Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Curling champ assembles new team for next winter

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Jeff Stoughton has a new team.

Sources told the Free Press Wednesday that Stoughton -- an 11-time Manitoba men's champion -- has assembled a new foursome for next winter that would see Brandon's Rob Fowler join him at third, with Alex Forrest at second and Connor Njegovan at lead.

Forrest and Njegovan curled most recently with Willie Lyburn, where Forrest was the third and Njegovan the second. Forrest and Njegovan informed Lyburn this week that they were leaving.

Fowler is an old teammate of Stoughton's -- the pair won Manitoba men's titles together in 2007, 2009 and 2010, with Fowler curling second for Stoughton. Fowler also skipped a Manitoba men's champion in 2012.

Stoughton is curling this week at the Players' Championship in Summerside, P.E.I. with his existing team of third Jon Mead, second Reid Carruthers and lead Mark Nichols.

Contacted via text message on Wednesday, Stoughton said that he had nothing to formally announce and declined further comment.

The Players Championship is the biggest event on the World Curling Tour and competing teams have been asked not to distract from the event by announcing personnel changes this week.

Sources indicated Wednesday that some final details are still being ironed out and Stoughton has plans to formally announce the new foursome next week.

The current Stoughton foursome announced last month that it was breaking up at the end of this curling season. Mead has since announced that he will curl second next winter for Ontario's Glenn Howard, while Carruthers has announced he will skip a brand new Manitoba men's powerhouse with Braeden Moskowy at third, Colin Hodgson at second and Derek Samagalski at lead.

Nichols is moving home to Newfoundland and has yet to announce his curling plans for next season.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg's Mike McEwen wrote on a blog for the World Curling Tour this week that his team of third BJ Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld will remain together next season.

"There's been a fair bit of speculation on whether or not we would survive the musical chair movement," McEwen wrote, referencing all the personnel changes in men's curling in the past month.

"I can confirm we did, but not without some heavy reflection. We'll be ready and rejuvenated to continue the battle into next season."

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2014 D6

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