Group hug for Team Edin following their Masters title win in Okotoks, Alta. (Anil Mungal)

TBT: Edin wins 1st GSOC title at 2016 Masters

October 12, 2017, 4:54 PM

Throwback Thursday (TBT) reflects on classic moments of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling. This week we take a look at the 2016 Masters in Okotoks, Alta.

A Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title had been something Niklas Edin targeted for quite some time and was a top priority for the Swedish skip entering the 2016-17 season.

No European men’s team had ever won a Grand Slam previously and the two-time world champion was determined to become the first. Edin came close prior to the 2016 Masters reaching two finals but was just short both times.

“This has been our biggest goal since we won the worlds a few years ago,” Edin said. “Obviously the Olympics are something that we always aim for, but other than the Olympics this was the one title that we missed.”

There were a few reasons to believe Edin’s time to shine in the series was on the horizon. Kristian Lindstroem, who struggled with shoulder issues, had off-season surgery and his lengthy recovery time forced Edin, third Oskar Eriksson and lead Christoffer Sundgren to welcome a new second to the squad, and one straight out of the junior ranks, Rasmus Wrana.

Another key change prior to the Masters was the World Curling Federation’s new brushing and sweeping regulations based upon a summit held during the summer. In case you’ve been living under a curling rock, it was quite the controversy during the previous season and was finally put to rest. Edin, who participated in the summit, believed the new rules now made it “fair game” for everyone.

Team Edin got out to a hot start on the season winning three tour titles ahead of the first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, the Masters, in Okotoks, Alta. Edin continued his strong play with a 3-1 round-robin record to qualify for the playoffs. The lone blemish came in his opening game against Brad Jacobs, who made an incredible shot to score three points in the decisive eighth end to win 4-2.

The loss was just a minor setback as the Edin train rolled right through into the final topping John Epping 6-4 in the quarterfinals and Reid Carruthers 8-3 during the semis.

Meanwhile, Jacobs also went 3-1 in round-robin play to set up a quarterfinal match against Team Gushue, skipped by Mark Nichols as Brad Gushue was out due to a hip/groin issue. Again, Jacobs came up big late scoring a deuce in the eighth to win 6-5. Jacobs was clutch in the semifinals as well edging Steve Laycock 5-4 to reach the championship game.

Jacobs opened the final with the hammer, but it was Edin who got on the scoreboard first stealing a point (perhaps foreshadowing what was to come? Stay tuned). Jacobs blanked back-to-back ends until settling a single in the fourth to tie it 1-1 at the break.

The game swung in Jacobs’ favour as he stole one in the fifth, forced Edin to a point in six and scored a deuce in the seventh to lead 4-2. Things started to unravel a bit and Edin had it all set up to score not just two but three points for the win until Jacobs made a great shot on his last to limit the damage. Edin scored a deuce and forced an extra end, but Jacobs held the all-important hammer.

Edin, sans hammer, made an incredible pinball shot with his first skip stone in the extra end to sit shot rock protected.

The gate was down and the bridge was raised, there was no easy way for Jacobs to get to the button with either of his skip shots. Jacobs looked to make a raise on his last but didn’t get the correct angle and collided with a guard to concede the championship point. Edin stole to win 5-4 and enter the record books.

“I’m really happy we finally got it,” Edin said. “Now kind of getting that monkey off our backs and having a team that’s already performing this well even with a new player, I think we might get some more chances, so that feels good.”

The positive outlook from the rookie Wrana, who was now 1-for-1 in the series, was key according to Edin.

“We got a really tough [round-robin] group, so we were really happy if we made playoffs, but he wanted to make the final,” Edin said. “He’s got a good attitude for the game and he’s playing really well. The more experience on this kind of ice and playing against these teams, I think the sky’s the limit.”

Edin was quite the psychic with that prediction carrying that momentum through to his second title in the series just two weeks later at the Tour Challenge in Cranbrook, B.C. A third came at the prestigious Players’ Championship in Toronto in April and helped the team clinch the Bonus Cup as the season champions.


When in Alberta: Edin, Eriksson, Wrana, Sundgren and coach Fredrik Lindberg celebrate their Masters win in style. (Anil Mungal)

The 2016 Masters women’s division also featured a first-time winner, but for that story you’ll just have to wait until the next episode.