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A capsule look at teams in the Tim Hortons Brier

KINGSTON, Ont. — A team-by-team look at the field for the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier, including skip, teammates, home club, background information and ranking:


Team Canada

Skip: Kevin Koe

Teammates: B.J. Neufeld (third), Colton Flasch (second) and Ben Hebert (lead) from the Glencoe Club in Calgary.

Background: Koe will try to win his record fifth Tim Hortons Brier as a skip. He scored two in the 10th end for a dramatic 4-3 win over Brendan Bottcher in last year's final at Brandon, Man.  

CTRS Ranking: No. 6


Team Alberta

Skip: Brendan Bottcher

Teammates: Darren Moulding (third), Brad Thiessen (second) and Karrick Martin (lead) from the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton. 

Background: Bottcher has settled for silver in his last two Brier appearances. His team won three straight Grand Slam titles last season.

CTRS Ranking: No. 5


Team British Columbia

Skip: Steve Laycock (throws third)

Teammates: Jim Cotter (throws fourth), Andrew Nerpin (second) and Rick Sawatsky (lead) from the Vernon Curling Club and Kelowna Curling Club.

Background: Veteran back end of Cotter and Laycock boasts experience and top-shelf shooting skills. Laycock won bronze with Saskatchewan at the 2015 Brier.

CTRS Ranking: No. 23


Team Manitoba

Skip: Jason Gunnlaugson

Teammates: Alex Forrest (third), Adam Casey (second) and Connor Njegovan (lead) from the Morris Curling Club in Morris, Man.

Background: Gunnlaugson makes his Brier debut after topping Mike McEwen 7-4 in the Manitoba final. Casey, a Charlottetown native, has played for three other provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., and Saskatchewan) over six previous Brier appearances. 

CTRS Ranking: No. 7


Team New Brunswick

Skip: James Grattan

Teammates: Paul Dobson (third), Andy McCann (second) and Jamie Brannen (lead) from the Gage Golf and Curling Club in Oromocto, N.B.

Background: Grattan picked up a World Curling Tour title last December at the Jim Sullivan Curling Classic in Saint John, N.B. He won bronze as a Brier rookie in 1997.

CTRS Ranking: No. 49


Team Newfoundland and Labrador

Skip: Brad Gushue

Teammates: Mark Nichols (third), Brett Gallant (second) and Geoff Walker (lead) from the Re/Max Centre in St. John's.

Background: Gushue won the 2017 Brier title in his hometown of St. John's. He successfully defended the title in '18 and settled for a fourth-place finish last year. 

CTRS Ranking: No. 3


Team Northern Ontario

Skip: Brad Jacobs

Teammates: Marc Kennedy (third), E.J. Harnden (second) and Ryan Harnden (lead) from the Community First Curling Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Background: The addition of Kennedy has rejuvenated the 2014 Olympic champions, who have won three Grand Slam titles this season.

CTRS Ranking: No. 1


Team Northwest Territories

Skip: Jamie Koe

Teammates: David Aho (third), Shadrach Mcleod (second) and Cole Parsons (lead) from the Yellowknife Curling Centre.

Background: Koe is making his 14th career Brier appearance. He may be the low seed in Pool B at No. 15, but he's always a tough out.

CTRS Ranking: No. 176


Team Nova Scotia

Skip: Jamie Murphy

Teammates: Paul Flemming (third), Scott Saccary (second) and Phil Crowell (lead) from the Halifax Curling Club.

Background: Murphy skipped his side to a Nova Scotia title for a provincial record sixth time. He reached the final of the Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic this season but lost to Glenn Howard.

CTRS Ranking: No. 20


Team Nunavut

Skip: Jake Higgs

Teammates: Dale Kohlenberg (third), Christian Smitheram (second) and Ed MacDonald (lead) from the Iqaluit Curling Club.

Background: Higgs qualified by sweeping a three-team territorial playdown. Nunavut has gone winless since making its Brier debut in 2016.

CTRS Ranking: unranked


Team Ontario

Skip: John Epping

Teammates: Ryan Fry (third), Mathew Camm (second) and Brent Laing (lead) from the Leaside Curling Club in Toronto.

Background: Epping locked up a berth at the Olympic Trials by winning the Canada Cup last December. Reigning Olympic mixed doubles champ John Morris will serve as the team's fifth at the Brier.

CTRS Ranking: No. 2


Team Prince Edward Island

Skip: Bryan Cochrane

Teammates: Ian MacAulay (third), Morgan Currie (second) and Mark O'Rourke (lead) from the Cornwall Curling Club in Cornwall, P.E.I.

Background: Cochrane, a two-time Canadian senior champion, won a world senior title last year. He represented Ontario at the Brier in 2003 but missed the playoffs.

CTRS Ranking: No. 89


Team Quebec

Skip: Alek Bedard

Teammates: Louis Quevillon (third), Emile Asselin (second) and Bradley Lequin (lead) from the Lacolle, Boucherville and Glenmore curling clubs.

Background: Bedard leads a young Quebec team into the competition after topping Vincent Roberge in the provincial final. Bedard won a Quebec junior title in 2018. 

CTRS Ranking: No. 68


Team Saskatchewan

Skip: Matt Dunstone

Teammates: Braeden Moskowy (third), Catlin Schneider (second) and Dustin Kidby (lead) from the Highland Curling Club in Regina.

Background: The 24-year-old Dunstone is a two-time Canadian junior champion. He won his first career Grand Slam title this season at the Masters.

CTRS Ranking: No. 8


Team Yukon

Skip: Thomas Scoffin

Teammates: Trygg Jensen (third), Brett Winfield (second) and Joe Wallingham (lead) from the Whitehorse Curling Club.

Background: Scoffin, a bronze medallist at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics, is making his Brier debut. He earned the berth by sweeping a three-team territorial double round-robin.

CTRS Ranking: No. 151


Team Wild Card No. 1

Skip: Mike McEwen

Teammates: Reid Carruthers (third), Derek Samagalski (second) and Colin Hodgson (lead) from the West St. Paul Curling Club in Winnipeg.

Background: McEwen won the play-in game in 2018 when the wild-card format was introduced at the national championship. He had won bronze the year before. 

CTRS Ranking: No. 4


Team Wild Card No. 2

Skip: Glenn Howard

Teammates: Scott Howard (third), David Mathers (second) and Tim March (lead) from the Penetanguishene Curling Club in Penetanguishene, Ont.

Background: Howard moved into the wild-card picture when Brendan Bottcher edged Karsten Sturmay for the Alberta title. The play-in matchup should feel like a home game for the four-time Brier champion. 

CTRS Ranking: No. 9


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.


Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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