Playing in a national championship is the dream of every athlete, no matter what the sport. Jamie Koe and his Northern representatives are no exception.
Heading into this curling season, Koe and his Yellowknife foursome — and later adjusted foursome — had their focus on winning the NWT Men’s Curling Championship and representing the territory at the Brier,
“I love representing the North and do so with great pride, as we all do representing our home territory in the Brier,” said Koe.
Heading into play Wednesday, March 9, Koe and his team of Glen Kennedy, Cole Parsons, Robert Borden and Tom Naugler remained winless.
“We have had a rocky start but some good games,” said Koe. “At this level, we need to be that better than good and we haven’t brought that this week.”
Truer words could not be spoken as a review of the NWT rink will quickly reveal that statistically, the NWT has performed near par for previous appearances with much better records.
“The game has grown so much in the last 10 years, what you could get away with even five years ago, you get punished for now (because) half the teams are pros,” said Dean Ross, former Canadian Mixed Curling Championship winner.
As of press time, Team NWT had two games left and both games are key to the final standings. Manitoba’s Mike McEwen looked at the game versus the NWT on Thursday as a must-win.
“At this point it the week, everyone knows the ice and it comes down to experience,” he said. “(Team NWT) have a ton of experience, they’re scary to us and can really affect our week.”
On the flipside, Kevin Koe and his Alberta rink are focused on a playoff berth,
“We need to keep building as few as two losses could actually mean out of the playoffs (so) we don’t want to drop anymore,” said Koe after his first loss to Matt Dunstone and Wild Card 2 on Wednesday. Koe can secure his spot in the playoff round with a win over Prince Edward Island and/or Team Canada, which is last year’s Brier champion, Brendan Bottcher of Alberta.
The winner of this year’s Brier will viva on to Las Vegas for the World Men’s Curling Championship with the Maple Leaf on their back, something Kevin Koe has had the chance to do four times previously.
“Winning a fifth Brier would be amazing,” he said. “It’s what we all dream about and doing it five times would be more than anyone could expect.”
Play continues through to the championship final on Sunday evening.