Saskatchewan’s Kelly Knapp and Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories attained their respective men’s provincial and territorial curling finals Sunday to advance to the Tim Hortons Brier.
Knapp edged Steve Laycock 5-4 in Estevan to take Saskatchewan, while Koe was an 11-3 winner over Greg Skauge at the Fort Smith Curling Club to win in N.W.T.
Koe will skip a Territories team at a Canadian men’s championship for the 16th time in his curling career, while Knapp is a relative rookie.
The Saskatchewan skip appeared in one game as an alternate in the 2011 Brier.
They join Matthew Manuel (Nova Scotia), Jacques Gauthier (B.C.), Thomas Scoffin (Yukon), Jake Higgs (Nunavut), Tanner Horgan (Northern Ontario), Mike McEwen (Ontario), Felix Asselin (Quebec), Nathan Young (Newfoundland and Labrador), Tyler Smith (P.E.I.) and defending champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., among teams already qualified for the 18-team field March 3-12 in London, Ont.
Provincial men’s championships in Alberta and Manitoba start Tuesday and in New Brunswick on Wednesday.
The Brier’s three wild-card entries will come from the top three non-qualified teams in the Canadian Team Rankings System (CTRS) at the conclusion of provincial and territorial championships.
Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone, Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, Gushue, Alberta’s Kevin Koe and Manitoba’s Reid Carruthers ranked first to fifth Sunday.
The Brier champion will wear the Maple Leaf in the world men’s championship April 1-9 in Ottawa.