Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's Brier could be boon for local curling, says N.L champ Brad Gushue

Brad Gushue says having the Brier in St. John's is a good opportunity for local enthusiasts to promote the sport to everyone from hardcore players to casual fans.

Gushue, Stacie Curtis reclaim provincial curling titles in St. John's

Newfoundland and Labrador champion skip Brad Gushue says having the Brier in his hometown is an advantage, not extra pressure, for his team. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Brad Gushue is hoping for some home-sheet advantage in the Brier this year, as the national championship is in his hometown of St. John's. 

"I don't see it as extra pressure, because I don't think anybody could put more pressure on us than what we do ourselves," Gushue told CBC on Sunday. 

"I think playing in front of the home crowd, having that support and having them behind us, cheering for us and maybe giving the other team a bit of a hard time, that'll certainly play to our advantage."

The skip, who reclaimed his provincial curling title Saturday night with a 5-2 win over Adam Boland at Bally Haly in St. John's, said he's looking forward to representing Newfoundland and Labrador in the 2017 Brier in early March with lead Geoff Walker, second Brett Gallant and third Mark Nichols.

On the women's side, skip Stacie Curtis of St. John's and her rink of lead Erica Trickett, second Julie Devereaux and third Erin Porter, also won the provincial title, her fourth, with an 8-4 victory over Shelley Hardy. 

They'll be representing the province in St. Catharines, Ont. for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Feb. 18-26. 

Gushue said having the Brier in St. John's is a good opportunity for local enthusiasts to promote the sport to everyone from hardcore players to casual fans.

​"The important part is the stakeholders in the curling community really need to capitalize on it and get those people that have the interest in the game into the clubs, and have them become members and play in the leagues and be part of the club."

The Brier will be held March 4-12 at Mile One Centre.

With files from Randal Wheeler