At an event that only happens every four years, one curling team had just 72 hours to make some drastic and emotional changes.
Saskatchewan-based rink Team Dunstone is one of nine men's teams at the Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon this week. The tournament to decide Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics officially starts on Saturday. On Thursday night, Team Dunstone announced they would be without third Braeden Moskowy for "personal reasons."
"We're going to respect his privacy at this time" skip Matt Dunstone said on Friday. "It's kind of come up within the last 72-96 hours."
Moskowy, who is based in Regina, helped Team Dunstone win bronze medals in back-to-back Briers and played in their qualifying games to get to the Trials. Dunstone was emotional when speaking about not having his teammate this week.
"It's been hard," Dunstone said. "This is his moment as much as ours. He's worked his ass off for all of us to be here."
An 'astonished' Colton Lott swoops in last-minute
On Wednesday night, Colton Lott — a culer based in Gimli, Man. — was practicing with his mixed doubles partner Kadriana Sahaidak at the Winnipeg Beach Curling Club. He never expected how much things were about to change.
"I was throwing some stones and she was videotaping me," Lott said laughing. "She looked on her phone and Matt sent her a message getting me to call him because I didn't have my phone on me."
That was at about 8:45 p.m. After talking to Dunstone, Lott said he confirmed he'd be joining the team at 9:30 p.m.
"I couldn't even kind of grasp what [happened]," Lott said. "I was astonished."
Despite feeling a little overwhelmed in the moment, Lott said he didn't waste any time.
"My mom's a hairdresser so she quickly gave me a haircut ... then ripped home, started packing up, did some laundry, and caught a 7:40 a.m. flight out of Winnipeg."
Lott and Dunstone previously played together for about four years, including representing Canada at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships. Now the rest of the team is trying to quickly create a bound some teams spend decades to establish. The team's coach, Adam Kingsbury, said getting to practice together for the first time on Friday morning is an immediate help.
"It's no surprise that you'd be sad, but you can prepare as much as you can and things change in an instant," Kingsbury said. "That's sports, that's life, that's everything. Being able to adapt is how I want these guys to define themselves."
Team Dunstone plays their first game at the trials against Team Mike McEwen on Saturday at 7 p.m. CST.