It’s only fitting that last year’s Brier champions, Team Canada, meets last year’s Olympic champions, Northern Ontario, in tonight’s Canadian curling final in Calgary.
Team Canada practices in Calgary, out of the Glencoe Curling Club. They will have the local crowd behind them in tonight’s final.
They won the right to wear the red and white last year in Kamloops, B.C. Team Canada was Team Alberta at the time, skipped by Kevin Koe.
The winning team at the Brier returns the year later as Team Canada. But Koe left during the off-season, leaving three team members without a skip.
Calgary’s John Morris joined the team and took over the skip position.
After struggling early in this year’s Brier, Team Canada made an unprecedented skip swap during the tournament. Morris called a team meeting Monday night after a bad loss to Saskatchewan and told third Pat Simmons to take over the team as skip.
Since that time Canada has only lost one game — against Northern Ontario. But the move seemed to spark the Calgary team — now into the final.
For Northern Ontario, the storyline is much less dramatic. This is a team that cruised through this year’s Brier, won their playoff game Friday night and have been resting since that time for tonight’s championship game.
Over the last three years, Brad Jacobs and his team from Northern Ontario have been nearly unbeatable. The team won the 2013 Brier title in Edmonton. Then, almost exactly one year ago, they won Olympic gold in Sochi.
Now they’re positioned perfectly to win another Canadian championship.
“We dreamed of what we accomplished but we didn’t really think it was realistic,” said Jacobs. “But it just goes to show what hard work, determination and a good team can do for you.”
So tonight, two curling juggernauts meet in the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier Championship. Team Canada vs. Northern Ontario.
The rocks starting flying at the Saddledome at 5 p.m. MT.