Glenn Howard won his sixth straight Ontario title, defeating Toronto’s Greg Balsdon, 10-3 on Sunday, February 13 in the Dominion Tankard final at the Grimsby Peach King Centre.
He’ll now make a record sixth consecutive appearance as skip at the Brier.
Howard and his Coldwater & District Curling Club team of third Richard Hart, second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill, now in their seventh season together, have enjoyed both phenomenal success and gut-wrenching failure during that time.
The highlights came in 2007, when winning the Tim Hortons Brier in Hamilton and the Ford World Men’s in Edmonton.
They’ve also been the Brier runner-up three times – in 2006, losing to Quebec’s Jean-Michel Ménard, in 2008, losing to Alberta’s Kevin Martin and last year in Halifax, when losing an extra end final to Alberta’s Kevin Koe, their only loss of the week.
Howard completed the 11-team round robin in Grimsby with an 8-2 record, the same as Brampton’s Peter Corner. But since Corner had defeated him during the round robin, Howard was placed second. They then met in the Page 1-2 game, with Howard prevailing 11-5, to earn a berth in the final.
Balsdon, meanwhile, had clawed his way to the final, winning the Page 3-4 game, 10-4 over John Epping of Toronto, then ousting Corner, 9-4 in the semi-final.
This will be the 13th Brier appearance for the 48-year-old Howard. He played third for brother Russ in seven Briers, winning Canadian and world championships in 1987 and 1993, before skipping his team to victory over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue in the 2007 final.
Hart, who won a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano as third for Canada’s Mike Harris, will be making his sixth consecutive appearance at the Tim Hortons Brier, while Laing and Savill are making their seventh trips. In addition to playing with Howard the last five years, they also teamed with Ontario skip John Morris in 2002, finishing the runner-up to Alberta’s Randy Ferbey at the Nokia Brier in Calgary. Savill and Laing are also Canadian and world junior champions, playing third and lead, respectively, for Ontario’s John Morris in 1998 and 1999.
Ontario has won nine Briers, the last by Howard in 2007.