Morning Star Staff
Vernon’s Jim Cotter faces a new challenge in curling.
The reigning, five-time B.C. men’s champion opens up the brand new Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge today in Paradise, N.L. against Scotland’s Tom Brewster.
The challenge is one of two new events added to the Pinty’s Grand Slam series for 2015-16.
It’s a field of 30 men’s and 30 women’s rink split into two tiers with 15 teams in each tier, which are then split into three pools of five for round-robin play.
Cotter, supported again this season by third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatzky is in the Tier 2 men’s division, and will meet Colin Thomas and Andrew Symonds, both of St. John’s, on Thursday before concluding the round-robin Friday against Chad Stevens of Halifax.
The winner of the Tier 2 event will receive invitations to the following Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, The Masters, Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 in Truro, N.S.
Other notable skips in the Tier 2 event include New Brunswick’s Jamie Grattan and Ontario’s Greg Balsdon. Both rinks competed alongside Cotter at the 2014 Brier in Kamloops.
Tier 1 division winners will receive invitations to the second of two new events in the Grand Slam series, the Champions Cup, which showcases all of the winners from major events in curling.
Among the competitors in the men’s Tier 1 challenge are 2015 Brier competitors Brad Gushue (N.L.), Kevin Koe (Alta.), Brad Jacobs (N. Ont.), Reid Carruthers (Man.) and Steve Laycock (Sask.).
Cotter, who turns 41 in October, went 6-5 at the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary last year.
He was awarded the Ross Harstone Trophy as the Brier curler best representing Harstone’s high ideals of good sportsmanship, observance of the rules, exemplary conduct and curling ability.