Glenn Howard takes the Players’ Championship

Terrific week of curling ends with an exciting final

Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing, and Craig Savill pose with the Players' Championship trophy. Photo: Ryan Horne
Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing, and Craig Savill pose with the Players’ Championship trophy. Photo: Ryan Horne (rsz_dsc_8247)

Glenn Howard made a double in the last end to win the Players’ Championship curling title, 4-3, over Mike McEwen at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Sunday afternoon.

After making the shot, Howard faced the crowd and showed off his patented double fist pump celebration at the venue formerly know as Maple Leaf Gardens.

Lead Craig Savill has come to expect this type of clutch shooting from the 50-year-old skip.

“I’ve seen him make a lot of shots over the years and not miss very many, so when you see something like that when it’s kind of a half rocker, you expect it,” he said. “But it’s to win the game and win the Players’ Championship so there’s always a little bit more pressure.”

The Howard foursome went undefeated throughout the week and finished a so-so season – by their standards – on a high.

“It was a little bit of a peak and valley which we don’t normally do,” said Howard, in a media scrum after the game. “To cap it off here is a great feeling going into the summer and into the fall next year.”

Savill, who curled 95 per cent in the finals, thought it was important to finish the season strong.

“We were pretty disappointed on how we finished off the Brier, so it’s nice to cap off the week with the best curlers in the world and come up on top,” he said.

Third Wayne Middaugh curled an impressive 94 per cent in the finals while Howard shot 82 per cent. McEwen, who only lost twice this week – both to Howard – shot 83 per cent.

With the victory, the Coldwater, Ont. rink takes $25,000 as well as $50,000 in bonuses for placing first in Grand Slam points this season.

“I cherish the four Brier wins and the four worlds wins, they’re really close to my heart,” said Howard. “But the Players’ Championship is the best of the best.

“It’s the 15 best teams in the world here, bar none, and to beat all them and be the Players’ Champion is huge.”

The veteran curler says it’s time to take a rest from curling until next season rolls around in the fall.

“I don’t want to think curling for several months,” said Howard. “If you start throwing rocks in early August it’s like hitting a bucket of balls for a golf game a month from now, which doesn’t make sense.”

Howard said he’s not sure how he’ll use the money quite yet, but his lead already has plans.

“I just bought a house, so I got a few renovations that I should be doing and a few trips with my wife,” said Savill.