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Morris makes the best of second shot at Sochi

Four years ago, John Morris was a key player in one of the most electrifying moments in Canadian men’s curling history. Throwing third stones for Kevin Martin, he was instrumental in Team Canada’s gold-medal celebration at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

(Photo Michael Burns)

(Photo Michael Burns)

The Martin foursome was the first of eight men’s teams to lock up a spot in the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, with the opportunity to defend the Olympic title next February in Sochi, Russia.

But at the end of last season’s competitive action, Morris left the team and later joined forces with Jim Cotter who had locked up a spot in the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto – the qualifying event leading up to the Roar of the Rings.

With Morris calling the shots, Cotter throwing last stones and Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky on the front end, the Vernon/Kelowna, B.C. team had a perfect record at the Pre-Trials in Kitchener, defeating Brad Jacobs in the A-Event final to qualify for the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

“It feels tremendous,” said Morris, following the victory. “We had a heck of a week… I’m real proud of the guys. We hung tough and grinded one out… it was a real team effort.”

Morris gave credit to Cotter for coming through with the game on the line. “He’s our shot maker. We just gotta make sure we give him the shots to make… he a true leader of this team.”

The Roar of the Rings schedule will see Morris face his former skip in the closing draw of men’s round robin play, Dec. 6 at 8:30 a.m. “I’m sure we’ll have a great match against Kev,” said Morris. “We’ll both be gunning for each other. It was a tough break-up at the end of last year… but I’m sure we’re going to have a barn-burner and I look forward to it.”

It will be the fourth trip to the Canadian Curling Trials for Morris who skipped Ontario teams to appearances in 2001 and 2005 before signing on as third for Team Martin.

“It’s a grind… there’s no pressure like the Olympic Trials. I think it’s even more than the Olympics itself.”

Cotter competed in the 2005 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Halifax, playing third while throwing last rocks for Pat Ryan who will be part of the Morris contingent in Winnipeg as team coach.

“You Gotta Be There” when the top 24 teams in the country – 12 men’s and 12 women’s – fight for the right to represent Canada in Sochi. Get your seats today in the MTS Centre by clicking here.

John Morris (Photo Michael Burns)

John Morris (Photo Michael Burns)