Olson dusts off broom

CHAD SCARSBROOK -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

It was a surprise to several yesterday at Victoria Curling Club when Jeff Stoughton's name was crossed off the draw board and Mark Olson's was added.

The Stoughton squad was set to take on Brad Elias' team in the first draw of the MCA Bonspiel yesterday. Stoughton's name was listed with the MCA up until a day or two ago when the squad changed its personnel and named Olson the skip.

"He had no intentions when we got our (Safeway Championship) spot to enter the spiel," said teammate Ryan Fry yesterday. "I know he would have liked to have been here, but the time off -- he uses so much time off for the rest of the season. His work doesn't allow it."

Fry said the team wouldn't be using the MCA as a tune-up for the provincials.

"We're just having some fun here," said Fry. "We're going to go out, have a few drinks and have some fun because it gets pretty serious for us in the next couple of weeks."

Olson, the 49-year-old former Brier champ with Kerry Burtnyk, returned to the ice after a two-and-a-half-year layoff.

"I did not throw one practice rock, this will be the first rock I've thrown in two and a half years," he said with a laugh.

Elias, Olson's opponent, said he wasn't caught off guard after learning he wouldn't be playing Stoughton.

"We're just a bunch of guys having fun," he said, joining teammates Rob Lyons, Geoff White, Scott Lyons and Al Sujjitt in a cold beverage before the game.

So, any game plan against a team of world-class curlers?

"We want to score one," said Elias. "Just one."

ONE-LEGGED MEN: It wasn't a very good night for a couple Valour Road skips. James Kirkness and Dave Smith are already on one leg after losses yesterday. Kirkness lost 10-5 to Elmwood's Randy Lawson, while Charleswood's Brian Nichol beat Smith 8-5.

Both Kirkness and Smith are still looking for provincial berths.


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