What's On TSN

  • NBA on TSN: Lakers vs. Mavericks

    Now on TSN1 and TSN3
  • Canadian Tire Senators Hockey: Senators vs. Canucks

    Available to viewers in the Senators region
    Now on TSN5
  • ATP 500: Barcelona - Quarterfinals

    Fri 6:30AM ET / 3:30AM PT on TSN3

  • NBA on TSN: Celtics vs. Nets

    Fri 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT on TSN1

  • MLS on TSN: Sporting KC vs. Orlando

    Fri 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT on TSN5

TSN BROADCAST SCHEDULE

Mar 2, 2021

Tim Hortons Brier set to rock next inside Calgary bubble

The 2021 Tim Hortons Brier kicks off Friday from the fan-less environment at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre as an expanded field of 18 rinks battle it out over 10 days for the coveted Tankard. Let's take a closer look at the 18 teams vying for this year's Canadian curling title.

VIDEO SIGN OUT

Ryan Horne, TSN.ca

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts went off without a hitch inside the Calgary curling bubble. Now it's the men's turn.

The 2021 Tim Hortons Brier kicks off Friday from the fan-less environment at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre as an expanded field of 18 rinks battle it out over 10 days for the coveted Tankard.

Brad Gushue returns as the Team Canada representative and will look to become a Brier champion for the fourth time in his career after winning last year's Canadian men’s curling championship in Kingston, Ont., days before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Right behind Gushue and his St. John's foursome are a slew of teams that have a legit shot at standing atop the podium on the evening of Sunday, March 14, including Brad Jacobs, Kevin Koe, Mike McEwen, Brendan Bottcher, John Epping and Matt Dunstone, just to name a few.

Competitors at the Brier must provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to their departure for Calgary and will be tested numerous times upon arrival. The Scotties got through their entire 10-day event without a single positive test. One game was postponed due to an abundance of caution after a player on Northwest Territories got food poisoning.

The Tournament of Hearts proved that the curling bubble works. Let's cross our fingers the men's championship will have the same results.

The teams will be split into two pools of nine where an eight-game round robin will occur. From there, the top four teams in each pool will carry their records to the championship pool where they will play more four games against teams in the opposing pool. 

The most notable change to this year's Brier format is that there will be no page playoff. Instead, the top three teams following championship pool play will advance to the playoffs with the top ranked team getting an automatic entry to the championship game. The other two squads will battle in the semifinals. 

Check out the broadcast schedule, HERE. 

A grand prize of $100,000 goes to the last rink standing with the winners (if not already qualified) also earning a spot in the 2021 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials. They will also represent Team Canada at next year's Brier.

It all starts Friday night at 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt across the TSN Network and streaming on TSN.ca, the TSN App and TSN Direct.

Let's take a closer look at the 18 teams vying for this year's Canadian curling title.

*NOTE: Skip Apps - Numbers of career Brier appearances for the skip heading into this year's event. 

 

Pool A

Team Brad Jacobs
Northern Ontario (Team Jacobs)

Community First Curling Centre (Sault Ste. Marie)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    1
  • Canadian Ranking
    1
  • Skip Apps*
    12
  • 2020-21 Record
    8-3

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Brad Jacobs Third: Marc Kennedy Second: E.J. Harnden Lead: Ryan Harnden Alternate: Lee Toner Coach: Rick Lang

 

Will No. 13 be lucky for Brad Jacobs and the boys from Sault Ste. Marie? Jacobs is making his seventh straight and 13th overall appearance at the Tim Hortons Brier. Last year, in their first Brier after Marc Kennedy replaced Ryan Fry at vice, Team Jacobs fought tooth and nail to get into the playoffs after starting 1-3, winning a pair of tiebreakers to get into the final four. They ran out of gas in the page playoff, losing to eventual champions Team Brad Gushue in 3 vs. 4. Jacobs is 1-8 in the playoffs after winning the first Brier Tankard of his career in 2013. Team Jacobs won the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard in early October by running the table. Count on Northern Ontario to be competing in the page playoffs once again in Calgary.

