Jim Cotter would rather curl than lay on a beach, but the veteran Vernon curler is anxious for the season to end.
Cotter, who throws skip stones for the Okanagan rink headed by John Morris of Calgary, winds things up next week in Calgary with the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Champions Cup at WinSport Arena in Canada Olympic Park. The cashspiel features all the winners on tour from this season.
Catlin Schneider of Regina subbed for injured Kelowna’s Rick Sawatsky and threw second rocks, while regular second Tyrel Griffith of Kelowna worked lead at the WestJet Players’ Championship at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto. The Okanagan rink lost 9-5 to Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg in a Saturday tiebreaker.
“It’s been a long season and I’m getting old,” laughed Cotter, a 42-year-old father of three. “We’re all banged up. We’re going to go with a five-man team all next year which is an Olympic year. There’s too much on the line. Ty was playing with a bad rib injury and Swat is out with groin and knee problems. Swat will come in at lead a lot next year, but anyone one of us could go down.”
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games are in South Korea.
After opening with three losses, Morris bounced Brendan Bottcher of Edmonton 8-5 Thursday night and upended Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg 7-3 Friday. The Okanagan rink earned $4,000 for the two wins.
Carruthers bowed 4-2 to Mike McEwen of Winnipeg in the quarterfinals with McEwen eventually moving to the final where he lost 5-3 to Niklas Edin of Sweden.
Edin captured his third title of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season by icing McEwen. Edin takes home $30,000 of the $150,000 men’s purse and $75,000 of the $150,000 Rogers Grand Slam Cup bonus prize.
“It feels amazing,” said Edin. “This is probably the toughest event to win as well. Every team has had a long and good season. To even qualify for this event, where everyone is usually playing well at this time of the year, especially after the Brier and the worlds, is a great accomplishment.”
In the women’s final, Jones clinched its first Grand Slam title this season and sixth Players’ Championship title with an 8-4 victory over Val Sweeting of Edmonton. Jones pocketed $30,000 of the $150,000 women’s purse.
“It’s amazing,” said Jones. “We were a little bit disappointed not being at the Scotties and we really focused on playing well here, so to come and win the event, it’s great. I’m really proud of the girls.”
In Calgary, Carruthers will defend the Humpty’s Champions Cup title he won last year in Sherwood Park, Alta., edging Toronto’s John Epping in a thrilling double-extra end. Jones claimed the first women’s title at the event defeating Ottawa’s Rachel Homan.