Brier, Olympic champ Jacobs fitting in with new role on Team Carruthers
OAKVILLE, Ont. – Brad Jacobs is dealing with a few more aches and pains these days.
“I'm noticing I'm sore in different areas because I'm a little bit more active out there,” Jacobs told TSN.ca on Wednesday morning.
The 2014 Olympic gold medallist is back curling full time this season and is getting used to his new responsibilities as a third for Manitoba’s Team Reid Carruthers after skipping his own rink for many years in Ste. Sault Marie.
Jacobs, 38, announced he was taking a step back from curling following the 2021-22 season, but still managed to spare in a handful of events with Carruthers’ crew last season following the departure of Jason Gunnlaugson not long before Christmas.
Last season’s trial run seems to have worked as Jacobs is the now permanent third for Team Carruthers who are looking to defend their title at this week’s PointsBet Invitational curling tournament from Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville.
“His resume speaks for itself,” Carruthers said of Jacobs. “For us to have him join the team is a big confidence booster and we want to prove that we’re among one of the best teams in Canada.”
Aside being more active on the ice, Jacobs says he’s noticed some other differences in his new role.
“I’m throwing a lot more hits, a lot more upweight hits. I'm in more of a supportive role rather than a leadership role,” explained Jacobs. “Getting used to sweeping has been a learning experience for me and judging rocks, it's not something that I've had to do.
“It's a great challenge for me and I'm really looking forward to just improving at the position and giving the guys what they need for us to be successful.”
Prior to the PointsBet Invitational, Team Carruthers have played in a pair of events, missing the playoffs at the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard before earning a quarterfinal berth at the Shorty Jenkins Classic.
Jacobs played 14 years with his cousins – brothers EJ and Ryan Harnden – including 11 with longtime friend Ryan Fry in Northern Ontario, winning the Brier in 2013 and the Olympic title a year later.
Now the former skipper is creating new playing relationships with Team Carruthers – also featuring second Derek Samagalski and lead Connor Njegovan – and says their short time together last season proved to him that this was going to be the right fit.
“I think one of the reasons why I decided to pursue joining this team was because when we did get an opportunity to play with one another in a couple slams, the communication and the camaraderie we had and the dynamic was very natural,” said Jacobs. “That was one of the big draws for me. Everyone wants to work hard, but everyone has a good head on their shoulders and is really down to earth.
“We're working through things like any new team should be and would be. I really feel like we've got a lot of work to do. We all agree on that. And as long as we continue to have that growth mindset, whether we are losing or winning, I know that we'll be in a good place. We'll always be trying to improve.”
Team Carruthers began their PointsBet Invitational defence Wednesday night with a Sweep 16 victory against Edmonton’s Team Johnson Tao, who won the Canadian Junior Championship last season.
They'll now take on Team Rylan Kleiter in the Elite 8 after they upset Team Kevin Koe on Wednesday night.
Fry to coach Team Italy
Jacobs’ former teammate Ryan Fry was in the news earlier this week when it was announced he was named the new men’s national coach of Italy’s Team Joel Retornaz.
I am very honoured to announce my new position as the Men’s National Coach of Italy. I would like to thank (fed and team) for giving me this opportunity and look forward to a very successful alliance. Forza Italia 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/LIHzps7CuR— Ryan Fry (@ryanfry79) September 26, 2023
Italian curling has grown leaps and bounds over the past few decades with Retornaz’s rink currently ranked fourth in the world.
Jacobs says the Italians can only get better with Fry now in the fold.
“I think it's a great opportunity for Ryan Fry. We have a long, amazing past with Ryan. He's still one of our best buddies today. We still have an old team chat that Ryan, EJ and Ryan and myself are all still part of and we joke around," said Jacobs. "So, you know what, it's a great opportunity for him to join Italy and join a great team. And I'm sure that he's going to only help them get better so they're already a great team and with Fry they'll be even better.”
Fry and Team Retornaz will now get to work ahead of the 2026 Olympics which are scheduled to take place in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, from Feb. 6-22, 2026.