Gushue has no peer as a Brier skip

Written by ECA Review

Step aside, Ernie Richardson. Make room, Kevin Martin. Stand over there, Kevin Koe. Slide to the side, Randy Ferbey.

There’s now only one Canadian curling skip with five Brier titles and that is St. John, NL’s Brad Gushue, who claimed the title as the only five-time winner in mid-March by beating Matt Dunstone of Manitoba at the 2023 Brier in London, Ont.

Ahead by one in the final end but facing two Dunstone counters in the house with his last rock, Gushue did what he does best: Precisely draw his rock to the four-foot ring, with the help of his sweepers, to score one and win the national championship again.

He and his rink of third Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden and lead Geoff Walker will represent Canada at the world championship in Ottawa starting April 1.

“I thought I nailed it and the guys judged it perfectly,” Gushue told the Canadian Press of his final shot. “You just have to trust 25 or 30 years of work that you put in.”

There is still one more mountain for Gushue to climb. While he is the only skip to have won the Brier five times, Ferbey still lays claim to the most Brier titles overall — six. He won four as a skip and two as a third.

Gushue has had a storied career and his accomplishments are rather remarkable, considering he grew up in a province not known for curling excellence.

The biggest names in the archives of Canadian curling come from Saskatchewan (Richardson), Manitoba (Ken Watson, Kerry Burtnyk, Jeff Stoughton) and Alberta (Hec Gervais, Ferbey, Koe, Brendan Bottcher).

How dominant has Gushue been? Five of the last seven Brier titles have been won by his team — three times representing Newfoundland/Labrador, once while wearing Team Canada jerseys (defending champion) and once as a wildcard entry in the Brier.

Oh, and he won Olympic gold in 2006 in Italy and bronze in Beijing in 2022. There’s little reason to think he won’t make it six straight Brier crowns next year, as his team will return intact and face roughly the same competition he dealt with this year.

Now 43 years of age, Gushue is still in his prime as a curler. Glenn Howard, 60, is still curling competitively, so there’s no reason to think Gushue doesn’t have at least five or six years remaining to put that Brier championship record so far out of reach that no one will ever topple him from his curling throne.


Slap Shots
• RJ Currie of “Don’t hold your breath waiting for Gary Bettman to ever award an NHL franchise to Quebec City. If they get a professional hockey team, then Toronto will want one.”
• Steve Simmons of Sunmedia, after some sketchy behaviour by NBA players:  “If I was a player agent, I’d have simple advice for my clients: Like, don’t pose in strip clubs shirtless carrying a gun. Not a good idea.”
• Another one from Simmons: “Imagine Nomar Garciaparra with a pitch-count clock. He’d be called out before he adjusted his batting gloves.”
• Michael Bamberger in the Firepit Collective, on the ongoing battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf: “There are suits and countersuits and you can read all about it in LIV and Let Die.”
• Comedy guy Steve Burgess of Vancouver, tweeting during the U.S. blowout win over Canada in the World Baseball Classic: “If the USA scores four more runs against Canada they get custody of Windsor and a formal apology for the War of 1812.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Stunning upset in the NCAA Tournament as No. 15 seed Princeton beat No. 2 seed Arizona.  Princeton still needs work on their trash-talking. ‘See here, athletic antagonist, your lack of the Oxford comma usage smacks of obtusity.’”
• Another one from Kaseberg: “People are really into their NCAA Tournament brackets or they’re not.  Today I told a woman I had Gonzaga in the Semis and she suggested I see a urologist.”
• Headline on the parody website The Beaverton: “Man gets away with murder after eyewitness turns out to be NHL referee.”
• From Bob Molinaro’s column in (Hampton, Va.): “Count Dodgers manager Dave Roberts among those favouring rules to speed up the games. ‘If we had a pitch clock my entire career, I might have learned how to play the violin by now.’”
• RJ Currie again: “Pennsylvania researchers say there is no link between long noses and sensitivity to odours. Even test subjects with tiny noses said the Flyers really stink.”
• Headline at the “New NCAA Streaming Service Lets Fans Watch Four Capital One Commercials At Same Time.”
• Headline at “Thanks to Princeton, your printable NCAA bracket is nothing more than a placemat.”
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by Bruce Penton

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ECA Review

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