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Martin set to defend Roar of the Rings title

Kevin Martin comes in to the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, with the well-deserved reputation as one of the most accomplished competitors in the long history of Canadian curling.

The Edmonton skip has represented Alberta at the Canadian’s men’s curling championship 12 times – spanning the course of three decades – and is a four-time Brier winner. On the World Curling Tour, he holds a record 17 titles in Grand Slam events, and his four championship titles at the Canada Cup of Curling adds up to yet another record.

(Photo Michael Burns)

(Photo Michael Burns)

The victory at the 2011 Capital One Canada Cup in Cranbrook, B.C was especially significant, earning Martin the first of the eight men’s berths in this year’s Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings – the Canadian Curling Trials – where Canada will crown its men’s and women’s representatives for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

When Martin steps up to defend his Roar of the Rings and Olympic titles from four years ago he’ll have a new third in the lineup, the result of the departure of John Morris at the end of last season.

It didn’t take long for the veteran to call on the services of fellow Edmontonian Dave Nedohin, a longtime rival who threw last stones for the Randy Ferbey team that won four Brier Tankards and three world championships.

David Nedohin (Photo Michael Burns)

David Nedohin (Photo Michael Burns)

“When I got the call, I jumped at the opportunity, as soon as I made sure everything would be okay on the home front,” said Nedohin whose wife Heather will also be competing in the Roar of the Rings. “Kevin’s such an amazing player… it’s tremendous to be on the same side as him.”

The Martin team, with Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert anchoring the front end, is off to a strong start to the season. “We’re getting along great and we’re playing really well,” said Nedohin. “Kevin and I are really starting to gel. We’re looking forward to the Trials and I think we’ve got a great chance to win.”

The fact the Trials are being contested in his original hometown provided added incentive for Nedohin in his return to competitive curling. “It will be really special to play in Winnipeg. That’s where I grew up and first started curling – it will be exciting to be able to play in front of family and friends, and a lot of guys and used to curl with.

“One of the things I really regretted about taking time away from the game was I missed the past Olympic cycle and the chance to play in Winnipeg with the loud crowds in the MTS Centre. Now I’ve got the opportunity and I’m really excited about it.”

One concern for the Martin squad has been a back injury suffered by the skip at the Point Optical Curling Classic in Saskatoon at the end of September. But Nedohin indicated the recovery process is right on schedule.

“It was a muscle sprain in his back, so it’s just a matter of time. He’s been getting medical attention… and we’ve been careful not to push it too hard. But it’s coming along well and he should be in great shape for the Trials.”

“You Gotta Be There” when the top 16 teams in the country – eight men’s and eight women’s – compete for the right to represent Canada in Sochi. The best seats in MTS Centre are available now by clicking here.