It's last curling call for Dave Nedohin, at least for awhile.
As the four-time Brier champion gets ready to slip out of the curling stream in order to support his wife Heather's dreams of Olympic glory, he's having a ball at this week's Players' Championship, pulling on a pair of famed Norwegian pants as vice for skip Thomas Ulsrud.
“I told them that as long as the pants actually fit, I have no problem with them," he said with a laugh, as we sat rink side after his team's win 8-2 win over Saskatoon's Steve Laycock.
"If I didn’t want to wear those pants, I’d probably look like the prude Canadian out there. To me, it was a no-brainer. I wanted to feel part of the team."
Nedohin thought his season was over. His team had failed to qualify for the Alberta playdowns and he was home contemplating next year's curling inactivity when Ulsrud called him out of the blue about a month ago. The team's usual vice, Torger Nergard, decided to stay back home, as his wife was about to have a baby.
Knowing Ulsrud and his teammates from years of competition in the curling wars, Nedohin knew they'd be a good fit for him. "They’re really nice guys, I get along with them," he said, noting that they had precious little time to gel together before the Players' began.
“We had one forty minute practice before we started.”
Not a problem, Nedohin claims, because he and Ulsrud release stones in similar fashion, making it easy to read ice and each other's deliveries. As well, language is not a hurdle, as Nedohin's mates are making sure they bark out orders in his native tongue.
“No, I’m not speaking any Norwegian," Nedohin explains. "But they’re very fluent in their English. I haven’t heard them talk in Norwegian at all so far. I think they play so much over here that they’re used to speaking English anyway."
So, no Norwegian words or phrases have entered his lexicon?
“Well, I have a couple of terms but I can’t say them, he offers, laughing. "They taught me a couple of words and said ‘you probably shouldn’t say those, actually.’ I don’t know what they meant.”
However far this Norwegian adventure takes him this week, Nedohin knows he's about to take an extended break from the game he loves when its over. His wife has a team that's locked up a berth in next December's Canadian Olympic Trials and he will keep the home fires burning in order to let her do all she needs to in the chase for Olympic gold.
“I’m going to support her one hundred per cent," he said. "So, I’ll be home and working and taking care of the kids and doing everything else so that she can be totally mentally focussed on the trials.”
“After the trials I may play again, I’m not sure. We’ll see.”
Heather Nedohin, whose 2012 Scotties champion team is also at The Players' this week, is thankful for her husband's decision.
"I do admire him for giving me the opportunity to go and compete and train and be at my personal best heading into the trials," she explained. "As a mother I really appreciate knowing that my children are with their father.”
As for seeing hubby in those Norwegian pants, she's all for it.
“David’s hot no matter what he wears," she said.
We'll see about that. Apparently, there's another pair yet to be unleashed on this competition.
“They do have a playoff pair if we get into the playoffs," said Dave Nedohin. "They’re not showing them to me. It’s a surprise.”
That last sentence was followed by what I perceived to be a bit of a nervous laugh. However, Ulsrud has given Nedohin reason to trust him when it comes to the mystery trousers.
“The first ones were blue and yellow," he said of the pair they wore at Tuesday night's opening draw. "Alberta colours, they said. They chose those for me.”