Kevin Koe claimed another Canadian men’s curling championship Sunday with a 4-3 win over Brendan Bottcher in an all-Alberta final.
With previous victories in 2010, 2014 and 216, Koe joined Randy Ferbey, Kevin Martin and Ernie Richardson among skips who have won four national titles.
The 44-year-old has done it with at least one different player in his lineup each time.
Lead Ben Hebert hoisted the Tankard trophy a second time with Koe after winning it twice with Martin in 2008 and 2009.
Koe hit for two points and the win with his last shot of the game.
“It’s awesome, especially a nail-biter like that,” Koe said.
It was the first Canadian championship for vice B.J. Neufeld and second Colton Flasch. They joined Koe prior to this season and appeared in their first Brier final.
‘Happy for a few reasons’
They will represent Canada at the men’s world curling championship March 30 to April 7 in Lethbridge, Alta.
Koe also earned a return trip to the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier in Kingston, Ont., as Team Canada.
“Happy for a few reasons,” Koes said. “Obviously two big ones winning a Brier for Colton and B.J. They’ll be Brier champs forever.
“Getting the chance to represent Canada in Canada is something I’ve never been able to do so can’t wait, just down the road from Calgary.”
His foursome from Calgary’s Glencoe Club went undefeated in Brandon, Man., at 13-0.
Alberta’s Martin (2008-09), Ferbey (2003) and Pat Ryan (1988) are the only other teams to run the table since playoffs were introduced in 1980.
Eliminated in the provincial semifinal by Koe, Bottcher beat John Epping in a win-and-get-in game prior to the main draw to gain entry as the wild-card team.
Bottcher drew to lay two in the 10th, but he left a double takeout for Koe to score two for the win.
Koe hit and rolled with his shooter bumping the second stone just enough to score the deuce.
“I didn’t know if we’d made it,” the skip said. “I was waiting for [my teammates] to hopefully start jumping around.”
In the ninth, Bottcher hit and rolled to split the house and lay two. Koe gave up a steal of one when his shooter on a hit at the back of the rings spun just wide.
Big-weight hits stifle Bottcher
Koe led 2-0 at the fifth-end break scoring one with hammer in the second and stealing a point in the fourth.
Koe’s big-weight hits then stifled Bottcher’s attempts to set up a deuce until the eighth, when the Alberta skip missed a double. Bottcher hit for two to pull even.
Bottcher’s Edmonton rink beat Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs 5-4 in the earlier semifinal to set up a Battle of Alberta for the Tankard.
Bottcher represented Alberta last year when he lost in the final to Brad Gushue.
“I think if we stick with it, we’re going to win this eventually,” Bottcher said.
Since opening the Alberta men’s playdowns with a pair of losses, Koe has won 18 games in a row.
Neufeld, the team’s import player from Winnipeg, joined his father Chris as a Brier winner.
Chris Neufeld was a member of Manitoba’s championship team skipped by Vic Peters in 1992.
Tenacious as a bad cold
Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Hebert did not compete in last year’s Alberta playdowns to prepare for the Winter Olympics where they finished fourth.
Bottcher represented Alberta in Regina and lost to Gushue in the final.
Koe recruited Neufeld and Flasch when Kennedy took a step back from curling and Laing joined Epping’s team.
Alberta sweated for many of their wins in Brandon, but they were as tenacious as a bad cold when they were outplayed. They elevated their game for the playoffs.
Alberta dominated Northern Ontario 9-4 in Saturday’s Page playoff between the top two seeds. Jacobs shook hands after eight ends.
Koe won world titles in 2010 in Cortina, Italy and again in 2016 in Basel, Switzerland, with Hebert.
Brier winners earn $70,000 in prize money, plus another $30,500 to wear sponsorship crests in the playoffs and at the world championship.
The team is also eligible for Sport Canada funding of almost $170,000 over a two-year period.
Koe works in the oil industry and Neufeld, 33, is a golf pro. Flasch, 28, is a construction worker and 35-year-old Hebert works for a surveying company.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.