Morris rink wins B.C. men’s curling championship

Vernon/Kelowna based team defeats Team Joanisse at final in Abbotsford

Vernon’s Jim Cotter from the Morris rink throws a rock during Sunday’s final.

In front of a packed house at the Abbotsford Curling Club, Team Morris earned the right to represent the province at the biggest annual curling event in the country this March.

The Morris rink, hailing from Vernon and Kelowna, defeated the Golden Ears Curling Club’s Team Joanisse 6-3 to win the BC Men’s Curling Championship on Sunday.

Skip John Morris, Third Jim Cotter, Second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky and coach Jody Epp stole two points in the sixth end, which put them up 5-2 and they didn’t look back.

The win qualified Team Morris to be the B.C. representative at the Tim Hortons Brier, which runs from March 4 to 12 in St. John’s, NL.

“The Joanisse team threw everything they had at us,” Morris said, following the game. “Other than a few bad breaks it could have been a tied game till the end. We’re going to do our darndest to bring a title back to B.C. We will give everything we have in St. John;s.

Sawatsky and Cotter have now tied Vancouver’s Bernie Sparkes, and the Stone brothers from Trail for the most B.C. men’s titles with seven. Sawatsky said he was honoured to be in the same company as Sparkes.

“That’s someone we really looked up to growing up as kids so it’s really cool to be in the same company as him,” he stated.

Cotter said although he had been to the Brier six times, he hadn’t accomplished everything he wanted.

“It was always my goal to go to the Brier and win the Brier, so that will be our focus this year,” he said.

Morris said he wanted to celebrate the win, but focus will quickly shift to the Brier.

“We’re going to enjoy tonight and then get back into training,” added Morris. “We’re looking forward to St John’s, we want to bring back a title for B.C.”

Morris also praised the ACC and the local event organizing committee for a smoothly run event.

“It was a fantastic week here in Abbotsford and an amazing job by the committee,” he said. “This ice here is almost exactly the same as the ice we will play on in the Brier, so it was a treat to be able to play on almost the exact same ice.”

The Joanisse rink, consisting of Abbotsford resident Dean Joanisse, third Paul Cseke, of Victoria, and the Vancouver duo of Jay Wakefield and John Cullen earned second place. The bronze medal went to the Jackson rink from Victoria.

The next big local curling event is the ACC’s mixed bonspiel from Friday to Sunday. The ACC’s ladies bonspiel then occurs from Feb. 24 to 26.

For more on the club, visit abbotsfordcurling.com.