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Skips Brad Gushue and Randy Ferbey join forces to form potential national curling powerhouse

It's an unlikely collaboration considering the genesis of their relationship, but Brad Gushue and Randy Ferbey believe they can make it work.

Whether or not it's a marriage of convenience or the beginning of a long-term relationship remains to be seen, but based on Thursday's news conference, right now it's definitely in the honeymoon phase.

Brad Gushue formally announced Thursday that four-time world curling champ Randy Ferbey would join his St. John's-based rink for next season. The new team was announced Thursday at a press conference at Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club in St. John's. From

It's an unlikely collaboration considering the genesis of their relationship, but Brad Gushue and Randy Ferbey believe they can make it work.

Whether or not it's a marriage of convenience or the beginning of a long-term relationship remains to be seen, but based on Thursday's news conference, right now it's definitely in the honeymoon phase.

Both Ferbey and Gushue laughed off the bit of controversy between the two that garnered a lot of press seven years ago when they exchanged a few barbs and now claim they've been getting along just fine all these years.

In fact, the pair appeared relaxed and joked with one another as Gushue introduced Ferbey as his newest team member before a crowd of reporters and supporters at the Bally Haly Curling Club.

There's no doubt it's a dynamic duo. Gushue won an Olympic gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games while Ferbey has captured four world championships.

"I'm not moving to Newfoundland... not a chance," said Ferbey, before adding with a smile "and I never really liked Brad."

Gushue admitted his goal is to move up in the world rankings and eventually make a run at a world championship which meant adding another world-class player to his rink.

"I see this as a good short-term team," said Gushue. "We'll see how it goes next year, but this will make us better in the long run just because we'll be learning from one of the greatest curlers who ever played the game," he said referring to Ferbey.

Ferbey will throw third stones for Gushue which means reliable vice-skip Mark Nichols is moving to second. Ryan Fry, who has been Gushue's second the last two years, will switch to lead, replacing Jamie Korab, who is stepping back from the game for a year or two. Gushue will throw the final stones.

It's unlikely Ferbey will compete in the provincial playdowns, so Gushue also introduced Jamie Danbrook from Vernon, B.C., who will be replacing Ferbey for any Brier play.

Still, Ferbey didn't rule out the possibility of playing for this province.

"I'm not prepared to move here on full-time basis," he said, "but I'd love to play in the Newfoundland provincial playdowns. But we're going to do it by the rules. We're not doing anything sneaky. We'll look at the rules, but right now it's not on the table... but it could be. In the back of my mind, I want to do it."

Ferbey admitted there are going to be some growing pains with his new team, "but I see no reason why this won't work out," he said.

"Brad wouldn't have made the initial call if we had any real issues between us. And if I had any issues with Brad or anyone on the team I wouldn't be here either," he said.

"This is quite overwhelming to be honest," said Ferbey, who is parting with Edmonton teammates Dave Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque after an incredible 12-year run.

"I've got mixed feelings," admitted Ferbey. "For me to leave those guys is a little sad. They have elected not to play next year, so that left me at crossroads.

"I tried putting together another team in Edmonton, but it didn't work out. Quite frankly, I'm flattered that the Gushue rink would consider me. Brad said he wants to return to the number one team in the world and I kinda like it up there too."

Since Ferbey is going to be calling the shots, he was asked whose team it will be.

"It's a combination of Ferbey/Gushue or Gushue/Ferbey. It's both our teams," he said. "No egos here. I don't need my name on the placement board and I don't think Brad does either. We're not sure what name is going to be on the board, but it isn't relevant as far as whose team it is."

In the meantime, Ferbey said he doesn't know how long he'll continue to curl.

"My body is getting older. I'm 50 now and sometimes I feel like 75. Having said that, there are other days I feel 25.

"Realistically," he said, " I feel I could play for three or four more years, but it's more the motivation and drive you need to keep playing more than anything else," he noted.

Gushue didn't make any apologizes for stacking his team.

"You get the four best players and you hope the chemistry works," he said. "That's the only thing you worry about when you form a new team. You don't know how you are going to work together... you don't know how you are going to handle pressure.

"I realize there is going to be some negative reaction to this," said Gushue, "but I think there will be some positive reaction, too. No matter who we picked up, there was going to be some reaction given the so-called history we've had between us. But that's long behind us.

"It's just a matter of seeing how we gel together," Gushue noted. "And that's not only how we get along, but trying to get the best out of each other and you never know about that until you get out and play.

As far as developing team chemistry is concerned, Gushue said he'd like to have it right away, but sometimes it's something you need to build.

"The chemistry," Gushue added, "is always good if you are winning."

One benefit of adding Ferbey is that he is bringing along his World Financial Group sponsor.

Gushue said it costs his team between $75-80,000 to compete on the World Curling Tour and his team has about $60,000 in earnings with one event to play.

"I'm meeting with our sponsors in the next couple of weeks and hopefully they'll come on board," said Gushue. "We are well known across the country, but adding Randy makes us even bigger out west. It makes us a national brand from a sponsors perspective."

Ironically, Gushue and Ferbey could clash with one another one more time next weekend when both rinks participate at the World Curling Tour's Players' Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C.

Meantime, Gushue said his new lineup will get together in July or August in Edmonton to work on issues directly connected with the game including on-ice strategy and sweeping.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Bally Haly Curling Club, World Curling Tour, World Financial Group

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Edmonton, Vernon

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