Brad Gushue and his team from St. John’s, Nfld., closed a jam-packed curling season on Sunday with an 8-5 win over Team Kevin Koe in the Champions Cup final.
Gushue stole three in the fourth end and two more in the fifth en route to their second Grand Slam victory of the season. Gushue also beat Koe to capture the Brier Tankard in March.
It’s safe to say Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker have been the busiest team in Canadian curling this season.
The foursome represented Canada at the Olympics in Beijing back in February, earning bronze with a win over John Shuster and the Americans. A few weeks later in Lethbridge, Alta., Team Gushue won their fourth Tim Hortons Brier since 2017 with just three players after Nichols tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the playoffs. With their full lineup together again in Las Vegas, Gushue and company settled for silver at the World Men’s Curling Championship, losing to Olympic champion Team Niklas Edin of Sweden in the championship game.
The Champions Cup put an end to a memorable 2021-22 season and marked the last time many of curling’s top rinks would share the ice together as teammates.
Gushue is losing Gallant, who is moving to Alberta this summer and playing with a stacked squad of Brendan Bottcher, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert starting next season. Team Gushue have not yet named a replacement for Gallant.
Team Koe is parting ways as well with their skip taking charge of a new team which sees Tyler Tardi at third, Bradley Thiessen at second and Karrick Martin at lead.
B.J. Neufeld returns to Manitoba and will serve as Matt Dunstone’s vice while veteran John Morris is retiring from men’s curling and will focus on mixed doubles.
In the women’s final at the Champions Cup, three-time defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Kerri Einarson defeated Eun-ji Gim of South Korea, 10-6.
The victory marked Einarson's fourth career Grand Slam title and the third with her current foursome of third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur.
Team Einarson are one of the few top teams that have elected to stay together for the next quadrennial after the Manitoba-based rink captured the Canadian championship in 2020, 2021 and 2022 followed by a bronze medal performance at the World Women's Curling Championship in March.