Tim Hortons Brier features two curlers from National Capital Region
BY JOE PAVIA
Team P.E.I’s David Mathers. (Michael Burns, Curling Canada)
It is close to home for both players.
Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard and Charlottetown’s David Mathers will feel right at home at TD Place during the Tim Hortons Brier.
“This year now in Ottawa it will be special because it is the closest Brier for my family to come and see us play,” said Menard.
While he lives in P.E.I., Mathers is an Ottawa boy.
“This year it’s representing a different province but with a new team. But it’s in the town where I grew up and went to school so lots of people are going to come watch,” Mathers said.
In fact, the P.E.I. third’s girlfriend is Ottawa resident Lynn Kreviazuk. This will be Menard’s ninth Brier as the Quebec champion (10 as a alternate) and Mathers’ second. He played for Ontario last season.
Both are thrilled to be competing and both think the field is the best of any Brier ever.
“It will make it very difficult for us,” Menard said. “Like you say, it’s a Grand Slam. We will have to attack each game like it’s a provincial final. I don’t think we can we say that we have to win two out of three today. The field is too strong to do that. We have to focus on one opponent at a time.”
“This is basically a Slam field,” Mathers said. “Some people are saying this is the best field ever. Top to bottom, you’re looking at every game is going to be a battle. It’s going to be awesome for the fans because you go to see a draw and you are seeing four heavy weight tilts.”
Menard is also thrilled that his father, Robert, is their coach and that his brother Philippe is the lead. Their fifth man is another Gatineau resident — Pierre Charette.
“My dad is more in charge of the psychological aspect of our team, making sure we are mentally ready for every game, that the way we react on the ice is the proper way, that we aren’t too tense but we’re not sleeping at the same time,” Jean-Michel Menard said. “When it comes to strategy, that’s Pierre’s job. He’s the man.”
Team Quebec is scattered throughout the province so not practising together is a challenge.
“What we have found in the last three Briers (is) that we are pretty rusty the first two or three games so that usually puts us in difficult situation for the rest of the round robin,” Menard said. He added, “If we were able to practise together the four of us it would be beneficial for us but at the same time that’s the reality of curling in Quebec.”
Members of Team P.E.I., on the other hand, all live close to each other. “After we won provincials we laid out a month plan on how we were going to get ready. It’s helped me and I am sure the other guys feel the same way,” said Mathers.
Despite his 10 Briers Menard said, “It never gets stale.”
Mathers knows there’s something special, too.
“You’re playing for your province and you’re not just playing for your team, your paycheck and your sponsors. That being said you just have to stay in your bubble and you have a bunch of support but you’re playing for a big crest on your back, which is kind of cool.”
Ottawa’s Greg Corrigan from the RCMP, meanwhile, is the Team Nunavut coach.
Pembroke is staging its annual spring Cashspiel with a skins game format beginning March 18. E-mail Carl Zieroth for details at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ottawa’s Bud Garrod has won the entry into the Everest Ferbey National Pro Am.
He will be in Digby, N.S., on April 2 and will be playing with Jennifer Jones, Brad Jacobs and Brent Laing.
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