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Koe Wins Alberta's 27th Brier Title; Ties Manitoba

Friday Mar 04 2016

Kevin Koe's Alberta team posted a 9-5 victory over Brad Gushue-NL to win the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa. The win gives Koe the trip to the Ford Worlds in Basel, Switzerland in April and gives Alberta a 27th Brier win all-time, now tied with Manitoba as the province with the most Brier championships.                

Manitoba's Denni Neufeld was named the first-team all-star lead, joined by Brent Laing-ALberta and Ryan Fry & Brad Jacobs-Northern Ontario.               

Jacobs Posts Extra End Win Over McEwen in Brier Bronze Game - Mike McEwen's Manitobans lost an extra end 7-6 game to Northern Ontario in the Tim Hortons Brier bronze medal game Sunday afternoon. McEwen opened the scoring with a deuce but trailed by two coming home. A triple kill for two ties the game but Jacobs posted a single on the 11th for the 7-6 bronze medal win.

Team McEwen was beaten 7-4 by Kevin Koe-AB Saturday afternoon. Northern Ontario's perfect week, an 11-0 round robin record, ended Friday evening in the 1-2 Page Playoff game when Brad Gushue-NL defeated Brad Jacobs-NO 7-6 in an extra end. And then it got worse when Kevin Koe-AB won a tenth end measure to score the only deuce in a 6-5 win in the semi-final Saturday evening, advancing Koe to the Sunday evening final against Gushue. 

FRIDAY UPDATE: Team McEwen Advances to Playoffs - A split of their two games on Thursday gave Manitoba's Mike McEwen team an assured spot in the Tim Horton's Brier playoff round. McEwen's Thursday started with an 8-5 loss to Brad Jacobs (NO) and it looked like it be a double loss through most of the evening match with Jean-Michel Menard (Quebec). Down 5-3 after seven ends, Team McEwen scored a four on the eighth and stole another on the ninth end for an 8-5 win. The Fort Rouge foursome goes into the playoffs on a positive note, having won their Friday morning game 8-3 over Prince Edward Island.

Manitoba finishes in fourth place behind Alberta's Kevin Koe whose round robin ended Thursday with an 8-3 record. Koe defeated Manitoba earlier in the week so  Alberta finishes in third. Undefeated Northern Ontario stayed perfect with a final round 4-1 win over Newfoundland-Labrador Friday morning. 

1 (11-0) Northern Ontario (Jacobs) 
2 (9-2) Newfoundland and Labrador (Gushue)
(8-3) Alberta (Koe)
4 (8-3) Manitoba (McEwen)

5 (6-5) Canada (Simmons)
6 (5-6) Saskatchewan (Laycock)
7 (4-7) Québec (Menard)
7 (4-7) Ontario (Howard)
9 (3-8) New Brunswick (Kennedy)
9 (3-8) Northwest Territories (Koe)

11 (2-9) British Columbia (Cotter) 

11 (2-9) Prince Edward Island (Casey)

Team McEwen 6-2 at Tim Hortons Brier After Tuesday AM Win - With play underway Thursday afternoon against Northern Ontario, Manitoba's Mike McEwen team has moved into the top four at the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa. Three wins in a row, 6-4 over Team Canada Tuesday evening and Wednesday wins 6-5 over Saskatchewan and 8-3 over BC, have improved Team McEwen's record to 6-2. As play began Thursday afternoon, Manitoba trailed unbeaten Northern Ontario and 8-1 Newfoundland-Labrador.

1 (8-0) Northern Ontario (Jacobs) 
(8-1) Newfoundland and Labrador (Gushue)
(6-2) Manitoba (McEwen)

(7-3) Alberta (Koe)
5 (5-5) Canada (Simmons)
5 (5-5) Saskatchewan (Laycock)
7 (3-5) Québec (Menard)
7 (3-5) New Brunswick (Kennedy)

9 (4-6) Ontario (Howard)
10 (2-7) British Columbia (Cotter) 

10 (2-7) Prince Edward Island (Casey)
12 (1-8) Northwest Territories (Koe)

Team McEwen 3-2 at Tim Hortons Brier After Tuesday AM Win - A Tuesday morning 5-4 win over NWT (Jamie Koe) has improved Manitoba's record to 3-2 at the Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa. The win bounces back from a 9-4 loss to Alberta on Monday evening. Manitoba's Mike McEwen team had opened the Brier on Saturday with a 5-4 loss to Newfoundland-Labrador. Sunday's record was perfect with a 6-2 win over Ontario and a 6-3 win over New Brunswick.

