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Field for Brier at Mile One is complete

In this Jan. 5, 2017 file photo, Brendan Bottcher shoots a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. Bottcher and his Edmonton rink, who won the Alberta men's championship Sunday, will be the first opponents for Brad Gushue in the Brier Canadian men's curling championship next month in St. John's.
In this Jan. 5, 2017 file photo, Brendan Bottcher shoots a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. Bottcher and his Edmonton rink, who won the Alberta men's championship Sunday, will be the first opponents for Brad Gushue in the Brier Canadian men's curling championship next month in St. John's.

Brad Gushue will be facing a rookie team in the opening draw of the Tim Hortons Brier early next month at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. But the coach of that team is about as Brier-experienced as they come.

Gushue and his Newfoundland and Labrador home rink of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker are scheduled to take on Alberta champion Brendan Bottcher in the first draw March 4.
Bottcher, the 2012 Canadian and world junior men’s champion, won his first Alberta title Sunday, beating Ted Appelman 6-5 in an extra end. His team includes lead Karrick Martin, whose father is the coach and that happens to be four-time Brier champion, 12-time Alberta champion and 2010 Olympic gold-medallist Kevin Martin.
The Bottcher rink from Edmonton was one of five that qualified for the Brier on Sunday, filling out the field for the 2017 Canadian men’s championship.
The other four will bring plenty of Brier experience to Mile One. They include 2014 Olympic champion and 2013 Brier champ Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario; John Morris’s British Columbia rink (with Jim Cotter throwing last rocks); and Manitoba’s Mike McEwen and New Brunswick’s Mike Kennedy, who both successfully defended their provincial crowns.

The rest of the Brier field, with hometowns and skips:
Team Canada (Calgary): Kevin Koe
Northwest Territories (Yellowknife): Jamie Koe
Ontario (Etobicoke): Glenn Howard
Quebec (Lévis): Jean-Michel Ménard
Saskatchewan (Regina): Adam Casey
Nova Scotia (Halifax): Jamie Murphy
P.E.I (Charlottetown): Eddie MacKenzie
Yukon (Whitehorse): Craig Kochan
Nunavut (Iqaluit): Jim Nix

Note: Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Nunavut and Yukon will play in a pre-Brier qualifying tourney March 2-4, with the winner completing the 12-team Brier field.

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