Mark Nichols, Brad Gushue’s steady teammate for the past 13 years, announced on Monday he’s leaving the rink and competitive curling at the end of the season.
Nichols stated: “I feel I have reached the point in my life when I need to focus on my career goals and family commitments.
“I am going to step back and concentrate on the other important things in my life.”
With all the fireworks that have surrounded Team Gushue this season — the rancorous departure of Randy Ferbey complete with nasty public e-mails — the quiet departure of Nichols exemplifies how he played.
He let his skill speak for him. He likes to have fun, too.
In May, following his Olympic gold victory, I participated in a CCA-sponsored seminar series in New Brunswick. Both Nichols and I had to catch an early Sunday morning flight to Halifax from Moncton. We were about the only two passengers in the terminal.
When it came time to pass through security, Nichols insisted I go first and said “Joe, watch what happens when I go through.”
I went through followed closely by the Olympian. All the bells and whistles went off when Nichols strode through the detectors and numerous security personnel streamed to the cacophony of noise. With an impish grin, Nichols fished out his gold medal from his front pocket, then ended up signing autographs for the security staff.
When we sat down, Nichols, still laughing, leaned over and said, “I do that all the time.”
Best Western intermediate regions winners were: 1A — Barb Kelly and Doug Johnston, B — Cheryl McBain and Kevin Baker ... The Bantam girls and boys provincials begin Wednesday in Tweed. Representing this area are Evie Fortier, Lauren Horton, Jason Camm and Alex Cormier. Bantam mixed zone winners were: 2A — David Robertson, B — Trevor Ferrier, 3A — Alex Cormier, B — Lauren Horton. Junior mixed zone winners were: 2A — Chris Lewis, B - Riley Calwell, 3A — Chantal Allen, B — Nicol McNiven.
There was some outrage that Team Ontario had to play the bronze-medal game at the Scotties. Well, the bronze-medal game is here to stay.
According to the CCA’s Warren Hansen, director of events, as long as the World Curling Federation plays the bronze game, so will the CCA. The Brier will feature this as well.
The Rideau curling club will host the national mixed in 2013 ... Cathy Overton-Clapham won the Marj Mitchell sportsmanship award at the Scotties. The award is voted on by the competitors ... The Tim Hortons Brier begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m.