THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Marc Kennedy is again within the place he refers to as “dwelling” — a curling rink. And but he is by no means felt as distant from the pebbled sheets as he does proper now, sitting on some scaffolding contained in the Event Centre holding an iPad. 

This week in Thunder Bay, Kennedy is monitoring rocks and watching Canadian groups intently as they compete within the third Grand Slam cease of the season.

It is his new gig — nationwide workforce program efficiency advisor with Curling Canada. Considered one of this nation’s most interesting curlers ever to grace the ice, Kennedy abruptly left the sport final spring simply weeks after his fourth-place end on the Olympics with skip Kevin Koe.

“I used to be away from the sport for about 4 or 5 months this summer time. Fully away,” Kennedy says. “Not even having the chance to speak curling felt like I misplaced a limb. It was the longest time away from the sport in my life.”

And it was wanted, in line with Kennedy. His physique is a large number after spending half of his life obsessively coaching for the game he loves. 

The 36-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., was a curling perfectionist in each approach conceivable. He would spend numerous hours throwing rock after rock. He admits now it was in all probability to his detriment health-wise. His hip continues to offer him bother. Kennedy has employed a brand new workforce of trainers to assist him rehab. It is a lengthy, gradual grind.

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“There is a put on and tear drawback in our sport going ahead,” Kennedy says. “The coaching for sure elements of our sport might be higher, particularly at a youthful age.”

The main focus now for Kennedy is on getting wholesome. Then, and solely then, will he think about persevering with his enjoying profession.

“Nobody is asking,” he says. “I’ve gotten extra calls from the teaching facet. I believe there’s loads I may give that approach.”

Export, eh?

Greater than something, the time away from curling has allowed Kennedy to replicate on the state of the game — one thing he by no means had time for whereas he was within the throes of competitors. 

And one thing is not sitting effectively with him. 

He thinks Canada is shedding floor because it exports extra of its coaches and curling know-how overseas.

“In my view, the worldwide groups have gotten actually, actually good with our assist,” he says. “I do not like seeing our curling data going to different international locations.”

Kennedy, proper, and skip Kevin Koe didn’t win a medal on the 2018 Olympics. It was the primary time that occurred to a Canadian males’s curling workforce. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Canada had by no means missed an Olympic podium in curling till this 12 months, when it occurred twice. Each the lads’s and ladies’s groups didn’t win a medal in Pyeongchang.

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Kennedy needs to ensure that does not occur once more.

“I believe we must be placing extra into our personal groups. So possibly I did take it personally,” he says. 

That is the principle motive for Kennedy taking over this place with Curling Canada this season. He says lots of the coaches and employees of the game’s nationwide governing physique know modifications have to be made after the final Olympic efficiency. 

“Dropping forces you to do it, to look within the mirror,” Kennedy says. “I believe they did. I believe there will not be panic however little modifications right here and there.”

They’re getting good

You will be hard-pressed to seek out somebody extra captivated with curling than Kennedy. He is lived and breathed the sport for years. And he is gained every thing there’s to win within the sport. 

He gained Olympic gold with Kevin Martin’s rink in 2010. He is captured two world championships and three Briers. Now he is making an attempt to share his curling data with the subsequent wave of Canadian curling champions. 

“The Olympics was an eye-opener for the way good the worldwide groups are getting and have gotten,” he says. “We develop up anticipating our groups to do effectively and have additionally taken a management function to assist different groups on the earth develop.”

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However Kennedy thinks that management function may need gone too far. Now it is time to step up the Canadian sport, he says. 

“We’re nonetheless evolving the sport and the sport has modified a lot. The technical a part of it’s nonetheless the largest half. Throwing a rock pure and straight will at all times be a very powerful factor.”

Whereas Kennedy navigates this new teaching function, he is nonetheless looking for his id exterior of curling. He is spending extra time than ever along with his two kids and his spouse. 

“I’ve an excellent factor at dwelling. Being away from them was robust for a very long time,” Kennedy says. 

After which there’s that complete fourth-place end on the Olympics. Kennedy remains to be working by way of that. He says he is by no means felt extra ready for an occasion in his life, so he does not remorse a factor regardless of the disappointing outcomes.

“Typically shedding occurs for a motive and I would not change any of it,” he says. 

Does he nonetheless take into consideration these video games although? 

“There are a couple of photographs I would like to have again. That is the character of curling.”

So does he have yet one more slide left in his aggressive curling profession?

“No remark,” he says with a smile.

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