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Gauthier, Asselin, Scoffin qualify for Canadian men’s curling championship

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B.C.'s Jacques Gauthier, Quebec's Felix Asselin and Yukon's Thomas Scoffin won their respective provincial and territorial men's curling championships Sunday to gain entry into the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier.

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B.C.’s Jacques Gauthier, Quebec’s Felix Asselin and Yukon’s Thomas Scoffin won their respective provincial and territorial men’s curling championships Sunday to gain entry into the 2023 Tim Hortons Brier.

Asselin, Gauthier and Scoffin joined already qualified defending champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., and Nunavut’s Jake Higgs in the Canadian men’s championship field March 3-12 in London, Ont.

Gauthier’s Victoria foursome scored three in the ninth end en route to an 8-5 victory over Brent Pierce of New Westminster to go undefeated in Chilliwack.

Team Yukon skip Thomas Scoffin makes a shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge, Alta., Friday, March 4, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Gauthier is the son of three-time national women’s champion Cathy Gauthier.

He was an alternate for Manitoba’s Jason Gunnlaugson in the 2021 Brier, but makes his skipping debut along with his teammates playing in a Brier for the first time in London.

“We’re hoping to scare somebody,” Gauthier told Curl BC. “We’re hoping to scare the big teams and see how we do on the big stage.”

Asselin doubled Vincent Roberts 12-6 to take Quebec’s men’s final in Alma. Roberts shook hands after eight ends.

Asselin will skip Quebec at the Brier for the first time, although he’s played in the last two for skip Mike Fournier and threw fourth stones for Fournier last year in Lethbridge, Alta.

Scoffin, who defeated Andrew Komlodi 6-4 at the Whitehorse Curling Club, skipped Yukon in the 2018, 2020 and 2022 Briers with his team’s best record 2-6 in 2018.

Curling Canada continues the 18-team fields for its men’s and women’s national championship in 2023 after two years of the format.

Wild-card entries increased from one to three in 2021, and are determined by the top three non-qualified teams in Curling Canada’s ranking system (CTRS).

The Brier’s three wild-card entries will be named next month when all provincial and territorial reps will have been determined.

Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone, Gushue and Alberta’s Kevin Koe ranked first to third Sunday on the CTRS, but the wild cards will come from deeper in that list as Gushue already has an automatic Brier entry as the defending champion.

Dunstone and four-time national champion Koe will also compete in their respective provincial championships next month.

Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, who beat Sweden’s Niklas Edin to win the Co-Op Canadian Open men’s title Sunday in Camrose, Alta., Manitoba’s Reid Carruthers and Saskatchewan’s Colton Flasch ranked fourth to sixth respectively Sunday in the CTRS.

Ontario, Northern Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador conclude their men’s provincials Jan. 29 and Nova Scotia on Jan. 30.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and New Brunswick hold their men’s provincial and territorial championships in February.

The Brier champion will represent Canada at the world men’s championship April 1-9 in Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2023.

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