After the sweeping, sliding, hollering — and after that big cheque — comes a catching of the breath.Brendan Bottcher, pistol-hot and the freshly crowned Humpty’s Champions Cup victor, says he’s ready to slide into warmer-weather pursuits.“I am thoroughly ready for summer,” Bottcher said Sunday after beating Kevin Koe 6-5 in an extra-end of their all-Alberta Cup final at Saskatoon’s Merlis Belsher Place.“I joked with my guys going into the extra end, I’m pretty sure we’ve only got to throw two more shots each, then we’re in summer break. I’m looking forward to it. Our season’s so long these days, and it’s just nice to get a little bit of a break.”
Skip Brendan Bottcher watches an incoming rock during the Humpty’s Champions Cup mens final at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon on Sunday.
Kayle Neis /
They’re taking a $40,000 cheque into the summer, and memories of a big win over a big rival. Koe and Bottcher have clashed in clutch games on a regular basis this season, and the former edged the latter 4-3 in last month’s Brier finale.Koe plays out of Calgary; Bottcher out of Edmonton.“I thought it was really fitting today that our last big game of the year was against those guys,” said Bottcher, who plays with Darren Moulding, Bradley Thiessen and Karrick Martin. “It’s just been how the season’s went. It speaks to the depth of our two teams, that you can put us in the best fields again and again and again and again, and the same two teams keep making the final. It speaks to the depth of our teams; it speaks to the depth of curling in Alberta, and I think it’s awesome.”In the women’s final later in the day, Swiss skip Silvana Tirinzoni — fresh off winning the world championship in Denmark — downed Manitoba’s Kerri Einarson 6-3 in the final.“This was a great finish to a great season,” said Tirinzoni, who has Alina Paetz throwing fourth stones for a team that was put together prior to the current curling season.Tirinzoni’s world-championship team isn’t finished curling just yet; their next stop is Beijing, where they’ll play in the Curling World Cup Grand Final May 8-12. Then, summer.“I’m glad the break is here, actually,” said Tirinzoni, who beat Ottawa’s Rachel Homan 5-4 in a semifinal. “We go to China for one more week, and then the summer’s here. I’m really looking forward to see my friends again and spend some time with my nieces. I’m looking forward to the summer.”
Alina Paetz (L), who throws fourth rocks for Silvana Tirinzoni, celebrates with lead Melanie Barbezat after winning the Humpty’s Champions Cup women’s final at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon on Sunday.
Kayle Neis /
As for Bottcher, Sunday’s victory was his third straight on the World Curling Tour. A couple of weeks ago in Toronto, he beat Koe to win the Players Championship.This week’s event was played at the new Merlis Belsher Place, which is the home of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies’ hockey teams. Bottcher praised the facility, which hosted its first curling event.“It’s a great rink. It’s the right number of seats for this kind of event because you can fill it, and the fans were great — they were electric; they were cheering for both teams,” Bottcher said. “They were curling fans, which was nice. They understood when to cheer and when to be a little quiet. That was nice to see.”“It’s perfect,” Tirinzoni added later when asked about the facility. “I think they have to come back here, for sure. It’s perfect for a Slam. and everything else — the hotel very close, nice weather. An amazing week.”Einarson reached the final with a 5-4 win over Eve Muirhead, who subbed this week for Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg.In the men’s semifinals, Bottcher beat Scotland’s Bruce Mouat 7-2, and Koe edged Swedish world champion Niklas Edin 6-5.One Saskatchewan-based team got to the playoff round; North Battleford’s Robyn Silvernagle, who recently reached the national Scotties semifinal, lost 4-3 to Tirinzoni in a quarterfinal email@example.com/kmitchsp