He and 12-year-old Hayley entered in Newfoundland and Labrador mixed doubles next week in St. John's
Later this month, Brad Gushue will head to Kingston, Ont., for his 17th Brier. And if he and his teammates manage to win their third Canadian men’s curling championship, they’ll travel to Glasgow, Scotland in late March, when they would be seeking a second world crown.
But between now and Feb. 29, when the Brier gets underway, Gushue will take part in another curling competition, and although he says he anticipates it will be mostly “a bit of fun,” that event might mean as much as any of the others in which he has participated or will participate in this season.
Starting next Tuesday at the Re/Max Centre in St. John’s, Gushue will play in the 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador mixed doubles curling championship. His partner will be his 12-year-old daughter Hayley.
“We’re going to give that a go and give Hayley some experience playing in a provincial championship,” said Gushue.
“We don’t have many expectations other than having a bit of fun and letting her learn, but I’m looking forward to it.
“I know it’s going to be a fun week for me, and hopefully, for Hayley, too.” — Brad Gushue
Hayley Gushue has been curling for a couple of years, but her dad says she’s “not super-serious” about the game.
“Not yet, at least,” he said. “Then again, I didn’t start curling until I was 13 and she’s still only 12.
“Right now, it’s just one day a week for her, but If she wants to play more over the next couple of years, then we’ll do what we can to make that happen. At the same time if she wants to concentrate on volleyball or something else, that will be her choice and that will be fine, too.
“We’re just trying to open her eyes to as many sports and activities as we can.”
That reference to volleyball wasn’t just pulled out of the air. Hayley is a member of the St. Peter’s Python Grade 7 team that won the Cowan Heights Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday.
That tourney came in the midst of the Tankard provincial men’s curling championship at the Re/Max Centre, but because Brad Gushue and his rink had finished first in the Tankard’s preliminary round, they got a bye directly to Sunday’s final, where they would defeat Trent Skanes and his rink.
So while Tankard tiebreakers and semifinal were played Saturday, Gushue got to check out his daughter win the first of the family’s two championships on the weekend.
But in five days, they’ll get to compete together as one of 10 teams entered in the provincial mixed doubles. Their first game will be against the event’s defending champions, Dave Thomas and Jenna Harvey of the Gateway club in Port aux Basques.
Gushue brings his considerable skills, while his daughter will have what she learned through osmosis from being around a father who is both a world and Olympic champion. She also attended the summer youth curling camp Gushue and his teammates conducted at the Re/Max Centre last summer.
“She had a great time and she’s going to go again this summer,” reported Gushue.
We have at least one winner this weekend! Congrats Hayley and the rest of the St. Peter’s Junior High grade 7 volleyball team pic.twitter.com/8rHyMlULV5— Brad Gushue (@BradGushue) February 1, 2020
“And that can make learning the game that much easier. These camps can be as much about the friendships as the curling, but sometimes that helps in the learning, and she learned a lot. I think it made her want to stay with the game even more.
“Now, she just wants to find three other girls of similar age who want to practise and play and get a little better together.”
But next her week, her team will be her and Dad.
“The way we’re going to make the mixed doubles, It will be more a family experience than saying “Let’s go out there and win,’” said Gushue
“It’s not that we shouldn’t have expectations. We’re competitive and we’ll be doing our best, but I think they should be realistic expectations.
“And the biggest expectation is to have some fun and make some memories.”