As 3-man Howard group secures Brier berth, key resolution looms forward of nationals

After securing a provincial title with a three-man lineup, the members of Group Glenn Howard can be Regina-bound in a few month to play within the Montana’s Brier.

What stays unsure is whether or not the short-handed crew will add a participant — and if that’s the case, who — for the Canadian males’s curling championship.

Howard’s standing stays unsure because of lingering ache in his surgically repaired left knee. Son Scott Howard skipped the group to victory finally week’s Ontario playdowns and can probably throw final stone once more on the March 1-10 nationals at Brandt Centre.

“Over the following couple of minutes — most likely per week or so — we’ll begin batting out some names and see who [might] match that mould for our group to provide us the perfect likelihood to hopefully win this factor,” Scott stated.

The elder Howard served as a coach final week within the London, Ont., suburb of Dorchester. He hasn’t performed a aggressive sport in virtually two months and stays out indefinitely.

Scott ran the desk in his place and made a draw to the button for an 8-7 extra-end win over Jayden King within the ultimate.

“The very best half is I felt so assured,” Scott stated Monday. “I felt snug really the entire week skipping and having that final rock.”

Doable additions

The youthful Howard normally performs third however has skipped occasionally over time. He additionally guided the group to victory at a bonspiel final month in Penticton, B.C., when Glenn’s knee “seized up” halfway via the occasion.

The Penetanguishene, Ont.,-based facet, which additionally contains lead Tim March and second David Mathers, doesn’t use an everyday fifth participant. Adam Spencer and Wayne Middaugh have served as group alternates occasionally prior to now.

If the group decides so as to add a participant, it could decide up anybody who performed within the Ontario championship or any free agent who hasn’t competed in one other provincial/territorial playdown this season, a Curling Canada spokesperson stated in an e mail.

Three-man squads are used occasionally in group curling however generally will be fairly efficient.

One of many extra notable examples got here in 2022 when Brad Gushue gained the Brier with out vice Mark Nichols, who missed the ultimate weekend because of a optimistic COVID-19 take a look at.

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Nevertheless, the Brier is a 10-day competitors from begin to end. The bodily toll on a short-handed squad can be extra important than at a shorter occasion like a provincial playdown or a Grand Slam.

Final week, March threw the primary three rocks of every finish for the group earlier than sweeping the following 5. His physique “took a reasonably large beating,” Scott stated, including that physiotherapy was wanted after each sport.

“It isn’t such as you get a break right here or there being the opposite-side sweeper,” Scott stated. “He is sweeping onerous each single rock … all through 10 ends, it is a daunting job for certain.”

Scotties draw launched

Defending champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., Calgary’s Brendan Bottcher and Winnipeg’s Matt Dunstone are a number of the Brier headliners. The total 18-team discipline can be finalized Feb. 11.

Additionally Monday, Curling Canada launched the draw for the Feb. 16-25 Scotties Match of Hearts in Calgary.

Canada skip Kerri Einarson, who’s aiming to win a document fifth straight Hearts crown, will open towards Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges on the WinSport Occasion Centre.

Winnipeg’s Kate Cameron and Corryn Brown of Kamloops, B.C., rounded out the 18-team discipline based mostly on their positions within the Canadian rankings.

Winnipeg’s Jolene Campbell missed the cutline by simply 1.25 rating factors.

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