As Brad Gushue paraded through Halifax yesterday with the Brier Tankard, he didn’t touch it — not once.
The 29-year-old Newfoundlander, who gained celebrity status in 2006 when he won gold at the Turin Olympics, is still seeking his first Canadian men’s curling title. With the Brier coming to Halifax in March, he’s being cautious.
“I haven’t won it yet so it’s not my place to touch it,” said Gushue, whose visit coincided with the event’s launch of mini-pack ticket sales. “When I win it, I’ll be all over it … It’s just superstition is all it is and I don’t want to jinx it.”
Gushue is one of many big-name curlers who could hit the ice at the Metro Centre from March 6 to 14. But those same big-name curlers have a little thing called the Vancouver Olympics occupying their priority list at the moment.
The qualifying process for the February Games is about to heat up, with the pre-trials in Prince George, B.C., from Nov. 10 to 15, and the final trials in Edmonton from Dec. 6 to 13.
Gushue will have to knock off the likes of Kevin Martin and Glenn Howard to defend his Olympic gold. Both have ruled the Canadian curling roost for the past three years.
“It’s going to be a challenge but I like our chances,” Gushue said.
This would be Gushue’s seventh Brier. One of his first was in 2003, the last time it came to the Metro Centre. He told Premier Darrell Dexter “nobody does it better” than Halifax before being introduced at the House of Assembly.
“It’s the most memorable one I’ve been to,” he said. “It was first class. We were treated like rock stars.”
If Gushue is fortunate enough to go to the Olympics, it would likely preclude him from competing at the Brier. That fact isn’t lost on him, or any of the other big-name contenders.
“We’re hoping we’re at the Olympics, but if not, there’s no place I’d rather play a Brier than Halifax,” he said.
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