Brewster excited to be back in arena

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:38 AM ET

KINGSTON, ONT. - Tom Brewster, the ice man of Scotland, was keenly observing the transformation of the K-Rock Centre to a curling platform for the BDO Canadian Open on Monday.

Besides being an accomplished curler runner-up to world champion Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba last year Brewster, 37, manages and is the ice maker at Curl Aberdeen in Scotland.

Brewster and his rink of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow sized up the work of Manitoba ice maker Mark Shurek and his crew.

The five sheets of ice will be ready for Wednesday night's opening play, the first of nine pool draws for the 18 rinks.

"It is great to be back in an arena and playing on arena ice again," Brewster said. "It's always a thrill. I'm looking forward to it."

Although the Aberdeen skip has played in a dozen Grand Slam events, none have been with his new rink. It is only their second season together.

"We are having a good season," said Brewster, who doesn't see his first action until Thursday morning, against John Epping of Ontario.

Team Scotland is grouped in the six-rink A pool with Mike McEwen of Manitoba, Brad Gushue of Newfoundland, Sweden's Niklas Edin, Mark Kean of Ontario and Epping.

Brewster has advanced from pool play to the eight-rink quarterfinals just five times in 12 previous Grand Slam events.

"I don't think it matters what pool you are in. They are all tough. I learned that a long time ago," Brewster said.

"When you come to the Grand Slam you have to bring your A game because if you don't, you lose."

Six of the playoff spots for Saturday's quarterfinals will go to the top two rinks from each of the three pools. The other two rinks will be determined from tie-breaker play on Saturday morning.

Brewster said he while is fairly comfortable with Grand Slam curling, his teammates are not.

"This is a whole new experience for them," he said. "So we just want to come and give a solid performance.

"If we qualify, great. If we don't, then I am sure we will take a lot of positives and learn a lot out of it."

Brewster's rink is eyeing the Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia as a goal. The rink, although it beat David Murdoch three out of five times, didn't win the right games in the Scottish final. That allowed Murdoch to play in the just completed European championships in Moscow. The rinks will play again, however, for the berth to the world championships in Basel, Switzerland in late March.

Brewster has seen his sport change, spurred by the Olympic status.

"The sport is changing all the time. It's good. I think it is healthy," said Brewster, adding that he supports the Grand Slam's initiative to test the five-rock rule, which will be used for the first time at the Canadian Open.

"I look forward to playing the five-rock rule. We had a wee practice the other day, just a quick thing through," he said.

"It will be interesting to see how teams do with it on Wednesday night. We'll watch a couple games Wednesday night just for that."

BROOM BITS

Team Scotland flew into Toronto and then caught another flight to Kingston on Sunday night. Brewster is hoping the rink's brushes, which didn't come with their luggage, arrive soon. ... Scotland has a three-game day on Thursday and a tough Friday with its last two games against Edin and Gushue. ... The Slam Saloon will be on the third level of the K-Rock Centre from Thursday through Sunday. There will be a pub crawl following Wednesday's first draw. Transportation will be available for fans and the curlers to the designated pubs, starting with Fanatics.


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