Cotter in Pinty’s field

The Tier 2 schedule was just released for the all-new event, running Sept. 8-13 in Paradise, N.L.

Five-time B.C. champion Jim Cotter of Vernon will skip his team into the Tier 2 group for the Tour Challenge, the season-opening event of the 2015-16 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.

The Tier 2 schedule was just released for the all-new event, running Sept. 8-13 in Paradise, N.L.

Cotter begins his quest for the Tier 2 title against Scotland’s Tom Brewster during Draw 3 action. Cotter is supported by Ryan Kuhn, Ty Griffith and Rick Sawatsky.

Cotter won the Ross Harstone Trophy at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Men’s Curling Championship in Calgary. The Harstone award goes to the player chosen by his peers as the Brier who best represents Harstone’s high ideals of good sportsmanship, observance of the rules, exemplary conduct and curling ability.

Reigning Ontario champion Mark Kean and his all-new rink from Stoney Creek, Ont., open the Tier 2 stage in Draw 1 against local favourite Ken Peddigrew, of St. John’s.

The Tier 2 women’s division stars Halifax’s Mary-Anne Arsenault, a two-time world champion and five-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts winner. Arsenault hits the ice in the opening draw against 12-time Newfoundland and Labrador champion Heather Strong of St. John’s.

A total of 30 men’s and 30 women’s teams will compete in the Tour Challenge.

After the Tier 1 lineup was finalized, Tier 2 invites were sent out to the next 10 teams ranked on the OOM list. Five spots were reserved for teams from within the province or region of the event’s location.

Although Tier 2 teams do not earn points in the Rogers Grand Slam Cup standings, the winners receive guaranteed berths to the following Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, the Masters (Oct. 27-Nov. 1 in Truro, N.S.)