Decorated curler John Morris returns to team curling, joins Kevin Koe

John Morris returns to team curling in an unfamiliar position, but thinks he can handle it.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist will play second for the first time in his career for Kevin Koe next season.

The 41-year-old from Canmore, Alta., has either skipped or played vice throughout a run that began with three straight Ontario junior men’s titles from 1997 to 1999.

“I have to say it’s not like it’s going from quarterback to wide receiver,” Morris told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. “It’s not that drastic of a change.”

Morris and Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes won the first Olympic gold medal awarded in mixed doubles two years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

After the men’s team he skipped went 3-5 at the 2017 Olympic curling trials, Morris took a break from team curling, but continued to play mixed doubles.

He ended his hiatus by joining a powerhouse squad and reuniting with former teammates.

Calgary’s Koe has skipped teams with at least one new player in the lineup to four Canadian championships. Koe has also claimed two world titles and won the 2017 Olympic trials.

Koe was vice for Morris for three seasons from 2003 to 2006 following the latter’s move from Ontario to Alberta.

During the seven seasons Morris played third and Ben Hebert was lead for Kevin Martin, they won an Olympic gold medal in 2010 as well as a world championship in 2008.

“I wouldn’t come back if I wasn’t motivated,” Morris said. “Playing a new position like second — I’ve always been an advocate of it doesn’t matter what position you play on a team as long as that team is successful — and I feel like playing a new position for me will give me a newfound focus and challenge and I really like that aspect.

“I know the way the game of curling has gone, and it’s where you really have to have four players who are fully committed and all exceptional at their position.

“You look at Brett Gallant and E.J. Harnden … those are the guys I’ll be going up against and they’re really good seconds.”

Koe, vice B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Flasch and Hebert won a Canadian title and world championship silver medal in 2019.

They lost out in a tiebreaker game at this year’s Tim Hortons Brier in Kingston, Ont.

Morris was also in Kingston as an alternate for Ontario’s John Epping. Morris appeared in one game throwing four stones in a loss to Northern Ontario.

Koe announced a split with Flasch on Monday to pave the way for the addition of Morris.

Morris, a part-time firefighter, and wife Maggie have a young son Jake and an infant daughter Zoe.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable working full time and curling full time,” Morris said. “Something would have to give.

“That fact that it’s a two-year commitment instead of a four is a lot more appealing to me at this stage because I know how much of a grind those four years can be.”

A shortened season because of COVID-19 cancellations and postponements started curling’s free agency earlier this year.

The world men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships have all been postponed.

April’s Grand Slam tournaments in Toronto and Olds, Alta., worth a combined $325,000 were called off.

Rosters are reforming in preparation for the last full curling season before the Canadian Olympic trials in November 2021.

In another move Tuesday, Rachel Homan replaced longtime lead Lisa Weagle with Sarah Wilkes.

Wilkes was Chelsea Carey’s vice the last two seasons and won a Canadian title representing Alberta in 2019.

Homan’s Ontario team lost the last two Scotties Tournament of Hearts finals to Carey and Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson, respectively.

Wilkes was born in Toronto, but lives and works in Edmonton.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau Liberals face confidence vote over proposed anticorruption committee

Bloc Quebecois plans to support the Conservative motion

A bottle of hand sanitizer is seen in Vancouver on October 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Experts say counterfeit hand sanitizer recall at Dollarama is a lesson for retailers

Fraudulent version may not be effective at killing bacteria and viruses

George Orme, owner of Jacques-Orme Funeral Home, and Dr. Henry George are seen with the city’s first ambulance at the Red Deer Exhibition around 1925. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Archives)
Michael Dawe: Red Deer’s first ambulances were also used as hearses

There has been a great deal of media attention in recent weeks… Continue reading

Manitoba skip Tracy Fleury releases a rock as they play Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. Fleury has brought on veteran skip Sherry Middaugh to serve as coach of the Winnipeg-based team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Team Tracy Fleury adds longtime skip Sherry Middaugh as coach

Previously coached at the U18 and U21 levels

The main entrance to the Museums Island and the Neue Museum, left, in Berlin, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. A large number of art works and artifacts at some of Berlin’s best-known museums were smeared with a liquid by an unknown perpetrator or perpetrators earlier this month, police said Wednesday. The ‘numerous’ works in several museums at the Museum Island complex, a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of the German capital that is one of the city’s main tourist attractions, were targeted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Oct. 3, police said. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Over 60 exhibits damaged at Berlin museums, motive a mystery

Surveillance camera footage doesn’t show obvious signs of anyone applying the liquid

FILE - This Aug. 13, 2020 photo shows a logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 reported third-quarter net income of $790 million. The Los Gatos, California-based company said it had profit of $1.74 per share. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Netflix reports a summer slump in subscriber growth

Added 28 million subscribers in the first nine months of the year

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw warms up before Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

Kershaw, LA stars shine, Dodgers top Rays 8-3 in WS opener

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford leaps over a challenge by PSG's Presnel Kimpembe during the Champions League group H soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Man United wins again at PSG; Messi scores in Barca rout

Most Read