TRURO - This year's Tim Hortons Brier holds special meaning for Kelly Mittelstadt, as the Truro lawyer will return home to compete at the national men's curling championship.
Mittelstadt, a 37-year-old Elmsdale resident, will attend the Brier March 2 to 10 at Edmonton's Rexall Place with Paul Flemming's rink out of the Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville.
It will be Mittelstadt's third Brier appearance, and one he especially looks forward to for a couple of reasons.
"Edmonton's my home town, so that's the first reason, and this is the reason we curl," he said. "We are by no means professionals, so this is the pinnacle of Canadian curling – to try and get to one of these events, so that's what you spend six months of the year working towards. And the atmosphere is great. Anytime you can get upwards of 14,000 people out to watch a game at a time, it's really neat to be part of that Canadiana."
Mittelstadt, who throws lead stones for Flemming, played at the Brier in 2011 in London, Ont. and 2005 in Edmonton – both times as a member of Shawn Adams' team. In 2005, Nova Scotia lost in the final to Alberta's Randy Ferby.
This year's Brier field is deep in talent and features heavyweights Glenn Howard of Ontario, Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Kevin Martin of Alberta.
"We kind of come in as a dark horse," said Mittelstadt. "We kind of hope to go through unnoticed for the most part and make a move at the end, and it got us to the final in 2005. We'll have to play really well, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. We've done it before and we beat some pretty good teams at provincials."
Nova Scotia opens the national championship Saturday against Brad Gushue of Newfoundland.
Mittelstadt is married to Truro's Candice MacLean, whom he met through curling.
Both are former national junior champions, as Mittelstadt won in 1994 when Truro hosted the event as a member of Colin Davison's Alberta team, while Candice won with Meredith Doyle's Truro rink in Selkirk, Man., in 1997.
Name: Kelly Mittelstadt
Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alta.
Work: Lawyer, Burchell MacDougall in Truro.
Attending: Tim Hortons Brier March 2 to 10 in Edmonton with skip Paul Flemming, third Ian Fitzner-LeBlanc and second Graham Breckon.
Family: Married to Truro's Candice Mittelstadt (nee MacLean); children - Drew, 5 and Brynn, 2.