Nobody ever doubted that Reid Carruthers was a good curler. He won the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier with Jeff Stoughton and went on to win the world championship the same year. After two more podium finishes at the following two Briers, a pile of World Curling Tour wins, and a couple Grand Slam victories, his résumé spoke for itself.
But when Stoughton retired from competitive play, and Carruthers decided to return to skipping his own team, there were plenty of questions about whether he’d be able to continue that success. It didn’t take long to find out the answers.
“Curling with Jeff was the best learning experience you could ask for,” said Carruthers. “ I had amazing teammates, and really saw what it takes from each position to be successful.”
Carruthers won an early season WCT event with his new team, earned enough points to enter Grand Slam events, and went on to win the Manitoba championship, upsetting his fellow Winnipegger (and then World No. 1) Mike McEwen. Since then, he’s been a common sight in the playoffs at the tour’s biggest events. Last year he reached the final in three Grand Slam events, eventually winning the Champions Cup at the end of the season.
“Picking the right guys was really important. I knew we weren’t the favourites, but in my eyes, I had the right pieces in place,” he said.
The 31-year old skip, along with Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski, and Colin Hodgson, were at it again this weekend, at the Canad Inns Men’s Classic in Portage la Prairie, Man. After qualifying through the C-side of the 32 team triple knockout, Carruthers bested Calgary’s Kevin Koe, Regina’s Shaun Meachem, and Edmonton’s Charley Thomas on the way to his first bonspiel win of the season, $18,000, and 67.039 points on the WCT Order of Merit and the Canadian Team Ranking System.
With this week’s victory, he moves up to third place on both lists.
“This event was tough for sure. It felt like a marathon, especially going through C. It wasn’t like we were winning big, we were just outlasting them,” said Carruthers. “We had a lot of nail biters, but we tried to stay patient and calm, and just give ourselves a chance in the last couple ends.”
Runner up Thomas took home $10,000 and 52.674 which moves him to seventh on the CTRS list.
Because of his participation in the Portage event, Thomas was unable to play in the Service Experts Mixed Doubles Classic in Edmonton. Instead, his partner Kalynn Virtue (with whom he won a Canadian mixed doubles title) played with her father (and former Brier winner) Kevin Park.
While the Park/Virtue team reached the playoffs, they lost a qualifier for the quarterfinals. The championship went to Marliese Kasner and Dustin Kalthoff, who defeated Brett Gallant and Jocelyn Peterman in the final, remaining undefeated through the entire tournament. Kasner and Kalthoff have already qualified for a spot in the Canadian Olympic Mixed Doubles Trials.
Gallant and Peterman won the Canadian championship last season, but were unable to represent Canada at the mixed doubles world championships due to four-player bonspiel commitments. Kasner and Kalthoff took their place and represented Canada.
In Kamloops, B.C., Dean Joanisse (New Westminster, B.C.) defeated Korea’s SooHyuk Kim by stealing the extra end in the final of the Hub International Crown of Curling. Joanisse took home $7,000 and 22.153 CTRS points. On the women’s side, Korea’s Min Ji Kim defeated Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa in the final. The win earned her $7,000.
Winnipeg’s Atkins Curling Supplies Classic was won by Beth Peterson (Winnipeg). She earned $4,000 and 28.432 CTRS points.
In Stroud, Ont., Chad Allen skipped Team Tuck (Wayne Tuck played in the Edmonton mixed doubles event) to a championship victory over Colin Dow in the Stroud Sleeman Cashspiel. The extra end win earned them $4,000 and 20.247 points. The women’s side was won by Woodstock, Ont.’s Julie Tippin.