OTTAWA — When you add it all up, Kevin Koe’s team out of the Glencoe Club in Calgary has a wealth of curling experience that rivals some of the greatest teams ever in the game.
Kevin Koe, Brent Laing, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert have 36 Brier appearances between them. They’ve won the Canadian championship more times than most. They’ve won world championships more times than most. But Kennedy and Hebert have something the two veterans don’t — an Olympic gold medal.
They’ve all taken different journeys to get to this point but now they’re combining their curling prowess in the hope it translates to an Olympic berth.
“There’s no magic,” said Koe. “I’ve been close before as has Brent. And Marc and Ben have won it. You have to play good and get some breaks. Everyone has been trying to peak for this event all year.”
Koe is making his fourth appearance at the trials. Team third, Laing, is making his fifth appearance. He’s only missed the trials once, the first in 1997, but has been to all of the rest of them.
“There have been a lot of losses but hopefully this year is different,” Laing said. “The energy is different. The pressure is different. It’s once every four years. This is the best of the best in Canada and there are crazy ups and downs.”
In preparation for this week, the team has been watching past Olympic trials games. Laing says some of the past games were more painful to watch than others because he was on the losing end of some of them.
Perhaps the one Laing winced at most, and Kennedy and Hebert enjoyed most, was from the 2009 trials in Edmonton. Kevin Martin was skipping John Morris and the front end of Kennedy and Hebert. Glenn Howard was skipping Richard Hart, Laing and Craig Savill.
Martin and company rolled over Howard 7-3 in Edmonton to win those trials.
Now key members of both of those teams are all together looking to find Olympic berth magic.
Hebert and Kennedy together through it all
While there have been many changes to curling lineups over the years, Kennedy and Hebert have been together through it all.
Their first trials were in 2005 in Halifax. Kennedy was playing second on a team skipped by Morris, Koe was third and Paul Moffatt was lead. Hebert was a spare for the team. It hadn’t been a very strong lead up to those trials for the team so…