Skip Mark Kean and Ontario holding its own early on at the Brier in Calgary
They’re the new kids on the block. But the Team Ontario youngsters have acclimated themselves to the Brier like a bunch of grizzled veterans. Skip Mark Kean is the elder statesman at the ripe old age of 26. Photo by Lyle Aspinall/ Calgary Sun
They’re the new kids on the block.
But the Team Ontario youngsters have acclimated themselves to the Brier like a bunch of grizzled veterans.
One actual vet – and one of the greatest of all-time – is impressed with how the young team has approached its first Brier.
“What I like about these four kids is they’re here to win it,” four-time Brier champ Glenn Howard said of the squad that includes his son, Scott . “They’re not here to say ‘I’m happy to be here.’
“They’re coming here to win the Brier and I love that attitude. Love it.”
Skip Mark Kean is the elder statesman at the ripe old age of 26.
The rest of his fresh-faced foursome include and third Mat Camm (24 years old), second David Mathers (23) and lead Howard (24).
Told about the elder Howard`s comments, Kean nodded in agreement.
“That’s absolutely true,” Kean said. “We feel we won Ontario so we should have a good run here.
“There’s no reason we can’t. Ontario usually does well at these things.
“If you look at the field, it’s a tough field. But the boys have played amazing in front of me and if I just make a couple more shots, we’re going to be in a lot of games.`
The precocious lads took a surprising – to everyone but themselves and their families – 2-0 record into Sunday’s nightcap against the host Albertans.
And with every win, Kean realizes he’s got a chance to do something special.
“It’s a dream come true to be a young skip,” Kean said.
“You watch guys growing up like Kevin Martin and Russ Howard – all those guys started young too. Jeff Stoughton won his first Brier when he was young.
“You dream of being a skip like that and now I have a chance to do something like that.”
It won’t be a walk in the park though.
No matter how well the past month has gone, Kean realizes trouble lurks around every corner at the Saddldedome.
“There’s no free spot on the bingo card,” he said. “It’s probably the best Brier field ever.
“I don’t think I’ve seen it where you look across the field and everyone has been somewhere, played a Grand Slam or whatever.”
Kean and Co. got the party started with a 8-7 win over pre-qualifier Adam Casey (P.E.I.) on Saturday night and said opening up against another young team was the perfect way to begin his first Brier.
“They might not have had as much nerves as us because they’d already been out there for a few games,” Kean said. “That was maybe a bit of a disadvantage to us.
“But you don’t want to start off against Brad Jacobs or one of the top guys right off the bat.
“It’s nice to get your feet under you and make some shots.”
The younger Howard said his team is enjoying the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
“It’s obviously our first Brier and we’re very happy to be here,” Howard said. “But we’ve got another goal on our minds and we’d like to win the Brier.
“We’re here to curl and make a lot of shots.
“Not a lot of the fans know us. Most of the teams know us because we play on the tour all year.”
These guys might become household names with the fans by the end of the week.