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Alex and Evan McDonah headed to Calgary with Greg Smith rink out of St. John's
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for brothers Alex and Evan McDonah, who are busy packing their bags for a trip to Calgary this week and the 2021 edition of the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men's curling championship, which opens Friday.
The McDonahs, Memorial University students from Truro, N.S., make up Newfoundland and Labrador skip Greg Smith’s front end, with Evan throwing lead stones and Alex at second.
Greg Blyde is vice-skip and Adam Boland is fifth on the team from the ReMax Centre/St. John’s Curling Club, and Bally Haly. It’s coached by Leslie Anne Walsh.
It’s a completely changed-over team from the group Smith curled with last season and which also represented the province in the 2018 Brier in Regina, where Smith finished with a 1-6 record.
Smith had reached out to Evan McDonah about curling with the team last spring.
Turns out the timing was perfect. Evan had planned on returning to Memorial to study civil engineering.
“We knew Evan through junior play,” said Smith, “and he was always a talent with the draw game. It was a natural fit to get him in at lead.
“He said he was going to be living in St. John’s, attending MUN. It worked out perfect.’
McDonah was joining the team with Smith, Blyde, and Winnipeg’s Braden Zawada.
However, because of COVID-19 and quarantine rules, plans to use Zawada throughout at the season at second were short-lived.
It was January when Smith told Evan McDonah to place a call to his brother.
“Tell him he’s on the team,” Smith said.
It’s been over 2 weeks since winning the Newfoundland & Labrador Men’s Tankard. 🥌— Team Smith (@TeamGregSmithNL) February 19, 2021
We are now just under 2 weeks away from heading to the Tim Hortons Brier in (The Bubble) Calgary, AB to represent Newfoundland & Labrador! ♥️🖤🤍
Here is some pictures from the provincial final! pic.twitter.com/xU6ZACbrVQ
Evan, at 22, is two years older than Alex. Evan has never played in a Canadian championship, but Alex curled in the under-18 nationals with Nova Scotia.
Alex is studying biology, with a plan to do optometry later on.
Alex McDonah was going to curl with Ryan McNeil-Lamswood of St. John’s on a junior team this season, but with no junior nationals, McNeil-Lamswood played in the Tankard provincial men’s championship with his St. John’s Super League team.
“That left Alex open to play with us,” Smith said. “We knew he was good.”
“He moved here in January,” Evan McDonah said of his brother, “and now here we are, going to the Brier.
“It’s been a lot of fun, some of the most fun I’ve ever had in curling,” he added.
“It’s pretty exciting to win a Tankard, and to do it with Alex is pretty special.”
We are now Team Newfoundland & Labrador at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, AB in March!— Team Smith (@TeamGregSmithNL) January 31, 2021
What a battle and amazing resilience in that game and throughout the week. #TeamAsham pic.twitter.com/Q2neP5UJMp
Newfoundland and Labrador’s first game at the Brier is 10 p.m. Friday (NT) against Quebec.
Like the Scotties Tournament of Hearts which concluded Sunday in Calgary, this year’s Briers will feature 18 teams divided into two nine-team pools. Newfoundland and Labrador is in the same pool as defending champion Brad Gushue and his rink from St. John’s, which will be wearing Team Canada colours.
- Team Newfoundland and Labrador coach eager to work her first Brier
- Greg Smith headed back to the Brier as Newfoundland and Labrador representative
- ROBIN SHORT: Team Gushue lead Walker hopes to scratch the curling itch soon
- Newfoundland's Brad Gushue among those applauding scheme for competitive curling bubble in Calgary