He was so close to returning to his third Olympic trials last season.
Only a circus shot by Jim Cotter, "The Nedohin" (throws last) of B.C.'s Pat Ryan rink, at the Canada Cup qualifying bonspiel and a Canada Cup loss to Alberta's John Morris kept Manitoba's Kerry Burtnyk from taking one last crack at becoming an Olympian.
"This was the one last thing I wanted to have a crack at winning," Burtnyk, who has since retired, said recently. "No doubt, the pain of coming so close and not making it was there last year. But so far, I haven't had much trouble not curling this year. But then, the winter is still young."
Burtnyk, who lost the 2001 final to Alberta's Kevin Martin, has no idea how tough it will be to watch fellow Manitoban Jeff Stoughton compete at the Canadian Curling Trials, which open in Halifax today.
"I don't really know but I am looking forward to watching it," he said. "I'm more interested in this than anything else curling-wise."
Both Alberta's Randy Ferbey and Martin should be the top two favourites with Ontario's Glenn Howard and Stoughton in the top four, Burtnyk figured.
"It's hard to look away from the obvious teams like Ferbey and Martin," he said. "Jeff's team is very capable of winning the trials but the one thing is, it doesn't sound like they are playing very well and you definitely like to have some momentum going in. But they definitely won't be the favourites and I would be surprised if either Ferbey or Martin don't win."
Ferbey is riding the momentum of winning a World Curling Tour spiel last week and he has the added advantage of having won the 2003 Brier on the same ice.
But beware of the bottom half.
"The last two trials, there were teams that weren't favoured to make it that made the playoffs," Burtnyk said, referring to Ontario's Mike Harris, who won the 1997 trials, and B.C.'s Bert Gretzinger, at the last one. "The thing is, there's a lot less pressure on the teams in the bottom half than there is on the teams in the top five. So, they could find it easier than the top teams. In my mind, the pressure at the trials is three times as much as it is at the Brier."
So, someone like Nova Scotia's Shawn Adams or Ryan could unexpectedly breeze through. Then, of course, Nova Scotia's Mark Dacey defeated Ferbey in the 2004 Brier final -- the year after losing to him in the Brier final in Halifax.
Also in the hunt will be Alberta's John Morris, Newfoundland's Brad Gushue and B.C.'s Jay Peachey.
Burtnyk, by the way, has no itch to curl. In fact, he is planning a January golf holiday in Florida.