Trust was handed to Kirk Muyres last April when he joined Team Dunstone.
The plan was to get a feel for team chemistry during the 2020-2021 regular season, while Muyres settled into a new position, making the move to second from fourth.
Instead, a national audience is watching Muyres figure much of it out on the fly at the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, along with skip Matt Dunstone, third Braeden Moskowy and lead Dustin Kidby, with the help of coach Adam Kingsbury.
“This is all brand new for us yet,” said Muyres, who last season skipped a team that included his brother, Dallan Muyres, and two of his best friends, twin siblings Kevin and Daniel Marsh.
“Normally, you have 70, 80 games to figure it out before the Brier, so we’re in that process and I think it’s getting better and better, and I’m understanding a little bit more my role, where I fit in and when my opportunities are to pipe in and help with the decision-making process.”
Muyres, from Saint Gregor, Sask., skipped his rink at the last two Saskatchewan provincial championships and squared off against Dunstone in the final both years, winning once.
Kamloops resident Dunstone and Muyres were teammates on the Steve Laycock team that won the Saskatchewan provincial title in 2018.
“We’ve been good buddies,” said Muyres, who spent nearly all of six seasons, from 2012 to 2018, playing third for Laycock.
So trusting Muyres to pitch in with strategy and decision-making was easy.
“Automatically,” Dunstone said. “We want to hear from everybody on the team. It works really well for us.”
TSN cameras caught Dunstone and Moskowy conferring with Muyres during a key moment in the 10th end of a pivotal draw against Nova Scotia on Thursday, with Saskatchewan needing a victory to guarantee a spot in the Championship Pool.
“We’ve talked about trust and committing to one another and respecting everyone’s opinion,” said Muyres, whose team edged Nova Scotia 7-5. “I really enjoy sitting back and allowing Matty and Braeden to go through that process. Sometimes, I can just go in there and reaffirm what they’re thinking. The chemistry has just been awesome.”
Catlin Schneider, who was released by Dunstone following the 2019-2020 campaign, curled at 85 per cent at the 2020 Brier in Kingston and helped the team to a bronze medal.
The pandemic waxed plans to ease Muyres into his new position, as most of this past season was wiped out.
“I don’t think I’m playing quite where I want to play yet, but that’s to be expected as I kind of learn the ropes,” said Muyres, who is curling at 85 per cent heading into Day 2 of Championship Pool action on Saturday.
“When you’re playing second, a lot of the time you’re putting rocks in good positions. They don’t have to be perfect. Just being happy with good, I’m really kind of working on that. Making good shots, being on the right side of the miss, those sorts of things. It’s been a work in progress. I feel a little bit more confident now.”
Saskatchewan sits in a four-way tie for third in the Championship Pool, with two games remaining on the slate — both on Saturday, 11:30 a.m. against Northern Ontario (Brad Jacobs) and 5:30 p.m. versus Manitoba (Jason Gunnlaugson).
Eight teams qualified for the Championship Pool, from which three playoff teams will emerge, with the top seed advancing straight to the final.
None of the remaining teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.
This was the position Muyres hoped to be in when he made the difficult decision to leave his old team last spring.
“I’m having an absolute blast,” Muyres said. “It was a tough decision to make, but, boy, I’m sure glad I made it now.”