Every member of Team Gushue has worn the maple leaf before, and they’re hoping the experience will pay off at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Edmonton. Second Brett Gallant says they’re feeling confident going in.
“We’ve played in a number of finals over the past few seasons, whether it be Grand Slams or Briers and we’ve done well in a bunch of major events, so I don’t think there will be any let downs from us when we get to the worlds; it’s just another big event to be a part of and I think we’re just grateful to be playing there and to have the opportunities.”
Like lead Geoff Walker of Beaverlodge, Gallant has competed at the world junior championships. Brad Gushue and longtime third Mark Nichols won a gold medal for Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics and at the world juniors in 2001.
The team pulled off their first Brier win earlier this month, earning them their first ever spot at the world men’s championship. Some first time Brier winners have struggled at the tournament in the past, but Gushue argues they’re not typical first time champs.
“I think just with the experience that we have in playing in Grand Slams and in as many Briers as we have, and obviously Mark and I playing in the Olympics, I think all of that stuff is stuff we can rely on for experience when we go in to the worlds.”
He also notes that they’ve played every team they’ll be up against before.
Immediately following their Brier win, the rink headed to Nova Scotia for the Auto Elite 10 Grand Slam. Walker injured his shoulder during the Brier and skipped playing in the event to rest up. He says the time off has paid off and he’s looking forward to playing close where he grew up.
“I was able to sweep the last three practices at 100 per cent without pain, so I’m really happy with that and really optimistic for Edmonton next week. When it was announced that the Brier was going to be in St. John’s and then the worlds was going to be in Edmonton, that was really exciting for me. Hometown Brier to a hometown Worlds, so I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Walker started his career in Beaverlodge and Grande Prairie. He was replaced at the Elite 10 by Grande Prairie’s Tom Sallows, who will be joining Team Gushue as a fifth at the world championship. He was the also the spare for the Pat Simmons and John Morris rink representing Canada at the 2015 event.