Alberta’s avalanche of riches!
Team Sturmay rookies show they belong at Tim Hortons Brier
Some curling pundits may consider getting into the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, as a wild card team is getting in through the back door.
That’s not the way skip Karsten Sturmay of St. Albert, Alta., sees it.
He’s says he’s earned the right. And he’s proving he belongs.
Sturmay’s Team Wild Card #3 (third J.D. Lind, second Kyle Doering, lead Glenn Venance and alternate Kurtis Goller) has played three games in the nine-day competition this week in London, Ont., and has already won two of them, including a 7-6 Pool B victory Monday morning over Thomas Scoffin’s Team Yukon (1-2, Whitehorse).
That may be a small sample size for a bunch of Tim Hortons Brier rookies, but let’s face it, these guys are from Alberta where two guys named Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher have dominated proceedings for years and are once again in the mix at the Canadian men’s curling championship.
“I think it’s safe to say Alberta is an absolute gauntlet,” said Sturmay, who nailed down his wild-card berth as the third highest-placed team on the Canadian Team Ranking System that didn’t qualify through provincial/territorial championships. “Just because we’re a wild card team doesn’t mean it’s any less significant. It’s our first Brier, we’re competing with the best in the country. It think it’s a testament to the fact we’ve had a good season.”
Sturmay has been knocking on the door to get into the Tim Hortons Brier for a few years, making the Alberta final twice. He finally broke through this winter with a new team, and winning the Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic in Arizona was one of the events that put him over the top in the points race.
The Albertans were never in trouble against Team Scoffin, which has proved to be a tough cookie so far this week. Steals in the seventh and eighth ends were enough to carry the Albertans to the finish line.
“There’s still definitely a couple of things to figure out,” said Sturmay. “But we’re finding our way out here and it’s a ton of fun.”
In the other Pool B game on the ice, Team Prince Edward Island (2-2, Crapaud) skipped by Tyler Smith pulled off a bit of a shocker after dumping Team Ontario (2-2, Toronto), skipped by Mike McEwen, 8-7.
Two Pool A games were also iced Monday at Budweiser Gardens, and in the feature match Koe’s Team Alberta (4-0, kept its record unblemished with a nail-biting 9-7 extra-end victory over Team Wild Card #2 (2-2, Morris, Man.) skipped by Reid Carruthers.
Koe is looking to become the first skip to win five Canadian men’s curling championships.
In the other Pool A game, skip Matthew Manuel’s Team Nova Scotia (2-1, Halifax) scored a 10-4 win over skip Jake Higgs’ Team Nunavut (1-3, Iqaluit).
Carruthers got the early jump on Team Alberta, leading 2-0 after two, but in typical Koe fashion he manufactured a four-ender in the third. But Team Carruthers hung in there and forced Koe to make a short in-off to the button to seal the victory in the extra end.
The 18 Tim Hortons Brier teams are split into two pools of nine, and will play a complete eight-game round robin. The top three teams in each pool advance to the playoffs where it will be further reduced to a Final Four and a Page playoff system.
The final goes Sunday, March 12.
The Tim Hortons Brier champion will wear the Maple Leaf at the 2023 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship, April 1-9 in Ottawa.
The 2023 Tim Hortons Brier continues with draws Monday with draws at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times ET).
Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier are available at curling.ca/scoreboard.
TSN and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule.
For ticket information for the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier, go to www.curling.ca/2023brier/tickets/
This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2023brier/nouvelles/?lang=fr