THERE will be interesting lineups on display this weekend at the Interlake Pharmacy Classic in Stonewall.
The Jeff Stoughton foursome will unveil a new lineup that doesn’t, gasp, include the team’s namesake. “We’ve been curling a lot,” Stoughton explained this week, “and I just couldn’t fit it in.”
Stoughton second Reid Carruthers will skip the team in Stonewall, with Jon Mead and Steve Gould at their regular positions of third and lead, respectively. The newcomer for one weekend will be Eric Montford, who will play second.
Montford was a provincial junior champion when dinosaurs walked the earth, but is better known these days as one of the country’s premier icemakers.
“We’ll find out if he can still play,” Stoughton said with a laugh.
Other lineup changes will see Dave Elias unveil a new team with Murray Woodward at skip. Chris Suchy and Hub Perrin will still be the front end.
Yet another lineup change in Stonewall will see Chris Galbraith play third for Andy Stewart, filling in for an absent Kevin Thompson.
Galbraith is the regular third for Kevin Park. That begs an obvious question, but Galbraith and Park both say the Park team remains a going concern and Galbraith said he expects the team will curl together at a Grand Slam event in Vernon, B.C., in mid-December.
There are still a couple of outstanding issues confronting the Park team.
First, they will need to find a new lead. Former Park lead Pat McCallum was punted a few weeks ago and the team curled at their most recent event — the World Cup in Windsor — with Brendan Taylor filling in.
Park also said Wednesday that while he would like to continue curling with his team, he understands if they seek “alternative choices” because of what Park says are questions about his eligibility for the Manitoba playdowns.
Park lives in Edmonton, but managed to meet Manitoba residency requirements the past two winters while curling with Jeff Stoughton. This winter might be different, Park says.
“The only reason the future of the team is in doubt is because I may not be eligible for this year’s MB playdowns due to residency requirements,” Park wrote in an email. “As such, the team may seek out alternative choices.”
The Park team went 14-9 on the World Curling Tour and won $10,500 in four events this fall.
Another former Jeff Stoughton teammate, Rob Fowler, continues to make waves with his new team.
The Fowler team this week learned they had earned one of the final berths into the prestigious Canada Cup, which begins Dec. 1 in Medicine Hat, Alta.
Fowler joins Stoughton and Mike McEwen as a male troika of Manitobans in that 10-team event. Jennifer Jones and Chelsea Carey will carry the Manitoba colours in the women’s event.
Fowler curled second with Stoughton the past few seasons but this year is skipping his own team with third Allan Lyburn, second Richard Daneault and lead Derek Samagalski.
The team has had an exceptional cashspiel season for a first-year team, going 20-8 through four events and earning $26,000 in prize winnings.
Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue has an Olympic gold medal, but he no longer has a curling team bearing his name. At least not in Canadian Curling Association events.
Gushue is curling this winter as a vice skip, with Edmonton’s Randy Ferbey throwing the third rock for the team and calling the house.
The newly configured team has been curling this fall on the cash spiel circuit under Gushue’s name, but is entered in the Canada Cup under Ferbey’s name, by order of the CCA.