Reid Carruthers, Mike McEwen, Derek Samagalski and Colin Hodgson are the number one seed for the 2019 Viterra Championship which begins Wednesday, February 6th at Tundra Oil & Gas Place in Virden.
Carruthers, who defeated McEwen in the final of last years Provincial Men's Curling Championship in Winkler, welcomed the two-time champion to his team when McEwen, B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld parted ways after 12 years together.
McEwen and Carruthers have each had a go at throwing the last two rocks this season and Carruthers confirmed that McEwen will hold the broom in Virden.
"We started off the season with me skipping and Mike throwing the fourth stones - almost like the Ferbey collaboration," said Carruthers at CurlManitoba's press conference in Winnipeg Wednesday to announce the top five seeds and the draw. "We did that until November and then we tried a couple of different situations. One being Mike skipping and throwing fourth stones and then also for two 'spiels I threw skip rocks and called the game. Now for the remainder of the year we're definitely having Mike skip and throw the fourth stones."
"We each bring totally different skill sets and we also have a different approach to the game as far as strategy," added Carruthers. "Our team was maybe a little more aggressive than the style of play that McEwen's team would employ and there's pros and cons to each. We're still trying to figure out what's the best combination for the four players that are on the ice now and how do we call the game. We made a good transition this past weekend in Phoenix and the results followed."
Jason Gunnlaugson, Alex Forrest, Denni Neufeld and Connor Njegovan of the Morris Curling Club are the number two seed.
"I think that's pretty fair," Njegovan said. "Mike and Reid obviously have a lot of experience going into this championship. They've had a really good year so number two makes a lot of sense for us."
Rounding out the top five seeds are Braden Calvert of Assiniboine Memorial, Tanner Lott of Winnipeg Beach and Dennis Bohn of Assiniboine Memorial.
Carman's Dean North will play his opener against William Lyburn of the Granite, Ryan Thomson of Morden will meet Steve Irwin of Brandon, Randy Neufeld of La Salle will take on Terry McNamee of Brandon and Curtis McCannell of Pilot Mound will face David Bohn of Assiniboine Memorial.