Newfoundland and Labrador's Brad Gushue already has an Olympic title on his impressive rÉsumÉ, but a Brier championship has so far managed to elude him.
Gushue and his rink of Mark Nichols, Ryan Fry and Jamie Korab open the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier in Halifax on Saturday afternoon against Yukon/Territories.
Gushue, who won Olympic gold in 2006 in Turin, Italy, along with third Nichols and lead Korab, will be making his seventh Brier appearance this week. He might be attending his eighth straight Brier had it not been for his Olympic competition - he didn't defend his provincial title in 2006 as he prepared for the Turin Games.
Gushue was the Brier runner-up in 2007 in Hamilton, losing the final to Glenn Howard. While Howard returns to skip Ontario in Halifax this week, two-time defending champion Kevin Martin of Edmonton won't be there. Like Gushue in 2006, Martin's rink didn't participate in the Alberta playdowns as it concentrated on preparing for what turned out to be a gold medal-winning run at the Vancouver Olympics.
Besides Howard, there is only one other Brier-winning skip - Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton - competing in Halifax, so Gushue is seen as one of the favourites to at least make the Page playoff round.
"We have pretty high expectations going into this week," Gushue said. "Other than the Olympic pre-trials, we're playing well.
"We've been making the clutch shots and we're pretty confident and hoping for good things."
In his six Brier appearances, Gushue has an overall round-robin record of 43-23 , has never finished lower than fifth in the round-robin standings, has made it to the tiebreaker or playoffs on four occasions and was the all-star skip in 2004.
The 29-year-old, who made his Brier debut in 20023 in Halifax, will be trying to win just the second Canadian men's title for this province - Jack MacDuff skipped the province to victory in 1976 in Regina.
The Newfoundland and Labrador rink has two games on tap Sunday, playing Saskatchewan 2:30 p.m. and Alberta at 7 p.m.
Gushue and Co. earned the right to represent the province at the Brier by beating their Bally Haly clubmate Alex Smith 8-2 in last month's Labatt Tankard provincial men's curling championship final.
The record for Brad Gushue-skipped rinks at the Brier, the Canadian men's curling championship:
Year, location Round-robin record Finish (playoffs)
2003, Halifax 6-5 Fifth
2004, Saskatoon 8-3 Third (lost 3-4 game)
2005, Edmonton 6-5 Tied for fifth
2007, Hamilton 8-3 Tied for second (lost final)
2008, Winnipeg 7-4 Tied for fourth (lost tie-breaker)
2009, Calgary 8-3 Third (lost 3-4 game)