International Flavor

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

Hi Saskatchewan. I thought I’d tell you a little true story with a little international flavor to get us all pumped up for the big game tonight involving Canada and Scotland. The year was 2005 – the squad – Ben Hebert (pre-fame), Chris Haichert, Jeff Sharp and myself. Chris had just started firefighters college in Brandon however, so one Steve Laycock (then lead for Brad Heidt) was joining us to play lead for the weekend. We were on our way to Port Hawkesbury NS and the grand slam event their. This particular event was interesting because it featured the top eight Canadian teams and the top eight international teams at the time. Ben and I land in Halifax and begin the ride when a call comes in from Jeff saying they are stuck in Saskatoon – heavy snow. We are scheduled to play our first game against Scotland’s Tom Brewster soon after we arrive. So we basically have the car ride to round up a team. Ahh – Russ Howard – coaching the Swiss team – could this be a possibility? No – this was a new gig; he didn’t want to run off and curl when he was there to coach ( understandable). Ralph Stoekli’s team from Switzerland did have a fifth present, and Russ pointed out that this would be an option. Sign him up, one down – one to go. A few calls later and Ben reached John Morris, also on route. “Any ideas Johnny” asked Ben – “Well, their is one”, was the reply. Perfect – team fielded.

Perfect team – fielded : Lead – ‘the pearl’ Earle Morris ( John’s Dad – he called the game)
Second – Patrick Hurlimann – 1998 Olympic gold medalist
Third – Ben Hebert (pre-fame)
Skip – Pat Simmons

Ok, so we’re thinking – let’s keep it close, maybe pull out a close game late as everyone gets comfortable.
The pearl had other thoughts – he went top four foot and tight guard like it was his job and called a masterpiece for a multiple point steal in the first end. Then Hurlimann got in on the mix, throwing rockets making the double peel look easy. Ben and I were just along for the ride. The end result – a 4 end shut-out – a masterpiece by arguably the greatest team I’ve been a part of.
Much to our dismay, the weather was clearing back home and the boys arrived for game two the next day – we lost.
In the end – 7 of 8 Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs with the lone absence the John Morris team. We played beside Morris as he played against Kevin Martin in an A qualifier earlier in the event. Playing the last end, Morris looked to have ‘The Old Bear’ beat. What followed was the greatest shot in curling history in my mind. In a nutshell, John was laying 4 – all around the four-foot, these rocks were tripleIguarded out front. Kevin had one biting the back 12 foot at 2 o’clock. Long story short, the guards came back – one hitting another- hitting another – the last Martin guard then cleared all 4 enemy counters in the house ( one of them grazing, but not removing his back 12 foot biter), and if scoring one for the tie wasn’t good enough, the raised rock hung around in the 12 foot at 10 o’clock. Kevin was the only person on the sheet who even knew what was supposed to happen prior to shooting ( and even this is still debated).

John never recovered and lost a ‘C’ qualifier to Norway’s Pal Trulsen. As for team Simmons, we managed to get to the final, eventually losing to Wayne Middaugh.

Enjoy the Canada vs Scotland game tonight Saskatchewan. 


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