Brad Jacobs is back.
Speaking exclusively to CBC Sports’ That Curling Show, Jacobs announced he is returning to professional curling as a member of Team Carruthers.
The news comes just two months after Jacobs finished third for Reid Carathers at a Grand Slam event in Camrose, Alta. — Carruthers announced just a few weeks earlier that he was parting ways with Jason Gunnlaugson and began looking for a replacement.
Jacobs, 37, a 2014 Olympic gold medalist, says he immediately felt comfortable as part of the team in Camrose and is looking forward to starting next season.
“I’m ready to get back into this thing in full swing and there’s a really good opportunity with Team Carruthers,” Jacobs said on the show.
The full episode, including reaction from Jacobs and Carruthers, can be seen on That Curling Show and CBC Gem on Friday morning.
To be clear, Jacobs says he never used the term retired from curling.
“No Tom Brady”
“I’m not Tom Brady. I never used that word, just for the record,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s been an interesting season for me and obviously Reid. We played in Camrose and had a lot of fun. I didn’t really want to go back to the men’s game until at least 2023. I certainly didn’t expect to play that year, but Reid needed a man and I was available.” .
Fans will get their first look at this now official team at the Players’ Championship Slam in early April in Toronto. Jacobs will also play Carruthers in the Champions Cup to close out the Slam season.
The team will retain the same lineup as Camrose starting next season. That means Jacobs, who has been a shortstop throughout his highly successful career that includes a Brier title in 2013, plays third.
“I’m done with that position. I know how tough it is. Every position in curling is tough, but the skip position is much tougher and it takes a special person and personality to be in that position for years and years with success,” he said. Jacobs.
“I have nothing but faith in this whole team. We have to put Reed on that podium and we have full confidence in him.”
Throughout the Brier, Carruthers skipped his team of third baseman Derek Samagalski, second baseman Connor Njegovan and leadoff hitter Rob Gordon to a respectable 4-4 record. Gordon was brought in specifically for the Brier.
Carruthers, who won a Brier title as part of a team rejected by Jeff Stoughton in 2011, is obviously excited that Jacobs chose his team to be a part of moving forward.
“When we lost a great player in Jason, I had to fill that void with someone who is elite. At the top of that list is Brad. It was just a matter of whether he was in or not. We felt the same way and were fortunate that he was able to come to Camrose,” Carruthers said.
“Our mindset going into next season is very much the same in terms of what we want to do and what we want to achieve.”
The two even stayed together in Camrose, bonding right away, which they both say is crucial at this point in their careers.
“I’m at a point in my life where enjoying the sport and clicking on and off the ice is extremely important. Everyone wants to win, but finding a tight team, getting them off the ice it’s extremely important. That’s what I found with these guys,” Jacobs said.
“Reid has been an incredible player throughout his career and an incredible leader. I loved the way he led the team, the respect everyone has for Reid.”
There is a mutual respect they have for each other.
“We just felt like we were clicking and learning from each other. Brad’s a student of the game. Some of the things we did with the sweep, he was right there and soaked it up like a sponge. I feel like he adds a wealth of knowledge for us as well Carruthers said.
Carruthers says as Jacobs’ news comes out, there will be a tidal wave of change across the Canadian men’s curling landscape — not unlike what fans saw in the wake of last year’s Olympic cycle, when nearly every elite men’s team made changes to their composition.
“What I will say is that for the last 48 hours my phone has been ringing off the hook, which is an honor, but I feel like a lot of players and teams are waiting to hear what Brad is doing. So I feel like this is the pin on the grenade so once this news comes out I feel like there will be some movement in the near future.
“I think it will shock some people because I get messages from teams and players that I didn’t expect. The bar is set high in Canadian curling right now. On the men’s side you have a team like Gushue that everyone wants to chase. Teams want to get better, so I’m not surprised.”
Jacobs, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is very happy to be back in the game after sitting out this past Brier.
“I paid close attention to what was going on. That was an incredible Brier. I couldn’t believe the quality of the shooting,” he said.
“And Ryan and EJ are going up against each other in the final. I couldn’t really sleep much Saturday and Sunday night. I was feeling pretty emotional about the whole thing. They’re going to have to keep their heads up. This is going to be something they’ll never forget. and we will never forget as a family. Congratulations to both teams for taking the final and the level of play was insane.”