March 9, 2010
Nation loving rockers' tour
By TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency
Two-time Brier kings.
Olympic gold medallists.
So what's next for super-curlers Kevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert?
As the Alberta foursome enjoys the spoils of Olympic triumph on a whirlwind cross-country tour -- including a much-ballyhooed stop at the 2010 Brier in Halifax -- it's a query that comes up often.
"It's been quite a ride," said Morris, one of two Calgarians on a rink now entrenched not only in curling annals but in Canadian lore after going undefeated in a gold-medal run at the 2010 Winter Games.
"I don't think we're making any changes to our team anytime soon," Morris continued.
"We have four guys on this team who are very dedicated and have very good work ethics. And we all get along, so as long as we continue to be successful, I think we'll be together."
So it's upward and onward for the world's undisputed top squad. Where many curlers who achieve success might split from a highly successful team to take up the challenge with another set of suitors, Morris, Kennedy and Hebert appear to relish the idea of pushing further up the sport's ranks under the guise of 'The Old Bear' Martin.
"You always, as a competitive player, want to keep winning," said Hebert, the team's lead and other member from Calgary.
"We're not going to say, 'We won this and we won that, so we're just going to coast.'
"The best thing is to win and be competitive. If we keep winning like this for years together, it could be a great story."
Truthfully, Benny, it's already a beaut.
Since the gold-medal take in Vancouver, it's been a celebrity life for the champions. They've been swarmed in promotional travels across the nation, with Morris estimating they've posed for about 500 photos a day to go along with countless autographs signed for fans -- both young and old.
They've been elevated from rock-star status in their sport to rock-star status among Canadians, even if Morris begs to differ.
"We're not rock stars -- we're still average guys with average jobs," said Morris, a certified personal trainer and a volunteer firefighter in Chestermere.
"But the sport of curling is sure getting some good exposure. Historically, curling fans are over 40. Now, we're seeing younger fans, which is exciting. When we were in London (Ont.) earlier this week, we were swarmed by a mob of fans 30-and-younger. I don't think you'll ever see curling get to the status of hockey.
"But I think the fact we're average guys with average jobs is why Canadians love curling."
And Canadians love these guys -- and will be able to, apparently, for years to come.
"There's no chance (of us splitting) -- we're playing together 100%," Hebert added. "It wouldn't surprise me if Kevin plays with us all the way to the 2014 Olympics. That's just what I think."
John Morris and his firehall co-workers from Chestermere are celebrating his gold-medal triumph with a party Saturday night at Ranchman's ... Red Deer's Jocelyn Peterman fell short in defence of her title at the 2010 Alberta Juvenile Curling Championships, losing 6-1 Sunday in Wainwright. Fort Saskatchewan's Taylore Theroux took the title from Peterman in the women's deciding draw after the two rinks finished tied with 4-1 records after the roundrobin. The south's other entry, Megan Chambers of the Calgary Curling Club, went 2-3 in the roundrobin but finished shy of the playoffs at the six-team provincial event ... On the juvenile men's side, Shane Parcels of the Red Deer/Garrison Curling Clubs and Nanton's Jeremy Harty represented the south in the six-team Alberta championship. Parcels was beaten for the provincial crown in Sunday's deciding draw 4-3 by Dawson Creek's Jordan Steinke after the two rinks finished tied with 4-1 records through the roundrobin. Harty posted a 3-2 roundrobin mark to fall shy of a playoff draw.
The south reps have been decided for the 2010 Alberta Mixed Curling Championships in Sylvan Lake, March 31-April 4. At the Lethbridge-hosted mixed southerns, Letbridge rinks Kory Kohuch and Dave Manser and Medicine Hat's Tim Krassman qualified for the provincials.