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The Old Bear back at the Brier

Team Alberta coach Kevin Martin, centre, talks with Darren Moulding, left, and his son Karrick Martin during a game against New Brunswick earlier this week at the Tim Hortons Brier. The young Alberta team would do well to heed the advice of the Canadian curling Hall of Famer, after all he has four Brier titles, a world championship, gold and silver Olympic medals, and 18 Grand Slam of Curling titles.
Team Alberta coach Kevin Martin, centre, talks with Darren Moulding, left, and his son Karrick Martin during a game against New Brunswick earlier this week at the Tim Hortons Brier. The young Alberta team would do well to heed the advice of the Canadian curling Hall of Famer, after all he has four Brier titles, a world championship, gold and silver Olympic medals, and 18 Grand Slam of Curling titles.

Kevin Martin describes himself as a relatively patient man, which is a good thing when you’re the coach of a relatively young Alberta team in a veteran Tim Hortons Brier field.

And it’s even moreso when you’re the Kevin Martin, once the game’s best player, and now a coach who sometimes scratches his head with some moves the youngsters are making on the ice.

“Oh yeah,” Martin says with a big laugh. “You look at the sport a different way. Now that I’m coaching, I’m looking at things differently, and you have a hard time understanding some of the things they’re doing. I’m like, ‘Why would you do that?’ …

“That said, this week has been quite fun for me.”

Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher struggled to a 3-8 record in St. John’s this week, with Martin sitting at the coach’s table. Curling lead was Karrick Martin, Kevin Martin’s 27-year-old son.

The elder Martin, now 50, is a Canadian curling Hall of Famer, maybe the best to ever play the game. He’s won four Briers — running the table with perfect 13-0 records back-to-back in 2008 and ’09 — a world championship, Olympic gold in 2010 Vancouver and an Olympic silver medal in 1992 in Albertville, France.

Martin, by the way, also won a Canadian junior championship way back in 1985, here in St. John’s.

The late Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter there ever was, managed the Washington Senators and Texas Rangers with little luck. Same with Maurice Richard and his two-game stint as coach of the WHA’s Quebec Nordiques.

Wayne Gretzky coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons and didn’t make the playoffs.

The great ones, it’s said, can’t understand why others can’t do or perform as they once did.

“The bunch of young guys we have,” Martin said, laughing, “they call, shall we say, an interesting game sometimes.

“After being around for 30 years, you think everybody knows that you have to do this or do that. But it’s not like that.

“So I’m really enjoying working with these kids and trying to teach them. At the end of each game, you should see the notes that I have compiled. I’m jotting down notes every end, taking notes of the scenarios, drawing pictures. Then I’m telling them to take ’em home and learn from them.

“So it’s been really kind of fun in a different way than you might think.”

Martin doesn’t curl anymore. He hasn’t played for three years, in fact. But he stays involved through broadcast work with Sportsnet and coaching.

It makes it even more special when your son is on the team.

“Of course it does, and it’s even better when you’re at a phenomenal Brier like this one, where the crowd is real energetic,” he said.

It would seem Karrick Martin started curling just as he was out of diapers, but that isn’t the case.

He was a hockey player, who dabbled a bit in curling while in high school. Enrolled at the University of Alberta, he tried out for and made a spot on the Golden Bears’ curling team, while also playing junior B hockey for the Beaumont, Alta. Chiefs.

The young fellow did well while in school, winning a Canadian university championship, and a bronze medal at the CIS nationals, held in St. John’s. He also won a bronze at the World University Games in Trentino, Italy.

“We didn’t push any of our kids into anything, other than they had to pick a winter sport to play, a summer sport, they had to swim and they had to pick up a musical instrument. Those were the rules in our house,” the father said.

“So he found his way, just as the girls (Kalycia, 24, and 15-year-old Mykaela) did. Now here he is. Will he curl forever? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference. For now he’s really enjoying it.

“And so am I.”

rshort@thetelegram.com
Twitter: telyrobinshort

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