Brad Jacobs can’t wait to step onto the ice next week at North Bay Memorial Gardens as he’s anticipating an electric Northern Ontario crowd for the Masters.
And moose calls. You can’t forget about the moose calls.
Jacobs and his Sault Ste. Marie crew bring their A-plus game whenever they play in front of their family, friends and fans. Two of their four Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title wins have come in Northern Ontario: the 2016 National in their hometown and the Tour Challenge in Thunder Bay a year ago.
Jacobs, who also won provincial playdowns the last time they were held in North Bay, is hoping to replicate all of that at the Masters with his cousins E.J. and Ryan Harnden at second and lead, respectively, plus newly-minted third Marc Kennedy.
“We played provincials there, it’s right in our backyard, we know that North Bay and the surrounding area and probably all over the world, people are going to come and support that event,” Jacobs said. “We’re really looking forward to playing and hopefully, get a lot of cheers, get the crowd going, get the moose calls going and do what we can to entertain everybody that’s there and watching at home.
“Every day you can just tell everybody is excited to hit the ice and that’s a great feeling. It’s going to be even more so playing in Northern Ontario.”
Seeing North Bay embrace its opportunity as the host of the world women’s curling championship in 2018 has Jacobs pumped to put on a show worthy of their support. He isn’t going to have to throw out his arms ala Russell Crowe in Gladiator and ask, “Are you not entertained?” as these fans don’t sit on their hands.
“Obviously, North Bay has a rich curling history,” Jacobs said. “Their ability to draw some people in for the best curling in the world is pretty impressive and we’re just looking forward to going to North Bay and doing what we do best, which is entertaining the fans.”
Jacobs is carrying momentum heading into the Masters, too. The team opened the season with a runner-up result at the Shorty Jenkins Classic in Cornwall, Ont., and got the job done in their following event winning the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard.
While the Shorty Jenkins Classic saw Team Jacobs flying high with a seven-game unbeaten streak until cooling off in the final against Team Epping, the Toronto Tankard was a pure grind. Jacobs dropped to a 2-2 record to fall into the C event of the triple knockout preliminary round and on the brink of elimination. The resilient Team Jacobs cleared the hurdle and stuck the landing winning five consecutive elimination games, including a 6-1 victory over No. 1 ranked Team Koe in the final.
“The first event at the Shorty, we stood on our heads, we played unbelievable right up and down the lineup until the final game and we weren’t able to finish it,” Jacobs said following the Toronto win. “We went through some struggles this week and to dig deep and fight back the way we did, that’s what I know we’re all most proud of and I think it just bodes well for future events. We draw from this when we know we’re in tough.”
Drawing and hitting are what Team Jacobs plan to do when they start their Masters run Wednesday afternoon during Draw 4 against Team McDonald.
NOTES: The Masters is the first of six Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events on the season and one of four majors in the series. … The total prize purse is $300,000 and is split evenly between the men’s and women’s divisions. Winners receive the lion’s share plus berths towards the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place April 29 to May 3, 2020, in Olds, Alta. … Also up for grabs at the Masters are Pinty’s Cup bonus points. The leaders following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April will capture the Pinty’s Cup with additional prize money awarded.