by Al Cameron
February 10, 2014 (ISN) – The final seven teams that will compete in the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek – the Canadian men’s curling championship – were determined February 9 with the wrap-up of playdowns in five provinces, as well as Northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories/Yukon.
Curling fans in Kamloops, host city for the Tim Hortons Brier, March 1-9 in the Interior Savings Centre, were focused on the outcome of the British Columbia playdowns at the Vancouver Curling Club.
The Kelowna/Vernon team skipped by John Morris, with Kamloops-raised Jim Cotter throwing fourth stones and Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky on the front end, downed Jason Montgomery by an 11-2 score in the final to become the hometown favourites.
“Going to a Brier in my home town is going to be a phenomenal feeling. I still have a lot of friends and family there and I am really looking forward to it,” said Cotter.
Morris earned the distinction of becoming only the third curler in history to represent three provinces (Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia) at the Canadian men’s championship. The first was his father Earle, competing for Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario, followed by Ryan Fry who has worn the Manitoba, Newfoundland/Labrador and Northern Ontario crests.
The battle of Alberta came down to a championship showdown between heavyweights Kevin Martin and Kevin Koe in Lacombe. Martin advanced to the final undefeated, but fell 7-5 in the championship game to the Koe foursome, rounded out by Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen.
Further north in Whitehorse, brother Jamie Koe prevailed to represent the Northwest Territories/Yukon for an eighth time at the Tim Hortons Brier, including the past six years in a row. He will be joined in Kamloops by teammates Kevin Whitehead, Brad Chorostkowski and Robert Borden.
In Schumacher, Ont., 1996 Canadian junior champ Jeff Currie defeated Brian Adams Jr. by a 9-4 score to wear Northern Ontario colours for the first time in the Canadian men’s championship, with the support of Mike McCarville, Colin Koivula and Jamie Childs.
On the Atlantic coast, playdowns in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia saw three teams with prior experience at the Canadian championship punch tickets to Kamloops.
James Grattan will be making his 11th appearance for New Brunswick at the national championship after defeating Marc Lecocq in Moncton. Gratton will lead Jason Roach, Darren Roach and Josh Barry into the Interior Saving Centre.
Eddie MacKenzie defended his 2013 Prince Edward Island title, with teammates Anson Carmody, Tyler MacKenzie and Sean Ledgerwood, downing top-seeded Jamie Newson in the championship final at the Montague Curling Club in Charlottetown.
In Nova Scotia, 2012 provincial champion Jamie Murphy defeated 2004 Tankard-winner Mark Dacey 12-8 in the final match. Murphy will head to Kamloops with third Jordan Pinder, second Mike Bardsley and lead Donald McDermaid.