Kevin Koe’s run as Team Canada at the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier came to an end Saturday morning, as his rink fell 8-3 in a tiebreaker against Brad Jacobs.
Team Canada finished the championship round with a record of 7-4, which placed them in a four-way tie for the last spot in the playoffs. This year’s Brier marks just the second time since 2014 that Koe has not been in the championship game.
While Koe’s team went undefeated on route to last year’s championship, this year the squad struggled to make key shots against some of the best teams in the country.
“We didn’t play good enough, it was kind of a steady theme all week,” Koe said after losing to Jacobs. “Not consistent enough and obviously some untimely misses as well.”
While Koe did finish the tournament with a winning record (7-4), the team couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most. Losses to teams like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, both of whom are in the playoffs, put Koe’s rink in a very difficult position.
“When we had some chances we didn’t really put the pressure on the other guys.”
Koe also acknowledged that they spent a considerable amount of time trying to catch up to the other teams, as opposed to controlling games when they mattered most.
“We just weren’t leading enough this week, we were always tied or one down.”
Instead of focusing on one specific weak point, Koe pointed to the overall performance of the team as lacking when compared to others.
“[We] just didn’t play good enough.”
The field at this year’s Brier is one of the most competitive in recent history, and for the first time since the Championship Round was introduced in 2018, the top-8 teams in the country were all represented.
Koe acknowledges that the strength of this year’s field, and the new format, made for an even greater challenge on the ice.
“With the format, [and] adding the Wild Card team into it, it makes things that much harder.”
Koe’s exit means that a new team will wear the maple leaf at next month’s world championships in Scotland, as well as at next year’s Brier in Kelowna BC.