Jim Cotter will be making his second appearance at Canadian curling’s Pre-Trials qualifying event, leading up to the Sochi Olympics, when he takes to the ice Nov. 5-10 in Kitchener for the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto.
At the 2009 Pre-Trials he played third for the Bob Ursel team that lost the final qualifying game to Wayne Middaugh, missing the opportunity to advance to the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, the Canadian Curling Trials, in Edmonton.
Cotter competed in the 2005 Roar of the Rings in Halifax, playing third while throwing last rocks for Pat Ryan.
This year Cotter returns in the same role at the third position, delivering last stones, with 2010 Olympic gold medallist John Morris skipping the team. After announcing his departure from the Kevin Martin team at the conclusion of last season’s play, Morris subsequently joined forces with Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky.
“The year’s been going really well,” said Cotter. “With a new team we have lots to learn about each other, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
The team showed clear signs of progress during the recent Prairie Classic in Portage la Prairie where they lost in the quarterfinals to Ontario’s Glenn Howard.
“It’s been a pretty easy adjustment,” said Cotter. “John’s a great guy and he really knows the game. And we’re very similar in our thinking. We find ourselves finishing off each other’s sentences a lot of the time. Overall we’re generally on the same page so that’s made it pretty easy.
“We’re really taking advantage of John’s experience. What he’s learned over the past seven years, he’s passing on to us. Obviously he’d be a valuable addition for any team in Canada – we just feel lucky to have him.”
Another difference Morris, a certified personal trainer, has brought to the team is his commitment to physical training. “We’re working a lot harder this year on both the physical and mental aspects of our game,” said Cotter.
The team, competing out of Vernon/Kelowna, B.C., has been following a two-on/two-off schedule to open the season. “We’ve been playing consecutive weekends and then taking a couple of weeks off. We’ve also had one training session in Calgary and we’ll be doing another one before the Pre-Trials.”
Cotter is a three-time competitor at the Tim Hortons Brier. Sawatzky has been with him for all three and Griffith was part of the squad that represented British Columbia in 2012.
Morris has been to the Brier on six occasions, winning the Tankard twice as third for Martin, as well as the Olympic gold medal in 2010. Morris is also a veteran of Trials competition, skipping Ontario teams in 2001 and 2005 prior to joining Martin.
Surveying the upcoming field in Kitchener, Cotter isn’t expecting anything to come easily in their quest for one of the final two men’s berths in the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg.
“Obviously they’re all great teams. We have to play extremely well, be super-tough and hopefully get a few breaks. We’ve worked really hard over the summer, but we know everyone else has been too.”
“You Gotta Be There” when 24 teams – 12 men’s and 12 women’s – face off in the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium to fight for Olympic glory. The best seats in the building are available now by clicking here.