Jeff Stoughton has a new lead. At least for the next bonspiel.
Stoughton has invited Tyler Forrest -- who most recently helped Willie Lyburn to a third place finish at last month’s Manitoba men’s curling championship -- to curl lead for his team at a World Curling Tour event later this month in Victoria.
The event will serve as an audition of sorts for Forrest, Stoughton explained, and he will decide after Victoria whether he will need to audition any other curlers or simply ask Forrest to come aboard permanently.
Stoughton, a two-time world champion, said there were several factors that came together to make Forrest the leading candidate for the vacant lead position on his team, which became available earlier this month after Stoughton sacked his longtime lead Steve Gould.
"He fits the position," Stoughton said Tuesday afternoon, "because he’s played lead a lot of his career...And from the little we’ve seen of him, he’s a great player and can sweep his butt off."
There is also a long personal connection between Forrest and current Stoughton second, Reid Carruthers. The two men curled together for eight seasons -- four in junior and four in men’s between 2001 and 2008. That period included the 2006 Manitoba men’s provincials, when Carruthers and Forrest lost the Manitoba men’s championship final to Stoughton.
Forrest said Tuesday afternoon that while he’s been offered no job security at this point, the invitation to curl with Stoughton was too good to pass up.
"It’s very exciting, obviously," said Forrest. "I think it’s a big compliment to even be considered."
Forrest said he informed his teammates on the Willie Lyburn team of his decision and understands the position he has now put them in.
"I’ve informed them of that and I told them they could do as they see fit," Forrest said. "I don’t know for sure what they’re going to do now."
Meanwhile, Gould said Tuesday afternoon that he still hasn’t decided who he will curl with next season.