Chasing the Tankard!

Kevin Koe, left, and Brad Gushue will take aim at winning their record-breaking fifth Tim Hortons Brier title as skips in London. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

2023 Tim Hortons Brier gets underway Friday in London

A pair of players will hit the ice this weekend at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., with ambitions of standing alone as the most successful skip in the history of the Canadian men’s curling championship.

The 2023 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, gets underway on Friday night with the first draw at 7 p.m. (all times Eastern) with 18 teams taking aim hoisting the prestigious Brier Tankard after the gold-medal game on March 12.

And the skips of two of those teams — reigning champion Brad Gushue of Team Canada, and Kevin Koe of Team Alberta — will attempt to win their record-breaking fifth Tim Hortons Brier as a skip.

Both have four Tim Hortons Brier victories, putting them in a group with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin.

Team Canada, rounded out by vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker and coach Caleb Flaxey, will be in Friday’s opening draw, taking on B.C.’s Team Jacques Gauthier (Victoria), while Alberta will hit the ice Saturday at 2 p.m. against Nova Scotia’s Team Matthew Manuel (Halifax)

Matt Dunstone, meanwhile, will be appearing in his fifth Tim Hortons Brier but his first as skip of Team Manitoba, the province for which he won two Canadian junior titles. His Manitoba team from Winnipeg (vice-skip B.J. Neufeld, second Colton Lott, lead Ryan Harnden, coach Adam Kingsbury) will enter the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier as the leading team on the Canadian Team Ranking System. Manitoba faces Saskatchewan’s Team Kelly Knapp (Regina) Saturday at 2 p.m. in its first assignment of the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier.

The 18 teams have been split into two pools of nine, seeded based on the standing in the Canadian Team Ranking System as of  Feb. 13, 2023.

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 (second in Pool A vs. third in Pool B; second in Pool B vs. third in Pool A) to play in Page playoff qualifier games on Friday, March 10, at 1 p.m. The winners advance to play the winners of Pool A and Pool B on Friday at 7 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 11, at 7 p.m., advancing directly to the final, and the loser plays the winner of the Page 3v4 game (scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday) in the semifinal. 

The semifinal (Sunday, March 12, at noon) winner takes on the winner of the Page 1v2 game in the final at 7 p.m. on March 12. The winner will represent Canada at the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Championship, April 1-9 in Ottawa.

If necessary, only one tiebreaker draw per pool will be scheduled for Friday, March 10, at 8:30 a.m. If there is a tie between more than two teams for the third playoff 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 overall seeding, and listed in order of skip [player calling the shots], vice-skip [player holding the broom for the skip], second, lead, alternate, coach/High Performance Consultant)

Pool A

  • 1. Manitoba, Matt Dunstone (B.J. Neufeld, Colton Lott, Ryan Harnden, Adam Kingsbury; Winnipeg)
  • 4. Alberta, Kevin Koe (Tyler Tardi, Brad Thiessen, Karrick Martin, Ted Appelman; Calgary)
  • 5. Wild Card #2, Reid Carruthers (Derek Samagalski, Connor Njegovan, Rob Gordon, Matt Lorenz, Rob Meakin; Morris, Man.)
  • 7. Saskatchewan, Kelly Knapp (Brennen Jones, Mike Armstrong, Trent Knapp, Dustin Kidby, Brian McCusker; Regina)
  • 9. Northern Ontario, Darren Moulding [throws third stones] (Tanner Horgan [throws fourth stones], Jacob Horgan, Colin Hodgson, Mike Harris; Sudbury)
  • 12. Nova Scotia, Matthew Manuel (Luke Saunders, Jeff Meagher, Nick Zachernuk, Ryan Abraham, Kevin Patterson; Halifax)
  • 13. Newfoundland/Labrador, Nathan Young (Sam Follett, Nathan Locke, Ben Stringer, Jeff Thomas; St. John’s)
  • 16. Northwest Territories, Jamie Koe (Glen Kennedy, Cole Parsons, Shadrach McLeod, Stephen Robertson; Yellowknife)
  • 17. Nunavut, Jake Higgs (Sheldon Wettig, Brady St. Louis, Christian Smitheram, Terry Lichty, Blair Evans; Iqaluit)

Pool B

  • 2. Wild Card #1, Brendan Bottcher (Marc Kennedy, Brett Gallant, Ben Hebert, Paul Webster; Calgary)
  • 3. Team Canada, Brad Gushue (Mark Nichols, E.J. Harnden, Geoff Walker, Caleb Flaxey; St. John’s, N.L.)
  • 6. Wild Card #3, Karsten Sturmay (J.D. Lind, Kyle Doering, Glenn Venance, Kurtis Goller; St. Albert, Alta.)
  • 8. Ontario, Mike McEwen (Ryan Fry, Brent Laing, Joey Hart, Richard Hart; Toronto)
  • 10. Quebec, Félix Asselin (Martin Crête, Émile Asselin, Jean-François Trépanier, Pierre Charette; Glenmore/Belvédère/Etchemin/Valleyfield)
  • 11. British Columbia, Jacques Gauthier (Sterling Middleton, Jason Ginter, Alex Horvath, Rick Sawatsky, Bryan Miki; Victoria)
  • 14. New Brunswick, Scott Jones [throws third stones] (Jeremy Mallais [throws fourth stones], Brian King, Jared Bezanson, Chris Jeffrey, Mark Ward; Moncton)
  • 15. Prince Edward Island, Tyler Smith (Adam Cocks, Alex MacFadyen, Ed White, Sean Ledgerwood; Crapaud)
  • 18. Yukon, Thomas Scoffin (Trygg Jensen, Joe Wallingham, Evan Latos, Wade Scoffin; Whitehorse)

For the full 2023 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 London. CLICK HERE for the broadcast schedule. 

To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.