Stoughton crew right back at it

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 PM ET

Reid Carruthers put a fledgling teaching career on hold to play for one of the greatest curlers of all time.

At second for Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton, Carruthers won a Manitoba, Canadian and world championship — in a single season. Let’s just say he has no regrets about that decision.

“Definitely not,” he said Monday. “I was the happiest guy in the world on Sunday.”

Nor has playing full-time hurt his pocketbook. As a Brier winner, Carruthers shares $144,000 over two years from Sport Canada, plus $40,000 from Own the Podium program, and another $40,000 as Brier finalists. There is also his share of the $68,000 Stoughton has earned on the cashspiel circuit.

“It’s been a good year and hopefully, I can do it for a few more years,” Carruthers said.

Actually, Stoughton has a crack at making even more coin this weekend. His team leaves Tuesday for Grande Prairie, Alta., where they will compete for big bucks in the Players’ Championship. The foursome is also in the hunt to make the $50,000 bonus offered to the team that wins the Capital One Cup point standings.

“Oh, it’s huge,” Stoughton said. “No. 1, it’s the Players’ Championship for the top prize, which is fantastic. Plus, the Capital One bonus points that we’re in the running for as well. If we can get by the first two days, I’m sure our competitive juices will kick in again and we’ll want to come home with that one as well. But it’s going to take a lot because we’re pretty dog tired.”

Stoughton is in second spot in those Cup standings with 25 points, just four behind Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, who will also be in Grande Prairie.

Ontario’s Glenn Howard (23 points) and Alberta’s Kevin Martin (22) are third and fourth, respectively. Second is worth $25,000 and third, $10,000.

All four of those teams also head into the weekend leading the CCA’s CTRS points standings, with the top four clinching berths into the 2013 Olympic trials qualifying event. But Stoughton does not know if he will chase a berth into the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials, which will be held in Winnipeg.

“We know we’re going to play next year,” said Stoughton, who has already earned a trip to the Canada Cup where the first trials berth will be awarded. “In April, we’ll sit down together and see if we’re going to go for a long-term plan or a short-term plan.”

JONES LEADS: On the women’s side, Manitoba teams are in the top three of the Cup standings, with Jennifer Jones leading the way with 24 points, followed by Chelsea Carey (23) and Cathy Overton-Clapham (18), and all three will be at the Players’ Championship. In fact, Jones ran into Stoughton at the airport when he arrived and she was about to leave Monday. Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton (17) is fourth.

However, the top four women’s teams in the CTRS points standings are Jones, Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland, Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink and Lawton. Carey is fifth.

Other teams can also qualify for the Canada Cup there this weekend.

TSN RECORD: A world record number of viewers watched Stoughton win the world championship on Sunday, TSN reported. TSN recorded and average audience of 1.38 million viewers, beating the old mark of 807,000 in 2009

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca

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