Monday, March 09, 2009

Brier: Brotherly Love

By Dalene Heck

CALGARY – In a joint interview with Peyton and Eli Manning after Eli’s historic Super Bowl win, Peyton had the following to say when asked if he would like to face his brother in the Super Bowl someday:

“Yeah, I’d love to kick his ass in the Super bowl next year. And win the MVP – league and Super Bowl – the world needs to know who the best Manning is.”

Peyton aptly ducked when Eli playfully took a swing at his head.

The only NFL contest between these two brothers saw Eli win against his older sibling in a close match. If all of the Brier predictions about Ontario’s Glenn Howard hold true, then we will also see the younger Howard beat up on his older brother, New Brunswick’s Russ Howard, Tuesday morning in a truly historic athletic contest between brothers.

Will an Ontario win over New Brunswick show the world who the best Howard is? Will Russ take his loss gracefully as opposed to vowing vengeance? Can we count on fists flying at the end of tomorrow’s match?



Probably not. But you never know with brothers.

This battle has been talked about. The media here in Calgary have gone to great lengths to point out that the last time two brothers faced off as skips at the Brier was way back in 1942.

But The Curling News – a dandy little newspaper if I’ve ever seen one – has scooped everybody with a couple of key points, as published in the March Brier issue that came out last week, and which is in some supply – but dwindling fast – here at the Saddledome.

The first is that the last time brothers faced off at the Brier – including non-skips – the year was 1995, the place, Halifax. Jeff Ryan played third for the victorious Manitoba team skipped by Kerry Burtnyk. Pat Ryan, now country music superstar, played third for Rick Folk’s defending champions from Kelowna. Burtnyk finished with a 12-2 record while Folk was 6-5. In their 11th-draw collision, Burtnyk shaded Folk 7-6 in 11 ends.

The second TCN scoop is that the only other known Brier brotherly debate – apart from them Campbells, Gordon of Hamilton and Don of Vancouver, in ’42 – transpired at the 1970 Brier in Winnipeg. Hap Mabey of Moncton skipped the New Brunswick entry and brother Roger played lead for Les Bowering’s Newfoundland squad. Neither team was a title threat.

The third and final TCN chapter actually researches the various head to head battles that Russ and Glenn have had in the past decade or so. Thanks to this, additional context is available for those of you making picks on whom will whack whom. That makes this stuff gold!

And it’s not even a finite science, as curling record-keeping tends to falter out of the CCA domain. The TCN editor tells me Glenn Howard and Richard Hart were both sourced for info on these recent tilts… and that they both imagined a game against Russ – at a Slam in Port Hawkesbury – that never actually happened. I kid you not.

So here’s the excerpt from the story in the March 2009 issue The Curling News concerning recent Howard battles, some of which also made its way into Sunday’s daily Tankard Times.

And good luck with your picks…

For the record, there have been seven “recent” battles between the brothers since 2001.

Three occurred at the Players’ Championship (Russ winning twice in 2001 and Glenn winning in 2005
(photo above by Ted Richards, click to zoom in) and two took place at the former Gander, NL stop on the Asham World Curling Tour, the Don Bartlett Classic, in ’02 and ’04 (split results).

There was also a battle at the 2002 TSN Skins Game in Grande Prairie, and an instance in 2007 where Russ jetted to a spiel in Portage to spare for
Randy Ferbey (both won by Glenn).

So the youngster holds a 4-3 advantage heading into the Saddledome.


Dean Gemmell said...

What about the 2006 Trials?

TCN said...

Haha... LOL, good catch Dean.

You bugger.

2005 Olympic Trials:
Brad Gushue 9, Glenn Howard 7