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Gushue’s feat being celebrated by others who have achieved milestones in sport

Stark
Stark

It took 14 attempts, but Brad Gushue had a storybook ending to his first Brier win.

The St. John’s skip delivered Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Brier title in four decades with a 7-6 win over defending champion Kevin Koe of Team Canada Sunday night at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

He brought a roaring crowd to their feet with his final stone in the 10th end. It was shot too close for comfort for many, but the drought is over and people in this province soaked it all up right to the last stone.

It marked the first time a Newfoundland and Labrador foursome won the Brier since Jack MacDuff accomplished the feat in 1976. It was Gushue’s 14th appearance at the Brier and it’s the one title that had eluded him throughout his career.

It’s not every day that the second-smallest province in the country can compete with the larger provinces, so the win was viewed as a celebration for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians whether they played the game or not.

Gushue’s moment in the sun puts the feat up there with some of the milestones in the rich history of sports in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Western Star talked to a number of athletes who have accomplished milestones in sports for Newfoundland and Labrador. They shared their thoughts on Gushue’s run to the top of the leaderboard to earn the right to represent Canada on the world stage.

Todd Stark

Member of 1986 Corner Brook Royals Allan Cup team

What was it like watching Gushue play in the final?

“The game itself was tremendously exciting and enjoyable as a spectator to watch, as you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome because mid-game it looked like Gushue was well in control and then Team Canada comes back to make it interesting. A dramatic finish like that, I’m sure, makes it more satisfying for them.”

What really stood out for you when it comes to this year’s Brier?

“It’s really impressive to see the kind of support the Newfie representative gets here on the Rock. I think you’re going to find that common for all the guys you talk to. The fan support is really top-notch. You don’t see it anywhere else in the country, that kind of support for your locals. It looked to me like things were rocking at Mile One and when you heard the analysts talking about the entire event and they had nothing but praise for the city, province and the organizing committee, it appears it was a win-win situation all around. It was nice for Gushue to finally get the monkey off his back and get that final feather in his cap because he’s certainly had an impressive curling career.”

What does this victory mean for the sport of curling in this province?

“You will see more young people take some interest in the sport and get involved when they see that, hey, you can almost reach out and touch the dream because it’s happening right here in our province.”

Bob Freeman

Third for the Bas Buckle foursome that won back-to-back (2004-05) world senior men’s curling championships

What are your thoughts on seeing Brad Gushue winning the Brier for the first time?

“I was really, really happy for the boys, especially Mark and Brad because they’ve been together for years. They played together in junior and all the way up through and this, I think, was their 14th trip to the Brier, so to finally win it is unbelievable and to win it at home, that makes it extra special.”

Where does this rank with other great moments in Newfoundland and Labrador sports history?

“It’s an exceptional accomplishment. When you beat somebody like Kevin Koe, who is a three-time national champion, and when it comes to strategy and can shoot the rock the way he does, to beat him not only in the championship game but in that round-robin game was great. The round-robin game was a big game because that game gave Brad a bye into the final. To beat him twice like that is really an accomplishment.”

What does it mean for the sport?

“That’s hard to predict. We thought that when Brad won the Olympics there would be a big influx of curlers in Newfoundland, but I don’t think we really seen it. I don’t know what it’s like in St. John’s, but across the province the numbers never did really translate to that big win. The same thing when we won the worlds, everybody was really excited and everybody was watching what we were doing and happy for us, but when it was all over I don’t think the local curling club or others across the province really experienced an influx of new curlers.”

Katarina Roxon

2016 Paralympic swimmer and gold medalist

How did you feel seeing a fellow Newfoundlander achieve a goal he’s been chasing for a long time?

“It’s a good feeling to be a Newfoundlander, to have that feeling of pride and joy to say you’re a Newfoundlander, and to watch your home team win on home soil was just phenomenal. It’s a totally different feeling coming from me because I know wins don’t happen right away. It took him 14 times at the Brier, but it was the best one to have it on home soil and I think that’s what a lot of people were waiting for, to have it happen at home.”

What can you say about the enthusiastic, boisterous crowd that supported the team all week?

“There is a lot of support for athletes in Newfoundland, more than any other province, I think. Newfoundlanders are known to be very friendly and (have) more of a family sense than anything else. When a Newfoundlander does well in something, not even just sports, the whole province is behind them and, again, it’s a sense of family, even for people who don’t know about curling. I can honestly say I don’t know a lot about curling. I had to Google it while I was watching the game to figure out what was happening. But even though I didn’t know a whole lot about it, there was still a sense of pride to know, oh my gosh, that’s our boys out there on the ice, that’s them going for it and they’re going to do it.”

