It was a heck of a week for Brad Gushue.
Not only did the Team Canada skip, alongside third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker, curl his way to back-to-back Briers, but he also broke the record for most wins as a skip, curled a game at 100 per cent and nearly went undefeated the whole tournament.
“A lot of things happened this week,” agreed Gushue after his 6-4 victory against Alberta. “Breaking the record was a special moment, winning back-to-back is a special moment.”
“I saw the list (of back-to-back champions) up on the jumbotron with Ernie Richardson and Kevin Martin those are pretty crazy names so to be on that list,” Gushue said. “That’s really cool. That’s something I’m pretty proud of.”
Gushue kept control of the match throughout, throwing up a deuce in the third and fifth ends and giving Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher very little to work with.
That’s not to say Bottcher didn’t make it hard on him, however, as he came back to score a deuce of his own late in the ninth end to bring it within one.
In the tenth Bottcher forced Gushue to make a draw to the button to win it.
Of course, Gushue made no mistake.
“You got to give them credit, they didn’t walk away, they kept pushing and forced us to draw the button,” Gushue said of his opponent.
“I have a lot of respect for that team, they played well this week and I know they’re disappointed but they should be proud of what they did.”
But it was Gushue that really sparkled in the game, as he did all week. He was named tournament MVP and he, along with his second and third were named first-team all-stars for their accuracy.
The success came, in part because the team felt so much lighter having won the Brier before. He had felt so much pressure during last year’s championship because it had been his 14th Brier and he hadn’t won yet and to top things off he was in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland and wanted to win it there more than anything.
Now, having been there before, the team found a new comfort level that was key to their success.
“I don’t ever want to say it was easy, but the fact we were playing so well, we felt so confident and so in control the whole way. We knew if we kept doing that we’d give ourselves a chance and we did,” he said.
Gushue’s next stop is Las Vegas, where he will represent Canada at the World Championships beginning March 31.