 

Team Brendan Bottcher
Alberta (Team Bottcher)

Saville Community Sports Centre (Edmonton)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    4
  • Canadian Ranking
    4
  • Skip Apps
    4
  • 2020-21 Record
    14-5

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Brendan Bottcher Third Darren Moulding Second: Bradley Thiessen Lead: Karrick Martin Alternate: Patrick Janssen Coach: Don Bartlett

 

Team Brendan Bottcher are headed to their fifth consecutive national championship and it will be the fourth time wearing Alberta colours. Team Bottcher went 10-1 through championship pool play at last year’s tournament before running into Team Brad Gushue in the final. An opening end steal by Gushue was a sign of things to come as Bottcher shot just 71 per cent in the game. With the loss, the Edmonton foursome became the first team to lose three consecutive Briers finals.  This season, Bottcher topped Kevin Koe in the final of the ATB Okotoks Classic and have a total record of 14-5.  Bottcher and company are elite and shouldn’t be rattled after another heartbreaking loss. They’ll be as hungry as ever. 

Mike McEwen
Wild Card 1 (Team McEwen)

West St. Paul Curling Club (Winnipeg)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    5
  • Canadian Ranking
    5
  • Skip Apps
    5
  • 2020-21 Record
    7-1

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Mike McEwen Third: Reid Carruthers Second: Derek Samagalski Lead: Colin Hodgson Coach: Rob Meakin

 

After missing out on the Tim Hortons Brier for so many years, 40-year-old Mike McEwen is headed back to the big show for a sixth straight season. McEwen’s solid ranking on the Canadian Team Rank System was enough for the Winnipeg rink to earn one of three wild-card spots. At last year’s Brier, Team McEwen defeated Team Glenn Howard in the wild-card game to get into the main draw, finishing with a 7-4 record. Team McEwen have played one event this season and won it. The rink from the West St. Paul Curling Club downed major contenders in Niklas Edin, Brendan Bottcher, Steve Laycock, Kevin Koe and Howard to win a bonspiel in Penticton, B.C. Can they keep it rolling in Calgary? 

Jason Gunnlaugson
Manitoba (Team Gunnlaugson)

Morris Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    8
  • Canadian Ranking
    8
  • Skip Apps
    1
  • 2020-21 Record
    4-1

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Jason Gunnlaugson Third: Adam Casey Second: Matt Wozniak Lead: Connor Njegovan Alternate: Jacques Gauthier

 

The flame throwing skip known as “Gunner” gets his second chance to compete at the Brier after Manitoba playdowns got the axe. Gunnlaugson, a popular curler on tour, but not a household name to viewers, quickly became a fan favourite at the Kingston Brier, especially after executing the shot of the tournament, otherwise known as the Manitoba Miracle.

 

 

Team Gunnlaugson finished 5-6. This season sees former second Adam Casey being bumped up to vice for the departing Alex Forrest. Matt Wozniak, formerly of Team Mike McEwen, makes his return to elite curling as the new second. Team Gunnlaugson will be a wild card in the bubble, but you can count on their skip bringing the entertainment. 

Glenn Howard
Wild Card 3 (Team Howard)

Penetanguishene Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    9
  • Canadian Ranking
    9
  • Skip Apps
    17
  • 2020-21 Record
    20-5

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Glenn Howard Third: Scott Howard Second: David Mathers Lead: Tim March Alternate: Wayne Middaugh

 

Make it Brier appearance No. 18 for Midland, Ont., native Glenn Howard. However, the 58-year-old skip is dealing with an "upper-body injury" and it's not known how much he'll be able to play inside the bubble. As a result, Howard is bringing along former teammate and three-time world champion Wayne Middaugh as an alternate. 

This will be the first time Howard plays in a Brier main draw representing a different team than Ontario. The Calgary bubble will also mark the first time Howard’s son, Scott, will play vice for him at the Canadian championship since they joined forces in 2015. The father and son duo played in the 2016 and 2017 Briers when Scott was a lead. Both times they finished 4-7 and haven’t been back since. The Howards were in Kingston, Ont., last March, but fell to Mike McEwen in the wild-card game. Team Howard have played well in this shortened season, making three straight finals, coming up short each time. There are plenty of question marks for Howard's rink heading into this year's championship, but if the four-time Canadian and world champion can manage to stay healthy, they should be in contention for the championship pool. 