The St. John’s skip delivered Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Brier title in four decades with a 7-6 win over defending champion Kevin Koe of Team Canada Sunday night at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

He brought a roaring crowd to their feet with his final stone in the 10th end. It was shot too close for comfort for many, but the drought is over and people in this province soaked it all up right to the last stone.

It marked the first time a Newfoundland and Labrador foursome won the Brier since Jack MacDuff accomplished the feat in 1976. It was Gushue’s 14th appearance at the Brier and it’s the one title that had eluded him throughout his career.

It’s not every day that the second-smallest province in the country can compete with the larger provinces, so the win was viewed as a celebration for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians whether they played the game or not.

Gushue’s moment in the sun puts the feat up there with some of the milestones in the rich history of sports in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Western Star talked to a number of athletes who have accomplished milestones in sports for Newfoundland and Labrador. They shared their thoughts on Gushue’s run to the top of the leaderboard to earn the right to represent Canada on the world stage.

Todd Stark

Member of 1986 Corner Brook Royals Allan Cup team

What was it like watching Gushue play in the final?

“The game itself was tremendously exciting and enjoyable as a spectator to watch, as you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome because mid-game it looked like Gushue was well in control and then Team Canada comes back to make it interesting. A dramatic finish like that, I’m sure, makes it more satisfying for them.”

What really stood out for you when it comes to this year’s Brier?

“It’s really impressive to see the kind of support the Newfie representative gets here on the Rock. I think you’re going to find that common for all the guys you talk to. The fan support is really top-notch. You don’t see it anywhere else in the country, that kind of support for your locals. It looked to me like things were rocking at Mile One and when you heard the analysts talking about the entire event and they had nothing but praise for the city, province and the organizing committee, it appears it was a win-win situation all around. It was nice for Gushue to finally get the monkey off his back and get that final feather in his cap because he’s certainly had an impressive curling career.”

What does this victory mean for the sport of curling in this province?

“You will see more young people take some interest in the sport and get involved when they see that, hey, you can almost reach out and touch the dream because it’s happening right here in our province.”

Bob Freeman

Third for the Bas Buckle foursome that won back-to-back (2004-05) world senior men’s curling championships

What are your thoughts on seeing Brad Gushue winning the Brier for the first time?

“I was really, really happy for the boys, especially Mark and Brad because they’ve been together for years. They played together in junior and all the way up through and this, I think, was their 14th trip to the Brier, so to finally win it is unbelievable and to win it at home, that makes it extra special.”

Where does this rank with other great moments in Newfoundland and Labrador sports history?

“It’s an exceptional accomplishment. When you beat somebody like Kevin Koe, who is a three-time national champion, and when it comes to strategy and can shoot the rock the way he does, to beat him not only in the championship game but in that round-robin game was great. The round-robin game was a big game because that game gave Brad a bye into the final. To beat him twice like that is really an accomplishment.”

What does it mean for the sport?

“That’s hard to predict. We thought that when Brad won the Olympics there would be a big influx of curlers in Newfoundland, but I don’t think we really seen it. I don’t know what it’s like in St. John’s, but across the province the numbers never did really translate to that big win. The same thing when we won the worlds, everybody was really excited and everybody was watching what we were doing and happy for us, but when it was all over I don’t think the local curling club or others across the province really experienced an influx of new curlers.”

Katarina Roxon

2016 Paralympic swimmer and gold medalist

How did you feel seeing a fellow Newfoundlander achieve a goal he’s been chasing for a long time?

“It’s a good feeling to be a Newfoundlander, to have that feeling of pride and joy to say you’re a Newfoundlander, and to watch your home team win on home soil was just phenomenal. It’s a totally different feeling coming from me because I know wins don’t happen right away. It took him 14 times at the Brier, but it was the best one to have it on home soil and I think that’s what a lot of people were waiting for, to have it happen at home.”

What can you say about the enthusiastic, boisterous crowd that supported the team all week?

“There is a lot of support for athletes in Newfoundland, more than any other province, I think. Newfoundlanders are known to be very friendly and (have) more of a family sense than anything else. When a Newfoundlander does well in something, not even just sports, the whole province is behind them and, again, it’s a sense of family, even for people who don’t know about curling. I can honestly say I don’t know a lot about curling. I had to Google it while I was watching the game to figure out what was happening. But even though I didn’t know a whole lot about it, there was still a sense of pride to know, oh my gosh, that’s our boys out there on the ice, that’s them going for it and they’re going to do it.”

Roxon
Freeman

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