Four years after pulling off what some still maintain was a colossal upset, Brad Gushue and his St. John’s curling team opened the all-important 2009-10 season with a World Curling Tour victory Sunday in Basel, Switzerland.
Gushue, Mark Nichols, Ryan Fry and Jamie Korab from the Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club defeated reigning champ Thomas Ulsrud of Norway 6-3 in the final game with the Basel Masters championship and 10,000 Swiss francs (about 10,400 Canadian dollars).
This is a big year for Gushue and the rest of the Canadian male and female curlers, what with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics slated for February.
Gushue, of course, won the Canadian Olympic Trials in 2005 in Halifax and went on to win Olympic gold in Turin, Italy.
The qualifying process has changed somewhat since 2006. Eight teams will gather in Edmonton Dec. 6-13 for the Trials, down from 10. Of the eight, four – Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe, Randy Ferbey and Glenn Howard – have already qualified.
The remaining four teams will come from a Pre-Trials spiel slated Nov. 10-14 in Prince George, B.C. Joining Gushue in the Pre-Trials are Wayne Middaugh, Jeff Stoughton, Mike McEwen, Kerry Burtnyk, Joel Jordison, Jean-Michel Menard, Ted Appleman, Bob Ursel, Pat Simmons, Greg McAulay and Jason Gunnlaugson.
Gushue finished ninth on the Canadian Curling Association’s Canadian Team Ranking System last season. He finished fifth on the World Curling Tour’s money list with $75,624.
Next up for Gushue, Nichols, Fry and Korab is the Shorty Jenkins Classic, a World Curling Tour stop, Sept. 17-20 in Brockville, Ont.