Kevin Koe captures Alberta

The last time a skip not named Martin or Ferbey led Alberta at the Brier was in 1999, when Edmonton’s Ken Hunka directed his provincial hopes in front of a hometown crowd. On Sunday, in Olds, Edmonton’s Kevin Koe beat six-time Brier winner Randy Ferbey, 7-5, to win the Boston Pizza Cup and qualify for the Tim Hortons Brier, March 6-14 in Halifax. It was the third consecutive win by Koe over Ferbey.   He’d won the A final, 10-8, then, after Ferbey took the B final,  defeated him again, 10-6  in the A-B match-up to advance to the final. Ferbey, meanwhile, had to dispose of Ted Appelman, 6-4 in Sunday’s morning’s semi-final to earn a third crack at Koe.  But the result was the same. Koe’s Saville Sports Centre team of third Blake MacDonald, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen have been knocking at the door for a while, both in provincials and Tour events.  They’d also just missed qualifying for the playoffs at last December’s Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, finishing fourth with a 4-3 mark. Martin, of course, won those Trials and will represent Canada at the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. It will be the Brier debut for Koe and Thiessen, but a third Brier appearance for 2002 Olympic silver medallist Rycroft and second for MacDonald.  Rycroft played second for Kevin Martin in 2000 and 2006, while MacDonald played second for Hunka in 1999. Alberta has won 24 Briers (the last by Martin in 2009 in Calgary), second only to Manitoba’s 26 victories.