Two more qualifiers set for 2017 Tim Hortons Brier
Adam Casey joined an elite club on Sunday by winning his first Saskatchewan men’s curling championship, while a familiar face remained in his own elite club by winning the Ontario men’s title. Casey’s team from the Highland Curling Club in Regina shocked three-time defending champion Steve Laycock of Saskatoon 11-3 in the final of the 2017 SaskTel Tankard Sunday in Tisdale to win a coveted Purple Heart and a berth into the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, March 4-12 in St. John’s. Also winning a Purple Heart Sunday was veteran Glenn Howard, who won the Recharge With Milk Ontario Tankard with an 8-6 win over Wayne Tuck Jr.’s team from Brantford. Casey, who will be playing in his sixth consecutive Tim Hortons Brier, becomes just the fifth player in Brier history to win titles in three provinces or territories. He skipped the past two Prince Edward Island champions (he joined his new Saskatchewan team last May), and prior to that, won three straight Newfoundland and Labrador titles playing second for Brad Gushue. He joins Earle Morris (Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario), Ryan Fry (Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Ontario), John Morris (Ontario, Alberta, B.C.) and Chris Schille (Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories). Casey, backed up by vice-skip Catlin Schneider (whose sister Lorraine will play second for Team Saskatchewan at the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts), second Shaun Meachem and lead Dustin Kidby (cousin of Team Canada lead Ben Hebert), scored three in the first and third ends and stole a crushing three in the fourth to take control and never looked back. Meanwhile, Howard will make history when he takes to the ice next month at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. The four-time Brier and four-time World champion padded the record he already owns by claiming his 17th Brier Purple Heart on Sunday. He also owns the record for games played at the Tim Hortons Brier with 206 — a record he’ll break a minimum 11 times in St. John’s. Howard’s team from the St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke is rounded by vice-skip Richard Hart, second David Mathers and lead Scott Howard (Glenn’s son). Mathers, interestingly, will be playing in his third straight Tim Hortons Brier with three different teams. Last year at Ottawa, he was Casey’s vice-skip on Team P.E.I., and the year before in Calgary, he played second (while Scott Howard played lead) for Ontario’s Mark Kean. Also picking up a big win on Sunday was Team Canada’s Kevin Koe, who captured the men’s title at the Pinty’s All-Star Curling Skins Game in Banff, shutting out Brad Jacobs in the final. Here’s a look at the rest of the country, with declared winners or links to provincial championships beginning this week. (Winning teams listed in order of skip, vice-skip, second, lead, alternate, coach)
- Team Canada (Glencoe Club, Calgary) — Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert, Scott Pfeifer, John Dunn.
- British Columbia — The belairdirect B.C. Men’s Curling Championship beginsWednesday at the Abbotsford Curling Club.
- Alberta — The 2017 Boston Pizza Cup Alberta men’s championship gets underway on Wednesday in Westlock.
- Manitoba — The 2017 Viterra Championship men’s provincials will kick off on Wednesday in Portage la Prairie.
- Northern Ontario — 2014 Olympic champ Brad Jacobs headlines the field for theTravelers Northern Ontario men’s championship, which begins Wednesday in Thunder Bay.
- Quebec (Etchemin CC, Lévis) — Jean-Michel Ménard, Martin Crête, Éric Sylvain, Philippe Ménard, Pierre Charette, Robert Ménard.
- Nova Scotia (Halifax CC) — Jamie Murphy, Jordan Pinder, Scott Saccary, Philip Crowell, Alan Darragh, Bruce Lohnes.
- New Brunswick — The 2017 Pepsi Tankard runs Feb. 8-12 in Saint John.
- Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown CC) — Eddie MacKenzie, Sean Ledgerwood, Matthew Nabuurs, Robbie Doherty, Phil Gorveatt, Al Ledgerwood.
- Newfoundland/Labrador (Bally Hall Golf and CC/ReMax Centre, St. John’s) — Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker, Jules Owchar.
- Northwest Territories (Yellowknife CC) — Jamie Koe, Chris Schille, Brad Chorostkowski, Rob Borden, Greg Skauge, Terry Shea.
- Yukon (Whitehorse CC) — Craig Kochan, Jon Solberg, Ray Mikkelsen, Darrin Fredrickson, Wade Scoffin, Larry Snow.
- Nunavut (Iqaluit CC) — Jim Nix, Edmund MacDonald, Greg Howard, Darryl McGrath, Howard Fick, Donalda Mattie.