Future's so bright

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

When Glenn Howard beat Randy Ferbey in the most recent Grand Slam final, Howard said "it's great to beat the greatest team in curling - and they are the greatest team in curling."

Winning four Briers (six for Randy Ferbey) and three world championships (four for Ferbey) is remarkable. But what have they done for you lately? Last year they didn't make it to the Olympics or get to the Brier either. In Terry Jones's new hardcover book The Ferbey Four (Dragon Hill, $29.95), the team looks 'Forward To The Future' as the serialization in the Sun concludes today. The book is available at Greenwoods, Audreys, Volume II Books and Hub Cigar as well as Save-on-Foods St. Albert, Calgary Trail, Kingsway and Mayfield Common. It will be available soon at all bookstores and most of the 90 curling clubs around northern Alberta.

FIFTH AND LAST IN A SERIES

No Olympics. No Brier.

Despite being ranked No. 1 and the World Curling Tour champions, and with all the money they won, The Ferbey Four wasn't trying to kid anybody.

No Brier. No OIympics.

"What's funny is that we had a great year on the circuit, despite not winning the trials or the provincials, and everyone thought we had a terrible year. Those two events are what we're all about," said Marcel Rocque.

"For us the Brier is the ultimate and always will be.

"The money is nice, don't get me wrong. But winning the Brier and representing your country at the World Championships, that's more important," said Randy Ferbey.

But in the end, last year, there was the Brier.

And after five consecutive years of being in the event and winning four of them, it was the Brier in Regina in 2006 that told them exactly who they'd become in the game. They came as the Ferbey Four and left knowing they'd become the Fab Four.

The Regina Brier organizing committee had invited them to attend the proceedings and president Bernadette McIntyre, who watched them be mobbed everywhere they went, called it a phenomenon.

"It's been an amazing thing to watch from the minute they carried the Tankard in the opening ceremonies," said McIntyre.

"I think it all kind of hit home for everybody. They're already legends and they're still curling.

"Their accomplishments have been phenomenal. They've won four Briers and three World Curling Championships. It's been more than 40 years since anybody has done that and it was our Richardsons," she said of the Ernie Richardson-skipped Regina rink.

"They're young, they're athletic, they're good-looking, they're champions and they're so accessible. These guys have all sorts of personality and everybody likes them before they meet them. Then they meet them, get to hug them, take their pictures and get their autographs ... it's really something to watch."

Brier boss Warren Hansen seconded the motion.

"They've become what the Richardsons used to be years ago. These guys are very personable and have all the time in the world for everybody. There is nothing negative about them. Having them here has been good for the sport and it's been good for them."

Rocque, Ferbey, Scott Pfeifer and Dave Nedohin have had compliments before.

Despite what they have already achieved, the ferbey four still have goals on their radar

But it was the way they were treated by the fans at the Regina Brier that really hit home.

"We came to help promote the event but the fuss for us was unbelievable," said Nedohin.

It was in the same province three years earlier when it first hit home to the members of the rink that they had already become an all-time team, a team for the ages.

It was the 75th anniversary Brier in Saskatoon and they brought back all the men the Brier had made famous, the men who had won the Tankard three and four times. Then they called the Ferbey rink up there one by one, too.

It hadn't hit them until they were up there with the gods.

"I might as well have been standing up there naked," said Pfeifer.

"To be honest, I don't think I'll ever get used to the things they said that night and have been saying ever since."

Not that it was all based on their alleged good looks.

From 2001 to 2005 in qualifying out of Edmonton, the new capital of Canadian curling, the Ferbey Four was 18-2.

Out of northern Alberta they were 24-4.

At provincials they were 38-1 and would go on to win 40 straight before snapping the streak last year.

Add the 57-8 record at the Brier and they were a mind-boggling 137-15 on the Brier path.

They set a Brier record for most consecutive wins at 23 and that's as a province and as individuals.

They also won 23 in a row on the Brier trail at one point. And the Ferbey Four took three of four world championships with a record of 36-12 in doing so.

Compliments, they've had their fair share. But those fans taking to them to the extent they upstaged the teams on the ice at the Regina Brier, that was incredible.

"They really did us a favour," said Pfeifer. "It really motivated us to get back."

They started by cleaning the table to end the cashspiel circuit, winning the Players Championship and becoming the first team in history to have three $200,000 seasons.

"We had a determination to finish the season and show why we are the best team in the world, to replace the doubt, pity and disappointment," said Nedohin.

"We entered the last two Grand Slams and we knew we were going to light it up.

"With a win over Kevin Martin in St. John's, we became the No. 1-ranked team in the world. We went to Calgary to live up to the No. 1 ranking and won our first Players' Championship.

"Despite all the heartbreak of the season, we finished it knowing that despite our disappointments, we are still the best team on the planet."

Nedohin says he looks at how only a handful of teams have stayed together.

"There are thousands of great curlers around the world but there's only one team like this team," said Nedohin.

"Through thick and thin, look who stayed the course. We go on.

"We now have new goals - the 2007 Ford World Curling Championships in Edmonton through to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

"Teams can throw everything including the kitchen sink at us and, at times, even beat us. But they will never break us."


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