Jim Cotter rink to defend B.C. men's curling crown
There's an element of greed on the Jim Cotter rink in that the Vernon-based team would rather not share what they rightfully won in 2011.
But like it or not, 15 other teams will be gunning for Cotter and Co. when they
look to defend the B.C. men's curling championship this week in Parksville.
Cotter is joined on his team by a trio of Kelowna curlers—third Kevin Folk, second Ty Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky.
And there is another Kelowna component to the provincials this week as local curler Jeff Richard will be throwing last rocks for New Westminster's Brent Pierce.
Richard skipped his Kelowna team to the B.C. men's title two years ago.
The opening draw of the 16-team event goes Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., with Cotter playing Royal City's Jay Peachey, and the Pierce rink taking on Penticton's Wylie Eden.
The Cotter team is coming off a promising season on the World Curling Tour, qualifying in four events, including reaching the semifinals of the Pomeroy Inn and Suites National late last month in Dawson Creek.
Due to the loss of skip Bob Ursel to injury at the beginning of the 2010-11 season, the Cotter rink rotated through several thirds last season, before settling on Ken Maskiewich for the provincials and the Brier.
This season, Kevin Folk moved up to the third position while the team brought Ty Griffith on board to play second.
Kelowna's Rick Folk, who serves as the Cotter team coach, said the new arrangement has worked well for the local team.
"They started out pretty well and managed to keep it going pretty much all season," said Folk, a two-time world men's champ. "They seem to fit together pretty good, Kevin is probably more of a natural third, and Jim has had most of a season skipping with the same team. They look really comfortable playing together."
When asked to predict a winner in Parksville, Folk, not surprisingly, picked the Cotter rink based both on experience and overall talent. "They've got as good a shot as anyone," Folk said.
Still, Folk said there are a handful of rinks who are legitimate contenders in Parksville, including the Pierce foursome, featuring 2010 B.C. winner, Jeff Richard.
The Pierce rink rang up more than $25,000 in earnings on the WCT this season.
"They've had a very good season," Folk said of the Pierce rink which also features Kevin Recksiedler and Grant Dezura. "They've won at least one bonspiel and been close in some others. They have four really good curlers."
Other rinks in the field include former B.C. champs Sean Geall and Peachey, 2011 finalist Neil Dangerfield of Victoria, Tom Buchy of Kimberley, and Creston's Tom Shypitka.
This is the first time Curl B.C. has used a 16-rink format, increasing the number from 10 last year.
The final will be played Sunday, Feb. at 5 p.m.
For up-to-date scores during the event, go to www.playdowns.com