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Back to the Brier for Jamie Koe and company

And so it’s a return trip to the Tim Hortons Brier for Jamie Koe and company.
The 2023 NWT Men’s Curling Championship winners hail from the Yellowknife Curling Centre after their win in the final in Fort Smith on Sunday. They consist of, from left, Shadrach McLeod, Cole Parsons, Glen Kennedy and Jamie Koe. Photo courtesy of NWT Curling

And so it’s a return trip to the Tim Hortons Brier for Jamie Koe and company.

Koe and his rink of Shadrach McLeod, Cole Parsons and Glen Kennedy are your 2023 NWT Men’s Curling Championship winners. They claimed the title by beating Greg Skauge and his rink in the final in Fort Smith by a score of 11-3 on Feb. 5. That means they will once again represent the NWT at the Canadian men’s curling championship, which is happening in London, Ont., next month.

“It’s been five years since we played (in Fort Smith) and you never know how the ice will be,” said Koe on Monday. “But it was great ice all the way through and going unbeaten was a bonus.”

As Koe mentioned, his side didn’t lose a game on their way to victory. They won all six of their contests in the double round-robin — each team played each other twice — and that meant a bye straight through to the final. Skauge ended up playing Hay River’s D’arcy Delorey in the semifinal, which Skauge won, 5-4, thanks to scoring a single in the 10th end.

In the final, Koe started with the hammer and scored a deuce in the first end, followed Skauge scoring a single in the second to make it 2-1. Koe then put up a four-spot in the third to go up 6-1 and it ended up being a trade-off of singles from that point until another four from Koe in the seventh end was enough for Skauge and crew to shake hands.

Koe said he felt as if his team was in control of all their matches the entire weekend.

“Getting to the final was the first goal for us and we played our best game of the weekend in the final,” he said. “We got off to a good start in all our games, we got comfortable with the ice and we kept an even keel all the way through.”

With the spot in London now confirmed, the attention now turns to getting in practice before heading down. That’s a double-edged sword of sorts because while the Yellowknife Curling Centre operates itself, the ice plant needed for the sheets is contained within the Yellowknife Community Arena. The arena is slated to be one of the victims of any work stoppage between the city and its unionized employees who are set to begin striking Wednesday morning.

Koe said he, along with everyone else who uses the centre, is waiting to hear what effect that will have on operations on the curling side.

“We have our own ice-maker, but we’re still waiting for word on if we’ll have ice to practice on,” he said. “Obviously, if anything changes, we’ll have to make arrangements to go somewhere where there’s ice. We want to keep the momentum going from the weekend, so I’m hoping we’ll be OK.”

About the Author: James McCarthy

I'm the managing editor with NNSL Media and have been so since 2022.
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