'Tick Man' back in thick of things

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:57 AM ET

Garry Van Den Berghe was not the only member of Manitoba's trials-bound Jeff Stoughton to spend the fall overcoming injuries.

Lead Steve Gould spent the first few weeks of this season getting his curling legs under him while Van Den Berghe was nursing cracked ribs. Gould, you see, had surgery on both knees last May.

"I had torn cartilage in both knees most of last season," Gould revealed from his Brandon home yesterday. "It was from curling and I used to be a baseball catcher and played hockey. I hurt my left knee at the provincials last year.

"I was scheduled to have surgery on my right knee but I asked my doctor if he could do the left knee instead because it hurt a lot more. He looked at it and said I had torn cartilage there, too, so he might as well do them both on the same day."

Gould, 33, was back in the gym a week later. But first, he checked to see if he was allowed to take Tylenol 3 as performance-enhancing drugs are prohibited at the Canadian Curling Trials.

"They said I can take anything as long as it's (prescribed)," he said. "I also had to get my inhaler approved because I guess there's some steroid in it."

Gould needs it because he is allergic to dogs, cats and hay.

"My knees hurt for the first two or three bonspiels this year, but they're OK now," he assured on the eve of the 2005 Olympic trials, to be held in Halifax, Dec. 3-11.

Although Gould was with Stoughton in '97, they had parted ways when Stoughton returned in 2001. So, it has been quite a spell since the lead once known as the "Tick Man" has competed for a crack at qualifying for the Olympics.

"I remember the opening ceremonies in Brandon, thinking, 'Holy Cow, there's a lot of good teams here, a lot better than a Brier,'" he recalled. "In '97, we were really tight going in. This time, I'm going to enjoy myself. It's quite an honour to play in this event and I'm going to have a good time.

"None of these guys are going to be easy. We could go 9-0 or 0-9. But I think we've got a good chance. We've beaten them all before."

BITERS: Gould estimated that the week will cost him about $6,000 because he has booked extra rooms for his wife and nanny, as well as the extra plane tickets for them and his two kids. "I could go on a nice all-inclusive (holiday) for that," he joked. "But that's just the sacrifice you make to try to win." ... Stoughton was not the only trials-bound team to be shut out at a World Curling Tour cashspiel last weekend. Alberta's Kevin Martin, Nova Scotia's Mark Dacey and Newfoundland's Brad Gushue all failed to qualify at a WCT spiel in Nipawin, Sask. Both Alberta's John Morris and Nova Scotia's Shawn Adams did qualify ... On the women's side, B.C.'s Kelly Scott, Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink and Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson qualified at a cashspiel in B.C. Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton was the only trials-bound squad that failed to qualify. Manitoba's Jennifer Jones was idle.


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