Jim Cotter’s result at his latest Brier week is a matter of perspective.
If you look at his team’s won-loss record – 3-8 – at the 2016 Tim Hortons Canadian men’s curling championship in Ottawa, it wasn’t a great week.
But Cotter, who was making his sixth appearance overall, and third straight, at the Brier, felt the team played better than they did last year in Calgary, where they went 4-7.
“We would have liked to have done better but, at the same time, we were better than last year so we just move forward,” said Cotter, backed by third Ryan Kuhn, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky and coach Pat Ryan.
The rink talked at length, and knows from experience, that there are peaks and valleys at the Brier.
In Ottawa, it seemed the B.C. champs would come up against teams in the star-studded field who were already at their peak and playing their best.
Case-in-point: the early-week game against Quebec’s Jean Michel Menard, who made arguably the shot of the Brier week with his final stone with hammer in the 10th end, a triple-raise takeout to score two and beat Cotter 6-5.
“If we win that, we go to 3-2, our confidence is flowing and we end up in a possible playoff spot,” said Cotter, who lost the 2014 brier final to Kevin Koe of Calgary in Cotter’s hometown of Kamloops.
Koe won his second title in three years Sunday, beating Brad Gushue of Newfoundland/Labrador 9-5 in the championship.
Cotter’s rink did bring home some hardware: Griffith was named winner of the Ross Harstone Trophy, presented each year at the Brier to the curler, as chosen by his peers, who best represents Harstone’s high ideals of good sportsmanship, observance of the rules, exemplary conduct and curling ability.
“Ty was so deserving,” said Cotter, a two-time Harstone recipient including 2015 in Calgary. “He’s a great guy, great teammate, very well liked among the curlers.”
Asked about the team’s future, Cotter joked that mid-week at the Brier, with the team mired in a six-game losing skid, he and his teammates were contemplating quitting the game.
It’s a subject, he said, that hasn’t come up.
“You’re the first person to ask,” laughed Cotter. “We live in the ‘what do we have to do today?’ We haven’t talked about that. I don’t foresee any changes.”
The rink may have one more event left on the calendar, waiting to see if they are extended an invitation to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Player’s Championship, April 12-17, in Toronto.
Prior to that, Cotter and his daughter, Jaelyn, will represent B.C. at the Canadian mixed doubles curling championships, March 31-April 3, in Saskatoon.
“She’s excited, I’m excited,” said Cotter.
“There’s some pretty tough pools and some pretty good teams. It’s going to be fun.”