 

Team BC
British Columbia (Team Laycock)

Vernon Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    12
  • Canadian Ranking
    22
  • Skip Apps
    9
  • 2020-21 Record
    8-4

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Steve Laycock Third: Jim Cotter Second: Andrew Nerpin Lead: Rick Sawatsky Alternate: Tyler Tardi Coach: Gerry Adam

 

Team Steve Laycock are going to the Tim Hortons Brier for a third consecutive year following the cancellation of provincial playdowns. In 2019, with Laycock playing third rocks, they finished last in the championship pool with a 4-7 record. They had a rough go in Kingston, Ont., last season, missing the championship pool at 2-5, including a tough loss to Matt Dunstone on a last shot Hail Mary. Laycock skipped and Jim Cotter threw fourth stones at that Brier, but Laycock will have full skip duties this time around. The Vernon, B.C., squad have played in two events this season, making the playoffs each time. Team Laycock should be better than last year. We’ll just have to wait and see how much better.

 

James Grattan
New Brunswick (Team Grattan)

Gage Golf & Curling Club (Oromocto)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    13
  • Canadian Ranking
    39
  • Skip Apps
    13
  • 2020-21 Record
    10-7

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: James Grattan Third: Jonathan Beuk Second: Andy McCann Lead: Jamie Brannen Alternate: Kevin Keefe

 

James Grattan is headed to his 14th career Brier after getting the invite from the province. Team Grattan have played 17 games this season, winning 10 of them. Regular third Paul Dobson will not be attending and will be replaced by Jonathan Beuk who competed in his first career Brier two years ago in Brandon, Man., for Team Ontario. The rink from Oromocto, N.B., posted a 3-4 record at last year’s Brier, just missing the championship pool. The 46-year-old Grattan has finished third on two separate occasions at the Canadian championship, both happening in Calgary in 1997 and 2002. Will Cow Town bring this veteran more luck in 2021?

Team Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories (Team Skauga)

Yellowknife Curling Centre

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    16
  • Canadian Ranking
    Not Ranked
  • Skip Apps
    0
  • 2020-21 Record
    2-1

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Greg Skauge Third: Tom Naugler Second: Brad Patzer Lead: Robert Borden Alternate: David Aho

 

For the first time in a long time, Northwest Territories will be represented by somebody else than Jamie Koe at the Canadian men’s curling championship. Koe, who has repped the territory every year since 2009, elected to sit out playdowns this season due to COVID-19 restrictions. In his place will be Greg Skauga, who claimed his first Northwest Territories title after besting Glen Hudy in a best-of-three series. Let’s see what Team Skauga can do in Calgary.

Dustin Mikkelsen
Yukon (Team Mikkelsen)

Whitehorse Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    17
  • Canadian Ranking
    Not Ranked
  • Skip Apps
    0
  • 2020-21 Record
    0-0

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Dustin Mikkelsen Third: Alexx Peech Second: Brandon Hagen Lead: Robert Mckinnon Alternate: Ray Mikkelsen

 

Dustin Mikkelsen was acclaimed as the Yukon men's champion as no other teams entered the competition. Yukon, led by Thomas Scoffin, went 0-7 at last year's Brier.

Pool B

John Epping
Ontario (Team Epping)

Leaside Curling Club (Toronto)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    2
  • Canadian Ranking
    2
  • Skip Apps
    2
  • 2020-21 Record
    10-4

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: John Epping Third: Ryan Fry Second: Mat Camm Lead: Brent Laing Coach: Jim Wilson

 

John Epping’s Toronto foursome will represent Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier for a second consecutive year after their provincial playdowns were just one of many to get cancelled. Playing in front of hometown fans at last year’s Canadian championship in Kingston, Ont., Team Epping started off well by winning their first three games. However, overall, it was an up-and-down week for Ontario, eventually losing to Northern Ontario in the second tiebreaker.

