Brier veteran Rob Fowler is chasing a spot in the Olympics. (FILE PHOTO)
Rob Fowler and his Brandon Curling Club team have put in a lot of work to get into the Canadian Olympic trials process, and starting on Tuesday they will battle for a spot in the Roar of the Rings.
Fowler, third Allan Lyburn, second Brendan Taylor and lead Derek Samagalski will head to Kitchener, Ont., for Tuesday’s opening draw of the Road to the Roar, the pre-trials event that will have 12 men’s and women’s teams battling for their final two respective spots at the Roar, which will be held in Winnipeg from Dec. 1-8. Fowler’s team has had some positive results recently, reaching the playoffs in two of their past three World Curling Tour events, and they can’t wait to resume their quest to represent Canada at the Olympics.
"There’s a great team dynamic at the moment," said Fowler, who replaced Richard Daneault at second with Taylor in March. "We’ve definitely had some success on the tour this year and we’ve played lots. We’ve played five of the last six weekends and we did that so we get lots of games in. And I think that’s important when you’re preparing for a big event like this one early in the season, is to make sure you’ve played lots. The key will be to play our best next week."
Although Fowler, Lyburn and Samagalski all have Brier experience — having won a bronze medal together in 2012 — Fowler is the only one who has experienced the Olympic trials. Four years ago he was the second on Jeff Stoughton’s team that went through the pre-trials qualifier and finished third in the Roar.
Fowler admits the atmosphere for Briers is great, but the Olympic trials are a different beast. However, he’s going to draw on his experience from four years ago to try to get back to the Roar.
"The big thing is not to change anything," he said. "Because of the magnitude of the event, a lot of teams do change things and we definitely don’t want to do that. We want to just go with what we’re comfortable with and stick with our same routine and process and I think that will allow us to play the way we need to play."
Fowler will open the Road to the Roar against Toronto’s Greg Balsdon on Tuesday at 8 a.m. The winner will meet defending Brier champion Brad Jacobs at 6:30 p.m.
Winnipeg’s Barb Spencer is the lone Manitoba team in the women’s side of the draw.
Former Brandonites Mike McEwen and Nolan Thiessen, who plays lead for Kevin Koe, have already secured their spots in the Roar of the Rings.
SENIORS: Winnipeg will host 28 senior men’s teams from Friday to Sunday in a battle for the one provincial berth that is up for grabs. Among the competitors are teams skipped by Brandon’s Brian Fowler, Shawn Taylor and Jim Renwick, as well as Deloraine’s Dean Laval and Murray Warren, Hamiota’s Dale Brooks, Pilot Mound’s Curtis McCannell and Neepawa’s Kelly Robertson.
EXTRA ENDS: The District 4 and 6 Golden Gals playdowns will take place at the Riverview Curling Club on Saturday and Sunday … The Brandon Curling Club will hold a sendoff fundraiser for Steve Irwin’s and Stacey Fordyce’s Dominion club teams that are going to nationals. The event starts at 8 p.m. on Tuesday … The Riverview Curling Club will host a charity bonspiel to raise money for cancer research from Nov. 7-10. It’s open to men’s, women’s and mixed teams and costs $140. Email email@example.com … Shoal Lake’s masters bonspiel is set for Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Teams can have one player under 60. Contact Ron Anderson at 204-759-2385 or 204-759-2559 …The Brandon Curling Club is putting on free adult learn to curl sessions every Monday night at 8:30 and sturling every Monday and Friday at 12:30 p.m. … Minnedosa will host a mixed bonspiel from Jan. 18-19. Cost is $100 per team. Contact Carol Taylor at 204-867-2245 or Mel Harvey at 204-867-2909.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 31, 2013