the curling rink either as he was known for supporting teams throughout the Parkland region.

Whether it was the Yorkton Cardinals in the summer or the Melville Millionaires and Yorkton Terriers in the winter, Madsen was there.

We are saddened and heartbroken to hear about the passing of one of our #1 fans, Hans Madsen.

Hans’ love for local sports including the Cardinals, Terriers, and local curling will be missed by many.

Rest easy Hans. #BeardedFanForever pic.twitter.com/M6nFXqrkpm

— Yorkton Cardinals (@CardinalsWCBL) July 8, 2021

Hans was a big supporter of Mils hockey, and you could see him around the arena many times with his Mils-designed beard & jersey on.

The Mils organization send our condolences to his wife Judy and his family & friends! https://t.co/ofQMnOgrTJ

— Melville Millionaires (@MilsHockey) July 8, 2021

Dylan Johnson, a Terriers alum, said he remembers Madsen travelling to watch the team play in the RBC Cup.

"He made the trek to Vernon and we started off bad, but even in the third game, he was still there cheering and we knew we had fans there, like Hans, and back home that really supported us, so we got the job done for them," Johnson said.

"It’s just going to be different not seeing a guy like that who goes full out to show his spirit towards the teams and events that are going on."

Madsen was 71 years old.