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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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