Nfld. & Labrador

Brett Gallant to leave Brad Gushue's team at end of curling season

In a tweet Saturday, Team Gushue said Gallant had decided to leave to join another team.

'This team has reached heights that I only dreamed were possible,' Gallant says

Brett Gallant announced Saturday that he'll be leaving Brad Gushue's rink after 10 years. (Tom Rowland/WCF)

Brett Gallant will be leaving Brad Gushue's team at the end of the curling season, the team announced Saturday.

In a tweet, Team Gushue said Gallant had decided to leave to join another team.

"I would like to thank Brad, Mark and Geoff for the incredible opportunity to be a member of this team. Together this team has reached heights that I only dreamed were possible," Gallant said in the statement.

Together, the team of Gushue, third Mark Nichols, Gallant and lead Geoff Walker have won four Brier championships, a world championship, an Olympic bronze medal and 11 Grand Slam titles.

In an interview with CBC News, Gallant said Newfoundland and Labrador has become his home during the 10 years he's spent with the team.

"Ever since I arrived, I was really welcomed, especially into the curling community and welcomed by all our fans, across both Newfoundland and Labrador and the country," he said. 

"I love Newfoundland. I'll be moving away, but it's still a special place for me and I'll be back. I have amazing friends now in Newfoundland and it's a little bit sad, obviously, that it's coming to an end."

Gallant says he's looking forward to starting the next chapter of his life with his fiancée and mixed doubles teammate Jocelyn Peterman. (Alina Pavlyuchik/WCF)

However, Gallant said he's ready to move on and be closer to family and¬†his¬†fianc√©e ‚ÄĒ and mixed doubles curling partner ‚ÄĒ¬†Jocelyn Peterman.

"For Jocelyn and I, we've been long-distance, juggling being in different provinces and trying to make that work for a long time now. We're getting married this summer and excited to start the next chapter in our life," he said.

"For me, I felt like it would be a big commitment for the travel, and to spend as much time with the guys as necessary. It just made sense for me not to commit to that."

The best time to move on is at the end of a four-year Olympic cycle, Gallant said, but he wasn't willing to speculate about where he'll play next season.

Gallant celebrates with Gushue after defeating Team Alberta in the 2020 Brier curling final in Kingston, Ont. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

After playing together for a decade, Gushue said Gallant has "put in 10 good years" and has been a big part of the team and its success.

"He came onto the team pretty green, having not played in major men's events or played against some of the big teams, and to see his growth and see how he's developed into one of the best seconds in the game has been fun for me. And, obviously, the success we've had as a team has been pretty incredible," he said.

The skip said Gallant's decision didn't come as a shock, however.

"We had sat down as a team after we won the Olympic trials in December and we were willing to commit and Brett wanted to hold off until after the Olympics, so that gave us the first indication that he was looking at something else," said Gushue.

"He notified us last week that his intentions were to move on.… He wants a change, and certainly that's his right, and we're going to wish him the best of luck going forward."

Gallant will remain with Gushue's rink through the upcoming world championship in Las Vegas next month, as well as two other tournaments in April and May.

Both players said their focus is now on the world championship.

"The opportunity to represent Canada again with this team is super-exciting, and I can't think of a better way to end our run together," Gallant said.

Gushue looking for 4th player

However, Gallant's departure leaves Gushue looking for a new player at the end of an Olympic cycle while there is a churn in Canadian men's curling. Teams from Alberta skipped by Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher have already announced they'll be separating.

And after Mark Nichols's COVID-19 diagnosis left Team Gushue fighting for a Brier title a player short, the team has also announced E.J. Harnden will serve as alternate at the world championships. Harnden throws second stones with Northern Ontario's Team Brad Jacobs, but that team is disbanding.

Harnden is a player the team could consider for next season, Gushue said, but there will be challenges in residency rules that they'll have to work through first.

Gushue said the rules dictate that only one player per team can live outside the province, and with Geoff Walker living in Alberta, that means someone would have to move. 

"A lot more has to go into this decision. You're talking about an individual changing their residency as opposed to just signing up and being part of the team," he said.

"We don't feel at this point there's a player that has residency in Newfoundland that could fill the hole that Brett's left, so we've got to extend our search and figure out if that's going to be doable or possible."

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