The lingering question for Kamloops fans throughout the current season has been who would represent British Columbia in the Canadian men’s curling championship – the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek – March 1-9 at the Interior Savings Centre.
The answer came with an exclamation mark, Feb. 9, when John Morris defeated Jason Montgomery by an 11-2 score in the final of the provincial playdowns at the Vancouver Curling Club.
The victory set the stage for a homecoming for Kamloops-raised Jim Cotter, who throws fourth stones on the Morris team.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about going back to my hometown,” said Cotter. “I’ve still got family and friends in Kamloops and it’s going to be great to play in front of them.
“I remember the ’96 Brier there. We had Barry McPhee, a local team, competing and I was sitting in the stands cheering for them. Who would have thought 18 years later I’d be out there on the ice? It’s really neat how it’s come full circle.”
The Kelowna/Vernon team, with Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky manning the front end, came together at the completion of last season’s play when Morris announced he was leaving the Kevin Martin squad, winners of the 2010 Olympic gold medal.
“We’ve had a great year, especially considering we’ve really only been playing together a few months,” said Cotter. “We struggled a bit out of the gates, but we just kept getting better with every event.”
The major breakthrough came at the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar Pre-trials event in Kitchener, Ont., in November where the Morris foursome claimed one of two men’s berths in the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials.
A solid week at the Roar of the Rings last December in Winnipeg came to an end with a loss in the championship final to Brad Jacobs, the second qualifier from the Kitchener Pre-trials.
“The Trials was a bit of a letdown,” said Cotter. “You get so close and you kind of feel you had it stripped away from you. But Brad’s team was just phenomenal all week. They definitely deserved to win.
“It was a little tough, but we put it behind us and we’re moving on. We took and few weeks off and then regrouped. We had a training session before the provincials and that certainly paid off.”
The 2014 Tim Hortons Brier marks the seventh trip to the national championship for Morris, fourth for Cotter and Sawatsky, and second for Griffith.
“You Gotta Be There” when the top 12 teams in Canada battle for the right to hoist the Tim Hortons Brier Tankard. Get your tickets now by clicking here.