Russ Howard has been a player or coach for almost half of Canada’s provinces; including for Canada itself.
He joined Newfoundland’s rink headed by Brad Gushue in 2005. After winning the Olympic trials, Howard went on to win Canada’s first ever men’s curling Winter Olympic gold. He’s also won two World Championships, the Brier twice for his native Ontario and had another six Brier appearance while curling out of New Brunswick.
Now, he can add Saskatchewan among the provinces he’s been affiliated with.
Howard is coaching his daughter Ashley at the 2016 Viterra Scotties Tournament of Hearts Women’s Championship.
“It’s true. We’re trying to do them all, all the provinces,” Russ said. “It’s cool. This is the home of curling really, the Saskatchewan and Manitoba areas.”
“If you’re a curler like the Howard family is, this is where you want to be.”
Ashley is the vice skip for Regina Highland’s Jolene Campbell. Their team that was put together this past fall alongside Callan Hamon and Ashley Williamson in the front end. The Campbell rink is undefeated through three games at the provincials after a 10-2 victory over Kim Schneider Friday afternoon, Jan. 29.
Ashley has been in Regina for close to two years. She joked she moved to the city, not for a job or to curl, but to cheer on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I also love the Riders. I was in Winnipeg before, so I moved to get a football team to watch,” Ashley said.
Having her father join the team hasn’t been much of a distraction for Ashley, except maybe for being on the brunt end on more than a few of his jokes. Overall, Ashley and the team are happy to have him on board.
“It’s been great. Honestly, I’m obviously biased but he’s one of the best ice readers, I think, in the country,” Ashley said. “We’ve been fortunate to pick up on his tips and his advice. It’s helped us get off to good start here, for sure. He’s also great with rocks and awfully motivational. He can holler and get us motivated.”
Although the team hasn’t had a whole lot of time together, Russ said they’re coming along well.
“It’s really nice to see how they’re interacting. I think Ashley adds a lot of humour and she’s a good strategist,” said Russ. “Jolene just makes everything. She’s curling so well and she’s one of the best ice readers in the women’s game, in my opinion.
“If you can make a lot of shots and put the broom in the right spot, that’s a good recipe.”
He added that he was really impressed with how Hamon and Williamson were developing their game, adjusting their technique and release points.
2:30 p.m. draw results
Robyn Silvernagle and Michelle Englot entered Friday’s afternoon draw with a 3-0 record, but unfortunately, one had to be saddled with their first loss of the tournament.
Both sides battled until the bitter end in a high-scoring affair before Silvernagle won 9-8 in extra ends. Silvernagle was down 7-5 after the seventh end before scoring two in the eighth and stealing one in the nineth. Englot scored a single in the 10th to force extras, before Silvernagle won in the 11th.
Stefanie Lawton remained undefeated with a 7-3 win over Kristie Moore.
Sherry Anderson picked up her first victory with a 7-6 win over Penny Barker. Down 6-5 in the final end, Anderson scored the game winning two-ender in the 10th and final end.
Jolene Campbell had a 5-2 lead after the seventh end over Kim Schneider, before scoring a deuce in the eighth and stealing three in the ninth to run away with the 10-2 victory.
Standings with two draws left before playoffs
Stefanie Lawton, 4-0
Jolene Campbell, 3-0
Kristie Moore, 2-2
Nancy Inglis, 1-3
Nancy Martin, 1-3
Kim Schneider, 0-3
Robyn Silvernagle, 4-0
Michelle Englot, 3-1
Kelsey Dutton, 2-2
Sherry Anderson, 1-2
Penny Barker, 1-2
Mandy Selzer, 0-4
The top two from each pool will advance to the playoffs.
There will still be two more draws until playoffs; 7:30 p.m. on Friday and at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Assuming they aren’t any tiebreakers that need to be settled, the playoffs will start Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
On Twitter: @jeff_dandrea
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