Hart balances work, curling

STEVE GREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:23 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- When Richard Hart opted not to play in a few cash events at the beginning of this curling season, the questions were inevitable.

Was Glenn Howard's long-time third easing himself out of the competitive game? Was the team – which with second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill is in its seventh season together – on its way to going separate paths?

Would they stick together to make a run at qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia?

Turns out the answer to the first wasn't anywhere near as dramatic.

"It literally was just work," Hart, a project manager at Hart-Well Electric in Toronto, said Sunday before the final of the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier at the John Labatt Centre. "I wanted to show my partners at work I was committed to them as well.

"The leadup to (qualifying for) the Vancouver Olympics was really busy. I was taking between eight and 10 weeks off work every season. But this year, because there was nothing that led to qualifying for Sochi, I told the guys (on the team) I wanted to keep my vacation time to four weeks. I didn't actually do that because of the Brier," he added. "Now it's been five."

As for the team's plans for the future in general or Sochi in particular, neither Hart nor Howard said a firm decision has been made and won't be until the season is over.

"We're working on a one-year basis," Hart said. "One way or the other, the four of us will come to a decision together. Either we'll commit or we'll move on. But we're pretty happy with where we're at right now."

Howard said his "gut feeling" was that all four will opt for a run at the Olympics, but acknowledged Hart was the "wild card" in the equation.

Howard's opponent in Sunday night's Brier final, Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba, was of a similar mind when asked what the future held for him, third Jon Mead, second Reid Carruthers and lead Steve Gould.

"This has been a one-year deal and I'd give you the same answer now or after the final," he said. "We'll only make a decision once the season is over."

twitter.com/SteveGatLFPress


Videos

Photos