Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc isn’t leaving the Tim Hortons Brier empty-handed.

The 25-year-old Mayflower skip, who went 3-8 on home ice at his first career Brier, was awarded the Ross Harstone Trophy yesterday after being chosen by his peers as the curler showing the best sportsmanship, observance of rules, exemplary conduct and ability.

Fitzner-LeBlanc, whose teammates are Stuart MacLean, Phil Crowell and Kent Smith, became the seventh Nova Scotian to win the award and first since Paul Flemming in 2001.

Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue came up short in a bid for his first career win at the Brier, losing 6-5 to Alberta’s Kevin Koe in Saturday’s 3-4 Page playoff game.

The 29-year-old is now a seven-time Brier veteran, and although he has a gold medal from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy, national glory continues to elude him.

“It’s tough, but you know what? I’m young,” Gushue said. “So we’ve got a few more years. Hopefully, if we can keep playing at this level, we’ll get another shot.”


Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs was the biggest surprise at the Brier.

As the youngest skip of the youngest team, the 24-year-old guided his Sault Ste. Marie foursome to a 9-2 round-robin record and a spot in the 1-2 Page playoff game.

Although they bowed out after playoff losses to Ontario’s Glenn Howard and Alberta’s Kevin Koe, the showing bodes well for the future.

“We’re still going to hold our heads high,” Jacobs said.

“This was the most thrilling experience for our team to date. I don’t know, it just makes you want to get back here and win this thing so badly.”

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