 

 

Last season also marked the first for Ryan Fry at third and Brent Laing at lead. Team Epping won a bonspiel in Waterloo, Ont., back in October before curling was shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. Ontario hasn’t won the Brier since Glenn Howard accomplished the feat in 2012. Will the bubble bring some good fortunes to Epping and company?

Team Brad Gushue
Canada (Team Gushue)

Re/Max Centre (St. John's)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    3
  • Canadian Ranking
    3
  • Skip Apps
    17
  • 2020-21 Record
    12-0

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Brad Gushue Third: Mark Nichols Second: Brett Gallant Lead: Geoff Walker Alternate: Ryan McNeil Lamswood Coach: Jules Owchar

 

The best curling team to come from The Rock will look to win a fourth Brier Tankard in five years inside the Calgary bubble. Brad Gushue’s foursome from St. John’s defeated Alberta’s Team Brandon Bottcher in last year’s Brier final from Kingston, Ont., a championship tilt that was never really close. This will be the third Brier as Team Canada for Gushue and company. They defended their title in 2018 before falling in the 3 vs. 4 game the following year. The East Coasters are 12-0 on the season, winning two events in November. In fact, dating back to last year’s shortened season, Team Gushue are on a 15-game winning streak after winning their last three games at the Brier, the last event before the pandemic hit North America. Lead Geoff Walker has yet to play this season after the birth of his first son, Liam, and quarantine restrictions when it comes to travelling. He's been in the bubble since the beginning of the Scotties as his wife, Laura Walker, was skipping Alberta. Gushue won’t relinquish his title easily.

Team Kevin Koe
Wild Card 2 (Team Koe)

The Glencoe Club (Calgary)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    6
  • Canadian Ranking
    6
  • Skip Apps
    8
  • 2020-21 Record
    17-4

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Kevin Koe Third: BJ Neufeld Second: John Morris Lead: Ben Hebert Alternate: Mike Caione

 

Kevin Koe’s ninth Brier appearance will mark the first time he represents Team Wild Card.  The 46-year-old four-time Canadian champion made the tough decision of cutting second Colton Flasch for two-time Olympic gold medalist John Morris after missing out on the Brier playoffs last year. Koe and Morris actually played together for three seasons from 2003 to 2006. Morris had taken the previous two years off from traditional four-person curling, but stayed in the game with mixed doubles, winning gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics with Kaitlyn Lawes.

 

 

Team Koe have gotten some work in despite the lack of events, winning 17 of 21 games over four bonspiels. However, they’ve been unable to win any events, losing in back-to-back finals. If they can find their groove, there’s a good chance their first win of the season comes inside the bubble.

Team Matt Dunstone
Saskatchewan (Team Dunstone)

Wadena RE/MAX Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    7
  • Canadian Ranking
    7
  • Skip Apps
    2
  • 2020-21 Record
    10-1

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Matt Dunstone Third: Braeden Moskowy Second: Kirk Muyres Lead: Dustin Kidby Coach: Adam Kingsbury

 

Two-time Canadian junior champ Matt Dunstone led the prairie province to the Brier playoffs for the first time since 2015 at last year’s Canadian championship. It was a terrific performance from the 25-year-old skipper, highlighted by a handful of all-world shots. With an 8-3 record, Dunstone earned the second seed before losing to Alberta's Brendan Bottcher in the 1 vs. 2 game and then Canada's Brad Gushue in the semifinals. 

 

 

But the Winnipeg native is definitely hungry for more. Dunstone cut ties with Catlin Schneider following nationals and replaced him with former skip Kirk Muyres. Team Dunstone are 10-1 on the season with two bonspiel wins. We’ll see if the tweaking brings Saskatchewan any closer to their first Brier championship since 1980.

