Mead will call shots

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

Former Brier champion Jon Mead will be part of the Shaw TV crew that will broadcast Safeway Championship games in Selkirk next week.

Mead, who won the 1999 Brier at third for Jeff Stoughton, will join veteran broadcasters Mike Beauregard and Jim Toth.

"Last year, it was like coming out and playing for Kerry Burtnyk just out of juniors and you just try not to step on anybody's toes," said Mead, who was part of Global TV's coverage at last year's men's provincials. "So this is maybe a little less intimidating than working for those guys last year, as nice as they were to me."

Shaw stepped in when Global decided to discontinue its coverage for economic reasons.

Both Shaw (Western Canada) and Star Choice Satellite (national) will offer live coverage of Saturday's 7 p.m. playoffs, Sunday's 9:30 a.m. semifinal and the 2 p.m. final.

Shaw will also show tape-delayed games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. within Manitoba only.

"Being the last province to declare a champion, I think it's going to turn a little bit of extra attention to it," Assiniboine Memorial's defending champion Kerry Burtnyk suggested.

ALBERTA INVADERS: Both Burtnyk (Don Walchuk) and Stoughton (Kevin Park) will be competing with thirds recruited from Alberta.

"When I first heard about it, I didn't like it very much -- guys parachuting in from other provinces," admitted Assiniboine Memorial's Mike McEwen. "But realistically, I know they're going after a bigger picture -- the Olympic trials. I want them to do well. They're from Manitoba and I want Manitoba to give it a good run for the Olympic trials and hopefully ourselves included.

"We're still going to have to beat good teams, whether it's Kevin Park or Don Walchuk on the team. If we can't play our best and beat those teams, then we don't deserve to win ... It's maybe added a little extra buzz about the provincial championship and that certainly doesn't hurt."

Mead, who now plays third for Ontario's Wayne Middaugh, agreed that it should make these provincials more interesting. So, why not play in the Ontario provincials then?

"I didn't grow up dreaming of winning Ontario, I grew up dreaming of beating Ontario," he replied.

CUT ABOVE: Mead believes there are a number of teams capable of pulling off an upset next week.

"It's just a question of which one of those teams can get hot," he said. "(But) there's three teams that are a cut above the rest in terms of the top three seeds (Burtnyk, Stoughton and McEwen) ...

"But there's lots of guys, like the Pete Nicholls team or Reid Carruthers, or a guy like Doug Riach or Kelly Skinner. These guys can all play and they've all beaten everybody in this field. There's too many guys like that who can get hot."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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