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McEwen to skip host Saskatchewan in the Canadian men's curling championship

Mike McEwen Mike McEwen - The Canadian Press

SASKATOON — Mike McEwen is a veteran of Canadian men's curling championships, but he'll skip Saskatchewan for the first time at the Brier.

McEwen, vice Colton Flasch and front-end brothers Kevin and Daniel Marsh claimed the provincial men's title Sunday with a 7-3 win over Ryan Kleiter in Saskatoon. McEwen raced to a 5-0 lead after three ends and ran Kleiter out of rocks in the 10th.

McEwen, who is from Brandon, skipped Manitoba at the Brier seven straight years from 2016 and 2022 and also skipped Ontario in 2023. His foursome will represent the host province March 1-10 in Regina.

"Perfect. It feels like a really good fit for me," the 42-year-old told CurlSask. "It's as close to home as I could possibly feel and especially with the Brier in Regina, just so excited to try and make the whole province as proud as we can."

The last Saskatchewan team to win a Brier was Rick Folk's in 1980.

Also, James Grattan defeated Rene Comeau 10-3 in the New Brunswick men's final in Miramichi. Grattan will make his 17th appearance at a Brier alongside teammates Joel Krats, Paul Dobson and Andy McCann.

Men's provincial championships in Alberta and Manitoba this week will complete the 18-team field for the 2024 Montana's Brier. The last berth will go to the highest-ranked men's team in Curling Canada's Canadian Team Rankings System that doesn't win a province or territory.

McEwen, Ryan Fry, Brent Laing and Joey Hart reached last year's playoffs in London, Ont., before falling to Brendan Bottcher in the Page playoff between the third and fourth seeds.

McEwen's best Brier record for Manitoba was 10-4 for third place in 2017. He also lost to Kevin Koe in the Olympic trials final that year.

Alberta's championship starting Tuesday in Hinton features three of the country's top eight teams in No. 3 Koe, No. 7 Aaron Sluchinski and No. 8 Karsten Sturmay.

Alberta's Bottcher and Manitoba's Matt Dunstone pre-qualified for the Brier based on their rankings last season. Manitoba's men's championship opens Tuesday in Stonewall.

Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Labrador returns to the Brier as defending champion.

Other teams headed to Regina are B.C.'s Catlin Schneider, Newfoundland and Labrador's Andrew Symonds, Northern Ontario's Trevor Bonot, Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories, Ontario's Glenn Howard, Nova Scotia's Matthew Manuel, Nunavut's Shane Latimer, Prince Edward Island's Tyler Smith, Quebec's Julien Tremblay and Yukon's Thomas Scoffin.

The winner represents Canada at the world men's championship March 30 to April 7 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The 18 teams for the Canadian women's curling championship Feb. 16-25 in Calgary are complete.

Four-time defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Kerri Einarson returns as Team Canada with Ontario's Rachel Homan and Manitoba's Jennifer Jones pre-qualified based on rankings.

The lineup also includes Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville, B.C.'s Clancy Grandy and Corryn Brown, Quebec's Laurie St-Georges, Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia's Heather Smith, Alberta's Selena Sturmay, Manitoba's Kaitlyn Lawes and Kate Cameron, New Brunswick's Melissa Adams, Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario's Danielle Inglis, Jane DiCarlo of Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan's Skylar Ackerman and Yukon's Bayly Scoffin. Nunavut will not enter a team.

The Hearts winner represents Canada at the women's world curling championship March 16-24 in Sydney, N.S.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2023.