Team Jamie Murphy
Nova Scotia (Team Murphy)

Halifax Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    10
  • Canadian Ranking
    18
  • Skip Apps
    1
  • 2020-21 Record
    7-4

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Scott McDonald Third: Paul Flemming Second: Scott Saccary Lead: Phil Crowell Alternate: Kevin Ouellette

 

Nova Scotia will have a skip from Ontario at this year's Tim Hortons Brier. As defending provincial champions, Halifax's Team Jamie Murphy received an invite from the Nova Scotia Curling Association to compete at this year's Brier following the cancellation of playdowns. They accepted the invite, but their skip is unable to attend the Calgary curling bubble due to work and family priorities. As a result, Nova Scotia will be skipped by Ontario's Scott McDonald. McDonald, a 34-year-old from Mississauga, skipped Ontario at the 2019 Brier in Brandon, Man., leading the province to a 6-5 record and an appearance in the championship pool. With a new skip in charge, will the new-look Bluenosers click right away or will they struggle to find chemistry under the bright lights of the Brier?

Mike Fournier
Quebec (Team Fournier)

Glenmore/Etchemin/Valleyfield

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    11
  • Canadian Ranking
    19
  • Skip Apps
    1
  • 2020-21 Record
    0-0

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Michael Fournier Third: Martin Crete Second: Felix Asselin Lead: Jean Francois Trepanier Alternate: William Dion Coach: Benoit Forget

 

Alek Bedard won the 2020 Quebec Tankard, but it will be Michael Fournier and his crew from Montreal repping the province in Calgary. Fournier competed at the 2018 Brier, missing the championship pool with a 3-4 showing. Although, maybe the most notable name on this team is Martin Crete, who has played in eight Briers with Jean-Michel Menard and is famous for his boisterous line and sweeping calls. With no crowd noise inside the bubble, you might be able hear Crete from Edmonton this year.

Greg Smith
Newfoundland and Labrador (Team Smith)

Re/Max Centre & Bally Haly Country Club (St. John's)

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    14
  • Canadian Ranking
    162
  • Skip Apps
    1
  • 2020-21 Record
    13-6

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Greg Smith Third: Greg Blyde Second: Alex McDonah Lead: Evan McDonah Alternate: Adam Boland Coach: Leslie Anne Walsh

 

One of the most charismatic personalities in curling is returning to the Tim Hortons Brier. Greg Smith, ranked 10th on TSN’s list of all-time colourful curlers, defeated Colin Thomas in a 12-end thriller in Newfoundland Tankard final.

 

 

Thomas had a chance to win in the first extra end but was heavy on his draw forcing a very rare second extra end. Smith stole a single and is headed to Calgary. The 24-year-old competed at the 2018 Regina Brier with a completely different foursome. Team Smith picked up just a single win that week, but their skip became a star with his passionate line calls and high energy persona. What does Smith have in store this time?

Eddie MacKenzie
Prince Edward Island (Team MacKenzie)

Crapaud Community Curling Club and Montague Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    15
  • Canadian Ranking
    Not Ranked
  • Skip Apps
    6
  • 2020-21 Record
    3-0

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Eddie MacKenzie Third: Tyler Smith Second: Sean Ledgerwood Lead: Ryan Lowery Alternate: Aaron Bartling

 

Eddie MacKenzie made quick work of Blair Jay at the PEI Tankard, winning three straight games in the best-of-five series to punch his seventh ticket to the Tim Hortons Brier. MacKenzie last played in the 2018 Brier in Regina, finishing with a 2-5 record.

Peter Mackey
Nunavut (Team Mackey)

Iqaluit Curling Club

By The Numbers

  • Brier Ranking
    18
  • Canadian Ranking
    Not Ranked
  • Skip Apps
    0
  • 2020-21 Record
    3-2

Brier Outlook

 

Skip: Peter Mackey Third: Jeff Nadeau Second: Greg Howard Lead: Jeff Chown Alternate: Brady St. Louis

 

In one of the few playdowns played in the country, Team Peter Mackey battled Team Wade Kingdon in a best-of-five series to determine who would represent the territory at the Brier. Team Kingdon took the first two games before Mackey's crew stormed back with three straight victories to win the series and punch a ticket to Calgary.