Mudryk's special journey

GERRY MODDEJONGE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

Bryan Mudryk knows a thing or two about curling -- and not just because he talks about it.

"My dad put me in curling when I was eight or nine years old. In Boyle there's not a ton to do, so we had a curling rink. It was a three-sheeter," said the TSN Sportscentre personality, who's in town for this week's Roar of the Rings Olympic trials at Rexall Place.

"I really enjoyed it. We went through the high school playdowns and whatnot."

He went on to play as a junior in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association while attending NAIT, under the tutelage of Kevin Martin's coach, Jules Jules Owchar.

"When I was going to NAIT, I had Hodgkin's lymphoma - a type of cancer, so I was battling that," said Mudryk.

"Then I went to Lloydminster for my first TV job and I got on with Taylor Field," he recalled.

The team competed in the 1998 junior provincials in Sundre.

"Carter Rycroft and Marc Kennedy were at that one," Mudryk said.

"Unfortunately, though, at that time my cancer had come back so I was taking chemo pills while I played and we didn't win one game."

PROCEDURE

But it was still an experience he didn't want to miss, even though it meant postponing an important procedure in order to attend.

"I was supposed to go in for a stem-cell transplant and it's pretty intense. They put you in isolation and you're not supposed to see anybody," he said. "It was a bad time, for sure. So I put it off and I took the pills."

But he was also required to play with a Broviac tube in his neck.

"Basically what that is is they tie it into your vein so they could give you needles for all your medications," said Mudryk. "I had to duct-tape it to my chest when I played.

"It was a long (journey), but I'm so glad I went. After that, obviously, things turned around and I got better."

As did his fortunes on the pebbled ice.

CHAMPIONSHIP

"When I came back to work for CTV Edmonton, the first year the Saville Centre opened up I curled on a men's team and we won a championship. So we won the first-ever club championship at the Saville."

Now, how many people can say that?

"Well none, because since Super League's come over there, there's no shot," said Mudryk, who played second back in 2003-04 on Dale Throndson's team, which is still active at the Saville.

"Our banner is still hanging in there. Now I curl once a week in Toronto because I don't have any time."

This week, he's in the booth for the morning draws with veteran curler Russ Howard.

"Russ is one of the funnest guys I've ever got to work with, he's so knowledgeable," Mudryk said.

"I like to think I know quite a bit about curling, but I'm always learning new things from Russ."

Roar of the Rings is just a warmup for the duo, who will also broadcast the upcoming Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sault Ste. Marie.

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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