Jim Cotter's Okanagan rink

B.C. champs amidst strong Brier field

Jim Cotter's Vernon/Kelowna rink making fourth appearance in five years at Canadian men's curling finals

It’s arguably one of the best and deepest fields in Brier history.

And Kelowna’s Tyrel Griffith couldn’t be more excited to see his rink right in the thick of the battle.

Griffith will be playing second for Jim Cotter’s Vernon/Kelowna foursome when the Canadian men’s curling championship begins on Saturday at TD Place in Ottawa.

In addition to Mike McEwen and his world No. 1-ranked team from Winnipeg, the 12-rink field includes a handful of former world, Canadian or Olympic champions.

Namely, Kevin Koe, Brad Jacobs, Pat Simmons, Glenn Howard, Brad Gushue and Jean-Michel Menard. Add in the always competitive Steve Laycock from Saskatchewan and there will be no free passes at this year’s event.

Still, Cotter’s B.C. champs have played each and every rink at this year’s Brier multiple times and has beaten the majority of them at one time or another.

In addition to making for a great atmosphere for spectators, Griffith expects the field to bring out the best in his teammates.

“I think it sets up well for our team and our style of play,” said Griffith. “We’re not overly flashy or aggressive, we’re more of a patient team, just keep it close and try and grind out the W.”

In addition, the B.C. team heads to Ottawa with a solid body of work behind them—a 37-9 overall record this season, including a 6-0 effort last month at the B.C. men’s finals in Nelson.

“I love the way our team is playing right now and our mindset,” he added. “I think our gritty style works out well for this field.”

The Cotter rink carries plenty of experience into the 2016 Brier. Cotter and lead Rick Sawatsky from Kelowna will both be playing in their sixth national finals, Griffith is making his fourth appearance, while Ryan Kuhn from Vernon will be Cotter’s third for the second straight year.

Last March in Calgary, in Kuhn’s first Brier, the Okanagan foursome posted a 5-6 record to miss the playoffs.

Now in their second full season as a unit, Cotter said his team should be better prepared to take on the challenge against Canada’s top curlers.

“It takes some time when you change players, but in our second year we know each other a lot better and have really come together as a team,” said skip Jim Cotter. “Ryan has done an excellent job, he’s huge asset to us and has worked really hard. I think we feel like we’ve come a long way this season and will be ready to go.”

As for playing in his fourth Brier in just a five-year span, Griffith said the novelty has yet to wear off.

“It’s the best event, by far, I’ve ever played in, so no, it never gets old. It’s just an amazing week, you get to represent your province and you kind of feel like a rock star. Every year, you look forward to it and consider yourself lucky to be part of it.”

Team B.C. will open the Brier Saturday night against Prince Edward Island’s Adam Casey.

On Sunday, the Cotter team will face Saskatchewan’s Steven Laycock and Brad Jacobs from Northern Ontario.

The Brier final is set for Sunday, March 13 at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.



Just Posted

Kelowna’s mayor ready to run again

Colin Basran is expected to announce a bid for a second term as mayor Thursday

Surprise hot air balloon landings in Kelowna

Balloon with 6 passengers aboard lands on Blondeaux Crescent

Nitro Circus show hits Apple Bowl Friday

Kelowna’s Bruce Cook, who was rendered a paraplegic in 2014, will perform in his hometown

District wants Wood Lake swimming area to fall under its jurisdiction

The District of Lake Country applied to the province for a licence of occupation

Kelowna’s Apple Bowl, surrounding roads affected by show

Nitro Circus action sports show goes May 25 in the stadium

MLA pushing province and pharmaceutical to save Vernon woman

Cystic fibrosis patient can’t afford $20,000/month medication she needs to survive

Star Gazing: What can we do to avoid being hit by an asteroid?

Ken Tapping, astronomer with the National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

Missing North Okanagan woman found dead

Ashton Creek’s Lisa Ruigrok was found in the Trinity Valley area; foul play not suspected

PNE’s Summer Night Concerts by Village People, Lauper, Goo Goo Dolls, more

Mostly retro sounds at this year’s fair in Vancouver, starting Aug. 18

Notley to skip western premiers meeting today, but slams leader who’s there

Notley told reporters that B.C. Premier John Horgan is trying to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline

No suitors emerge for pipeline project stake as Kinder Morgan deadline looms

Analysts and observers remain perplexed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comment last week that “plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project”.

Energy wells plugged as Hawaii’s volcano sends lava nearby

A spike in gas levels could prompt a mass evacuation in Hawaii

Trump seethes over Russia probe, calls for end to ‘SPYGATE’

“SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!” Trump said on Twitter

Grads receive BC Transit passes

BC Transit provides passes to graduating students in more than 50 communities

Most Read