Brad Jacobs’ strongman is heading east.
One of curling’s worst-kept secrets was made official today, as E.J. Harnden was announced as Brett Gallant’s replacement on Team Brad Gushue.
The 2014 Olympic champion played second for Jacobs’ Northern Ontario crew from 2010 up to this season, after qualifying for his first Brier (at third stone) with his brother and father in 2008. Jacobs was the alternate that year.
Gallant is moving to a new Team Brendan Bottcher for 2022-23.
Harnden was arguably the “biggest” of the jacked Jacobs squad members, which included brother Ryan Harnden and, during their peak years, Ryan Fry. That squad is credited with confirming—for all casual observers to see—that high-performance curlers are athletes.
In addition to the Olympic gold at Sochi 2014, the team captured Northern Ontario’s first Brier title in 28 years by winning the 2013 championship in Edmonton.
Harnden lost December’s Canadian Olympic Trials final to the team he has now joined.
“Very excited to join this phenomenal team & continue to build on their tremendous success,” said Harnden in an online posting.
“I have so much respect for them as players/people & I look forward to experiencing the tremendous support they have from their incredible fans as we begin this new journey #grateful”
The Jacobs team’s final appearance came last Sunday, in an emotional Grand Slam semifinal loss to Kevin Koe. The title was captured by Gushue.