The blow up of competitive curling teams happens right on schedule every four years following the Olympics as teams realign to gain advantages heading into the next quadrennial. That’s been a recurring pattern since the sport entered the Olympic sphere as a test event in 1988. This year however, the seismic shift has been greater than previous quad cycles with the majority of high level teams in Canada reshuffling. Out of those ashes, and the generous supply of free agents that ensues, great things can come.
That’s the case with a new team emerging with three players having roots in east-central Saskatchewan. Dallan Muyres, longtime front end with his brother Kirk on several squads, is back in the high end game with an interesting trio backing him up. The foursome includes Garret Springer, with roots in the Foam Lake area, Dustin Mikush, hailing from Wadena, and a long distance import from BC, Jordan Tardi.
For Dallan Muyres, the excitement is clear as he steps back into the fold after a couple of years off and a fifth player stint with the western Saskatchewan Ryan Deis squad.
“With all the changes and free agents that happened over the last two or three months, free agent frenzy got the best of me, and I said I better put a squad together,” laughs Muyres.
The maneuver requires Muyres to take on the skip’s position after years of anchoring teams in the front end. Like any challenges he’s faced in the sport, he’s anxious to take this on, and it’s a position he’s held in the past.
“Out of Juniors, I had a couple years in mens playing the skip position, and I hate to say this but I used to be considered a younger guy, but now I think I’ve matured and have that experience you need at the skip position. I’ve swallowed my pride and said now I’ve got to pick up some young guys for the front end.”
Muyres' front end comes with a strong pedigree for a trio of curlers looking to step into the elite ranks. His third, Garret Springer was part of the Ryan Deis squad, along with lead Dustin Mikush, so three quarters of the team emerged from the decision of Deis and the group to go their separate ways for the coming season. Springer is coming off a major win in last weekend’s Best of the West competition. The spiel showcased the best U30 curlers in western Canada in mens, womens and doubles play.
“Garret won the inaugural Best of the West doubles tournament. It was in Saskatoon, so I was able to get down and cheer him on a bit. They looked really strong and being good at doubles transfers to mens and womens teams. A good curler is a good curler.” Springer won the competition with teammate Sam Wills of Regina.
Muyres maintains that Springer brings a decisiveness to the third position, which combined with Muyres’ ability to assess options makes for a formidable combo.
Jordan Tardi, brother to BC Juniors phenom Tyler Tardi, is the wildcard import element on the team. The Tardi brothers had a dominating presence in the junior ranks with three consecutive national titles from 2017 to 2019, and began to step out into major men's play. With Tyler Tardi’s announcement that he would be throwing third stones on a newly minted Kevin Koe team, Jordan entered into chats as a free agent, ultimately landing in the second position with Muyres.
“I’ve played against Jordan, and he’s really done well on tour,” says Muyres. “He’s a very strong sweeper, a big, young, strong guy, combined with some good shot making. His view of the game aligns with ours, and our schedule and planning, so it seemed like a natural fit.”
Muyres sees no issue with an out-of-province teammate given how competitive many teams have been with a parachute-in member.
Rounding out the quartet at lead is Wadena’s Dustin Mikush. Mikush is one of the architects of the Best of the West format, and in his position with CurlSask, has proven to be a tireless supporter of the game, particularly when it comes to youth development.
“Dustin is a really experienced player,” Muyres asserts. He came through the U of A program in Alberta, which turns out excellent curling athletes year after year. His fundamentals are rock solid, and he’s a really good team player who is willing to embrace whatever is being thrown at him.”
Muyres says he’s anxious to harness Dustin’s energy as a young curler who “wakes up every morning thinking a breathing curling.”
Their heir apparent to the spotlight in Saskatchewan curling has been Colton Flasch’s team of Catlin Schneider and Marsh brothers, Daniel and Kevin. That puts a target on Team Flasch, and Muyres makes no bones about taking a shot. During his hiatus, Dallan Muyres reflected on his own relationship with the game and resolved the re-enter with renewed vigour and a new vision.
“I spent a lot of time watching and becoming a student of the game, so I’ve really kind of honed in and felt the drive to get back and get into the skip role, and I really think I can bring a lot to a team that I can operate.”
The St. Gregor native has sharked up a band of former teammates and a valued import to give Humboldt and area residents an exciting new team to back in the coming months.
Listen to the full inteview with Dallan Muyres: