Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Curler Ben Hebert calls the shots

Player's Own Voice podcast connects with the straight-talking lead for a state-of-the-game update as Canada's best curlers prepare to compete for the right to represent the country at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Veteran sizes up task at hand as Olympic qualifying tournament looms

Team Canada lead Ben Hebert delivers a rock during the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier curling championship. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

It's kind of an open secret regarding curling in this country.

The best of the best will agree that qualifying for the Canadian Olympic team is harder than facing the entire world at the actual Winter Games.

If that sounds un-Canadian or maybe a little too braggadocios, judge for yourself in the week ahead as Saskatoon hosts the national team qualifying tournament.

And if you need some insight on how that's all going to play out, we recommend taking a look into the mind of of lead Ben Hebert.

The gold medallist, world champion and four-time Brier winner is an excellent source of unvarnished wisdom about the game that he has devoted 25 years to perfecting.

According to Hebert, at this level, and with these teams in the running, the whole tournament might come down to a couple of shots. Which means it could be anybody who'll get to wear the maple leaf once Beijing begins.

And looking ahead to the Olympics themselves, Hebert is quick to point out that Sweden and Scotland are the nations to respect come February.

Connecting in Calgary with his old Olympian pal Anastasia Bucsis, Hebert holds forth on such crucial topics as whether a Saskatchewan team winning gold in curling or the Roughriders winning the Grey Cup would make Sask hearts beat hardest.

He also dishes on his lingering dismay at being swept off the podium in PyeongChang 2018, and on how money and medals have driven everybody in curling to heights of professionalism and athletic fitness that would be unheard of barely a generation back.

For our hard of hearing and deaf audience members, we are pleased to provide a transcript.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, the POV podcast allows athletes to speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to the entire fourth season, follow Player's Own Voice on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever else you do your podcast listening.

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