Returning from retirement

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

It was the shortest retirement in curling history.

Russell's Bryan Cochrane decided to leave curling's competitive battles last spring. Not only has he changed his mind, but he enticed another retiree back to the game.

After a five-year competitive absence, Rich Moffatt is now third for his longtime foe.

"I played against him for 25 years and always respected him as a great player so why not try playing with him?" Moffatt said.

The veteran back-enders join two former Cochrane players, lead John Steski and Brier fifth Doug Johnston.

"I gave Rich Moffatt a call just for fun really and he showed a real interest. I'm excited," Cochrane said.

"I told him, 'I'll get you warmed up for seniors in a couple of years.' "

That's just what Moffatt wanted to hear.

"If I'm going to play seniors and play competitively in a couple of years, I better get back to it."

Both Ontario champions experienced similar Briers. Moffatt went 6-5 in 1999 (sixth) while Cochrane was 5-6 (ninth) in 2003. In fact, both even threw 79%.

The Russell skip made the call in the spring just after he decided to pack it in and after Steski had committed to throw vice for a new rink.

Johnston started it all by bugging his skip to come back. After he relented, Steski asked Cochrane if he could also return. When asked about leaving his new team the lead-turned-third remarked, "I realized it was going to be bad for those guys and bad for me."

Cochrane might be looking farther down the road.

"I'm excited to be back and I hope the Rich Moffatt thing works out really well for now but for seniors too."

Moffatt is not looking so far down that road.

"We don't have any great expectations that we are going to be world champions or anything. We'll just see how it goes the first month or so."

The 1999 Brier skip has to sweep, however. "The sweeping will be interesting. John Steski says he has a graphite broom for me. Apparently, they are a lot easier."

The novice rink debuts Sept. 20 at the RCMP Fall Open.

STARS ON ICE

The local scene will feature some stellar events. The JSI Canada Cup East (Dec. 12-16) has already signed up Jeff Stoughton and Kerry Burtnyk. The Scotiabank OVCA Women's Fall Classic (Nov. 2- 4) is growing with Patti Lank of the U.S. taking part.

Brockville's Shorty Jenkins Classic (Sept. 20-23) weighs in with Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard and Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue, among others.

ACCOLADES

A few leftovers from last season include Winchester's Raya Wysocki garnering the sportsmanship award for senior women's competition; Manotick's Graham Sinclair winning the Asham Coaching Award for junior men; Brockville's Tom Harrington for coaching bantam girls; Carp's Stephen Au for bantam mixed coaching and Jaclyn Rivington, also from Carp, for earning the John McCrae Scholarship Award.

EARLY RISERS

Local competitive teams have been on the ice since Sept. 4 in a new cash league featuring players like Jenn Hanna, Craig Savill and Jean-Michel Menard. This league ends Sept. 18 -- before most curling clubs even open.

ROCKING THE VALLEY

The Ottawa Valley Curling Tour begins this weekend with two Carleton Heights events -- the Women's Cashspiel and the Open Scotch Doubles from today to Sunday.


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