Final chapter for 'Toba rink

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

Winnipeg's David Nedohin has said that winning next week's Canadian Curling Trials would be the cherry on top of his Alberta team's sundae.

While the Randy Ferbey foursome has enjoyed such just desserts as four Brier titles and three world crowns in the last five years, Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton has also pretty much done it all -- except represent Canada at the Olympics.

Stoughton has won two Brier titles, one world championship and boasts a belt still missing from Ferbey's resume, namely the World Curling Players' Championship.

"So, this is the last thing we hope to win in our curling careers," Stoughton said on the eve of the 2005 Olympic trials which start in Halifax Saturday. "But we're not the only ones. Both (Ontario's Glenn) Howard and (B.C.'s Pat) Ryan have pretty much won everything, too.

"But it would sure be nice to finish it off."

In fact, it could be his squad's last crack at it.

"We recognize the chances of this team doing it again four years from now are pretty slim," said third Jon Mead. "There's just so much going on and two or three of us, maybe all four of us, may not even still be playing by the next time. It's our last real shot together.

"This is the main incentive I have left at this stage. This is the pinnacle of sport, I have an opportunity to be part of a team that goes to that level. I just want to make sure that I give it everything that I've got and that our team gives it everything it's got."

Maybe then, that Olympic dream will become a reality.

"Some of my teammates have thought about what it would be like to go to the Olympics," said lead Steve Gould. "But I'm a firm believer in getting the first goal first, then worrying about the next step. I think we've got a good chance. We've beaten them all before and obviously, 'Stoughty' is one of the best skips who has ever played."

While Ferbey and Alberta's Kevin Martin will be the top two favourites, Stoughton will certainly be in the top five.

"No one team has dominated this fall and each team has had success," Stoughton said. "Like Ferbey said, you could run this thing three different times and have three different winners. And all of them can win (Olympic) gold, which says a lot about Canadian curling."

Stoughton finished 5-4 and one game short of the three-team playoffs in his previous two trials appearances.

More prepared

"We're probably more prepared than we were for the first two," said second Garry Van Den Berghe. "To be honest, I don't think this field is as strong as the first two because there's no (Wayne) Middaugh (of Ontario). But you've still got most of the best teams in the world there."

Nova Scotia's Shawn Adams and Mark Dacey, Newfoundland's Brad Gushue, Alberta's John Morris and B.C.'s Jay Peachey round out the field.

Although Stoughton has won two events this season, he heads to the trials after failing to qualify at a recent cashspiel in Gimli.

"We're as well-rounded a team that we've ever been. The only difference between what's happened over the last year is that we've been a lot more inconsistent. Our goods have been really good but our bads have been pathetic. So, if there's any trepidation, it's which guys are going to show up."


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