Gaudet takes step back from competitive curling

Joe MacIntyre
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The 10-tean P.E.I. Tankard provincial men's curling championship runs from Feb. 5 to 9 in Montague.

Summerside's Mike Gaudet has played in the last 21 of them and won four Tankard titles along the way, including three as skip.

Gaudet will not take part in this year's event as he has taken the year off, and it sounds like he is enjoying the break.

“It is such a commitment to even compete locally,” says the 41-year-old Gaudet. “You need to practise nearly every day, and you have three other guys depending on you, so you need to be there.

“To be good you have to play, and that involves a lot of time and money to travel the Maritime circuit to these cashspiels.”

That is not to mention the work and family commitments.

“One cannot always take the time off work, and that is getting harder and harder to do,” added Gaudet. “For me, the goal has always been to play the best and the best opportunity to do that is at the Brier.

“It is getting harder to compete as the game has evolved greatly over the last 15 to 20 years. You almost have to curl on a full-time basis to compete with Canada's best, and that is what a lot of teams do and that does not guarantee success.”

Gaudet used Brad Gushue as an example. Gushue, who has won an Olympic gold medal, now curls full time and is yet to win a Brier.

“Going every weekend of the curling season takes its toll on you,” concluded Gaudet. “I think I needed a break.”

After 21 years of that kind of commitment, who can blame him as most would feel the same way.

Harness racing

The year in Island harness racing is drawing to a close, with only three more live cards after Saturday’s program in Charlottetown. The last one is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, in Charlottetown.  

Live wagering appears to be real good as nearly $42,000 was bet last Saturday, and the Boxing Day card had the same bet. Those are pretty good numbers considering the time of year.

Race dates have been allotted for the coming year, with Summerside getting 30 dates beginning on May 19. Charlottetown has 75 cards through to the end of December, and another six to start 2015 for 81 dates in total.

The Governor's Plate goes in Summerside on July 19, and the Gold Cup and Saucer goes in Charlottetown on Aug. 16.

Big is better

Size will not be a problem for this year's men's Olympic hockey team as they are by far the biggest team competing at next month's Olympics. Twenty-three of the 25 players on Team Canada are six-feet tall or taller, with only Sidney Crosby and Matt Duchene both coming in under six feet at five-foot-11.

Canada will be big, fast and physical, and that will be enough for them to win gold once again. As I said before, who will beat this very talented Canadian team?  

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium will be the very unique scene next Saturday for the very first outdoor hockey game there. It will be a great game between two rivals in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and that is if the ice holds up.

The NHL has had many outdoor games, but none in a warm climate like Los Angeles. Temperatures around 60 degrees this time of year has the NHL thinking that they will not have problems in the sunny days with the rink covered. Evening temperatures in the 40s are expected at game time, which is 5 p.m., Pacific time, and 9 p.m., Atlantic.  

Dodger Stadium has a long and storied history since it was built in 1962 at a cost of $23 million. Chavez Ravine, as it is commonly known, has hosted a visit from Pope John Paul II in front of 63,000 people in September 1987. The Beattles played there in front of 45,000 screaming fans in August 1966. The ticket cost for that concert was $6.

Next Saturday's hockey game with be a real spectacle, and should be a great game.  

Popular jerseys

The five best-selling NHL jerseys for 2013 are as follows: Sidney Crosby has the best-selling jersey, followed by Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane.

Top 100 baseball players

ESPN has released its top 100 list of the best players in Major League Baseball history. The top five are Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Hank Aaron. There are only four active players on the list, including Albert Pujols at No. 16, Alex Rodriguez at 19, Derek Jeter at 33 and Miguel Cabrera at 45.

The only Canadian-born player on the list is Ferguson Jenkins, who comes in at No. 64. Pete Rose, 38; Pedro Martinez, 41, Gary Carter, 87, and Tim Raines, 96, are the only Montreal Expos on the list.

Roger Clemens, 7; Rickey Henderson, 14, Robbie Alomar, 74, and Paul Molitor, 78, are the former Toronto Blue Jays on the list.

Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to j-mac@eastlink.ca.

Organizations: Brier, NHL, Team Canada Major League Baseball Montreal Expos Toronto Blue Jays

Geographic location: Summerside, Charlottetown, Canada Iceland Los Angeles StadiumDodger Stadium Anaheim

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