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John Morris named skip of Team Canada, will lead champions into next Brier

British Columbia skip John Morris gestures as they play New Brunswick at the Tim Hortons Brier in Kamloops, B.C. on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The reigning Canadian men's curling champions have a new skip for the next Tim Hortons Brier.

John Morris will join forces with third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen as Team Canada makes its debut at the 2015 Brier in Calgary.

He replaces Kevin Koe, who left the champions to form a new team with third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert.

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"We're thrilled to be able to bring aboard a player of John's calibre," Simmons said in a statement. "Of course, we've always had a great deal of respect for John as a player and a rival, and we're excited about what we can do together on the ice next season."

At the 2014 Brier, Morris skipped the B.C. team (third Jim Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky) that lost to Koe's Alberta foursome in the final.

Morris said he will play a limited schedule during the 2014-15 season due to work commitments.

"My plan was to take the 2014-15 season off as I move ahead in my career as a firefighter," said Morris, who lives in Chestermere, Alta., just outside of Calgary.

"But to be able to play for Team Canada, and considering the Alberta events are so close to home, it was hard to pass up on this offer. I talked it over with Jim, Tyrel and Rick and they were very understanding. I can't thank them enough for the season we had, and I wish them nothing but the very best going forward."

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