Glenn Howard has heard — from more than a few people — that he hasn’t had a very good curling season.
All he can do is shake his head.
The 47-year-old from Penetanguishene, Ont., finished the year atop the World Curling Tour’s money list and order of merit ranking and went a perfect 12-0 at last month’s provincials en route to a record fifth Ontario championship.
But it seems some are hung up on the fact he lost to Alberta’s Kevin Martin — an eventual gold medallist in Vancouver — in the final at Olympic trials in December.
“It’s ironic (to hear people say that) because it’s actually been a phenomenal year, probably one of the best years we’ve had,” Howard said. “The one chink in the armor was losing to Kevin at Olympic trials — but not a bad team to lose to, because they went on to win a gold medal.”
With Martin not around for the Tim Hortons Brier, Howard — along with big names such as Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador and Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba — will be considered among the favourites when the event opens on Saturday at the Metro Centre.
Martin won the last two Briers but it was Howard who claimed the title in 2007 and finished runner-up in 2006 and 2008. Last year, he lost to Stoughton in the semifinals.
Howard, who has piled up 10 top-three finishes in a dozen Brier appearances in various roles, described the past month as “low-key,” saying his team just tried to stay sharp while taking in the Olympic Games on television.
“Not everyone can go to the Olympics and we gave it a great shot,” Howard said. “We played great all year and there’s no reason we can’t continue that into the Brier.”