EDMONTON — When the Northlands Coliseum falls silent near the midnight hour, it's time for Tom Sallows to go to work.
The fifth on Brad Gushue's Canadian team will scout rocks during practice sessions once evening draws are complete at the Ford world men's curling championship.
Sallows will also look for nuances on the ice and throw stones to stay sharp in case he's needed to play. But if everything goes according to plan, Sallows will spend games on the team bench with coach Jules Owchar and team leader Rick Lang.
"I enjoy this role," Sallows said. "I embrace it. I think it's just invaluable to be around these guys."
The Canadians are the only unbeaten team at 3-0 after five draws of round-robin play. Gushue dumped Russia's Alexey Stukalskiy 11-3 on Sunday morning before topping Sweden's Niklas Edin 8-6 in the evening.
Gushue opened the competition with a 7-5 win over Switzerland's Peter de Cruz.
Norway's Steffen Walstad improved to 2-1 with a victory over Jaap Van Dorp of the Netherlands. Scotland's David Murdoch was also 2-1 after a 7-4 win over Japan's Yusuke Morozumi.
China's Rui Liu defeated Stukalskiy 9-6 in the other late game.
Edin, Morozumi, de Cruz, and Italy's Joel Retornaz were also 2-1. China, Germany's Alexander Baumann and American John Shuster were 1-2 while the Netherlands and Russia were 0-3.
Round-robin play continues through Thursday night.
Sallows, meanwhile, has several off-ice duties as well. It could be handling a food run for his teammates, making sure the equipment is ready, or just helping with fan and media requests.
"It's just about easing their week any way I can," Sallows said.
The 33-year-old from Grande Prairie, Alta., also picked up some invaluable on-ice experience with Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker at the Elite 10 last month.
Walker injured his shoulder during the Tim Hortons Brier so Sallows played lead at the Grand Slam event.
Sallows also served as an alternate for the Canadian team skipped by Pat Simmons that won bronze at the 2015 world playdowns. Sallows played in four games during the competition in Halifax.
"He's got world championship experience whereas the rest of us haven't played at a world men's," said Nichols. "That speaks volumes for a team that hasn't been here."
Sallows also has some history with the team.
He played with Walker for several seasons at the junior level and was an unofficial alternate at the Brier in St. John's.
Sallows played at a competitive level in Alberta this year and spared for a few teams on occasion. He's on an unusually long list of players who have subbed in for the Gushue rink.
Nichols handled skip duties for the first half of the season while Gushue was out with a hip/groin injury. Simmons, Adam Spencer and Charley Thomas all played third at times to keep the front end of Walker and Gallant intact.
Despite the regular lineup changes, the Gushue team has remained on top of the national and world rankings.
"I've never experienced anything like it," Nichols said. "But I think (we) really learned a lot from that process. I think it definitely in the long run made us a better team."
The Page playoffs begin Friday and the medal games are set for April 9.
"You've got to just take it all in," Sallows said. "To me it's just about working as hard as I can and hopefully crack a stupid joke once in a while to keep them loose.
"To just really enjoy the experience and show you're thankful and grateful for it too."
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press