The Seven Mile Bay native is in his second team as a member of Team Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador men’s Tankard rink.
“I certainly like our chances,” said Casey, who throws second stones on the team. “I think, if we bring our consistent game and play at the top of our level, I think we will be right there with everybody else.”
Casey’s friend and longtime skip Brett Gallant joined the Gushue team late last year. At first, Casey was throwing third and Gallant was throwing second stones, but they recently changed positions. That was, as Casey explained, because Gallant’s delivery was more similar to Gushue’s, and it was helpful to Gushue to see how Gallant’s rocks curled right before throwing his own.
The shift certainly didn’t seem to hurt as Team Gushue went 9-0 (won-lost) in the provincial Tankard championship.
“We played well, especially in the 1-2 (Page playoff) game, and then in the final, our team played really well,” assessed Casey.
Casey, who was third stone for Gallant on five P.E.I. junior and one Canadian Junior championship teams, is now in his final semester of mechanical engineering studies at Dalhousie University. He does most of his work out of Newfoundland, including two Co-op Ed placements with Canada Post in St. John’s. He has a trip back to Halifax for mid-terms before heading west for the Brier.
The 2013 Brier will actually be a reunion of sorts for the entire 2009 Canadian junior men’s curling championship team.
Peter Gallant, Brett’s father, who was coach of the 2009 team, recently signed on as coach for Gushue’s rink while Anson Carmody and Alex MacFadyen, who played second and lead for Gallant, are members of the Eddie MacKenzie team that punched its ticket to the Brier by winning the P.E.I. Tankard on Tuesday night.
There is another recent addition to Team Gushue as Jamie Korab has returned, this time as spare.
“Night and day,” Casey responded when asked how his game has evolved since juniors. “Just the amount of skill that I’ve been able to pick up, and just some of the tricks of the trade from Brad that we were able to develop,” he explained. And, while he believes they were the hardest working junior team in their day, he said his work ethic has improved considerably since then.
“Mentally and shooting-wise, I think there’s been huge improvements, but I think that might be true for all four of us, not just the ones who went and played with Brad.”
Casey said Coach Gallant is “just a great guy to have around” the rink.
“I think he brings a positive attitude and a wealth of experience in both competition and team dynamics,” said Gallant. “I think he and Jamie will really feed off of each other, and they will really bring out the best in us.”
Casey said he is committed to remaining with Team Gushue after completing his university education this spring. Instead of looking for a job and then picking a place to curl, he has his team plans cemented and will restrict his job search to the St. John’s area.
Eric McCarthy is the western bureau manager of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing email@example.com.