Russell W. "Russ" Howard, CM, ONL (born February 19, 1956 in Midland, Ontario) is a Canadian curler and Olympic champion, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, but originally from Midland, Ontario. His home club in Moncton is Curling Beausejour. Known for his gravelly voice, Howard has been to the Brier 14 times (8 as Ontario, 6 as New Brunswick), winning the title twice (both as Ontario). He is also a two-time world champion, winning in 1987 and 1993. He has also won three TSN Skins Games in 1991, 1992, and 1993, and participated in two Canadian Mixed Curling Championships in 2000 and 2001. He won gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics and two Canadian Senior Curling Championships in 2008 and 2009 finishing with a silver medal both of those years. Russ Howard was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He is currently a curling analyst and commentator for TSN’s Season of Champions curling coverage.
|Born||February 19, 1956|
|Brier appearances||14 (1980, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009)|
|Top CTRS ranking||12th (2004–05)|
|Grand Slam victories||0|
In 2005, he joined team Gushue to call the shots for Brad Gushue's team at the Canadian Olympic Trials, while he played second. Howard, along with Gushue (who throws last rocks), lead Jamie Korab and third Mark Nichols, went on to win the trials, giving them the right to represent Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics, where they won the gold medal, defeating Finland 10–4 in the final match. It was the first time that a Canadian team had won the gold medal for men's curling. Howard, who turned 50 during the Olympics, is also the oldest Canadian to win an Olympic gold medal. The oldest person ever to win a gold medal was Robin Welsh, aged 54, who won gold in curling at the 1924 Winter Olympics.
As a skip (captain), Howard has been in three previous trials (in 1987, 1997, and 2001), but never went on to the Olympics. Howard is also the innovator of the "Moncton Rule", which evolved into the "free guard zone", part of international and Olympic rules. This makes his 2006 medal particularly significant, as it is likely that without the excitement this rule adds to the sport it would not have become an Olympic event in the 1990s.
In the 2009-10 curling season, although he played in bonspiels throughout the year, Howard did not curl in the New Brunswick Tankard due to his broadcasting commitments with The Sports Network (TSN). Howard has been commentating curling events for TSN since 2001.
At the end of the 2009 Brier, Howard had appeared in more Briers than any other player (14), and played more games at the Brier than any other player (174). The 2012 Brier saw his brother Glenn Howard tying his record for Brier appearances and breaking his record for most career games played at the Brier. As of 2017, Russ had appeared in the second most Brier games ever, behind his brother Glenn.
Howard stepped into the broadcast booth for the first time in 2001, serving as an analyst for TSN’s coverage of the Tim Horton's Brier. Since 2008, he has been a mainstay analyst on the network, also providing colour commentary for TSN’s Season of Champions curling.
Howard's grand-aunt, Jean Thompson, was an Olympic runner. His brother, Glenn Howard, is also a well known curler. Howard's daughter, Ashley Howard, is a competitive curler and the executive director of CurlSask, the governing body of curling in Saskatchewan.
Outside of curling, Howard worked as a real estate agent for Royal LePage Atlantic, in addition to his commentator work with TSN, and as a curling coach in Switzerland.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Russ Howard". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
- Jones, Terry (2006-02-25). "Rockin' the house". Slam! Sports.
- "Russ Howard". oshof.ca. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Pressure On Canada's Curlers". The Sports Network. Canadian Press. 2005-12-12. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
- "Canadian men claim gold in Olympic curling". CTV Television Network. 2006-02-24. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
- "History of Curling". Curling Canada. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
- "TSN's Howard inducted to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame". TSN Curling. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- "Four Nova Scotians among Order of Canada honourees". The Chronicle-Herald, July 1, 2015.
- TIM HORTONS, NOKIA AND LABATT BRIER TOP CAREER GAMES PLAYED 1980–2012. cassidys.ca
- "Howard sets record in Ontario's win over Saskatchewan". TSN Curling. 6 March 2012.