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Will wearing green be lucky for McEwen?

It’s the month for St. Patrick’s Day, so perhaps wearing Saskatchewan green and the luck of the Irish will mean a Brier championship for Mike O’McEwen
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It’s the month for St. Patrick’s Day, so perhaps wearing Saskatchewan green and the luck of the Irish will mean a Brier championship for Mike O’McEwen.

He’s changed provinces regularly, so why can’t he change his name, too? — from McEwen to O’McEwen, just to heighten his chances of expanding his luck quotient to win the biggest prize in Canadian men’s curling.

No skip has ever represented three different provinces in the Brier, until McEwen this year, so  maybe third time will be lucky. He won the Manitoba title four times, and represented Manitoba, his home province, on three other occasions as a wildcard entry. Last year, he joined forces with an Ontario rink featuring Ryan Fry, Joey Hart and Brent Laing, and they won that province, losing in a 3 vs. 4 Page playoff game at the Brier. But when Laing, Fry and Hart went their separate ways at the end of the season, McEwen was a loose free agent, looking for a strong team that needed an experienced and proven skip.

It didn’t take long for that curling marriage to happen. Colton Flasch of Saskatchewan has long been a contender on the men’s curling circuit, but he lost his third, Catlin Schneider, following the 2022-23 season. The dichotomy was perfect — McEwen available; Flasch with one missing piece. Flasch moved down to play third and the team clicked almost immediately.

Wearing green for the first time in his life, McEwen led his team of Flasch and the Marsh twins, Dan and Kevin, to the Saskatchewan championship, running off seven straight wins to earn a spot in the 2024 Brier which, as fate would have it, is being played in Regina starting March 1. The pressure will be ramped up threefold: Playing in front of a home crowd; being a first-year skip with the Flasch squad; and trying to break a long Brier drought for teams from Saskatchewan. The most recent Brier title for the Wheat Province came in 1980, 44 years ago, when Rick Folk was the winner.

While McEwen representing Saskatchewan may be the feel-good story of the week, Canada’s best curlers won’t be coming to Regina to play secondary roles. Five-time (and defending) champ Brad Gushue of Newfoundland will be among the favourites, as will last year’s runner-up, Brendan Bottcher of Alberta. Perennial contenders Matt Dunstone, Kevin Koe, and Reid Carruthers (whose rink is skipped by Northern Ontario veteran Brad Jacobs), will also have strong opportunities to win..

In the round-robin, Regina fans’ eyes will be focusing on the B.C.-Saskatchewan matchup because the former Flasch third, Schneider, moved to B.C. and won his new province’s championship.

Ideally, B.C. vs. Saskatchewan would be a terrific Brier final, too, with McEwen trying to write a fairytale finish to his vagabond curling tale.

  • Comedy writer Torben Rolfsen of Vancouver: “The Blue Jays are trying to cash in on mascots popularity. They signed Justin Turner, the baseball player that mostly closely resembles Gritty and Youppi!" 
  • Headline on Page 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle the day after the 49ers fell 25-22 to Kansas City in the Super Bowl: “LOSS VEGAS”
  • Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, on the shooting in Kansas City during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade: “What if Patrick Mahomes had been hit in the spray of bullets? Would that have gotten America's attention? Because nothing else has as our national plague of gun violence and mass shootings goes on and on.”
  • Cote again, after Patrick Mahomes’ outstanding play in the Super Bowl led the Chiefs to victory: “The G.O.A.T. corral has a new member.”
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “A 16-ounce can of beer at the big game in Vegas cost $18.90. The only people who can afford those kinds of prices are Taylor Swift, LIV golfers and Georgia football recruits.”
  • From Bianchi’s column in the Sentinel: “Best pre-Super Bowl Sunday meme: ‘I hear Taylor Swift’s boyfriend will be attending the Usher concert this weekend.’”
  • Headline at Canadian parody website The Beaverton: “Saskatchewan residents furious over local sports network’s decision to air Super Bowl instead of 2013 Grey Cup replay.”
  • Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “At one point 200 million people watched the Super Bowl. Imagine how many it would have been if they weren't airing a curling game at the same time?”
  • Jim Trotter of The Athletic, after the Waste Management Open in Phoenix turned into a drunken debacle: “The Waste Management now resembles the Wasted Management.”
  • Another one from Kaseberg: “Sarah Thomas was the first ever female ref in a Super Bowl. That explains why that one player was called for Unsatisfactory Feelings Sharing.”
  • Comedy guy Torben Rolfsen of Vancouver: “The Vegas Golden Knights ended the Edmonton Oilers winning streak at 16 games, which is usually around when casino security steps in.”
  • Headline at the “Chiefs Pour Vat Of Hot Fryer Grease Over Andy Reid
  • Another offering: “Chiefs Walk Six Miles To Game After Bus Driver Refuses To Pay $125 For Stadium Parking”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

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