Brother Ryan Harnden will curl with Team Dunstone next season while Marc Kennedy will be joining Team Bottcher as Brad Jacobs steps back from competitive curling
As Team Jacobs concluded the 2021-22 curling season over the weekend, the team played its final event together after a mid-March announcement that the team would not return to action together next season.
Skip Brad Jacobs announced that he was stepping away from competitive curling, meaning the remaining three members of the team would with new mates next season.
On Wednesday, the team skipped by Brad Gushue announced that Team Jacobs second EJ Harnden would be joining the Maritime-based rink next season.
“If I was going to continue to play, I knew I wanted it to be at the highest level,” Harnden said. “Brad and the team to me, and to most people, are arguably the best team in the sport.”
“To be a part of Team Gushue and be a part of the best team in the world, obviously that’s something that got me excited,” Harnden added. “Beyond the talent they possess and what they’ve achieved over the last four years, which has been pretty incredible, I’ve gotten to know all of them on a personal level. I have developed a lot of respect for them, not only as players, but as individuals. Having that chemistry off the ice, even as competitors, is really attractive to know that if I can get along really well with them and have a lot of respect for them as competitors, I feel like as teammates, that will only continue to grow. ”
Gushue said the decision to add Harnden to the team was an easy one.
“I have a huge amount of respect for EJ,” Gushue said. “We’ve watched EJ over the last five or six years be one of, if not the best seconds in the game. From a talent perspective, it was an easy fit.”
Gushue added that, on a personal level, the team felt the chemistry between Harnden and his new teammates “would be good.”
“When you look at all the boxes you want to check in a new teammate, EJ checks all those boxes for us.”
Gushue said bringing Harnden on came together quickly.
“Once our team was aware the Brett (Gallant) was going to be moving on, we developed a pretty short list of players that we would be interested in,” Gushue said. “There was a lot of stuff that we had to go through in order to do this. We knew we wanted to play together, but there were residency issues and logistical issues that we had to make sure we had settled away.”
In order to fulfill Curling Canada’s residency requirements, Gushue said that Geoff Walker, who is based in Edmonton, will become a Newfoundland and Labrador resident in order to allow the team to comply with the rule and add Harnden, who will remain living in the Sault .
Harnden is the third member of Team Jacobs to join a new team after the Sault-based rink announced earlier this spring that it would be disbanding.
Jacobs made the decision to step away from competitive curling for the time being while third Marc Kennedy has joined Brendan Bottcher’s new team while lead Ryan Harnden is set to play with Matt Dunstone next season.