Skip to main content


Team Bottcher’s consistency apparent as Brier playoffs near

Brendan Bottcher Team Brendan Bottcher (Alberta) - The Canadian Press

REGINA – Brendan Bottcher and his Calgary-based rink have been the most consistent team in Canada this season.

The experienced foursome – also featuring third Marc Kennedy, second Brett Gallant and lead Ben Hebert – is ranked first in the country and second in the world after qualifying in almost every event they’ve played this year, highlighted by three wins on Tour.

Their week at the Montana’s Brier in Regina has been much of the same.

Team Bottcher (6-2) dropped their round-robin finale on Thursday night against Manitoba's Team Reid Carruthers (7-1) and will take on Saskatchewan's Team Mike McEwen (7-1) in Friday's 1 vs. 2-page seeding game. 

“Definitely getting in the top half of the playoffs sets you up,” said Bottcher. “Not only giving you an extra life along the way, but giving you some advantages. Whether that’s hammer or rocks the rest of the way, it’s just super helpful.”

Hebert, Gallant and Kennedy are all leading their respective positions in shooting percentage while Bottcher is third among skips.

Hebert, a four-time Canadian champion, says the reason for their consistency this year is quite simple.

“It’s really nothing crazy. I wish I had secret formula for you, give you a good scoop, but really, we’ve just been practising and putting in a ton of work together as a foursome,” Hebert told after a win over Yukon on Thursday. “[Coach] Paul [Webster] gave us a really good program that we wanted to follow and get on this year.”

Webster, who served as a national development coach for Curling Canada for nearly 20 years, joined Team Bottcher ahead of their first season together in 2022-23.

Many coaches will join their players on the ice during a called timeout to talk strategy and share ideas for potential shots. Don’t expect to see that from Webster anytime soon.

“If we have 100 timeouts in our career as a team together, I'll probably go out for one and it's going to be the most groundbreaking thing,” joked the 45-year-old, who also works as the curling director of The Glencoe Club in Calgary. “I'm not on the team for strategy.”

A team like Bottcher’s, whose members own a combined 12 Brier Tankards, five world championships and two Olympic gold medals, doesn’t really need a lot of tips when it comes to which shot to play. 

Accountability and relationship building is a big part of his job, says Webster.

“Where I've worked a lot as a coach in the last sort of 10 years is that ability in big events to be able to talk to the guys, ask some questions, hold them accountable and just realize that they are playing with other human beings,” Webster told

“Ego is a big thing for all genders, but with guys it's understanding that it's okay to miss. It's okay for your teammates to miss. But every shot is an opportunity to make the next one better. So, how do we how do we use that information and feed it up the lineup?”

Bottcher, 32, calls Webster’s contributions to both practice and other logistics of the granite game, “intricately important.”

“He gets us in the right head space and makes sure we’re all throwing it well. He does a pile of logistics,” explained Bottcher. “There’s a lot that goes into curling outside of the two hours that you spend on the ice, and for us Paul takes care a lot of that and that makes me focus on the things that are important.”

Hebert adds that Webster has a knack for keeping everybody in line, a tough task considering the veteran makeup of this lineup.

“We’re four pretty opiniated guys on the team that want to do it a certain way. If we get off track, he’s there to make sure we get back on track,” Hebert said.

Bottcher and Webster both believe one of the main reasons for the team’s strong performance this season is their attention to detail at practice, specifically getting all members of the team to throw identically.

“I would say we practise, not only more, but more effectively than teams I've seen in the past,” said Webster.

And improving their “B-game” could make all the difference during the ebbs and flows of a major tournament like the Canadian men’s curling championship.

“It’s that ability to consistently not miss as badly when you're not playing well and then when you are playing well, it doesn't look any different,” said Webster. “When these guys are playing 95, it always looks like 95, but how do you ensure the basement is 80?”

Webster, who’s been to five Olympics during his time with Curling Canada, knew most of the team quite well before joining forces last season, aside from the skip. 

“I think what makes him stand out from the skips that I've seen on TV and stuff in the past, he's not looking to point the finger many times when he misses,” said Webster.

Team Bottcher’s only loss this week came against Northern Ontario’s Team Trevor Bonot when Bottcher was uncharacteristically light on a game-winning draw attempt. The skip had no excuses for the miss, admitting he was simply light.

“We don't have to walk on eggshells, then you can talk about the process and how do we change that,” Webster added.

In their first season together in 2022-23, Bottcher and company made the Brier playoffs in London, Ont., with a 7-1 record before falling to Manitoba’s Team Matt Dunstone in the semifinal.

"Our big difference this year compared to last year is Brendan has been a real killer,” remarked Hebert. “He's been probably the best skip in the country and one of the best in the world.”