Curling clash of Titans

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the big rematch between Jeff Stoughton and Brad Gushue in Winnipeg next month might not get to see it all.

The only way the two finalists from last week's Canadian Olympic trials will meet at the $100,000 BDO Canadian Open men's curling bonspiel, which will take place at the MTS Centre Jan. 5-8, is if they collide in the playoffs.

Newfoundland's Gushue and Winnipeg's Stoughton are in different round-robin pools for the star-studded Grand Slam event, which raises money for the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba.

Gushue beat Stoughton 8-6 in Sunday's final in Halifax and will represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February.

Winning some money

Stoughton will have to play well and hope Gushue does the same if he wants to exact some revenge.

"I'm sure they probably wanted to switch them around just to have the big game again, but I'm sure they're coming here to look forward to winning some money, and so are we, and maybe we'll meet 'em again after each of us qualifies," a smiling Stoughton said during yesterday's press conference that revealed the event's 15-team field.

"They beat us twice in the Trials, and we certainly don't want to have a trend going where they keep on beating us all the time."

Stoughton has a tough round-robin road ahead of him, with former Olympian Kevin Martin, of Edmonton, and Pal Trulsen, who will represent Norway at the Olympics, in his group, while Gushue will have to contend with Edmonton's Randy Ferbey, Calgary's John Morris and U.S. Olympian Pete Fenson.

Joining Gushue, Ferbey, Morris and Fenson in that pool will be Winnipeg up-and-comer Ryan Fry, who lost in last year's Manitoba men's provincial championship game to Randy Dutiaume.

Fry so desperately wanted to qualify for the Canadian Open that he played on 12 of the last 14 weekends on the World Curling Tour. His plan worked, because he nabbed a spot thanks to his 10th-place standing on the money list.

"It's going to be something special for me to be out in one skipping and having a group of my best buddies playing on the team," said Fry, who beat Ferbey at a WCT event in Portage earlier this fall.

"We've worked hard to get to this point, and we're just hoping to put on the best show that we can."

Stoughton believes Fry's participation in the Canadian Open will do wonders for his curling future.

"It's a great learning experience, and don't be surprised if they're right there near the end," he said.

Dutiaume and Dave Boehmer, both Winnipeggers, are the other Manitoba rinks in the field.

LOOSE HAIRS: Calgary Shannon Kleibrink, who won the women's Olympic trials on Saturday, will play at the Canadian Open at noon on Sunday, Jan. 8. The details of her appearance will be kept secret until Monday ... Tickets are available at Ticketmaster ... The semifinals and final will be broadcast live on Sportsnet.

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KINGS OF THE RING

Here are the round-robin pools for the $100,000 Canadian Open, Jan. 5-8 at the MTS Centre. The top team in each pool qualifies for the playoffs, as do the best five from the remaining 12 squads:

Pool 1

Dave Boehmer, Manitoba

Randy Dutiaume, Manitoba

Glenn Howard, Ontario

Bruce Korte, Saskatchewan

Wayne Middaugh, Ontario

Pool 2

Pete Fenson, U.S.

Randy Ferbey, Alberta

Ryan Fry, Manitoba

Brad Gushue, Newfoundland

John Morris, Alberta

Pool 3

Mark Johnson, Alberta

Kevin Martin, Alberta

Pat Ryan, Alberta

Jeff Stoughton, Manitoba

Pal Trulsen, Norway


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