Lead story: Gushue names Korab's replacement

Robin
Robin Short
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Dave Noftall of St. John's tagged to thrown first rocks

In Vancouver on business, Dave Noftall joked over the telephone Tuesday night he might be dropping over to see the new curling venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games set for the British Columbia city.

Considering the latest curling developments back in St. John's, it might not be so funny after all.

Noftall is the newest member of Brad Gushue's curling team, replacing the deposed Jamie Korab at lead. Korab, who curled with the St. John's-based team when it won Olympic gold in Torino last year, was turfed in a highly-publicized move early last month.

Dave Noftall, shown in this file photo, brings 20 years of curling experience to the Brad Gushue rink. Telegram file photo

In Vancouver on business, Dave Noftall joked over the telephone Tuesday night he might be dropping over to see the new curling venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games set for the British Columbia city.

Considering the latest curling developments back in St. John's, it might not be so funny after all.

Noftall is the newest member of Brad Gushue's curling team, replacing the deposed Jamie Korab at lead. Korab, who curled with the St. John's-based team when it won Olympic gold in Torino last year, was turfed in a highly-publicized move early last month.

So in an effort to find a replacement for Korab, a search that began in Halifax with the addition of Andrew Gibson for the Players Championship, it ends in Gushue's own backyard with the St. John's born-and-raised Noftall.

"We wanted the right person," Gushue pointed out, "not a Newfoundlander or a mainlander, but the right person."

In the days following Korab's ouster, Gushue faced a firestorm of criticism, some of it unwarranted. One of the common gripes was that Team Gushue would no longer be a 'Newfoundland' rink. With Red Deer's Chris Schille brought in to curl second stone in the fall and the likelihood of another curler from outside the province replacing Korab - a possibility sparked by Gibson's addition for the Players - it appeared only Gushue and third Mark Nichols would make up the team's local content.

"Actually," Gushue said of the scathing attacks he faced after canning Korab, "that had an exact opposite affect on me. Rather than look for a Newfoundlander, I was looking for an excuse not to go to Newfoundland.

"We were committed to the best team and I didn't want to be swayed to Newfoundland for the sake of getting a Newfoundlander.

"But Dave was the best fit for us. We picked the right player."

Noftall has yet to win a provincial championship, although he's been to the Brier twice, both times as fifth man. So while he may not come with a spiffy resume, he's long been regarded as one of the finest leads in the province.

Last year, he curled with Rick Rowsell. Noftall has also curled with Mark Noseworthy and Ken Peddigrew.

At 36, he'll be the oldest member of the team although entering his 20th year curling, he'll have the most experience.

Noftall is married with a three-year-old and one-month-old. Considering the hectic playing schedule the curling team faces next season in an effort to secure an Olympic Trials spot, making the decision to curl with Gushue took some time and plenty of discussion.

"When I got an email from Brad looking for my phone number, I knew it was one of two things - work or curling," said Noftall, who is employed by Destination St. John's. He's in Vancouver for the Memorial Cup, assisting in the St. John's Fog Devils' bid for the 2009 national major junior hockey championship.

"It took a week or so to make a decision. Given the time and commitment that it's going to take, you need family support."

Some cynics may suggest curling with Gushue could be a kiss of death. Paul Harvey, Gene Trickett, Mark Ward and Keith Ryan join Adam and Korab as former Gushue team curlers.

"Brad and I had a chat," Noftall said, "and we were up front with each other. It's all about commitment. Whatever he's willing to do, he expects of the others, whether that's throwing rocks every day or working out in the gym.

"And let's be honest, an opportunity like this doesn't come around every day."

Gushue doesn't expect to be curling in October, as his wife, Krista, is expecting the couple's first child. Which means he won't be curling in the Don Bartlett Classic in Gander.

After that, though, the team will embark on a rigorous World Curling Tour schedule, curling every weekend or every second weekend.

