Dave Nedohin joins Kevin Martin’s Edmonton team to make run at 2014 Olympics
Former member of Ferbey championship rink fills void left by John Morris at third
EDMONTON - Just when Dave Nedohin was starting to look forward to having a quiet winter off from competitive curling, he jumped back into the fire with both feet.
And he’s quickly getting really excited about his abrupt change of plans.
Nedohin, 39, will have to dig his curling shoes out of storage after he officially joined Kevin Martin’s 2010 Olympic championship team on Wednesday, filling the huge void left when third John Morris resigned two weeks ago.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been in this position, but I’m really excited to take on the challenge,” said Nedohin, who threw skip rocks for Randy Ferbey’s four-time Canadian championship and three-time world championship rink for a decade until 2010.
Nedohin hasn’t played on a powerhouse crew since the Ferbey Four called it quits, but he still practises a lot and keeps up his fitness workouts. He hooked up with Ferbey for the 2011 and ’12 playdowns and put together a team of young guns this past winter, but failed to get out of the city playdowns for the second year in a row.
“Every day, I’m getting more excited about the opportunity and what lies ahead for us,” said Nedohin, who initially turned down Martin’s first invitation because he wanted to support his wife, Heather, while she pursued her Olympic dream this fall by looking after their daughters, Halle and Alyssa.
Heather’s team, like Martin’s, has already qualified for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic trials Dec. 1-8 in Dave’s hometown of Winnipeg.
“The more it sinks in, the more I realize what the opportunity is here,” continued Nedohin, who said it had been very difficult to turn down Martin in the first place.
“It’s not just going to the Olympic trials, but potentially being an Olympic gold medallist a year from now and all the things that this team has the potential to win next year is mind-boggling.”
Martin’s rink, which includes second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert, used to be one of the top two teams in the country, but it hasn’t been as dominate over the last 1-1/2 years. The team struggled at the recent Tim Hortons Brier at Rexall Place, getting off to a 1-4 start before winning its last six games to fall just short of qualifying for the playoffs.
“Having him on the team gives us an automatic chance of being a contender and a chance of reaching our goals of winning the Olympic trials again,” Kennedy said about Nedohin. “Dave’s skill set and ability is hard to come by and we know he’s going to fit into this team really easily and quickly.
“It was a surprise to get a call back from him, but we’re all really excited. There’s a really short list of guys who could fit that role on this team, and he was one of them. We are very lucky to have him.”
Nedohin’s change of heart came after his parents, Kris and Neill, offered to help take care of his girls so both Dave and Heather could pursue a chance to play in the Olympics at Sochi, Russia.
“That pretty much changed everything from my perspective and made it a very easy decision to say yes and be a part of this team,” said Nedohin, whose parents usually spend the winter in Phoenix.
“I can’t thank them enough for their support over lots of years, not just this year coming up.”
“Boy, it’ll look good on Dave’s mom and dad if they both get there (to the Olympics),” said Martin.
Nedohin got a taste of what his future will be like throwing third rocks for Martin when he subbed for Thomas Ulsrud’s Norwegian team at the Players’ Championship last month at Toronto.
“I had an absolute blast playing third,” he said.
Martin likes the fact that Nedohin is used to throwing shots called by another player (Ferbey), because it’ll make the transition to his team that much easier.
“He’s always thrown last rocks, so the pressure won’t bother him at all, and it won’t bother him that it won’t be him putting the broom down,” said Martin. “And then moving into a sweeping role, Dave is a tremendous sweeper and he sweeps from both sides.”
Martin also likes the idea of having Dave throwing shots for him instead of making big shots against him, as has been the case for the last 15 years.
“I see Dave all the time practising here, so now I guess we’ll be practising together,” said Martin, who asked one other player about joining his team after Nedohin initially turned him turned, but said no one was close to coming aboard.
“I know these guys are committed to a very high level of excellence,” Nedohin said. “They’re going to do everything possible to make sure that they’re back representing Canada again and I’m extremely driven to be a part of that process.”
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