1 (5-0) Northern Ontario (Jacobs)
2 (4-1) Alberta (Koe)
(4-1) Newfoundland and Labrador (Gushue)
4 (3-2) Manitoba (McEwen)
4 (3-2) Canada (Simmons)
4 (3-2) Ontario (Howard)
7 (2-3) Saskatchewan (Laycock)
7 (2-3) Québec (Menard)
7 (2-3) British Columbia (Cotter)
10 (1-4) New Brunswick (Kennedy)
10 (1-4) Prince Edward Island (Casey)
10 (1-4) Northwest Territories (Koe)

2016 Tim Hortons Brier opens Saturday in Ottawa - A field many consider to be the finest ever assembled to contest a Canadian men’s curling championship will open play Saturday at TD Place in Ottawa in the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier. There will be a collective 16 previous Brier winners (with 30 titles in total), 13 former world champions, nine Olympic gold-medallists and a stunning 304 Tim Hortons Brier Purple Hearts on display in the world’s most famous curling championship, which will celebrate its 87th edition in the nation’s capital.

Leading the pack will be the two-time defending champion Pat Simmons team from Calgary, which claimed gold at last year’s Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary before winning bronze at the Ford World Men’s Championship in Halifax.

But the reigning champs — Simmons, vice-skip John Morris, second Carter Rycroft, lead Nolan Thiessen, alternate Tom Sallows and coach Earle Morris will be adorned in Team Canada colours — will be pushed extremely hard in its bid for a three-peat (for Simmons, Rycroft and Thiessen; Morris joined the team last season).

The list of contenders includes the home-province favourite Glenn Howard (Toronto), who is in pursuit of his fifth Tim Hortons Brier championship; the 2014 Olympic gold-medallists and 2013 Tim Hortons Brier champs from Northern Ontario, skipped by Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie); two-time Tim Hortons Brier champ Kevin Koe of Alberta (Calgary); 2006 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Gushue (St. John’s), currently the leader on the Canadian Team Ranking System; and 2006 Tim Hortons Brier champ Jean-Michel Ménard of Quebec, who hails just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau and will be a hometown favourite.

But some of the Tim Hortons Brier rookies are just as impressive. After years of frustration in his attempts to win a Tim Hortons Brier Purple Heart, Manitoba’s Mike McEwen finally broke through to win his first provincial title. His Winnipeg team has been dominant on the World Curling Tour in the past few seasons, and currently sits third on the Canadian Team Ranking System, behind Gushue and Koe.

Another group of rookies will not only be making their Tim Hortons Brier debuts, they’ll also be giving home territory, Nunavut, its first-ever representation at the Canadian men’s championship, as Wade Kingdon’s team from Iqaluit participated in the pre-qualifying competition beginning on Thursday.

Still, it’s the experience of the field that should stand out — for instance, 2014 Tim Hortons Brier silver-medallist Jim Cotter of B.C. (Vernon/Kelowna) and 2015 Tim Hortons Brier bronze-medallist Steve Laycock of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon).

The field is rounded out by 2014 world senior men’s champ Mike Kennedy of New Brunswick (Grand Falls); Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy (Halifax); Prince Edward Island’s Adam Casey (Charlottetown/Summerside); Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories (Yellowknife); and Bob Smallwood of the Yukon (Whitehorse).

As part of the Tim Hortons Brier week celebration, the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony on Wednesday, March 9, during a banquet at the Westin Ottawa. 

It’ll be the first time the Canadian men’s curling championship has been played in the nation’s capital since 2001, when Alberta’s Randy Ferbey prevailed in the same building (then known as the Ottawa Civic Centre).

Teams will play a 12-team round-robin draw leading to the Page playoff round, which sees the top two teams meeting in the Page 1-2 game, with the winner advancing to the gold-medal game on Sunday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. (all times EST) while the loser goes to the semifinal. The third- and fourth-place teams meet in the Page 3-4 game, with the winner advancing to the semifinal on Saturday night (March 12). The loser plays in the bronze-medal game Sunday afternoon (March 13) against the semifinal loser.

TSN/RDS2, the official broadcast partner of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the Tim Hortons Brier, leading to the gold-medal game on March 13.

The winner of the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier will represent Canada at the World Men’s Championship, April 2-10 in Basel, Switzerland, in addition to qualifying for the 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup in Brandon, Man., the 2017 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming, in Las Vegas, and the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s.

Additionally, should the Tim Hortons Brier champs finish on the medal podium at the world championship in Switzerland, they’ll earn a return trip to Ottawa for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials — the event that will determine Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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