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This article was published 25/2/2015 (820 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton will not curl next season and says he is "stepping away from the game."
Stoughton — who is 51 years old and an 11-time Manitoba men’s champion, three-time Brier champion and two-time world champion — told the Free Press Wednesday afternoon that he’s decided "enough is enough" and he will now seek off-ice opportunities to stay close to the game.
"Life, career, family - it’s the right time," Stoughton said.
Well it's time! Stepping back from the game, that darn R word is just to hard to say! Thx to all but mostly thank you to my family! #awesome— Jeff Stoughton (@jrs_curling1) February 25, 2015
While Stoughton was steadfast in his refusal to use the word "retirement" on Tuesday, he sounded a lot like a man who will curl the final two events of his career at an upcoming bonspiel in Grande Prairie and then finally, if his team qualifies as expected, at the Players Championship in April in Toronto.
Asked what it would take to get him curling again, Stoughton replied: "Right now? Nothing."
Stoughton did not rule out the possibility of perhaps playing in the future as a spare for other teams at the occasional bonspiel - "I’ll never say never to something that might come up" - but he says he’s now more focused on finding an off-ice opportunity like coaching or working with a curling organization to stay involved in the game.
"I still want curling to be a part of my life in the future," Stoughton said. "I still want curling as a big part of my life. Hopefully, now that I’m stepping away, this opens up some doors for me."
Stoughton’s announcement comes after a middling season for his first year team of third Rob Fowler, second Alex Forrest and lead Connor Njegovan.
The team is currently 11th on the World Curling Tour money list, which would be great for most teams but is not up to Stoughton’s historically high standards. And they are coming off a loss to long-time nemesis Mike McEwen in the semi-final earlier this month of the Manitoba men’s curling championship.
McEwen went on to lose the final to Reid Carruthers, who will represent Manitoba at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, which begins this Saturday in Calgary.
Of all the statistics Stoughton generated in a record-breaking men’s curling career that spanned three different decades, the most impressive was his mind-blowing performance in provincial finals - he won 11 of the 12 Manitoba men’s finals he played in.