Brier battle without malice

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET

Ryan Fry was already thrilled to have reached the Brier in his first season playing second for former Olympic champ Brad Gushue of Newfoundland.

Then he saw his old Manitoba team, skipped by Jeff Stoughton, made it, too, by winning Manitoba.

And he couldn't help but crack a grin.

"It's going to make for an interesting little battle with them, for sure," Fry said from Calgary.

That little matchup won't come until the second-last draw of the round robin.

That's right, Fry already checked.

But he's certainly not going to look ahead, not with the best Brier field ever to contend with this week.

Fry left Stoughton for Gushue last April, rocking the local curling scene with what some called a defection.

Fry simply called it the best move for his future: hooking up with players of similar age for a long, sustained run at all the goodies curling can bring, including an Olympic Games or two.

NO GRUDGE MATCH

"You grow up with the pride of Manitoba and getting that buffalo," he said. "But Newfoundland has been great, and it's home right now. There are so many supporters there, and it just feels good to be as taken in as I was.

"And to try to win a Brier for that province ... you don't want to say defected. You win the provincial for that province and then you're going to win a national championship for it."

So far, so good, as Gushue's gang ranked third on the World Curling Tour money list, ahead of Stoughton.

Fry, though, doesn't see this week's clash as a grudge match, complete with leftover hard feelings.

"Steve (Gould, Stoughton's lead) is still a great buddy of mine, and me and Jeff got along well," Fry said. "There were no real hard feelings. He knew what I wanted. I'm excited to play against them. Both of our records are going to dictate how important that game is."

Having reached his first Brier with Stoughton two years ago, Fry realizes he could just as easily be in Calgary this week had he stayed with his old team.

His goal is the same, regardless of the colours he's wearing.

"If you're going to ever win one, if you can win the one that's arguably being called the best Brier field ever, that would be the one to win."


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