ALL EYES ON LETHBRIDGE!
2022 Tim Hortons Brier gets underway Friday in Lethbridge
Canada’s men’s curling elite are on their way this week to Southern Alberta and will open play Friday night at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge in the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI.
The 93rd edition of the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship will feature 18 teams from across Canada, all chasing the most famous and prestigious men’s curling national championship on the planet.
There will be a pair of home teams in the field as Team Canada’s Brendan Bottcher foursome from Edmonton chases a second consecutive Tim Hortons Brier title, while 2022 Alberta champion Team Kevin Koe hails from Calgary. Koe will be pursuing his record fifth Tim Hortons Brier title as a skip; his team fell short to Team Bottcher in the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier final in the Calgary bubble.
But there will be no shortage of other storylines when teams open play Friday at 6:30 p.m. (all times Mountain).
Team Brad Gushue will wear Wild Card colours for the first time after being forced to miss the Newfoundland and Labrador men’s championship when it was rescheduled due to COVID regulations. Team Gushue heads to Lethbridge fresh off its bronze-medal performance at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and is the top team in the Canadian Team Ranking System 2021-22 standings. Team Gushue has won three of the past five Tim Hortons Briers.
Gushue himself can match the record currently co-held by Koe, Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey and Ernie Richardson with his fourth Tim Hortons Brier title as a skip.
Another Newfoundland and Labrador player could make history in Lethbridge. The Newfoundland/Labrador champs from St. John’s are skipped by Youth Winter Olympics gold-medallist Nathan Young, who also claimed the provincial junior (Under-21) men’s title this past weekend with the same lineup and will compete at the New Holland Canadian Junior Championships, March 25-April 1 in Stratford, Ont. It’s believed this would be the first time a team has competed with the same lineups in both the Tim Hortons Brier and New Holland Canadian Juniors.
Should he appear in a game, team alternate Nicholas Codner, who won’t turn 16 until March 23, would almost surely be the youngest participant ever to play in the Tim Hortons Brier (age and birth records in early editions of the Tim Hortons Brier are non-existent).
Meanwhile, B.C. skip Brent Pierce will be looking to set a Tim Hortons Brier record for the longest gap between victories; he played vice-skip for Greg McAulay’s 2000 Tim Hortons Brier and world men’s champions. The 22-year gap would break the record of 15 years currently held by Steve Gould, and would match the overall record for years between Canadian championship wins held by Robert Campbell, who won Canadian mixed titles 22 years apart.
Also, Team Ontario (skipped this year by Glenn Howard) and Team Manitoba (skipped this year by Mike McEwen) will respectively play their 1,000th games in Tim Hortons Brier history. Team Ontario’s 1,000th game is its opener, Friday night against Team Canada, while Team Manitoba’s seventh round-robin game in Lethbridge, Thursday, March 10, at 8:30 a.m. against Jamie Koe’s Northwest Territories team, will be its 1,000th. Ontario overall has a 618-381 cumulative record, while Manitoba is 670-323 in its Tim Hortons Brier history.
Last year’s Tim Hortons Brier final, with Team Bottcher representing Alberta, was the leading 1,000th game for Alberta (700-300).
Fourteen provincial/territorial champions, defending champions Team Canada and three Wild Card teams based on CTRS standings will be in Lethbridge.
The teams are separated into two pools of nine and seeded based on final standing on the CTRS as of Feb. 14, 2022.
They will play an eight-game round robin within their respective pools; from there, the top three teams in each pool advance to an expanded playoff field. The second- and third-ranked teams in each pool cross over to play in Page playoff qualifier games on Friday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m. The winners advance to play the winners of Pool A and Pool B on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The winners of those games go to the Page 1v2 game, while the losers will compete in the Page 3v4 game.
The standard Page playoffs commence with the winner of the Page 1v2 game on Saturday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m., advancing directly to the final, and the loser plays the winner of the Page 3v4 game (scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday) in the semifinal.
The semifinal (Sunday, March 13, at 11 a.m.) winner takes on the winner of the Page 1v2 game in the final at 6 p.m. on March 13. The winner will represent Canada at the 2022 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, April 2-10 in Las Vegas.
If necessary, only one tiebreaker game will be scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. for third-place only. If there is a tie between more than two teams for the spot, teams will be eliminated by head-to-head record first and then by accumulated last stone draw to determine the two teams that will play in the tiebreaker game. Tiebreaker games will only be played if teams have a better than .500 record (5-3 or better).
Here’s a look at how the two pools are set up:
(teams listed according to seeding, and listed in order of skip, vice-skip, second, lead, alternate, coach/High Performance Consultant)
- Alberta, Kevin Koe (John Morris [throws second], B.J. Neufeld [throws third], Ben Hebert, Carter Rycroft, John Dunn; Calgary)
- Ontario, Glenn Howard (Scott Howard, David Mathers, Tim March, Adam Spencer; Penetanguishene)
- Wild Card 2, Matt Dunstone (Braeden Moskowy, Kirk Muyres, Dustin Kidby, Adam Kingsbury; Regina)
- Saskatchewan, Colton Flasch (Catlin Schneider, Kevin Marsh, Daniel Marsh, Pat Simmons, Jamie Schneider; Saskatoon)
- Team Canada, Brendan Bottcher (Patrick Janssen, Brad Thiessen, Karrick Martin, Aaron Sluchinski, Don Bartlett; Edmonton)
- Newfoundland/Labrador, Nathan Young (Sam Follett, Nathan Locke, Ben Stringer, Nicholas Codner, Jeff Thomas, Toby McDonald; St. John’s)
- New Brunswick, James Grattan (Darren Moulding, Pat Dobson, Andy McCann, Jamie Brannen; Oromocto)
- Prince Edward Island, Tyler Smith (Adam Cocks, Ed White, Ryan Lowery, Christopher Gallant; Crapaud)
- Yukon, Thomas Scoffin (Trygg Jensen, Joe Wallingham, Evan Latos, Wade Scoffin; Whitehorse)
- Wild Card 1, Brad Gushue (Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker, Jules Owchar; St. John’s)
- Northern Ontario, Brad Jacobs (Marc Kennedy, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden, Jordan Chandler, Caleb Flaxey; Sault Ste. Marie)
- Manitoba, Mike McEwen (Reid Carruthers, Derek Samagalski, Colton Lott, Kyle Doering, Rob Meakin; West St. Paul)
- Wild Card 3, Jason Gunnlaugson (Adam Casey, Matt Wozniak Connor Njegovan, Garry Van Den Berghe; Morris, Man.)
- Quebec, Michael Fournier [throws second] (Martin Crête, Félix Asselin [throws fourth], Jean-François Trépanier, Steven Munroe, Benoit Forget; Dollard-des-Ormeaux)
- Nova Scotia, Paul Flemming (Scott Saccary, Ryan Abraham, Phil Crowell, Kevin Ouellette; Halifax)
- British Columbia, Brent Pierce (Jeff Richard, Jared Kolomaya, Nick Meister, Corey Chester, Steve Gould; New Westminster)
- Northwest Territories, Jamie Koe (Glen Kennedy, Cole Parsons, Shadrach McLeod, Robert Borden; Yellowknife)
- Nunavut, Peter Mackey (Mark Pillsworth, Jeff Nadeau, Greg Howard, Peter Van Strien; Iqaluit)
For the full 2022 Tim Hortons Brier schedule, CLICK HERE.
TSN/RDS2 , the official broadcast partner of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will televise all of the action from Lethbridge. CLICK HERE for the full broadcast schedule.