OTTAWA — Defending champion Brendan Bottcher’s Team Canada rink and Brad Gushue’s Wild Card Olympic squad highlight the 18-team field at the 2022 Brier in Lethbridge, Alta.
Bottcher, 30, of Edmonton, captured his first-ever Canadian men’s curling title last year in Calgary.
Gushue, currently representing Canada at the Beijing Winter Olympics, is going for his fourth Brier title in six years and is listed as Wild Card 1. Gushue is a St. John’s, N.L., native.
The other two Wild Card teams are Regina’s Matt Dunstone and Jason Gunnlaugson of Morris, Man.
Alberta skip Kevin Koe is going for his record fifth Brier championship. Beijing Olympian John Morris, who competed with Rachel Homan in the mixed doubles event, will be Koe’s second.
Nathan Young of Team Newfoundland and Labrador and his rink are the youngest competitors in the field. They’re still eligible to compete in under-21 junior competitions.
The event will open March 4 at ENMAX Centre.
Alberta currently allows a 50 per cent capacity limit at live events. But the province recently announced March 1 is the projected date for a return to full capacity.
As a result, Curling Canada opened all capacity limits and ticket packages for the Brier.
Should the capacity limit not be lifted in time for the first draw and sales exceed the 50 per cent limit, customer ticket purchases would be honoured in order of purchase date, Curling Canada added.
The field will be split into two pools of nine. Both pools will first play an eight-game round robin.
The top three teams from each pool will advance to an expanded playoff pool. The second- and third-place teams will cross over to participate in the Page playoff qualifier games March 11.
The actual Page playoffs will begin March 12. The tournament semifinal and final will be played March 13.
The tournament winner will represent Canada at the world championship April 2-10 in Las Vegas.
Alberta: Kevin Koe (John Morris, B.J. Neufeld, 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, 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, Jeff Thomas, Jules Owchar; St. John’s)
Northern Ontario: Brad Jacobs (Marc Kennedy, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden, Caleb Flaxey; Sault Ste. Marie)
Manitoba: Mike McEwen (Reid Carruthers, Derek Samagalski, Colin Hodgson, Rob Meakin; West St. Paul)
Wild Card 3: Jason Gunnlaugson (Adam Casey, Matt Wozniak Connor Njegovan, Garry Van Den Berghe; Morris)
Quebec: Michael Fournier [throws second] (Martin Crête, Félix Asselin [throws fourth], Jean-François Trépanier, 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; New Westminster)
Northwest Territories: Jamie Koe (Glen Kennedy, Cole Parsons, Shadrach McLeod; Yellowknife)
Nunavut: Peter Mackey (Mark Pillsworth, Jeff Nadeau, Greg Howard, Peter Van Strien; Iqaluit)
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2022.
The Canadian Press