Kelowna’s Rick Sawatsky (right) and Tyrel Griffith at the Brier this week in St. John’s with the B.C. champion John Morris-Jim Cotter rink. -Image credit: Curl BC

Okanagan rink chases Brier title on The Rock

Kelowna-Vernon foursome makes repeat appearance at Canadian men’s curling finals

Rick Sawatsky hopes his seventh time is a charm.

The Kelowna curler will be throwing lead rocks for the Okanagan-based John Morris foursome at the 2017 Brier beginning Saturday in St. John’s, N.L.

Sawatsky, like Vernon’s Jim Cotter, will be making his seventh appearance at the Canadian men’s curling championship. Second Tyrel Griffith, from Kelowna, will be playing at the Brier for the fifth time.

“The feeling never gets old,” said Sawatsky, who has been a teammate of Cotter’s for all seven B.C. titles. “To be able to represent the province is a privilege and an honour. I know after we won B.C., Jim (Cotter) and I smiled and just appreciated the fact that we get to go back.

“It’s exciting to be part of it again, and this time we’re going to go and try make the most of it.”

The last time the Kelowna-Vernon curlers teamed up with Morris, the B.C. champs came agonizingly close to a Brier title, losing the 2014 Canadian final in Kamloops to Kevin Koe.

Three years later, with Morris skipping and Cotter again throwing last rocks, the Kelowna-Vernon crew has had a solid season on the World Curling Tour, winning one event, finishing second in another and qualifying in several more.

After a few weeks to get reacquainted early in the season, Sawatsky said the Morris-Cotter rink has hit its stride.

“Getting back after a hiatus with John, it took a little time for us to come together,” Sawatsky said. “But once we got comfortable again, everything fell into place pretty well. I think we got stronger with each event we played and hopefully that’s something we can carry with us into (St. John’s).”

This year’s Brier, as is often the case, is a who’s who of Canadian men’s curling. Defending national champion Kevin Koe, ex-Brier champs Brad Jacobs and Glenn Howard, former Olympic gold medalist and hometown favourite Brad Gushue, and Manitoba’s Mike McEwen are all included in the field. The Morris-Cotter rink has beaten each one of those teams at least once during the season.

As for playing for a Brier championship on The Rock, Sawatsky said the B.C. champs are looking forward to the experience.

“I think it’s going to be pretty fun,” Sawatsky said. “We were (in Newfoundland) last year for a Slam event, the fans were amazing and the atmosphere was top notch. I expect the same kind of excitement this time around.”

Still, all hype and pomp of a Brier aside, Sawatsky said his team is in Newfoundland this week with one goal in mind.

“We can just really need to focus on what we can control,” he said. “The four of us need to go out and have a good week, get to the final and see of we can win it this time. We think we’ve got the game and steam do it…it’s matter of us playing like we we’re capable of.”

The B.C. champs will open the 2017 Brier on Saturday against Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs.

Just Posted

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Design submitted for new restaurant at location of former Kelowna hot-spot Rose’s Pub

Cactus Restaurants purchased the property earlier this year

Cancer cure breakthrough needs more research

Dr. Connie Eaves, a leading biotech research scientist in Canada, was keynote speaker at cancer care forum held Friday in Kelowna

Kelowna man sentenced to 20 months for having sex with minor

The incidents occurred over a four-month period between February and May of 2018

Well-known Kelowna developer, Al Stober, dies

Al Stober, whose Landmark Centre development spawned new town centre in the city, passes away at 88.

Kelowna business sponsors BC SPCA gala

Orthoquest Pedorthics and Rehabilitation returns as one of the gala sponsors for 2019

Summerland holds multiple events to launch festive season

Festival of Lights, Light Up the Vines and Sip ’n’ Shop will be held in late November and December

PET OF THE WEEK: Moose still needs a home

Critteraid cat wants a nice, quiet environment

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Penticton Vees to host 2021 Centennial Cup

It’s the first time Penticton has hosted the tournament which decides the country’s Junior A champions

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Most Read