A surprising announcement today on Sportsnet during the Champions Cup Grand Slam of Curling women’s quarterfinals as Mary Fay, skip of 2016 World and Canadian Juniors champions from Nova Scotia will walk away from curling.
We wish Mary the best of luck in her academic endeavours!
2016 Canadian Junior Champion and Worlds Bronze Medalist Matt Dunstone has announced his team for the 2016/17 curling season. Dunstone will be joined by Alex Forrest at Third, Ian MacMillan at Second and Connor Njegovan. Forrest, MacMillan and Njegovan rank 35th overall on the Order of Merit YTD, runners up at this year’s Westwood Classic in Swan River and the MCT Championships in Dauphin.
“I’m very excited about this new squad. All three of them have a lot of experience on tour, and we are all relatively close to the same age,” said Dunstone when reached after announcing his new squad.
Dunstone has generated a lot of attention over the years with his high energy play and results with his junior squad on the World Curling Tour, but his sparing experience at the Grand Slams with Pat Simmons and Charley Thomas showed he’s ready for the Men’s game.
“Both those experiences I had at the Grand Slams showed me what I had to work on to make it to that next level,” added Dunstone.
“To play with some of those guys who have been there and done almost everything you could ever want in the game of curling you really learn how to go about your business and what sort of routines you want to get into before playing in games, especially when competing against the best in the world.”
To many the announcement may be a bit underwhelming spot to land for the young star in the making, but joining with Forrest, MacMillan and Njegoven provides an opportunity for the team to grow together, and a strong start to the season could see this team in contention for Grand Slam berths and more very quickly.
“We plan on playing a relatively heavy schedule, especially early on,” said Dunstone when asked about their plans for the season.
“The main goal would definitely be a Manitoba Men’s Championship. We also hope to position ourselves nicely in the CTRS standings to give us a good shot at a spot in the Olympic Pre-Trials.”
John Morris is going back to BC, joining Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky to put the team back together that reached the 2013 Olympic Trials and the 2014 Brier. The team was a one year adventure for Morris and controversial at the time as the CurlingZone forums got intense over Morris playing in BC and the questionable nature of his work exemption to some, but this time there will be no issue due to the change in residency rules. Considering the team they played in the Brier final was in the same situation with nothing said about it seemed like a double standard at the time and it’s great to see the rules now making official what had been happening for some time across the country.
It’s to see this team back together again after John’s announcement today, as there’s some unfinished business after twice coming so close. John will return to throwing Third stones but skipping the squad known again as Team Morris.
Thrilled 2 announce that I'll be back next season and teaming up with Jim Cotter and the boys from BC for an Olympic run towards 2018 games!
“After Ryan stepped back, I took some time to reflect on the next 2 years and the Olympic process,” said Cotter when reached about the team announcement.
“There were several great options out there but John was the natural fit with our previous history together. We are thrilled and feel very fortunate that someone of John’s caliber was available. John was obviously a huge asset to our team a few years back and we are all very excited to join forces again.”
“We are still waiting for the final schedule to come out but our goal is to play in all the Slam events, a few of the large events and some training camps,” added Cotter.
“We are committed for 2 years and our primary focus is the Olympic process. As my kids get more and more involved with curling and other things, this will be my last run at the Olympics and playing in out of province events.”
Our show reflects our insights and observations about our favourite game, the athletes and their stories during the biggest competitions. The Girls cover the World Men’s Curling Championship in Switzerland, the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship and the Players’ Championship in Toronto!
An interesting lineup change as Jason Gunnlaugson leaves Team Lyburn to join an exciting new lineup, taking over the skipping reigns on Matt Dunstone’s old junior team which won World Junior Bronze Medal and was runner-up in the Viterra Championship, the Manitoba Men’s Provincials.
Gunnlaugson joins the former Dunstone front three with Colton Lott at third, Kyle Doering at 2nd and Robbie Gordon at lead.
“The guys are extremely fired up for the WCT, obviously to move from second to first in provincials and also they still want to win Junior worlds next year”, said Gunnlaugson on the arrangement with the still eligible junior squad.
“They will be playing Jr provs/nats/worlds with 2 time Cdn champion Braden Calvert.”
After skipping his team to the 2009 Olympic Trials in Edmonton, Gunnlaugsson stepped back for the last few seasons playing third for the likes of Jim Cotter coming runner-up in a Grand Slam and most recently with William Lyburn out of Manitoba.
“I think having great leaders the last few seasons will really help me provide the positive feedback a Team needs thru the ups and downs of the season. I learned as much or more off the ice from both of (Cotter and Lyburn), and hopefully I can bring that to this fantastic group of guys.”
On their plans for the 2015/16 curling season, Team Gunnlaugson will be putting in a full season, chasing the points with big goals in mind.
“We are going to take on an ambitious schedule with a plan of making the Pretrials and Grand Slams.”
Team Cotter is now on the search for a third to replace Kuhn, but this experience is not new for Team Cotter, who for the 2013/14 season has John Morris at third, and before that went through a few options from Kevin Folk to Ken Maskiewich dating back to when Bob Ursel skipped and threw third stones before having to step aside due to injury.
The easement of residency rules should make it much easier to Team Cotter to find a new third for next season with some interesting names already available on the free agent market. Maybe a reunion with John Morris is in order?
Our show reflects our insights and observations about our favourite game, the athletes and their stories during the biggest competitions. The Girls cover the World Women’s Curling Championship from Swift Current!
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