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Olympic Trials

Geographic location: St. John's, Vancouver, Newfoundland British Columbia Torino Halifax Red Deer Gander

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Recent comments

  • Curler
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Well, I've been in the curling environment for years. I do not want to offend Dave, I do admire his game play very much, but I find it hard to believe that the team feels they would be better now than when Jamie was still a member. Perhaps I will always be a pro-Jamie (especially over Mr. Gushue himself) but I just don't see anyone excelling over Jamie with this team, whether they are a Newfoundlander or not. I don't think it should have been an issue as far as what province the 4th player called home, but the fact of the matter is, any team HAS to have at least 3 players come game time.... this is why a Newfie was so important to them. You can't just enter into a local bonspiel and call up Air Canada to send half your team across the country, gets a bit costly! The money is better used in travel to larger bonspiels and championships where they will be faced with the level of competition they need. I do wish Dave all the best with this team, but as I did in March, I will still cheer on Glen Howard or any other team they will face over the season. Sorry Brad and Mark, after this, when all the Newfie pool has been exhausted, I guess you'll be the next Newf's off to Alberta...

  • Joe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Gushue is a *uck face and a pig

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    To say I was disappointed with Gushue and his crybaby attitude would be an understatement, when Team Gushue won the gold I could not have been prouder than if he had been my own son, but now his true self has reared it's ugly head and the apple pie downhome boy next door image is all just smoke and mirrors. I hope that next year we are represented by a team with real character and loyalty to the ones who helped the team get there. To quote Danny, ABG for our next curling representative, but it be justice for team Korab to be the ones.

  • Leah
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    The self-centered greed of Brad Gushue
    is so obvious that it is unbelievable that
    Dave Noftall would even consider
    joining HIS team. The word team is
    laughable when it comes to Gushue.
    He has no loyalty or appreciation to anyone just as long as he can use them to get HIM to the top. Dave's family life will be at a minimum because he will just be another one of Gushue's puppets on a string. Let's get on to somebody else
    who is deserving of NL's pride and attention.

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Brad Gushue is a disgrace... He was an ar$ehole back in junior high curling and he is still the same sooky little girl now. Reminds me of Tiger Woods of curling, only Brad needs his Mate to make the hard shots and Howard to call the game.

  • M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Who really cares about brad gushues team?

  • Curler
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Well, I've been in the curling environment for years. I do not want to offend Dave, I do admire his game play very much, but I find it hard to believe that the team feels they would be better now than when Jamie was still a member. Perhaps I will always be a pro-Jamie (especially over Mr. Gushue himself) but I just don't see anyone excelling over Jamie with this team, whether they are a Newfoundlander or not. I don't think it should have been an issue as far as what province the 4th player called home, but the fact of the matter is, any team HAS to have at least 3 players come game time.... this is why a Newfie was so important to them. You can't just enter into a local bonspiel and call up Air Canada to send half your team across the country, gets a bit costly! The money is better used in travel to larger bonspiels and championships where they will be faced with the level of competition they need. I do wish Dave all the best with this team, but as I did in March, I will still cheer on Glen Howard or any other team they will face over the season. Sorry Brad and Mark, after this, when all the Newfie pool has been exhausted, I guess you'll be the next Newf's off to Alberta...

  • Joe
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Gushue is a *uck face and a pig

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    To say I was disappointed with Gushue and his crybaby attitude would be an understatement, when Team Gushue won the gold I could not have been prouder than if he had been my own son, but now his true self has reared it's ugly head and the apple pie downhome boy next door image is all just smoke and mirrors. I hope that next year we are represented by a team with real character and loyalty to the ones who helped the team get there. To quote Danny, ABG for our next curling representative, but it be justice for team Korab to be the ones.

  • Leah
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    The self-centered greed of Brad Gushue
    is so obvious that it is unbelievable that
    Dave Noftall would even consider
    joining HIS team. The word team is
    laughable when it comes to Gushue.
    He has no loyalty or appreciation to anyone just as long as he can use them to get HIM to the top. Dave's family life will be at a minimum because he will just be another one of Gushue's puppets on a string. Let's get on to somebody else
    who is deserving of NL's pride and attention.

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Brad Gushue is a disgrace... He was an ar$ehole back in junior high curling and he is still the same sooky little girl now. Reminds me of Tiger Woods of curling, only Brad needs his Mate to make the hard shots and Howard to call the game.

  • M
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Who really cares about brad gushues team?