Ontario's Russ Howard, Manitoba's Rob Fowler, Alberta's Kevin Koe and — for the first time ever — a rink from the Northwest/Yukon Territories, skipped by Jamie Koe of Yellowknife, have qualified for the page playoffs at the Tim Hortons Brier.
"It's really special, everybody back home is pretty excited,'' said Jamie Koe, whose rink will play the Calgary-based squad skipped by his older brother in a Saturday afternoon, sudden-death matchup of the third- and fourth-place teams.
The Territories team finished with a 7-4 record after beating B.C.'s Jim Cotter in the final round-robin games Thursday at the Credit Union Centre.
Ontario clinched first place and finished with a 10-1 record by beating Alberta 6-3. Alberta placed third with an 8-3 record
"We probably played our best game of the week,'' said Howard. "It's a good time to start peaking.''
Manitoba, which had a bye Thursday night, also had an 8-3 mark but moved into second because of a victory over Alberta in the round-robin.
Ontario meets Manitoba on Friday evening in the 1-versus-2 page playoff game, which gives the winner a bye into Sunday's final.
The 1-versus-2 loser plays a sudden-death semi-final Saturday evening against the winner of the 3-4 matchup.
"I'm happy [Jamie Koe's team]is in the playoffs,'' said Kevin Koe. "It's a great story, but at the same time, it's the playoffs.''
There were no playoffs at the Brier before 1980. The Territories' Al Delmage did qualify for — and lose — a tiebreaker in 1985.