Four-time world champion Howard taking things one season at a time

Glenn Howard delivers a stone during the sixth draw of the GSOC's Elite 10 tournament in Winnipeg on March 16, 2018. (Anil Mungal)

The current norm on the elite curling scene is to approach lineup decisions and future plans with a full quadrennial in mind.

Veteran skip Glenn Howard is bucking that trend by taking things one season at a time.

Howard recently announced he’ll return for the 2018-19 campaign with a new-look lineup. Scott Howard will move from lead to third, David Mathers will be back at second, and Tim March is joining the team to throw first stones.

"I really still love curling," Howard said Tuesday. "I love playing with my son and I love playing with my teammates. I want to continue to curl and I decided that I’m only going to do it a year at a time."

Like he did this year, Howard — who turns 56 in July — plans to re-evaluate his competitive curling future at the end of each season. He’s not completely ruling out a run at the Olympic Trials ahead of the 2022 Beijing Games, but admits it’s unlikely.

Howard said he let his teammates know his plans in case they wanted to consider joining a team that was preparing for a full quad. Both his son and Mathers decided to come back while March, who played this season with Team John Epping, was added at lead.

Richard Hart served as vice-skip last season before being sidelined due to injury. Adam Spencer filled in at third and may serve as a substitute or alternate if needed next season.

Howard, a four-time national and world champion, did not advance out of the Olympic pre-Trials competition last fall and fell to Epping in the final of the Ontario playdowns last February.

He has slipped to No. 18 in the latest world rankings and is ninth in the Canadian Team Ranking System. Howard will have some work to do next season to get his point total up so that the team can qualify for top events on the Grand Slam circuit.

Scott Howard, who played third as a junior, did well when he filled in at the position last season.

"I think it’ll be kind of cool to have the kid beside me in the house," Howard said from Midland, Ont. "We’ll try it for a year and see what happens."

Glenn Howard has also served as a coach at times over the last two years. He worked with the Eve Muirhead-skipped Team Great Britain last February at the Pyeongchang Games.

"Obviously I wanted to go to the Olympics as a player," Howard said. "It didn’t happen to this point and I don’t really foresee it in the future. But to go as a coach was the next best thing. What an amazing experience."

There is always a lot of player movement once the Games wrap up and this year was no exception.

Top Canadian men’s skips including Epping, Kevin Koe, Mike McEwen, Steve Laycock, Reid Carruthers and others have either made lineup changes or are on the move themselves.

Howard, a 17-time provincial champion, plans to keep going as long as the results are there and the competitive juices are flowing.

"I still love it, I get out on the ice and I feel like that’s where I belong," he said. "That’s where I want to be. Even at 55 years old, the fire to compete and to play well and to have fun is still there."

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