Kelowna-Vernon rink wins provincial men’s curling title

Morris-Cotter foursome defeats Dean Joanisse in B.C. final Sunday in Abbotsford

The last time Jim Cotter and John Morris joined forces in 2014, the result was a B.C. men’s curling title.

Re-united three years later, the Kelowna-Vernon rink has once again punched its ticket to the Brier.

With Morris skipping, Vernon’s Cotter throwing fourth rocks, and Kelowna’s Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky carrying the front end, the Okanagan crew defeated Dean Joanisse of Maple Ridge 6-3 in Sunday’s B.C. men’s final in Abbotsford.

The Morris-Cotter foursome went a perfect 5-0 at the championship.

For longtime teammates Cotter and Sawatsky, it was their seventh B.C. title, tying for the most purple hearts ever by B.C. men’s curlers.

Vancouver’s Bernie Sparkes and Reg and Roy Stone, of Trail, also have seven provincial wins.

Sawatsky, who grew up watching Sparkes, is humbled by the recognition.

“That’s someone we really looked up to growing up as kids so it’s really cool to be in the same company as him,” said Sawatsky, who plays lead.

For second Tyrel Griffith, a former B.C. junior champ, this was his fifth provincial title since joining the Cotter rink in 2012.

Cotter said although he has been to the Canadian men’s curling championship six times previously, the ultimate goal remains unfulfilled.

“It was always my goal to go to the Brier and win the Brier, so that will be our focus this year,” Cotter said.

The last time Morris and Cotter played together with Griffith and Sawatsky, the B.C. foursome reached the final of the 2014 Brier final in Calgary, before losing to Alberta’s Kevin Koe.

The Kelowna-Vernon rink will represent B.C. at the Brier, March 4 to 12 in St. John’s Newfoundland.

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