Brier Playdowns are This Weekend

For the first time Sportsnet will broadcast Brier playdows from Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba to viewers across the country. In all, this weekend teams from eight provinces will try to join James Grattan (NB), Jamie Koe (NWT), Jean-Michel Menard (QB), and Brock Virtue (SSK) in the Brier in March.

Alberta’s Boston Pizza Cup is usually one of the most exciting provincial tournaments. The field is very deep, including top of the top five teams in Canada with Kevin Koe and Kevin Martin. Jamie King’s team (ranked 21st) features former World Champions Blake McDonald (third) and Scott Pfeiffer (second). Brandon Bottcher, the 2012 World Junior champion, has the 21st best team in Canada.

Manitoba’s Safeway Championship features the second and third best teams in Canada with Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwan. Defending provincial champion Rob Fowler (ranked 17th) is back as well. William Lyburn’s rink (ranked 16) is also a contender.

Glenn Howard is the favourite to win Ontario’s Dominion Tankard, as he has the past seven years. There are teams in Ontario that could challenge Howard, however. They include John Epping (ranked 7th), Bryan Cochrane (ranked 13th), Joe Frans (ranked 15th), Jake Higgs (ranked 20th) and Rob Rumfeldt (ranked 22nd).

Also this weekend TSN has coverage of the men’s and women’s finals at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships. To say the least it is a huge weekend for curling fans.

Here is the complete schedule. All times are Eastern.

Alberta Boston Pizza Cup
Sunday 2/10, 11:30am – Semifinal – Sportsnet ONE
Sunday 2/10, 4:00pm – Championship – Sportsnet ONE & Citytv Alberta

Manitoba Safeway Championship
Saturday 2/9, 7:30pm – Semifinal #1 – Sportsnet & Citytv Winnipeg
Sunday 2/10, 10:00am – Semifinal #2 – Sportsnet West/Pacific & Citytv Winnipeg
Sunday 2/10, 2:30pm – Championship – Sportsnet West/Pacific & Citytv Winnipeg

Ontario Dominion Tankard
Sunday 2/10, 9:30am – Semifinal – Sportsnet East/Ontario
Sunday 2/10, 2:30pm – Championship – Sportsnet East/Ontario

Canadian Junior Curling Championship
Saturday 2/9, 7:00pm – Men’s Championship – TSN
Sunday 2/10, 7:00pm – Women’s Championship – TSN

3 thoughts on “Brier Playdowns are This Weekend

  1. This is awesome for curling fans. Getting to the Brier is an achievement for curlers across Canada, and you can get nailbiting action at the provincial playdowns.

    I don’t know if you knew this (apologies if I’m usurping a future post), but the Brier and Scotties have change their scheduling format for the first time in 20 or so years. The tournaments will still have 2 draws Saturday and 3 on Sunday. The Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning draws are gone – only 2 draws now on those days. There will be 3 draws Thursday and Friday, with the one two-game draw now on Thursday morning. The quarterfinals will be Saturday afternoon and evening, the semifinals Sunday morning and the finals on Sunday evening.

    I like that format as a spectator – I saw all but 2 draws of the 2003 Brier in Halifax, and those morning draws became difficult by mid-week. As a player, I’d also like having compressed playoffs. I’d think winning the quarterfinal on Friday night and waiting until Sunday night for the next (and last) game would be tough on the psyche.

    • I had noticed. I agree that it’s better. I found the Brier lost all momentum by Friday afternoon some years since TSN took over from CBC. Having all of the playoffs on the weekend makes a lot of sense. The semifinal on a Sunday morning is interesting though. It’s interesting to see how it does in the ratings. Might have made more sense for the Page Playoffs on Saturday morning/afternoon and the semifinal at night, if there are no tiebreakers. Then if there are tiebreakers just move everything to the current schedule.

      • I agree that a Sunday morning semifinal is a bit odd, although they do show Draw 3 on Sunday morning as well and the ratings aren’t too bad. Curlers are loyal viewers, although it might be an annoyance for older viewers who want to go to church that morning. I’d put the semi around noon ET and the final at 7pm ET, but that leaves too little time for the bronze medal game.

        I think TSN wants the semifinal time locked in to ensure there is a game in that window. If the semifinal was scheduled on Saturday night would a provision to move to Sunday morning if multiple tiebreakers are needed, it would be on only a day’s notice that the semis would move to Sunday morning, and that would confuse some viewers and maybe annoy some workers.

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