Calgary Journal Online

Home Sports Sports Team Martin earns spot in Tim Hortons Brier
Team Martin earns spot in Tim Hortons Brier PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 February 2011 10:40

Reigning Olympic champions win men’s provincial title

The province of Alberta showcased its wealth of curling talent on Sunday at the 2011 Boston Pizza Cup. The tournament – which decides who will represent Alberta in the upcoming Tim Hortons Brier in London, Ont. – boasted a lineup that included the reigning national and world champions Team Koe, as well as Olympic gold-medalists Team Martin.

This time last year, Kevin Martin and his team were busy competing in the Vancouver Olympics, and returned this year to regain their Alberta curling crown.

Team Martin (from left) Mark Kennedy, Jules Owchar, Ben Hebert, John Morris and Kevin Martin celebrate their 2011 Alberta championship on Sunday.
Nicholas Wright/Calgary Journal

“It was a heck of a good game. Koe just made everything for those first five ends. It was a real battle – it was fun,” Martin said.

The match ended 7-4 in favour of Team Martin, but the score doesn’t reflect how close the two teams were throughout the match. Martin said that Koe continuously came up with big shots when he needed to, and the match was eventually decided on one shot in the sixth end that Koe narrowly missed.

“You start wondering if he is ever going to stop (making shots), because if it doesn’t stop then he (Koe) goes to London,” Martin said. “But he did miss one shot. That’s the only shot he missed the whole game, the one draw in the sixth that went about two inches too deep. It was a well-curled game and it went right down to the wire.”

After accomplishing so much during his curling career – including four Tim Hortons Briers, 11 provincial titles and both gold and silver medals at the Vancouver and Turin Olympic Games respectively – Martin said that it is playing these big games that keeps him excited about curling.

“I think you can tell that I really enjoyed it. I really did. And I would have enjoyed it had we lost. It’s fun to be out there,” he said. “You're not going to win games like that against teams of that caliber every time.”

John Morris, the third on Team Martin, said that although the team has been successful at the provincial level in the past, he still gets pumped-up for games like Sunday's final.

“If you don’t get a little bit of butterflies or get a little excited for a game like this then you're just not into it,” Morris said.

“It was nice to have that feeling again, to play with a little intensity and focus and desperation.”

Betty Huff is an avid curling fan and was at the High River Recreation Complex all week to watch all of the early heats in the tournament. Huff was the only fan in attendance on Sunday who had fashioned her own “Go Martin” sign, and was clearly enjoying herself during the final.

“This has been a wonderful event for our town. I’ve had a wonderful week, and an exhausting week,” Huff said with a smile.

Team Martin will now head to London, Ont. to compete with the other provincial champions from across the country in the Tim Hortons Brier, which runs from March 5 - 13.

Editor's note: This story has been updated