It just never went the way the reigning champions wanted it to go.
Four years after standing on top of the curling world at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Brad Jacobs and his team from Northern Ontario aren’t going to get to defend their title.
Jacobs was eliminated from the playoffs at the 2017 Olympic trials in Ottawa on Thursday night despite defeating Mike McEwen 6-3.
“We still wanted to come out and win. We all talked about it. We wanted to go out and put in a great performance,” Jacobs said after the win.
The team needed the Brad Gushue rink to lose their Thursday night game to give them any chance of survival. Instead, Gushue defeated Steve Laycock 8-5 to lock up second spot.
“We were pretty depressed for the majority of the week. It was too little, too late,” Jacobs said.
He just couldn’t get traction. Jacobs was haunted by a last shot loss to Kevin Koe. He had an open draw for the win and threw his rock through the house.
But despite how difficult this week was, Jacobs was gracious after being eliminated.
“It’s on to the next one now and we wish all the teams who are still left the best of luck. I think Canada will be represented very well in men’s and women’s curling at the Olympics,” Jacobs said.
Baby on the way
It’s been an emotional week for the team’s second, E.J. Harnden. He and his wife are expecting their second child any minute. He’s had a hard time focusing throughout their games and his emotions spilled over after Thursday night’s win.
“I knew I might miss the birth of my son if we were in,” Harnden said with tears in his eyes. “My wife and I had a whole plan in place to make sure she had the support she needed.
“My father came in and stayed with me all week with the full intention of having emotional support if I needed it.”
Harnden will not play in the team’s last game on Friday afternoon against John Epping. He’s catching a flight first thing to be with his wife.
“She’s 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant,” he said. “Fingers crossed I’ll be there for the birth of my baby boy.”
Harnden says the team battled as hard as they could the entire week, but just didn’t have it when they needed it.
“It’s disappointing. We wanted to come in and put a good week together and become the first team to repeat. The event is so hard and…