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Brett Gallant’s wonderful curling season will be celebrated tonight


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Brett Gallant has a bit of tongue-in-cheek advice for permitting well-wishers to kiss the Brier Tankard when it’s on display Sunday in Charlottetown.

“As long as they don’t get too close,” Gallant said with a laugh.

That’s Sunday, 1-3 p.m., at the West Royalty Community Centre.

First, though, the Brier and men’s world championship-winning second stone is the guest of honour at a gala today at the Charlottetown Curling Complex to celebrate the Charlottetown native’s monster year in curling.

“I’m excited for Saturday. It’s going to be nice to see a lot of people I don’t get to see that often and celebrate the past season,” he said.

Gallant’s fourth year with the Brad Gushue-skipped rink from Newfoundland and Labrador was a corker.

The foursome, which also includes third Mark Nichols and lead Geoff Walker, had a dominant season, winning several cashspiels, the Brier and the world championship, and finished first on the Canadian Team Ranking System list with 520.53 points and third on the World Curling Tour money list with earnings of $140,395.

“I consider my career pretty young at this stage, so to have that (Brier, world championship) crossed off my list is pretty special,” said the 27-year-old Gallant.

For Gallant, this past season reaped the benefits of daily practice time and upwards of 100 games beginning in September.

“We played in a lot of events so when you get to the big game, you’re confident in that situation,” he said.

Gallant is no stranger to success, however, as he skipped Canada to a silver at the 2009 world junior championship, has gold, silver and bronze medals skipping P.E.I. at the Canadian junior championships and has a bronze for P.E.I. at the 2007 Canada Games. And Gushue’s group finished second at last year’s Brier.

He doesn’t miss his skipping days, happy in his role (he calls Nichols the best third on the planet) and is proud of his much-improved sweeping skills.

“It’s 100 per cent better. Out front is a completely different perspective. You spend a lot time with your teammates. (When skipping) you’re at the other end calling shots, seeing the shot gone then gathering the information to make the shot. Getting used to (second) took a couple of years,” he said.

After the gala and Sunday’s public event, Gallant heads back to Calgary, where he lives, to resume training. At the end of August, he’s comes east to St. John’s, N.L., to reunite with Gushue, Nichols and Walker and prep for the 2017-18 season.

And there’s an extra incentive, a shot at a gold medal at the 2018 Olympics.

Gushue and crew’s world championship win earned it a berth at the Olympic curling trials in December in Ottawa. Win that and Gallant’s off to Pyongyang, South Korea, with a chance for gold.

“That’s the next main goal. It only comes your way every four years,” he said.

Tickets have already been sold for the gala, but there is a public event with doors opening after 10 p.m., with a cover charge.

Overflow parking is in the Holland College staff parking lot on Fitzroy Street.

On Sunday, attendees can get their picture taken with the Brier Tankard.

P.E.I.’s Brett Gallant, right, and team skip Brad Gushue celebrate at the world curling championship against Sweden.

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