Alberta skip Kevin Martin

Alberta skip Kevin Martin

Martin undecided on future after this season

Veteran skip Kevin Martin will have a much different lineup if he decides to return for another season on the men’s curling circuit. Team second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert plan to leave Martin’s rink after this season to join reigning national champion Kevin Koe. It’s the first major move of what’s expected to be an off-season loaded with significant roster changes.

Veteran skip Kevin Martin will have a much different lineup if he decides to return for another season on the men’s curling circuit.

Team second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert plan to leave Martin’s rink after this season to join reigning national champion Kevin Koe. It’s the first major move of what’s expected to be an off-season loaded with significant roster changes.

As for the 47-year-old Martin, who has national, world and Olympic titles on his glowing resume, he plans to take some time after the season to consider his future plans.

“I can’t confirm that I’m looking for a new roster,” Martin told The Canadian Press on Wednesday from Napa Valley, Calif. “But I can confirm that Marc and Ben are going to curl with Kev, yeah. I haven’t decided if I’m going to curl again at all.”

In addition to Kennedy and Hebert, the new Koe foursome will also include Brent Laing of Team Glenn Howard, according to a recent Rogers Sportsnet website report.

Laing declined to comment and a message left with Howard was not immediately returned.

The timing of the news is less than ideal for Koe and his current lineup of third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen, who will try to put the distraction aside as they prepare to play at the world championship in Beijing this Saturday.

Koe preferred to keep his focus on the upcoming competition and respectfully declined comment.

Rycroft, whose wife is pregnant, has already said he’ll be taking a year off from the sport after this season.

Simmons and Thiessen were not available for comment and their future plans remain unclear.

Hebert declined comment and a message left with Kennedy was not immediately returned.

Martin said it was unfortunate that the news surfaced during the season and before the world championship.

“I sure wish none of this stuff (came) out,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure how it did but it’s too bad.”

With the Olympic season nearly complete, several roster changes are expected as teams prepare for the next four-year cycle. Team Brad Jacobs, which won gold at the Sochi Games last month, will be one of the rinks to beat next season.

What’s uncertain at this time is what ripple effect the new Koe lineup might have on teams throughout the country. The 2014-15 season isn’t necessarily critical as rinks start to look ahead to the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the sooner that players can lock in the better.

Martin, Kennedy and Hebert teamed with John Morris to win Tim Hortons Brier titles in 2008 and 2009, going undefeated en route to the championship each year. They also won Olympic gold at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Morris left the team almost a year ago and later joined Jim Cotter’s B.C. rink. Morris was replaced by Dave Nedohin and the current Martin lineup has enjoyed a strong season.

Martin wasn’t surprised at the pending departure of two of his teammates since they want to position themselves for the next Olympic cycle.

“Having teams change and personnel change, that’s just part of sport,” he said.

“That’s not unusual I don’t think. It’s just unfortunate that any of these changes — and there are a lot of changes that are going to happen this year — happen before the end of the (season). That should definitely happen in May.”

Martin added the moves make “perfect sense” for Kennedy and Hebert. The veteran skip expects to decide on his own future plans by the end of June.

There is still one major event left on the curling calendar — the April 15-20 season-ending Grand Slam Players’ Championships in Summerside, P.E.I.

That competition was already shaping up to be an emotional one with Alison Kreviazuk’s announcement this week that it will be her last competition with Team Rachel Homan. The longtime second has decided to move to Sweden to be with her boyfriend.

Joanne Courtney of Val Sweeting’s rink will join Homan, lead Lisa Weagle and third Emma Miskew next season. Homan is the reigning national champion and won silver at the world championship last weekend.

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

Just Posted

Canopy Growth Corp. will deepen its U.S. presence by launching four sparkling cannabidiol waters, shown in a handout photo, there before possible federal legalization. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canopy Growth
Canopy Growth launches first CBD drinks in U.S. as legalization talk intensifies

Quatreau sparkling waters will be sold through e-commerce

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 needs better promotion: experts

National Advisory Committee on Immunization makes recommendations

A man receives his COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Olympic Stadium marking the beginning of mass vaccination in the Province of Quebec based on age in Montreal, on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Most Canadians confident federal vaccine rollout is back on track: poll

Fifty-six per cent of respondents confident in vaccine supply

Air Transat and Air Canada aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
International air travel a fraction of pre-pandemic times

International air travel during pandemic less than a 10th of what it was before COVID-19

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal is interviewed on the red carpet for Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. O’Neal is set to perform in his first competitive match when he teams in All Elite Wrestling with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet at Daily’s Place on an episode of “Dynamite,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Shaq Attack: O’Neal ready to rumble in tag match for AEW

O’Neal’s first competitive match with All Elite Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, center, speaks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42 per cent

Board will now have 19 women among its 45 members

The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre is shown in Stratford, Ont., on May 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Stratford Festival plans next stages with two outdoor summer venues

Ontario festival productions set for between late June and the end of September

Treena Mielke
From record player to CD

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old… Continue reading

Opinion
Ottawa banks on Big Pharma making Canada pandemic-proof

Liberal fireball François-Philippe Champagne may be brand new to his portfolio as… Continue reading

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Health: Keep blood pressure under control

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Most Read