It’s the curling world’s version of a free agent frenzy.
After each season comes to an end, some teams decide to shuffle their lineups. There are a variety of reasons for changing things up but the most common one is simply a desire to make the team stronger.
The 2019-20 season ended a few weeks early due to COVID-19, but the pandemic did not slow down the action off the ice, with many high-profile squads making personnel changes.
Among them, reigning Saskatchewan men’s champs Team Dunstone, who made a switch at second, bringing fellow champion Kirk Muyres into the fold.
The St. Gregor, Sask., native has been skipping his own squad for the past two seasons, beating Dunstone in the 2019 provincial final. This year, however, the tables turned and it was Dunstone winning the rematch and earning the right to represent Saskatchewan at the Brier.
When Dunstone reached out with an invitation to join forces, Muyres was all ears.
Dunstone, who played with Muyres during the 2017-18 season on a team skipped by Steve Laycock, is excited to have his former teammate on board.
“He’s the most decorated curler in Saskatchewan over the last decade and just the experience, the success he has, I mean when an opportunity like that comes your way to add a guy like that, it’s an opportunity you gotta take,” he said.
“We said to him, you know we wanna win the Brier. Obviously, we came very close this year, which I’m sure helped his decision-making quite a bit.”
The addition of Muyres and his five provincial tankard titles — including four with Team Laycock — makes it clear that despite the success Team Dunstone enjoyed last season, they’re hungry for even more.
However, joining a new team does mean leaving another, and for Muyres, that means parting ways with two good friends in Dan and Kevin Marsh along with his brother and longtime teammate, Dallan.
“It’s tough. They always say teammates, they grow into friendships and brotherhoods. Well, I had my best friend and my brother playing with me, who’s also my teammate, so it was tough to leave that but I was really grateful for his support,” Muyres said.
With no family drama to worry about, Muyres can now focus on adjusting to his new role at the second spot after playing third or skip for most of his competitive career.
“I’m excited to learn the new position. I’m excited to kind of take that next step in my career as well as really focus on having a goal at the second position to be one of the best seconds in the world,” he said.
Now the re-tooled team waits for next season, which they hope will end with a Brier championship and maybe even more.