Serious post-Brier depression has set in.
I want to be back at the Brier.
- I walk into every room of my house and pretend that I am on TSN.
- I signed my kids’ report card with a Sharpie and wrote: “Good Curling, Mike Fournier, Team Quebec”.
- I pretend every water cooler conversation I have at work is actually a Media Scrum.
- I stood outside my house waiting for the Brier Shuttle to pick me up and give me a lift.
- I picked my kids up at school the other day and as they got in the car said “Count ‘em up, 1…2…3 for Team Quebec.”
- At the conclusion of some “special time” with my wife, I shouted out “Make the Final…”. I was also wearing my Quebec jacket at the time.
Free Agent Frenzy
So the entire curling world is in freak-out mode this week as most of Canada’s competitive teams have re-shuffled the deck, swapping players and seeing others “retire”.
This is the new reality in curling. The Olympic cycle and curling tour have become incredibly time demanding. The 7-8 teams that are invested in getting to the Olympics now have to be playing 25+ weekends per season together, and most likely cannot hold down a real job that involves actually being at work. So that means that teams will change. Guys will come in and out, as they try to manage life and curling and family commitments.
There are only a handful of teams in Canada for whom it is financially viable to take a shot at the Olympic dream. And even for those teams, they are not living the life of luxury and are often having to run off-season jobs to try to raise money. So, as you can imagine, a great deal of thought and consideration goes into picking the 3 dudes you want to spend the next 4 years of your life married to.
So what has changed? If we look at the teams from the Trials…
- At the top of the heap, the defending Olympic Team reshuffled completely, with Kevin Koe now skipping BJ Newfeld, Colton Flasch and Ben Hebert. Mark Kennedy is taking a break.
- Team Mike McEwen is no more, with Mike hooking up with Reid Caruthers' team (minus Braeden Moskowy). Team Gushue, Bottcher and Team Jacobs are staying put.
- John Epping ditched his front end to go with the classic pairing of Laing and Savill.
- Not sure what will happen with Dunstone and Laycock or Cotter. It appears John Morris will be off doing other life-affirming stuff.
All interesting changes. Teams will likely test drive their squads next year, (as next year is relatively unimportant in qualifying for the 2022 Olympics), and see how the new teams work. Maybe a few more minor changes before kicking it into high gear for the next cycle.
And who will be the next big team to break through? Tardi in BC? Horgan in Northern Ontario?
What About Quebec?
Well, so far I know what I have read on Facebook and Twitter.
- JM Ménard is taking a well-deserved year off. Not sure how long he will be away, but I suspect that he needs to recharge his batteries after a tough Olympic qualifying cycle that saw his team fall out of contention at the Pre-Trials in November. His team has brought in Phil Lemay to play 3rd, with Martin taking over as skip.
- Martin Ferland and Francois Roberge appear to be taking a step back from competition, although I will believe that one when I see the final list of teams signed up for Provs. next December.
- Have not seen any press releases from Desjardins, so I expect Super Bob and JS to be back next year.
- Not sure what is happening elsewhere.
- Oh ya, our team is sticking together, in case you were wondering.
(We were going to do a super-cool-trendy Youtube/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat/Tinder/Grinder/Minecraft/LinkedIn/Youporn social media blitz to announce it, but figured this might be easier. Plus our Social Media Team manager (Felix) is busy curling in the Mixed Provincials this week)
Kurling for Kids
Okay – I have one final ask.
If you have been reading my blog this year – and have enjoyed it (and I know a lot of you have been), then help me out here.
I am curling on April 7th with my daughter Victoria in Kurling for Kids, an annual charity spiel that raises much-needed funds in support of the Montreal Children’s and St-Justine Hospital. This is my one cause that I will shamelessly plug for. They do great work, and could use your support. Also, my super-niece Zoë happens to be fighting cancer this year, and spends a great deal of her time at the Children’s.
So click on this link: it will take you to my fundraising page and make a donation. Anything helps. Consider it your annual fee for enjoying my blog this year!
Here is the link. Go here and click Donate! NOW!
Click Here to Donate to Kurling for Kids