Team Cotter’s picture-perfect victory at the Canadian Direct Insurance BC Provincial Men’s Curling Championships in front of a hometown crowd in Vernon was only the first in a series of challenges that the rink will face in the coming weeks.
As winners of the provincial championships and representatives of British Columbia, Team Cotter, consisting of lead Rick Sawatsky, second Kevin Folk, Third Ken Maskiewich, Skip Jim Cotter, fifth Brad Wood and coach Rick Folk will be travelling to London, Ontario to play in the Brier, Canada’s national men’s curling championships. The event takes place from March 5th-13th. The Cotter Rink, ranked ninth in the world by the Order of Merit, will be one of the many very talented teams competing in what is arguably the strongest Brier field ever.
The strength of the participants results in an uphill battle for Cotter and Company, right from the very first draw. In this game, Cotter will face former world champion Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba, a team that he lost to just two months ago in a quarter final that turned into an extra-end thriller. The matches don’t get any easier for the British Columbians, as the following afternoon, they face 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Team Kevin Martin of Alberta. A mere one hour after that match, the B.C. foursome will look to slide to victory against yet another Olympic Gold Medalist- Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador. The team must then awake early to play against former world champion and reigning Canada Cup champion Glenn Howard of Ontario, followed by a matchup with 2010 Brier Bronze medalist Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario. To make the playoffs, Team Cotter must sweep to victory in one of these crucial games early in the week, and upset one of the curling heavyweights.
Vernon Curling Club will be hosting a sending-off party for Team Cotter on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:30 PM, where well-wishers can visit the team before they embark on their quest to capture the Brier. Following the festivities will be a Baron Insurance Super League matchup at 8:30 PM between Jim Cotter and Dave Merklinger. Merklinger himself is a former Brier participant and leader of the Super League standings.
Vernon Curling Club members, especially those in the Junior League (of which he is the well-liked and admired instructor) wish Jim Cotter and his team the best of luck and are hoping that the rink brings home B.C.’s first Brier title since 2000.