Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Scott McDonald and Team Ontario vanquished big names and logged more games than any rink this season to get to the Canadian men’s curling championship.

Donna Spencer/The Canadian Press

Brier rookies they may be, but Scott McDonald’s team vanquished big names and logged more games than any rink this season to get to the Canadian men’s curling championship.

McDonald, vice Jonathan Beuk and front end Wesley Forget and Scott Chadwick out of Kingston, Ont., have played 80 games this winter to quickly accumulate experience as a foursome.

They beat John Epping three times at Ontario provincials, including the final, as well as former Canadian and world champion Glenn Howard en route to booking their first berth at the Tim Hortons Brier.

Story continues below advertisement

There will be no easing into the tournament as McDonald faces defending champion Brad Gushue in their first game on Saturday at Westoba Place.

“I think I would place us in the dark-horse category,” McDonald said on Friday after a practice session.

“We’ve played a lot of the top teams and we’re competitive against the top teams. They know who we are and we know who they are. It’s just a matter of playing well in this environment.”

The 16-team main draw opens Saturday afternoon in Brandon.

On Friday night, Brendan Bottcher’s Edmonton rink defeated Epping 8-4 in the wild-card game to qualify as the 16th team.

Trailing 7-4 after eight ends, Epping not only missed a tricky hit to score two, but gave up a steal of one.

Bottcher ran Epping out of rocks in the 10th end.

Story continues below advertisement

With curling now being dominated by a handful of teams, it’s a novelty when new faces appear among the elite.

McDonald pushed into the top-10 of the men’s World Curling Tour rankings earlier this month with a 54-26 record.

The skip says planning and building their inaugural season began in April, 2018, when the four men determined they could be a good fit.

“At the beginning of the year, our goal was to get to the Brier,” McDonald said. “It wasn’t to finish second or third [at provincials].

“I’d finished third last year. It’s not a fun position to be in. That was motivating in some respects.

“We put a lot of work in in the summer to make sure we were ready to compete come September.”

Story continues below advertisement

They played nine tour events their first two months together.

Winning the Gatineau Curling Challenge on arena ice in October helped McDonald qualify for the Boost National Grand Slam in December, where they didn’t make playoffs but still gained valuable experience.

They went undefeated at Ontario provincials and thus feel battle-hardened heading into Brandon.

“It gave us some experience where we didn’t have before,” McDonald said. “We’d all played in big games in different capacities, but obviously the final to get to the Brier is the biggest game we’ve ever played in.

“We know we can come into a setting like this where the pressure is on and perform,” he continued. “That’s important for a team that doesn’t have as much experience as the top four or five teams in the field that have been here multiple times and know what to expect in this environment.”

McDonald, 32, is an insurance claims adjuster. Forget, 27, is a residence coordinator at Queen’s University and Chadwick, 28, is a shift manager for an industrial air handling company.

Story continues below advertisement

Beuk, 35, is a psychometrist.

“The easiest way to explain it is I try to infer cognitive abilities through behaviour,” the vice explained.

“It’s generally people who have had some kind of brain injury. I have them do paper-and-pencil tests for the most part and answer questions. Through that you can determine the level of their abilities.

“For the most part, it’s people who have suffered injuries in car accidents. That’s the big one. But it’s broad range of anybody who is suffering from cognitive limitation.”

With six university degrees between them, including Beuk’s two postgraduate degrees, Team Ontario is a brainy bunch.

“We’ve got a lot of brains on the team,” Beuk acknowledged. “Sometimes the key is shutting off the brains for a few seconds.”

Story continues below advertisement

Beuk says he and his teammates grew up watching Ed Werenich, Howard and Wayne Middaugh win at the Brier.

Howard’s was the last Ontario team to claim a Canadian title in 2012 in Regina.

“I don’t think a lot of people are predicting that we’re going to be the favourites this week, so we get to play the underdog card a little bit,” Beuk said. “That takes some of the pressure off.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies