THE Jeff Stoughton team is sticking together. And so too is the Kaitlyn Lawes foursome, at least for now.
They have good reason, of course. Stoughton will represent Manitoba at the Brier in Calgary, beginning Saturday, while Lawes and her Team Canada foursome will compete at the world juniors in Vancouver, starting today.
But beyond that, the annual revolving door that is Manitoba men's and women's curling is already spinning at a dizzying pace.
On the men's side, there are already two interesting new teams and a third that's being formed right now. Twenty-four-year-old skip Daley Peters is heading out on his own to form a new team with his father -- 1992 Brier champion Vic Peters.
The two Peters men have curled together before, but this configuration is interesting because the younger Peters is going to throw fourth rocks, while the elder will skip and throw third rocks. The new team is rounded out by two more youngsters in Marc Lacroix, most recently of the Dave Boehmer team, and Travis Taylor, who most recently curled with Terry McNamee.
Vic Peters has never thrown any rocks but the last ones and the new team also marks a parting of the ways with long-time second Chris Neufeld. "It will be fun," said Vic Peters. "Whether the young guys want to learn, we'll see."
Daley Peters acknowledged the opportunity to study under one of the best is certainly available.
"There's a lot of knowledge," the former Manitoba junior champion said, "in that old head of his."
Daley Peters became available when his former third, Jason Gunnlaugson, announced that he wanted to skip a team of his own next season. Gunnlaugson said Wednesday that he will continue to curl with long-time mates Tyler Forrest and Justin Richter -- the three played for several years with Reid Carruthers -- but the identity of the team's fourth player is still being determined. "I've played lots of third in my day," Gunnlaugson said, "and I really wanted to try at skip."
Carruthers, meanwhile, has recruited 1995 Canadian junior champ Chris Galbraith to curl with him next season after former third Dan Kammerlock, who also won a Manitoba title with Kerry Burtnyk in 2008, announced he was taking time off to finish his degree.
"We had a really good run," Carruthers said of his one-year stint with Kammerlock. The team made it all the way to the semifinal of the Manitoba men's curling championship last month in Selkirk before bowing to Burtnyk.
On the women's side, Karen Porritt, the runner-up to 2009 provincial champion Barb Spencer in Neepawa, has parted ways with her team and her old mates have now reconfigured with a new skip in Kristy Jenion.
Porritt, a single mother, said the time commitment involved in curling an ambitious cashspiel schedule had simply become too much, so she stepped away from the friends who helped take her all the way to the 2009 provincial final -- Alison Harvey, Susan Baleja and Janice Blair.
"I didn't want to travel," Porritt said Wednesday. "It's way too hard with the kids by myself." Porritt is hopeful of finding new teammates willing to curl a local schedule next year.
Jenion, a provincial runner-up and easily the best curler in Manitoba never to win a women's title, will slide in to take over for Porritt. "I got the message that we're all on the same page in terms of our goals and the time that we can put into it," said Jenion. "We're all committed to really giving this a shot."
Jenion's former teammates have gone their separate ways, with third Karen Klein already hooking up with Shauna Streich.
There is still no word on whether the Spencer team is staying together after a disastrous 2-9 run at last week's national Scotties Tournament of Hearts.