Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gushue stocks Brier with excellent curlers

Ex-teammates key cogs in other teams

  • Print

EDMONTON -- Brad Gushue has a pretty good team at the Canadian men's curling championship. And he has a second, even better team that he's not playing with.

There is, on the one hand, the team who joined Gushue in the colours of Team Newfoundland Saturday on opening day at Rexall Place -- third Brett Gallant, second Adam Casey and lead Geoff Walker.

Walker and Casey were also Gushue's front-end at last year's Brier, while Gallant is a Brier rookie who was a hotshot junior, winning the 2009 Canadian title out of PEI. Put together, it's a strong supporting cast for the 2006 Olympic gold medal skip -- particularly in a province where the curling talent pool Gushue has to draw from is very shallow.

And then there's Gushue's other squad, the one made up of three former Gushue teammates who are here representing other provinces -- Manitoba's Mark Nichols, Saskatchewan's Chris Schille and Northern Ontario's Ryan Fry.

Separately, they are all key players on their respective new teams -- Nichols as lead for Jeff Stoughton, Schille as second for Brock Virtue and Fry as third for Brad Jacobs.

But reunite them all with Gushue and, well, even Gushue has to admit that would be an upgrade on his current squad. "If you look resumé-wise and just sheer skill at this point, I would have to say yes," Gushue said following a 10-2 opening-draw thrashing of Nova Scotia's Paul Flemming. "And I don't think my current teammates would be too upset at this point.

"But there's more to teams than just skill. If you took the four best players at this event, it probably wouldn't make a very good team."

Gushue was asked if he takes any pride in the fact that so many of his former teammates seem to find success elsewhere after they move on. Gushue just laughed. "My goal is to come here and play every team with an ex-teammate," he said. "So I have a little ways to go."

While he's curling this week in his 10th Brier, Gushue has never competed in more than two consecutive Briers with the same team, contributing in part to a reputation that he can be difficult to curl with. But Gushue said some of the transient nature of his teams over the years needs to be placed into geographical context.

"I have the rap of going through a lot of teammates, but I'm trying to bring guys down (to Newfoundland) from across the country and they're uprooting and moving away from family and friends.

"It's a tough situation."

Fry, for instance, moved from Manitoba to curl with Gushue. The two had some success over four seasons in Newfoundland, but a disappointing Brier last year led to Gushue parting ways with Fry last spring and bringing in Gallant at third.

No hard feelings, said Fry, who simply packed up his curling gear and moved to Sault Ste. Marie to curl with Jacobs. "I have nothing but good things to say about curling with Brad," Fry said Saturday after an opening win over N.W.T.'s Jamie Koe. "I think we grew together through those four years and I think we helped each other get a little bit better. I think some of my personality traits rubbed off on him a little bit -- and some of him probably rubbed off on me."

Alas, both men also continue to pursue the same goal -- to win their first Brier. The difference for Gushue, however, is that having already won Olympic gold, winning a Brier is now his ultimate goal.

"I think I'm the only curler in the world right now who'd want to win a Brier more than an Olympics," said Gushue. "I think everybody here, if you asked them if they would take an Olympics or a Brier, they'd choose an Olympics.

"I'd choose a Brier. My teammates probably don't like that, but I've won an Olympics before and this is a special event for me and it's something I want to check off on the list of goals."

With his 15th Brier appearance on Saturday, Ontario's Glenn Howard passed his brother Russ to take over the record for most Brier appearances -- a record that Gushue will almost certainly break eventually, curling out of a province in which he is annually heads and tails above everyone else.

Gushue concedes an asterisk might be necessary if he does go on to break the appearances record, but notes in his own defence that his teams have always been competitive at the Brier -- making the playoffs in six of nine previous appearances.

So, is this the year he finally adds a Brier tankard to that Olympic gold medal?

"I'm not going to stand here and say we're coming here to win," said Gushue. "But I'm also not going to stand here and say we're here for a good time. We really feel if we play well, we'll have a chance at the end of the week."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2013 B7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Architect Antoine Predock speechless after CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose heads for shade in the sunshine Friday afternoon at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg - Day 26– June 22, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many goals do you think Evander Kane will score this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google