Vernon’s Jim Cotter (centre) and Kelowna’s Rick Sawatsky (left) and Andrew Nerpin welcomed back former teammate Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna to the team. The quartet went 2-3 and missed the playoffs at the World Curling Tour’s Nufloors Classic in Penticton Oct. 14-17. (Michael Burns Photography)

Vernon’s Jim Cotter (centre) and Kelowna’s Rick Sawatsky (left) and Andrew Nerpin welcomed back former teammate Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna to the team. The quartet went 2-3 and missed the playoffs at the World Curling Tour’s Nufloors Classic in Penticton Oct. 14-17. (Michael Burns Photography)

Vernon skip welcomes back former teammate

Jim Cotter has former second Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna playing in a limited men’s schedule this season

Vernon’s Jim Cotter welcomed a familiar face to his curling lineup.

Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna is back with the Cotter rink playing third. Griffith was a member of five provincial championship squads with Cotter at second before leaving the team after the 2019 title. He replaces Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock, who joined the team in 2019.

Cotter and Griffith were joined by the regular front end of lead Rick Sawatsky of Vernon and Andrew Nerpin of Kelowna to go 2-3 at the World Curling Tour’s Nufloors Classic at the Penticton Curling Club Oct. 14-17, failing to qualify for the playoff cash.

The Vernon/Kelowna squad opened the Classic with a convincing 9-3 win over Sean Geall of New Westminster, then dropped their next two games, 5-2 to Tyler Tardi of Langley and 7-5 to Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont.

Cotter got back into the win column with a 5-3 decision over Cameron de Jong of Penticton, who had Vernon’s John Slattery at lead, but ended the event with an 8-1 loss to Matt Dunstone of Regina.

The team has also picked up Grant Olsen.

“We have three babies due in January (Tyrel, Andrew and Grant) so we’re not playing much men’s this year,” said Cotter, whose main focus in 2021-22 is playing mixed doubles with his daughter, Jaelyn. Cotter and Sawatsky have been the mainstays in the Vernon-Kelowna rink winning eight of the last 10 B.C. Men’s championships.

Cotter is in Toronto this week coaching Team Koana from Japan as the Grand Slam of Curling kicks off with the Masters. Koana is skipped by Tori Koana. The team is from Fujiyoshida and is making its Grand Slam debut at the Masters and what a start it was for the rink Tuesday morning, Oct. 19.

Koana, seeded No. 16 (out of 16 rinks), stunned world No. 1 Team Anna Hasselborg of Sweden 7-6.

Cotter will return to Vernon this weekend for the 20th anniversary Rick Cotter Memorial Junior Cashspiel which gets underway Friday at the Vernon Curling Club.

The event is held in memory of Cotter’s father, a longtime curler out of Kamloops.

Nine girls’ teams will take part. There were not enough entries to field a boys’ draw this year.

READ MORE: Vernon curlers returning to Brier

READ MORE: Vernon rink back to defend B.C. men’s curling title



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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