McEwen’s Manitoba champs splitting up
Time to go separate ways
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/04/2022 (252 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The reigning Manitoba men’s curling champions are going their separate ways.
Mike McEwen’s team from West St. Paul, ranked ninth in Canada and 13th in the world, will split following the Players Championship, a Grand Slam of Curling tour event set for Toronto in mid-April.
Each of McEwen, third Reid Carruthers, second Derek Samagalski and lead Colin Hodgson will be associated with new teams for the 2022-23 season, although none has divulged his intentions.
“We’re ending the four-year run… amicable, but we’re going our own ways and we all wish each other the best,” McEwen said Thursday. “We definitely had our ups and downs. But I had a ton of fun with these guys. The places we’ve been, the things that we’ve done, the camaraderie, it’s been special.”
The team was formed in the spring of 2018 and went on to compete in four consecutive Canadian men’s Brier championships (2019 in Brandon, ’20 in Kingston, Ont., ’21 in Calgary and, most recently, in Lethbridge, Alta., in early March).
McEwen said while their intentions were good, the chemistry didn’t always work.
“We’re four really good friends that tried to put something on the ice surface that was really high quality. And, at times, those relationships are so strong off the ice it doesn’t necessarily equate to the perfect mix on the ice,” he said.
In Kingston, McEwen got off to a sizzling start, going 6-1 to finish atop its pool. But the foursome lost three of its next four contests and then fell in a tie-breaker. A year later, the squad missed the playoffs inside the Calgary bubble and then lost a tie-breaker to miss the playoffs at the ‘22 Brier last month.
Last November, McEwen went 4-4 at the Olympic Trials to miss the ‘final-three’ playoffs.
He said any momentum the team generated after Kingston was quashed by two frustrating seasons during the pandemic.
“I feel like it stalled our progress after the first two years and we couldn’t capture any of that back. But we have to own that. That’s on us. We just didn’t rise to the occasion through the difficult circumstances that a lot of teams went through the last couple of years,” McEwen said.
“But I’m really proud of how we worked as a team constantly to get that team dynamic. I’ll always have good memories. Great guys and I think at the end of the day we’re all in a really good place to keep going in the sport.”
The Brandon-born skip, a four-time Manitoba men’s champion, hinted the chase for an elusive Brier title and, ultimately, the opportunity to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics, might prompt him to look beyond provincial borders.
“I’ve had to consider all options, whether it’s inside Manitoba or outside the province,” McEwen said, adding he will continue to call the shots and throw last. The rumour mill has churned out a scenario that unites him with former Winnipegger and 2014 Olympic champion Ryan Fry.
Carruthers, who just returned from Prince George, B.C., after coaching Gimli’s Kerri Einarson to a bronze medal at the world women’s championship, Samagalski and Hodgson all indicated their plans should be finalized soon.
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