There was a twinkle in Kevin Martin's eye and a big grin on his face.
In the curling world, Martin is hotter than a pawnshop pistol. He's definitely ready to rock!
And, at yesterday's news conference announcing the Saville Centre had landed a five-year deal to host the inaugural 64-team $110,000 Canada Cup West, Martin was right where he wanted to be.
He's still sailin' after Sunday's improbable win over Jeff Stoughton in the final of the BDO Dunwoody event in Hamilton, the first event of this season's Grand Slam tour.
WORLD'S NO. 1 MONEY MAN
That $30,000 payday put him on top of the heap as the world's No. 1 money leader with $69,500. All Martin had to do to qualify for a spot in the Dec. 15-19 event here was to get into the Sunday final against Stoughton, who had already qualified.
But the way Martin won the event showed he had no intention of backing into his hometown spiel. After spotting Stoughton a 5-0 lead, Martin scrapped back and won with a three-ender in the 10th.
The huge carrot, at least from Martin's viewpoint, is that the winner of next month's event will qualify for a berth at the 2005 Olympic Trials in Halifax.
Anybody who's followed Martin's career knows the 2002 Olympic silver medallist would like to complete some unfinished business at the 2006 event in Torino, Italy.
"It would be great to get another chance to throw the rock another inch," said Martin, who fell short of the Olympic gold won by Pal Trulsen of Norway by about that much.
"For us, we haven't done anything this year," said Martin. "Our whole focus is to get a Trials spot. I don't see our names on any list saying we're going to the Trials yet. Sure, we've had a good start to the season, but we're only halfway there."
Martin will be joined by an all-star lineup in the 32-team men's event, which already includes No. 3 Randy Ferbey and No. 7 Stoughton.
GALS GET INTO THE ACT
The gals will also get into the act, playing for equal cash.
"That is great, but I don't think anybody who's coming here is looking at the money," said Cathy King, who's expected to qualify through the points system when the final fields are set Dec. 6.
"Anyone who's here is looking at the Olympic Trials spot or at least getting to the Canada Cup (March 2005 in Kamloops) to get another shot at the Olympic Trials spot."
It's a bonus for both local curlers to be able to play on the same ice surface that hosts the Edmonton Super League.
"It (Saville Centre) deserves to host an event," said Martin.
"But to have the Canada Cup West for five years, man, I don't know how that happened, but it's good for our city.
"To have this here for five straight years in the fall, curling will be on the minds of a lot of people in Edmonton starting earlier than general."
Martin figures this could be a special season for the sport here.
"I'm going to be at the Brier one way or another," said Martin. "Whether it's on the ice or in the Brier Patch. First I've got to get my name on that list ... 'yeah, we're going to Halifax.' Then we can refocus.
"For now, we're very focused on our job at hand this year. That's the trick to it. So far, nothing's secure."
The team hit the gym for dryland training back in May and, in a slippery game like curling, Martin is guarding against overconfidence.
"It's a nice start," said Martin. "Congratulations. If we lose the next big events, it doesn't really matter."
This event promises to be a good trial by ice.