Vernon rinks off to junior curling provincials

Vernon sending two rinks to Tim Hortons B.C. Junior Curling Championships in Chilliwack.

The first four entries into the Tim Hortons B.C. Junior Curling Championships have been decided, and a pair of Vernon rinks are among them.

Vernon skip Amy Edwards’ North Okanagan rink – third Sydney Hofer (Vernon), second Kylie Tokairin (Enderby) and lead Courtney Woo (Coldstream) – will be at the Chilliwack Curling Club from Dec. 26-31 for provincial playdowns.

Kamloops’ Corryn Brown, the defending B.C. and national champion, gained the other early berth to the provincials.

On the junior men’s side, Armstrong’s Brendan Cliff swept Kelowna’s Brandon Emslie 7-3 and 8-6 in an Okanagan qualifier last weekend at the Vernon Curling Club.

Cliff is backed by the Vernon trio of third Matthew Schiman, second Deven Schmidt and lead Matthew Young. He joins Team Umpherville from Beaver Valley as the other junior men’s entry.

The remaining 12 berths (six junior men’s and six junior women’s) will be decided at a playdown this weekend at the Coquitlam Curling Centre.

Meanwhile, skip John Morris’ Vernon rink – fourth Jim Cotter, second Ty Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky – open the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings against Coldwater, Ont.’s Glenn Howard Sunday, 4:30 p.m. (PT) at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

Preliminary play continues Monday through Friday morning, with the top men’s and women’s teams advancing to their respective finals. The second- and third-place rinks meet in a semifinal to determine the other finalist.

Morris’ round-robin schedule includes:

Monday – Calgary’s Kevin Koe, 11:30 a.m.; Tuesday – Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, 6:30 a.m.; Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton, 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday – Sault Ste. Marie’s Brad Jacobs, 11:30 a.m.; Thursday – Toronto’s John Epping, 4:30 p.m.; Friday – Edmonton’s Kevin Martin, 6:30 a.m.

The men’s semifinal goes next Saturday, 11:30 a.m., with the final slated for noon Sunday. The winner of the eight-team event will represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In this Sunday’s opening draw (11 a.m. PT), there will be a special visitor on hand as Ron Burgundy (aka Will Ferrell), star of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, will make an on-ice appearance, followed by some work in the booth with the TSN commentating crew.