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As 3-man Howard crew secures Brier berth, key choice looms forward of nationals

After securing a provincial title with a three-man lineup, the members of Crew Glenn Howard might be Regina-bound in a couple of 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 crew to victory ultimately week’s Ontario playdowns and can doubtless throw final stone once more on the March 1-10 nationals at Brandt Centre.

“Over the following couple of minutes — most likely every week or so — we will begin batting out some names and see who [might] match that mould for our crew to provide us the very best probability 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 recreation 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 closing.

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

Attainable additions

The youthful Howard often performs third however has skipped now and again through the years. He additionally guided the crew 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 consists of lead Tim March and second David Mathers, doesn’t use a daily fifth participant. Adam Spencer and Wayne Middaugh have served as crew alternates now and again previously.

If the crew decides so as to add a participant, it could actually 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 crew curling however generally could 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 constructive COVID-19 check.

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Nevertheless, the Brier is a 10-day competitors from begin to end. The bodily toll on a short-handed squad could be extra vital 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 crew earlier than sweeping the following 5. His physique “took a fairly large beating,” Scott stated, including that physiotherapy was wanted after each recreation.

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

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 complete 18-team discipline might be finalized Feb. 11.

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

Canada skip Kerri Einarson, who’s aiming to win a report 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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