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Brad Gushue adds Olympic gold medallist E.J. Harnden at second for next season

E.J. Harnden is leaving one Olympic gold medallist named Brad to join another Olympic gold medallist named Brad.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native Harnden, who won gold playing second for his cousin Brad Jacobs in 2014, has linked up with Brad Gushue’s St. John’s, N.L., club for next season.

Gushue, the Olympic champion from 2006, made the official announcement Wednesday.

Team Gushue was searching for a new player after longtime second Brett Gallant decided to join Brendan Bottcher’s team in Edmonton. Gallant, who plans to marry mixed doubles partner Jocelyn Peterman during the off-season, is moving to Alberta.

“Very excited to join this phenomenal team and continue to build on their tremendous success,” Harnden said in a tweet. “I have so much respect for them as players/people (and) I look forward to experiencing the tremendous support they have from their incredible fans as we begin this new journey.”

Harnden is no stranger to Team Gushue as the teams frequently clashed on the ice during “Battle of the Brads” matches over the years including the Olympic trials final this past November. Gushue defeated Jacobs to earn the right to represent Canada at the Winter Games in Beijing and brought home the bronze medal.

The 39-year-old Harnden served as Gushue’s alternate last month at the world men’s curling championship in Las Vegas and earned a silver medal.

In addition to Olympic gold, Harnden captured the Brier and world men’s silver medal with Team Jacobs in 2013 plus a total of seven Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s championships and two Pinty’s Cup titles.

With Jacobs opting to step back from the sport for at least a season, the team’s tenure together came to an end this past Saturday after losing to Kevin Koe in the semifinals of the season-ending KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup. Third Marc Kennedy is also off to join Team Bottcher while lead Ryan Harnden, E.J.’s brother, has linked up with skip Matt Dunstone.

Gushue beat Koe in the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup men’s final Sunday to capture his 13th career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s title.

Harnden joins Gushue, third Mark Nichols and lead Geoff Walker, who will gain residency in Newfoundland again in order to comply with Curling Canada’s rules.