Every matchup's a winner

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Nothing like tradition, right?

Sure, that's why it wouldn't surprise Norm Daley to see a Randy Ferbey-John Morris final for the third year in a row at the Strauss Canada Cup in Kamloops, B.C.

Ah, but there's that other matchup everyone is dying to see, says the host committee president.

"If you talk to people around here, they want a Ferbey-Kevin Martin final," Daley said. "I'm good with whatever happens.

"It's going to be a phenomenal week of curling. When we first came up with this idea, we said let's get the best teams together in one place. We've attained that goal this year."

The field on both the men's and women's side of the $180,000 event is really a who's- who of Canadian curling:

* Ferbey won his sixth Brier title Sunday night on home ice and is a two-time defending Cup champ.

* Morris, a former world champ and two-time Cup runner-up.

* Pat Ryan of Kelowna, