Shoe-fire way to get noticed

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

There was something different about Don Walchuk, and somebody noticed.

"I couldn't believe it," said Walchuk, after yesterday's practice session. "There's a guy four sheets over saying 'Holy shoot, Walchuk, you look different out there.' "

Walchuk had on a brand-new shiny pair of shoes.

Fact is, it's Walchuk's first new pair of curling shoes since 1988.

"I'm a creature of habit and didn't want to change, I guess," said Walchuk, who's tagged up with Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk this season.

"I've been hearing stuff throughout the rinks for four or five years regarding my shoes. It was almost becoming a cult thing. They reckoned it was a symbol of me.

"The age was catching up a bit, so it's time to get something a bit faster.

"Maybe with the new technology, I can prolong my career by a couple of years."

RETURN OF DONNY B

Don Bartlett has stepped out of retirement for a couple of days and will be subbing for his longtime skip, Kevin Martin.

"We've talked about it three or four times in the past couple of weeks," said Martin. "He's pretty pumped. It'll be good. I'm glad to hear he was out there practising."

Martin's Brier and world championship banners were raised at the Saville Centre last night.

It may seem like the pressure's off Martin since his Brier win gave him a bye to the Canada Cup.

"I'm not sure if that's good thing or a bad thing," Martin said.

"Everybody else is eager and ready to go and there's a lot on the line. We've got to be ready or else we'll find ourselves out real quick.

"Isn't there a lot of teams close to each other? Whooo. So, I expect everybody's going to be playing real well this weekend."

MARATHON NEARLY OVER

Randy Ferbey's excellent 10-week curling marathon is nearly done.

He's maxed out on the number of events his team can use in the Canadian Teams Ranking System.

Ferbey's achieved his primary goal of getting a bye into the 2009 men's provincial and can now concentrate on getting better results.

"It's been all right," said Ferbey.

"It hasn't been as strenuous as we thought because we've only been on a plane about three of those times.

"Most of the time, we'd lose, hop in a car and go back home.

"Probably the most gruelling part of travelling is waiting around in an airport."

Even though Ferbey made the semi at last week's Grand Slam event in Quebec, more than half his points were earned when the team made a quarter-final and were bounced in their first playoff game.

"I don't have many years left, so I'm going to savour every one of those 10 weeks," said Ferbey.

"We have about five or six that won't hold up. If we don't improve on that, then our year was not very good anyway.

"I'm totally confident we'll have more CTRS points than we have right now. How's that?"


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