B.C. Men’s championship underway

The top 16 men’s curling teams in the province hit the hack yesterday to battle it out in Vernon this week.

The top 16 men’s curling teams in the province hit the hack yesterday to battle it out in Vernon this week for the 2015 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championship at the Vernon Curling Club.

The field represents all corners of the province and includes defending champions and Canadian silver medallists Team Cotter, as well as 2000 World Champion Brent Pierce.

The opening draw at 9 a.m. Wednesday saw Cotter take out Victoria’s Team Wenzek 8-5, while the Dean Joanisse foursome from Royal City downed Kamloops Darren Nelson rink 7-4.

Golden Ears Winter Club represented by Team Dezura beat first-time competitor the Stephen Schneider rink from Vancouver 4-3. Dezura’s team is full of experience with all of the members having previously won silver or gold at the BC Men’s Championship.

Another Royal City rink, Team McArdle, which includes three provincial junior champions, stung the Baier foursome from the Victoria Curling Centre 7-1, and in the final match of the draw Kamloops’ Team DeCap outlasted Victoria’s Neil Dangerfield 6-5.

The Kootenay Zone representative Tom Buchy rink from Kimberley comprised of third Dave Stephenson, second Dave Toffolo, and lead Darren Will played the 2014 runners-up, Team Montgomery, in the afternoon draw but results were unavailable at press time.

Kelowna’s Team Pierce will be hoping to recreate past successes that have seen skip Brent crowned World Champion and third Jeff Richard and second Tyler Orme win the 2010 BC Men’s title. Pierce goes against the home rink of Team Longworth which includes the father and son duo of skip Mark and third Michael.

Cotter plays McArdle, Joanisse faces Dezura, and Royal City’s Sean Geall’s Team with third Andrew Bilesky swept off against Victoria’s Wes Craig rink.

The top three teams will be featured on live Sportsnet broadcasts of the semi-final at 7 p.m. on Saturday and the final which will air at 12.30 p.m. Sunday.

The winner will go on to compete in the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, which takes place in Calgary from Feb. 28 to March 8.

Visit http://cdimens2015.curlbc.ca/ for team information, or to view the event schedule and draw format.