The three other people who were on Rob Fowler’s Brandon-based team that won a bronze medal at the 2012 Tim Horton’s Brier have now parted ways with the skip.
After the 2012-13 curling season ended, the team and second Richard Daneault decided split, and he was replaced with Brendan Taylor.
Brandonite Allan Lyburn, who threw third stones, then decided to take a year off after February’s Safeway Championship in Winnipeg and on Sunday, lead Derek Samagalski announced that he is leaving Fowler to join a new Winnipeg-based team skipped by Reid Carruthers.
“Me and Reid are basically best buddies,” Samagalski said. “… It was obviously tough. Al left the team basically right after provincials, so it was me, Rob and Brendan. We all had been talking and said all three of us, no hard feelings, let’s see what’s out there and if anyone gets an opportunity that they want to pursue, let’s do it. This is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Carruthers, who played with Jeff Stoughton for the last four seasons, has also added Braeden Moskowy, who played third for Brock Virtue’s team that represented Saskatchewan at the 2013 Brier, and two-time Alberta junior champion Colin Hodgson, who recently moved to Winnipeg.
Fowler wasn’t surprised to see Samagalski reconnect with Carruthers. Samagalski threw second stones for Carruthers for a number of years, including 2006 when the team reached the Safeway Select final.
Fowler wishes Samagalski well and is still in the process of trying to figure out his next team as well.
“We’re just not sure how that’s going to work out,” he said. “I’m taking my time. It’s a very big commitment and it has to be a good fit for me and my family to make that commitment. We’ll see what happens, and if it works out we’ll obviously be happy and if it doesn’t then that’s something that will be acceptable as well.”
Although he’s excited for his new opportunity, Samagalski, 29, is also grateful for his four years with Fowler and the opportunity to throw the first two stones of each end.
“It was great playing lead those last four years because if you would have talked to anybody in Manitoba five years ago and said what was the weakness in my game, I could barely hit the rings when I was throwing a draw. I was so bad at drawing,” said Samagalski, who goes from being the youngest player on his former team to the oldest on his new one. “Now that I’ve played lead for four years, I have my draw game down and now I have to learn how to throw the five-second peels again.”