Official record for Brier attendance

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

INNISFAIL -- Odds are lookin' pretty good an Edmonton rink will emerge as the Alberta men's curling champion. And that's music to the ears of Terry Morris, the Brier 2005 president.

Morris officially announced a Brier attendance record of 253,085 yesterday, and having an Edmonton rep win tomorrow can only help.

Either Randy Ferbey or Jamie King will be in tomorrow's final. Red Deer's Rob Armitage and Calgary's John Morris round out the final four and take on the loser of the Ferbey-King game in tonight's semifinal.

That's two chances in four to get an Edmonton team in the Brier for the 11th straight year, which should help move the count closer to the 300,000 target.

If King's last rock Blake MacDonald can continue to hold a hot hand like he has all week, the team has a chance to upend Ferbey in today's battle of the only 5-0 teams.

And, in a way, if another young team does get into and wins the Brier, it will enhance Edmonton's reputation as the world's top curling centre.

"The way Blake's been playing, he's been making everything,'' said King, who has lost two last-rock decisions to Ferbey this year - at Regina and in the Canada Cup West A qualifier. "It should be an interesting game.''

"Worst-case scenario is going to the semifinal,'' said King. "Obviously, you'd like to win that game, but either way you're probably going to get a good team no matter what if you lose. If you win, you're in a great position.''

It's a more mature back end and a different front end than the one that was blasted 8-3 by Ferbey in the 2003 final.

"The last team we had had good chemistry, too,'' said King. "But this team, it doesn't matter what happens. If somebody misses a shot, the next guy just picks it up and makes the shot for him. It's been like that all year.

"As a foursome, we probably haven't played as well together at the same time. Right now, all four of us are throwing good. They're a tough team. Even if you're up, the game is never done with them. In all honesty, it comes down to Dave (Nedohin) or Blake making that big shot for a three-ball or whatever. That'll be the game.''

King said he's never seen such a dominant performance for such a long time by MacDonald as he's witnessing this week.

"Games here and there,'' said King. "This week, this is the best week he's played with me. I know he was amazing at the (1999) Brier when he was throwing second for Ken Hunka. As a skip, this is the best he's played.''


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