Gushue wins third straight Brier title with win over Team Saskatchewan

Team Canada celebrates after it defeats Team Saskatchewan at the gold medal game at the 2024 Montana's Brier at the Brandt Centre on Sunday, March 10, 2024 in Regina. Photo by Kayle Neis/Regina Leader-Post.

Taylor Shire, Regina Leader-Post

Brad Gushue has added another Brier championship to his resume.

On Sunday evening in Regina, Gushue and Team Canada captured their third straight Canadian men’s curling championship with a 9-5 win over Mike McEwen and Team Saskatchewan in front of 5,734 fans at the Brandt Centre.

“This moment is awesome,” Gushue, who curled 97 per cent, told reporters on the ice after the win. “This is what it’s all about. This is why I play, this is why I love the game.

“I love this moment; to see it all come to fruition after the hard work this week, this is so cool.

“It isn’t about how many. It’s about this moment here.”

With the win, Gushue and his Newfoundland and Labrador rink have tied Randy Ferbey’s record of three straight championships. Team Saskatchewan was looking for its first Brier in 44 years.

“It hurts we didn’t have our best game,” said McEwen, who curled 89 per cent in the match. “But Brad was stellar the first four ends and he nailed us the first four ends.

“We have everything to be proud of what we did in six months. This is a great team and we’re not done yet.”

After becoming the winningest skip in Brier history last year in London, Ont. with his fifth title, Gushue, along with third Mark Nichols and lead Geoff Walker have also tied Ferbey for most Brier championships all time with six. Second E.J. Harnden, who joined the team last year, has won his third overall.

After beating Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher in the Page 1-2 playoff game on Saturday night, Gushue earned a direct ticket to the final, where he met McEwen and company, who beat Bottcher 7-3 earlier on Sunday in the semifinal.

For Saskatchewan — also featuring third Colton Flasch, second Kevin Marsh and lead Daniel Marsh — it’s a tough loss after the team put together three straight must-win victories following a loss in the Page 1-2 qualifier on Friday night.

Still, they’re proud of what they were able to accomplish in their first season together.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t pull off the win at the end — it would have been a dream ending,” said Kevin Marsh. “Either way it was still a great week for us.

“It stings right now but when we debrief the whole week, there’s a lot of positives to take away.”

“It’s our first year together so I expect good things from this team to come in the future,” said Flasch. “I think we’re just going to get better from here.”

Saskatchewan hasn’t won a Brier since Rick Folk claimed the title in 1980. Prior to this year, the last Saskatchewan team to make a final was in 1995 when Brad Heidt and his Kerrobert rink lost to Manitoba’s Kerry Burtnyk.

For McEwen, it’s the best finish in his nine Brier appearances. The Winnipeg product — who is skipping in Saskatchewan for the first time in his career — previously finished third in 2017 with his Manitoba team.

“I had a list of who I was playing for today and it was a pretty long list,” said McEwen. “Some people might call that long list pressure and pressure is a privilege but I don’t look at it that way.

“I look at it as an honour to play for all those people on that list. Whether it was my teammates, whether it was fans, whether it was people that have given up on me a little bit over the last half-dozen years.

“It wasn’t pressure for me, it was an honour. That’s what this week was — it was an honour to play here.”

Gushue and company will now represent Canada at the 2024 World Men’s Curling Championship, which is set to get underway March 30 in Switzerland. The team also will also take home $108,000 out of the $300,000 purse, while McEwen and company get $60,000.

Gushue will also be back as Team Canada at next year’s Brier in Kelowna, B.C. with the winner there earning the right to wear the maple leaf in Moose Jaw at the 2025 world championship.