It's curling playdowns season and Terry Jones checks in with the first of five excerpts from his new book. Guaranteed to be among the most-talked-about pages in The Ferbey Four will be those in Chapter 14 dealing with the rivalry with Edmonton's Kevin Martin. The hard-cover book (Dragon Hill, $29.95) will run in serialized form on these pages throughout the week. To get your own copy, hurry hard down to Greenwoods, Audreys, Volume II Books, Hub Cigar as well as Save-on-Foods St. Albert, Calgary Trail, Kingsway and Mayfield Common. The book will be available soon at all bookstores and most of the 90 curling clubs around northern Alberta.
Who 'detests' Kevin Martin most? And who 'despised' him first?
"We were just walking off the ice from the M&M Skins Game after we beat Kevin," recalled Marcel Rocque.
"It was a game when the ice got bad. We left him a shot on the outside that he had no chance to make. Kevin was standing there being interviewed and, as always, he wasn't giving us any credit for a victory.
"Randy Ferbey was walking off the ice and we both made a couple of comments about that. And somehow Randy and I started on about who despised Kevin the most and who was first," Rocque continued.
"Looking back, it was hilarious. As I remember it, it wasn't so hilarious at the time," he added.
"Scott Pfeifer and David Nedohin were sitting there in the dressing room having to get us to calm down. There was a little intensity there," said Ferbey.
"The original argument was who detested him first. I said I did. And I still think I'm right. Marcel said he disliked him first. And Marcel, when he thinks he's right ... well, Marcel can get a little heated."
Pfeifer said they'll all sit back and laugh about it 20 years from now. But then ...
"I specifically remember going up to Randy and Marcel and saying 'Hey, take it easy'," he said.
"It was a funny conversation when you look back and when you know our team and the rivalry with Kevin Martin. So many things on our team turn into little competitions. Who is best at this or that. But that one, about Kevin Martin, was an all-timer. It started with who detested Kevin Martin first."
Kevin Martin vs. Randy Ferbey.
In the front end of the new millennium, it's been the greatest rivalry in the roaring game. Like any great rivalry, it involves best versus best. And in this case the thing that really revs it is that it involves two teams from the same city.
Pal Trulsen of Norway, the curler who beat Martin in the gold medal game of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games, is as good as anybody to make that point.
"Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin have the best two teams in curling," he said.
The Ferbey Four became the first team to make more than $200,000 in a year, an accomplishment Martin has achieved twice and Ferbey three times and a feat no other rink has been able to achieve more than once.
Martin became the first skip to take teams to the million-dollar mark of prize money, most of it playing with Don Walchuk at third, Carter Rycroft at second and Don Bartlett at lead - a rink he would disband at the end of the 2005-06 season.
"THE ORIGINAL ARGUMENT WAS WHO DETESTED HIM FIRST."
- RANDY FERBEY
Ferbey's dislike of Martin goes back to the year after Pat Ryan moved to B.C., breaking up a two-time Brier title team.
"I heard Kevin was looking to form a new team and I told Don Walchuk 'Why don't we throw our services out to Kevin?' "
That's right. It was all Ferbey's idea in the first place.
"Don could see the potential problems. He said 'No! No! No!'
"I finally wore him down."
It was called a dream team.
"Just before Christmas Kevin made a call," remembers Ferbey. "He basically cut me.
"We'd lost three bonspiels in the semifinals. We'd made about $60,000. But Kevin threw out that Don would move up to play third and I would play second knowing I wasn't going to go for that considering what we'd been doing and his reasons for making a change.
"Kevin's reasoning was that we could win the city, we could win northerns and we could win the province, but we were never going to beat Wayne Middaugh with me playing third. Wayne Middaugh!"
Like Ferbey, Rocque also played with Martin.
"Don Bartlett was having back problems and they needed a lead for the Tour Championship. I went with them and we won it," Rocque remembers.
"The following year Don Walchuk came up to me and said they needed a lead again and that Kevin had told him to find someone ... Walchuk got back to me and said 'Kevin said you're not good enough and to get someone else.' ... Every time I play against them I think about that."
Rocque says the Ferbey Four has always given Martin his due.
"As a player, he's absolutely outstanding. No one questions his ability. And he's elevated the game in Edmonton just like Pat Ryan did before him. Kevin raised the bar. Personally, however, he's not the type of guy I'm going to sit around and have drinks with."
The irony is that Kevin Martin is the man most responsible for Rocque being with the Ferbey Four. Martin stole Carter Rycroft from the Ferbey rink. Rocque replaced him.
"Rycroft leaving ... that was tough," said Ferbey.
"Kevin was looking for a new player. We were in Saskatoon at the time and Kevin and I were talking when all of a sudden he tells me 'Carter will be playing with me next year. I got the best guy on your team.' The season wasn't over yet and Kevin had come to Carter to switch teams ...
"To this day I laugh at Kevin about his 'Got the best player on your team' line. Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque have turned into the best front end in the world. Today, everybody acknowledges that."
There was also Martin leading a Boycott the Brier movement.
"This was where Kevin crossed the line, in my mind," said Nedohin.
"He was the leader in an initiative to have us banned from the Tour completely. Our team had wholeheartedly supported and continued to support the Tour ...
"I saw it as a way to degrade the accomplishment of our team the season before when we beat Kevin in the final at provincials to go to the Brier and win it all.
"Kevin continued to diminish our accomplishments ...
"Even after we'd won our third Brier, Kevin was quoted in the paper as not recognizing our accomplishments because 'We'd played nobody.' "
Ferbey admits the team's overall distaste for Martin has worked out great.
"Dumb as it might sound, we probably owe a lot of our success to Kevin Martin. He gave us so much negative stuff to feed off that it made us a better team.
"Without him, without our rivalry with him, I don't think we'd have achieved everything we've achieved."