Curling

Your! Call: Who is the best skip in the game today?

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TSN.ca Staff
12/27/2012 3:33:30 PM
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You have voted and the skips have been named for The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game Presented by Pinty's to be held at Casino Rama in January.

Defending world champion Glenn Howard was the top vote-getter, followed by 2011 world champion Jeff Stoughton, current Olympic champion Kevin Martin and 2010 world champion Kevin Koe.

Between them, they have won five of the last six world titles, and could all make a solid argument to be called the best skip in men's curling right now.

Who do you think is the best skip in the game today? Let's take a closer look at these four candidates.

Glenn Howard won his first world title in 1987, playing third for his brother and current TSN analyst Russ Howard. But he has produced a solid resume of his own as a skip in recent years. He has won two world titles in the last six years, a period that included a switch at third from Richard Hart to former teammate Wayne Middaugh. The chemistry between these two positions is key to being successful so being able to accomplish the feat again in short order is impressive. At the age of 50, Howard would like nothing better than to top off his great career with an Olympic gold medal.

Jeff Stoughton has been the face of men's curling in Manitoba for many years, winning nine provincial titles. He won his first Brier and world title in 1996 and then teamed up with long-time third Jon Mead to win the Brier again just three years later, much like Howard did in changing teammates. Then, after an 11-year absence, he returned to prominence by winning the Brier and Worlds in 2011. No one would be surprised to see the 49-year-old Winnipeg native represent Canada at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Speaking of the Olympics, Kevin Martin devoted four years of his life to the goal of representing Canada at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and it ended with a gold medal to go with the silver medal he won in 2002. He has four Brier titles to his credit but that total could be higher if not for an absence of a few years to support the World Curling Tour. He has been a driving force behind the professional game and has 17 Grand Slam titles and the earnings to show for it. He is also the leading money earner in TSN Curling Skins Game history with $418,850 in winnings. While some thought he would ride off into the sunset after the Olympics, the 46-year-old is making a serious push to defend his title in Sochi.

Kevin Koe emerged from the shadows of Martin and Randy Ferbey in the province of Alberta to win the Brier and Worlds in 2010. While his resume is not as lengthy or impressive as the other three candidates (yet), age is one factor working in his favour. At 37, the Calgary resident represents the next wave of great curlers who could dominate for many years. He currently leads the World Curling Tour money list by a wide margin.

Howard, Stoughton, Martin and Koe are four great Canadian skips who have enjoyed a lot of success at the highest level and been chosen to participate in The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game Presented by Pinty's. Another worthy candidate who will not be there is Scotland's David Murdoch, who has won the only other two World titles in the last seven years. He certainly deserves to be mentioned in the conversation.

Is there one that stands out as the best right now? Who do you think is the best skip in the game today? It's Your! Call.

Stoughton and Howard (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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