The last time Jamie Korab felt this inspired, Jeff Stoughton was remarking Newfoundland had no chance of winning the 2005 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials.
I remember that comment lit a fire in my belly, said Korab, then the lead on Brad Gushues team which went on to win the Trials and eventually Olympic gold in Torino, Italy. I guess this is pretty similar. I can guarantee you Ill be training hard and I cant wait for the ice to go on at the (Re/Max Centre) club.
After a long (curling) season, you cant wait for summer. But what is it? May 3? I cant wait to get on the ice again.
While Korab contends his main goal is to get back to the Tim Hortons Brier, he doesnt hide the fact hes also anxious to go head-to-head with Gushue next season. Citing a need for a change in team chemistry, the Gushue team dumped Korab in early April, a move that prompted tremendous backlash from curling fans across Newfoundland and Labrador.
It came following a runner-up performance at the Hamilton Brier and before the season-ending Players Championship.
So now the popular and gregarious Korab has a new team in place for next year, and it includes another erstwhile Team Gushue curler and Olympic gold medallist, Mike Adam. Adam, who was the fifth in Italy and started the 2006-07 season as Gushues fifth, was let go before Christmas.
Noseworthy will skip
Mark Noseworthy, whos been to four Briers, will skip the team. The fourth curler is Ryan Ledrew. Ledrew skipped the provinces 1999 Canada Games team which included Adam to a bronze medal. He curled at the 2002 national junior championship Adam also curled on that team and played third for Ken Peddigrew at the 2002 Brier.
While its a certainty Noseworthy will skip, the lineup for the other three positions hasnt yet been set.
People will think maybe this is about me trying to get in the way of Brad and Mark (Nichols) going to the Brier, Korab said, that theres a bit of revenge there.
But for me, its about getting back to, and winning, the Brier. Ive been there four times and its a great event, one of the best in Canada.
But I guess beating those guys would add something to it, too.
After Gushue made his highly publicized move, Korab contended the reason behind it had little to do with chemistry and a lot to do with an on-ice spat the two had at the Strauss Canada Cup in Kamloops, B.C.
In Noseworthy, the new team is skipped by a 47-year-old veteran who has consistently been among the provinces best. Noseworthy made a run at the 1987 Brier before settling for third.
He didnt curl last season, opting instead to help out his kids in the game.
Id been approached by a lot of people, said Noseworthy, but when Jamie called, that changed a lot of things. And when there was a suggestion Mike would be in the fold, that got my interest up even more.
Experience in curling is priceless. I put high value on that. When youre at a high level, experience is so important.
Noseworthy, like many, was surprised Korab became a free agent albeit without his consent if only because of the timing.
Teams change all the time, he said. But me personally, Ive never changed a team before the season was over. But Im not passing judgment. To each his own.
Im just glad hes available.
Noseworthy is excited about teaming up with a pair of Olympians and Ledrew, who has long been regarded as one of the finest young shooters in the province. And hes not at all concerned about his age, whether his body can handle another long grind.
If you look at the top 20 skips, a good number of them are over 40 (Randy Ferbey is 47, Glenn Howard 44, Stoughton 43 and Kevin Martin is 40). Theres only two young guys who have broken in the last little while, Brad and John Morris and hes (Morris) playing third now (for Martin).
The team is in the process of lining up sponsors and will follow a conditioning program over the summer. While their schedule wont be as busy as Gushues, the new team does plan on playing in a couple of mainland events.
Theyre three guys rearing to go and weve all got similar goals, Noseworthy said.
Weve got no interest going to the Brier, Korab added, and winding up 1-9 or 2-8.