The Saskatchewan curling scene will have a new look in 2018-2019.
After Team Laycock announced their split late last week, Dallan and Kirk Muyres have a new team.
The St. Gregor natives, announced on March 25, that they would be teaming up with another brother duo, adding Kevin and Dan Marsh to the squad.
“We’ve known Kevin and Dan for 15 years and probably played against them since we were about 15 years old and they’ve always been some of our closest friends, especially in the curling circle. We knew what they were about and we knew that they were really good guys, about the best guys you’re ever going to meet,” noted Kirk.
Aside from the off ice relationships, Kirk notes the Marsh brothers will bring an element of shot making to the team.
“They really don’t ever miss any shots, they’ve been one of our toughest competitors in the province for a long time and they’re ready to get to that brier. Just because they haven’t been there doesn’t mean they’re not good enough and they’re certainly some of the best players that we have in the province. So I’m excited to team up with them and see what we can do.”
After spending each of the last 12 years, prior to this one, playing third, Kirk will find himself in an unfamiliar role as he moves to skip, while Dallan will remain in his familiar lead position, while Dan will slot in at second, and Kevin at third.
Kirk admits that moving over to skip, a position he only played a little as a kid, will be a big learning curve, but says that was part of the reason for making the move.
“It was one of those things, I needed to get re-excited about the game and get on that path of learning it again. And that’s really what this does it kind of puts me in a position to lead a group but also really just soak it all in and learn every day.”
While the Muyres brothers are familiar faces in the area, so too should the Marsh brothers.
Prior to spending this season with Team Flasch, Team Laycock’s former second, the brothers spent a couple of seasons playing with Muenster’s Bruce Korte.
Muyres admits that was another reason for adding the pair to the club, noting anytime a team can added players who had played with a player with Korte’s level of experience it is never a bad thing.
“Obviously they’re going to learn a lot from Bruce. Taking that into account you knew that they were going to bring a lot of the things that they got out of their couple years with Bruce onto this new team as well.”
Team Muyres will curl out of Saskatoon, where all four are located, which not only was a big part of the consideration for the team, but could also give them a bit of a competitive edge, says Kirk.
“It’s one of those things now as we go into the five rock rules change next year, the need for precision is going to be that one step farther. What this will allow us to do is practice together as a unit everyday and develop protocols as a unit and work together to put rocks in really good spots.”
Kirk notes that is something most of the elite level teams in Canada do not have the luxury of since they are drawing curlers from various cities and in some cases provinces.
“I think that’s going to be one of our competitive advantages moving forward, that we can all practice together and we can meet. (March 26) we’re even just throwing together a small meeting because it’s easy for us because we’re all in the same town.”
Kirk noted that March 26 meeting gave the team a chance to get together for the first time as a team, and begin planning for the upcoming season.
“We’ll be on the ice again in August and that will kind of be the start of our season so it’s a matter of getting down to business really quick, really early here and putting as much as we possibly can into the next few months.”
While the on ice game is obviously a major part of being a successful curling squad, Kirk notes there are a lot of elements off the ice that the new club will have to work through including lining up sponsors, and getting social media set up.
While Team Laycock will finish the season together, Kirk admits the new team, will be getting their T’s crossed and their I’s dotted in short order.
“It’ll be kind of nice for the four of us to sit down, kind of discuss a lot of those sponsorship things, a lot of those goal planning as well as a lot of the things like who we’re going to have on our ship as we go. We’re going to need a lot of support fast in terms of coaches and psychologists and this is kind of the first stab at those discussions.”
Kirk notes that decisions on a team, including coaches is still up in the air, noting they have not decided on a coach as of yet.
“It’s a discussion we need to have and figure out where our resources are best spent and then kind of go from there.”
Of course, every team gets together with the goal of winning an Olympic title and a brier title, but for a young team just getting together, what are the short term goals?
Kirk says they have not had a chance to sit down and lay those out yet, but says two come to mind.
“I think we can all agree we want to become a top ten or top five team in the world in the next year. We want to compete together at our first brier in Brandon next year for Team Saskatchewan. It’ll be the first one for Kevin and Dan,” he says.
“It’s not going to be easy, there’s a lot of good teams out there and there’s going to be a lot of good teams in Saskatchewan that are yet to be announced yet too but it’s going to be fun kind of working towards those in the next 365 days.”