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Jamie Koe successfully defends Territories title

Jamie Koe of Yellowknife successfully defended his Northwest Territories/Yukon title on Tuesday, beating Chad Cowan of Whitehorse in a tiebreaker, 5-3.

Koe and Cowan had finished the four-team double round robin with 4-2 marks, and thus met in a one-game playoff, with a berth into the Tim Hortons Brier, March 6-14 in Halifax, on the line.

Koe is joined by third Kevin Whitehead, second Brad Chorostkowski and lead Martin Gavin.   It will be Koe’s fourth trip to the Canadian men’s curling championship, after skipping in 2006 (6-5 in Regina), 2007 (5-6 in Hamilton) and 2009 (3-8 in Calgary).

Chorostkowski makes his sixth Brier appearance, after playing second in 1998, 2001 and 2009, and lead in 2006 and 2007, while Gavin returns for a second time, following last year’s debut.

Whitehead returned to the Koe team this year, replacing Jon Solberg (who was skipping his own team at the Yukon/NWT championship), after playing third for him at the 2006 and 2007 Briers.

Now, Koe will face, amongst others, brother Kevin Koe, who will be skipping Alberta in his Brier debut, after winning the provincial on Sunday,

It will mark just the third time in Brier history that two brothers have battled each other as skips.  In 1942, Donald Campbell of British Columbia competed against Gord Campbell of Ontario at the Brier in Quebec City.   Then, last year in Calgary, Ontario’s Glenn Howard and New Brunswick’s Russ Howard faced off during the round robin.

Kevin and Jamie Koe and Kevin Whitehead teamed in 1994, as skip, third and lead, respectively, for the Territories, when finishing the runner-up to Alberta’s Colin Davison at the Canadian Juniors in Truro.

The Northwest Territories/Yukon has yet to win the Brier since joining the competition in 1975, when, ironically, it enjoyed its best finish ever, a tie for second with an 8-3 mark.