The first, the 111th and the 114th.
All games that Brad Gushue touched on as he reflected back on his record-setting number of Brier wins on Monday morning.
The Newfoundland skip overtook the record set by Russ Howard with a 7-6 win over the Yukon to go 3-0 on the tournament.
“I wasn’t even aware of it until last night and then I got a little bit nervous out there when we were tied up or down one,” Gushue said with a laugh.
“It’s nice to achieve, obviously I’ve been here lots but what I’m most proud of is each time we’ve come we’ve been competitive and to be up there with Kevin (Martin) and Russ (Howard), it’s pretty elite company.”
The Brier in Regina marks Gushue’s 15th Brier appearance but just his first as team Canada despite years of success and an Olympic gold medal in 2006.
It was 113 games and 15 years ago but Gushue does remember his very first Brier win and it has a Saskatchewan connection: it was against Saskatchewan skip Doug Harcourt in 2003.
“It was in Halifax and we were tied up coming home and he had (a rock) biting the eight-foot on the centre line. I made a real nice draw to the back of the four foot and he just missed the run back and that was our first one. I do remember it very vividly and obviously, I’ll remember this one now too.”
Though perhaps no win was as big for Gushue as win 111.
That was the Brier he won, just last year, at home in St. John’s.
“I don’t know if that’s ever going to get topped in my Brier career,” Gushue said.
Someone else that was happily cheering as Gushue’s milestone was announced on the big screen in the Brandt Centre was Newfoundland and Labrador skip Greg Smith. Smith is wearing the province’s jacket as Gushue entered this Brier as the reigning Team Canada.
“It was unbelievable, I started clapping when I looked up on the screen I knew he had 113 after last night and to see 114 is incredible, it’s a great day for Newfoundland and Labrador curling,” Smith said.
At just 21 years old, Smith has spent nearly his entire life watching Gushue play. He recalled all the province’s schools shutting down so everyone could watch Gushue win Olympic gold in Turin.
And Smith said he’s been instrumental in his development as a curler.
“All of us look up to Brad in this province regardless of our age. He has set the standard for curling in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and across the world.”