Just weeks ago Mike McEwen was in the hospital battling a severe case of chicken pox.
So when he stepped on the ice at the beginning of February to punch his ticket to the Brier in his home province of Manitoba, he was not at 100 percent
Not even close.
His team ended up losing to Reid Carruthers, whose team is in the Brier representing Manitoba.
But luckily for McEwen, the new 16-team Brier format includes a wild card team and he knew he’d get a second chance.
He along with his third, B.J Neufeld, second Matt Wozniak and lead Denni Neufeld made the most of the that chance as they fought past fellow Manitoban Jason Gunnlaugson and made it to the main tournament.
“I feel like the first (chance at the Brier) got taken away from me, even though I did play in the final I wasn’t anywhere close to being at my best,” McEwen said after the win.
“This was kind of like redemption.”
The 4-3 win was a defensive battle throughout and was decided by the skip stones in an extra end.
Gunnlaugson had the hammer, but as he threw his second last stone it picked and slid right through the house. With his final stone he was unable to draw to the button for the win.
But Gunnlaugson took the game in stride instead focusing on the opportunity the wild card gave his young team.
“We play in one of the hardest provinces in the world if it was a country it’d be the hardest country in the world. It’s ridiculously tough to get out of,” Gunnlaugson said.
“Obviously it’s going to suck right now losing it and going home but we just had a draw to the button to go to the Brier which is pretty much every curling boy’s dream.”
McEwen’s rink enters the tournament in Pool A and will play their first match against the Yukon Saturday night at 7 p.m.
- Brier Opening Ceremonies begin Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
- Saskatchewan is in action at 2 p.m. versus Quebec.