Stoughton gets rousing send-off

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

They may not play any games there, but the Jeff Stoughton rink still received a rousing Brier send-off last night at Charleswood Curling Club.

"It's nice to see some of the members come out and some of the family and friends that you don't get to see that much during the winter time," Stoughton said before the festivities kicked into high gear. "It's kind of fun.

"... It's still home. We're basically like associate members here. My two boys curl here in the junior program on Saturdays, so I'm here Saturdays when I'm not out of town. We've been here a lot of years, and it's kind of fun for the club."

Stoughton's squad, which won the Safeway Select provincial men's curling championship last month in Steinbach, is off to compete in the Brier in Regina. Its first game at the national championship is Saturday.

The Charleswood club felt Stoughton, along with third Jon Mead, lead Steve Gould and fifth Don Harvey (second Garry Van Den Berghe was unable to attend), needed a stirring send-off to the Saskatchewan capital, and more than 200 people attended to show their support.

"They've had connections here to the community here for a long time," Charleswood president Brian Nichol said. "Jeff's been very involved in the junior program for a lot of years."

Simon Burns, 12, and his brother, Philippe, 9, were at the party because their grandfather was playing in the band, but they were excited to snag Stoughton's autograph. The brothers even want to start curling because of the five-time provincial champion.

"He could be good inspiration for my start next year," Simon said. "And I watch him on TV sometimes. It's pretty cool."

Last night's shaker coincided with the Canadian Curling Association's Tankard Tour, which meant the Brier trophy was on display, and the Manitoba Curling Association presented Stoughton and Co. with the Manitoba jackets they will wear on the ice next week.

And young Simon Burns had a good feeling about how Stoughton will do next week in their spiffy, new jackets.

"He's gonna win," Simon said.


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