Former Randy Ferbey team member Dave Nedohin has joined Edmonton skip Kevin Martin and given his bid at winning the Olympic curling trials new life.
“It puts us as one of the top teams again instantly,” Martin said from Edmonton on Wednesday after the pair made their announcement.
“This is an exciting time for team Martin.”
Nedohin replaces John Morris, who surprised many when he departed the Martin foursome late last month after seven years. Morris then announced he was joining B.C. skip Jim Cotter’s team.
“Obviously in this situation, once the change in our team was inevitable, Dave was obviously our first choice for so many reasons,” said Martin.
His shot-making ability was at the top of the list. Nedohin joined Ferbey in 1997 and throwing final rocks helped win four Briers and three world championships.
But he wasn’t an easy catch.
After a year skipping his own rink following Ferbey’s retirement, Nedohin suggested last month he was going to step back while wife Heather focused on her own Olympic trials bid.
Then came Morris’s announcement, but initially Nedohin said he declined Martin’s offer to return to the game.
Then his parents offered to help out with the child care while both he and Heather try to qualify for the Olympics.
The Roar of the Rings, where the berth will be decided, will be held in Winnipeg (Nedohin’s home town, and Morris’s coincidentally) in December. The location was another bonus for Nedohin.
There is always a period of acclimatization when curlers join new rinks, but Martin says after so many years watching each other, even curling together in the odd celebrity event, Martin sees it being relatively short with Nedohin.
“I bet we’ve played 100 times if not more than 100 times,” he said.
“There’s not going to be too much of a learning curve, that’s for sure.”
Martin also downplayed the changes which have raised some eyebrows in the curling world, if only for their timing with the trials ahead.
“Teams just can’t stay the same forever, sports just don’t work that way.”
Martin laughed when asked if he would surrender skip rocks. Nedohin will be throwing third stones, something he hasn’t done a lot of in competitive curling since 1997.
But he says he’s looking forward to it, plus the chance to sweep more, and Martin says Nedohin’s sweeping ability is just one more reason why he’s such a good fit.