SUMMERSIDE – He’s thrown some practice rocks with the team and been at ice level for strategic timeouts.
But that’s as close to the action Prince Edward Islander Robbie Doherty was expecting to get at the Canadian men’s Olympic curling pre-trials in Summerside this week.
Doherty is listed as the team alternate for the Greg Balsdon rink from the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club in Kingston, Ont.
“I think this is as far down the line (as I am getting),” Doherty said in a post-game interview after the Kingston crew held on for a 6-5 win over Winnipeg’s William Lyburn in Wednesday’s noon draw. “They’ve worked for three years before this to get to where they are.
“I think they are going to stick to the rotation for as long as they can. This isn’t an exhibition game.”
Perfectly fine with role
And Doherty is perfectly fine with that.
“I can usually be a pretty positive influence on a team off the ice, probably more so than on the ice,” said Doherty, who was a crowd favorite while representing P.E.I. at the Tim Hortons Brier the last two winters.
“It was a good fit (with Balsdon), and I’m happy to be here,” added Doherty, who got the call to fill in about a week prior to the pre-trials when the team’s alternate wasn’t able to attend.
“Greg and I are old friends,” said Doherty. “The whole team and I, we have been playing against each other for years, and we’re good buddies. We know each other pretty well.”
While Doherty is solidly in the Balsdon camp, he admits there are a couple of other teams he is keeping a friendly eye on – a Regina team now skipped by Seven Mile Bay native Adam Casey, and the Glenn Howard rink, who has Docherty’s 2016 Brier teammate David Mathers playing second stone.
“We’re still great friends,” said Doherty. “I’d like to see those boys do well, if it’s not us.”