Kennedy almost made it to Olympics on his own

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

Kevin Martin has been there, almost done that.

For the other members of his team, representing Canada at the Vancouver Olympics would be a sweet goal.

Especially for third John Morris and lead Marc Kennedy.

The pair can erase a bit of history that's been haunting them for the past four years with a win over Glenn Howard in today's Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings final.

At the 2005 trials in Halifax, Kennedy threw second rocks for a team Morris was skipping.

All they had to do to get a bye and be one win away from the Torino Olympics was to beat Brad Gushue.

They lost that game, then were beaten by Jeff Stoughton in the semifinal.

Morris made a fateful decision after that loss that gave him a chance to play in today's game.

"It's funny," said Morris. "I had just been accepted into teachers' college after that year. I was going to go back to Ontario to Queen's for teachers' college. It took about two months, pondering about whether I should play with Kevin. Finally, I said, 'Well, we could put together a good squad.' Otherwise, I'd probably be teaching somewhere and not be part of a good squad.

"At that point in my career, we were barely scratching by. It was real close."

When Morris agreed to team up, Kennedy came along.

Kennedy found some motivation from the last loss.

"The three young guys, we definitely have a motivation to get back, for him (Martin) and for us," said Kennedy, "John and I went through an Olympic semifinal loss and we didn't play well. We lose to Brad, otherwise we would have been in the final. Unless you've been there, done that, you don't know what it feels like and what you have to do to prepare.

"We've been close as well but that experience was invaluable. We know what's on the line."

Shortly after those trials, Martin rebuilt his team with a couple of players who had been good enough to make it to the semifinal game.

"With him and John at skip and at third right now, I don't think you could ask for better experience," said Kennedy. "They've both been in high-pressure situations, so hopefully their leadership can carry us through."

"We do all we can to prepare and remember that at the end of the day, if you do lose, you cheer the other team on and get ready to go to Christmas," said Kennedy.

Morris also remembered that he could possibly have been the man who skipped his team had he beat the team that did to go to the Olympics and bring back a gold for Canada.

"It was ironic, because that was the first time we'd lost to Gushue in two years," said Morris. "We were, like, 13-0 against them and then he won that last one in the trials. We've owed him a couple and got him back a couple of times since then. We could have been in a very similar situation in '05."

Morris knows there's a much different nature to this team.

"We were prepared in '05, but I think this team has more killer instinct," said Morris. "If you've got a couple of guys on your team with killer instinct, that's one thing. When you've got four guys who hate losing, it's going to take you a long way. We're as prepared this year as we ever have been.

"We couldn't have asked to be in a better position right now. We have hammer playing in an Olympic trials final. We're all in a good frame of mind.

"It's only fitting that we're playing Glenn Howard because we have been the two strongest teams in the world the last three years and may the best team win."

CON.GRIWKOWSKY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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