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Gould to 'mentor' team from Soo

Former Stoughton lead will impart wisdom to Brad Jacobs' rink

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Steve GOULD is trading in the familiar Bison on his back for a Moose.

The longtime former lead for Jeff Stoughton told the Free Press Friday that he has accepted a job as a paid "mentor" next winter for Sault Ste. Marie's Brad Jacobs, who has skipped Northern Ontario at four of the last five Briers.

"I'm going to spend a week with the team in the fall, going over their practice routines and seeing how they work together. And then I'm going to three events with them -- a small one, something a bit bigger and then maybe a Grand Slam event."

Gould said the paying position was arranged for him through the Canadian Curling Association and he's looking forward to entering a new off-ice phase in his curling career after a remarkable on-ice career that saw him win six Manitoba men's titles -- second only to Stoughton -- and two world championships.

"I think this could be a lot of fun," said Gould, "and I'm hoping there are some things that I've learned over all these years that can help them."

Jacobs went 5-6 at last month's Brier in Saskatoon and also missed the playoffs at 7-4 at the 2011 Brier. But in 2010 in Halifax, Northern Ontario went 9-2 in the round-robin and finished second before being eliminated in back-to-back losses, suggesting they aren't far off.

Gould said his new job doesn't preclude the possibility of also competing in the Manitoba playdowns next winter, but at this point the only on-ice commitment he has made is to his brother, Norm, and two neighbours to curl in a Monday night fun league next winter.

"We're going to play and watch Monday Night Football," said Gould.

With the addition of Gould to the team, the Jacobs foursome will now have a decidedly Manitoba flavour to it. In addition to hiring Gould as a mentor, Jacobs has also signed up former Manitoba men's champion Ryan Fry to play third for him next winter.

Fry won the 2007 Manitoba men's title with Gould and Stoughton, but had been living in recent years in Newfoundland and curling with 2006 Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue. Fry had become available after Gushue sacked him this spring following a disappointing season.

With Fry at third, former Jacobs third EJ Harnden has moved down to the second position, while former second Ryan Harnden will now be the lead. Former Jacobs lead Scott Seabrook has now left the team.

EJ Harnden said in an interview Friday that the team will retain coach Tom Coulterman as their coach and logistician, but they're counting on Gould -- and Fry -- to provide them with the big game experience that the young squad lacks.

"We've had a pretty good team the past few years," said Harnden, "but we feel with Steve coming over to help us and Ryan coming over to play with us that it will put up very close to making that next step and really having the potential to be a Top 5 team."

Gould is hoping the same thing, pointing out that hooking up with Jacobs now keeps alive his hopes of being part of the Canadian Curling Trials at the MTS Centre in December 2013, when Canada's men's and women's curling representatives for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be determined.

"That's all I ever wanted anyway -- to be inside the boards for the Trials," said Gould.

Gould has been without a team ever since he was sacked by Stoughton early last month. Stoughton has yet to name a permanent new lead for his foursome.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

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