Carruthers slides into Grand Slam as replacement

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:44 AM ET

Reid Carruthers just got an early Christmas present.

His Beausejour team had been trying to qualify for at least one of the four prestigious Grand Slam events all season and kept coming up a few coins short.

But after a couple of teams, including Ontario's world champion Glenn Howard, dropped out the $100,000 National in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., Carruthers accepted an invitation to become a replacement squad. The spiel goes Dec. 20-23.

"Everyone's real pumped about it," Carruthers said yesterday. "We didn't expect to get into the second one. We were trying hard to get into a third one and are really close. But getting into the second one is huge for us. There's a lot of money there, it will be a great experience because it's such a good field and it's worth a lot of (Canadian Team Ranking System) points.

"The field is so good that it's better than a Brier and for us to get in as a replacement team, I don't care. I'm just happy to get in. If we can win a couple of games, I'll be very happy."

Although the entry fee is $1,000, the event pays $500 per win. Just qualifying is worth $7,000 plus the $500 for each victory.

"We're all pretty excited," said Carruthers, still supported by third Jason Gunnlaugson, second Justin Richter and Tyler Forrest. "It's been a dream for all of us to play in one of these events. Hopefully, we don't get spanked every game but we've played these guys before and beaten most of them."

The field features Alberta's Kevin Martin and Randy Ferbey and Newfoundland's Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue.

"We like playing in arenas and generally, we're a crowd favourite because we're young and throw really hard," Carruthers said. "That helps us, and playing on (icemaker) Mark Shurek's ice is a bonus."

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Kerry Burtnyk will also be there and Jon Mead will be at third for Ontario's Wayne Middaugh. Carruthers will be in the same pool as Stoughton, Middaugh, Alberta's Kevin Koe. and New Brunswick's Russ Howard, who also got in as a fill-in.

Carruthers will compete in a WCT cashspiel in Saskatoon this weekend, then head to the Canada Cup qualifying bonspiel in Ottawa the following week.

BITER: The 2008 Continental Cup has been awarded to Camrose, Alta., the CCA announced yesterday.


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