Manitoba skip Jacques Gauthier calls a shot during Sunday’s (Jan. 26) 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Men’s gold medal game against Newfoundland/Labrador at George Preston arena in Langley. Manitoba won 8-6. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Manitoba wins New Holland Canadian Junior Men’s Championships

A provincial sweep at Langley event

It was almost exactly 12 months ago that Jacques Gauthier made one of the toughest decisions of his life.

Fresh off losing to his cousin, Langley-based player Tyler Tardi from Cloverdale, in the men’s gold-medal game of the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships, Gauthier was asked if he would serve as the alternate for Team Tardi at the 2019 World Juniors — a role he had in 2018, resulting in a gold medal.

But Gauthier told his cousin “thanks, but no” — if he was going to win another world junior championship, he wanted to do it as a player, not an alternate.

Gauthier will get that chance; backed up by vice-skip Jordan Peters, second Brayden Payette, lead Zack Bilawka and coach John Lund, Gauthier skipped the Manitoba #2 team from Winnipeg to an 8-6 win over Newfoundland/Labrador’s Daniel Bruce in the men’s gold medal game at the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

“When we won the worlds in Scotland, I didn’t touch the trophy,” said Gauthier, with the Canadian championship gold medal around his neck. “I was very proud of the accomplishment by the boys, and I felt like I played a role in it. But it still wasn’t mine, you know what I mean? So coming back here, and winning this, and having a chance to win to pick up that (world championship trophy), that’s what means the world to me.”

Gauthier’s team will get the chance to follow up on the two gold medals won by his cousin when the 2020 World Junior Curling Championships get underway Feb. 15 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Manitoba had two teams in the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors because Nunavut and the Yukon couldn’t field teams; B.C. got a second team as the host province, while Manitoba got a second team as the 2019 runner-up.

Manitoba #2 never trailed on Sunday, taking one in the first end, stealing two in the third and one more in the fourth.

Bruce made a game of it with a magnificent angle-raise takeout to score two in the seventh end and cut the lead to 6-4, but Manitoba #2 replied with a deuce of its own in the eighth end and never looked back.

There were two significant wake-up calls along the path to gold for Gauthier’s team; the first came in the Manitoba junior men’s final a few weeks ago in Dauphin, where Gauthier entered the final against former teammate Brett Walter with an unbeaten record, but lost his first game when it mattered most.

“That was a wake-up call for how to play in a championship game,” acknowledged Lund. “Today it showed that they knew how to do it.”

The second came in the team’s first game in Langley, during which Manitoba #2 fell behind 6-0 after three ends to Quebec’s Greg Cheal before rallying for a 10-9 extra-end victory.

“You need breaks to win, right?” said Gauthier of that dramatic win. “We just took it a shot at a time, made it a close game and ended up winning in an extra. So who knows how our week goes if we don’t win that one?”

RELATED: VIDEO – 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships officially begin

Sunday afternoon’s victory capped a magnificent day for Gauthier and the province of Manitoba; earlier, Mackenzie Zacharias skipped Manitoba to victory in the women’s gold-medal game, with Gauthier’s girlfriend, Karlee Burgess, throwing third rocks for the winners.

“Oh, it’s awesome,” said Gauthier. “I was an absolute wreck watching their game this morning; I was screaming at the TV like a psychopath. Obviously I wanted to go to Siberia with them, but the biggest thing with me was making sure she won, and she did that.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Manitoba wins 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s Curling Championship in Langley

Having experienced a gold-medal victory at the world level, and by virtue of wearing the Maple Leaf on his back in Russia, Gauthier’s team will be among the favourites next month. But the 21-year-old University of Manitoba student said nothing will change from the approach he took entering the New Holland Canadian Juniors.

“It doesn’t change my mindset at all,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s another tournament, and we just have to try to win it. We won’t have to try any harder than we did here; we just have to play really well and we’ll see what happens.”

It was an 11th Canadian junior men’s gold medal for Manitoba, behind only Alberta with 16 and Saskatchewan with 14, and the province’s first since Matt Dunstone prevailed in 2016.

The last time one member association swept both the men’s and women’s titles was in 2012 when Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher and Jocelyn Peterman claimed gold.

More pictures can be viewed online.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

curlingLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Manitoba won the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Men’s gold medal game against Newfoundland/Labrador at George Preston arena in Langley 8-6. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Teen cashier pays grocery bill for Aldergrove woman who comes back a week later to shower her in gifts

Otter Co-op’s Brooklyn Roberts asked to pay Tamara Smith’s $44 grocery bill after debit card declined

Fuel oil contaminates Langley salmon-bearing stream

Source of Saturday leak near airport may be connected to Friday leak near LMH

Ryan’s Regards: Farewell to Langley landmarks

Gabby’s Country Cabaret and Mary’s British Store will be missed

Retired Langley RCMP officer publishes book of memories serving on the force

What Cops Talk About Over Coffee features array of stories from different police officers

Vancouver Giants to stream 2007 Memorial Cup championship game Saturday night

Giants versus Medicine Hat Tigers can be viewed on YouTube at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read