Team Simmons’ appearance at the Champions Cup will be its last. The curling rink has announced that both Lead Nolan Thiessen and second Carter Rycroft will be taking a step back from competing. However, Grande Prairie native Rycroft says the move is more about letting the rest of the team move on.
“It was more of a commitment thing than a team thing, like, do you want to do this? I think that’s sort of where Nolan and I were getting to, is that if you’re waffling on the fence of whether you want to or not, then you need to step aside and let guys like Pat, who knows he wants to, go out and find a team that wants to work as hard as he does.”
Rycroft and Thiessen have curled together since 2006, marking half of his 20 year career. He’s won seven Grand Slam bonspiels, appeared in seven Briers and made it to three world championships, but it was the last couple of years that were the most magical with two Brier wins in a row.
“It’s kind of unbelievable when you think about it, with the actual success we’ve had with the changing of the teams we’ve had; pretty unique and pretty interesting how everything happened. The whole story, to me, if you just took the story as a story, it’d be sort of hard to believe.”
They won in 2014 with Kevin Koe and Pat Simmons, and then John Morris came in to skip in 2015. However, when the team went down 2-3 in the round robin, the two switched and the move paid off.
The timing for this move, however, might not be ideal for Simmons, as most rinks heading to the Olympic Qualifiers are already together. Rycroft says he needs some time to recover from injuries but won’t rule out getting back on the ice next season.
“Maybe if someone approached me for a certain position or, ‘can you help our team’, I might look at it. It’s a funny game; an injury could happen and maybe I jump in for someone for six months and that could be during the Olympic run. Well, I might really consider doing that; I might not, but I might consider that.”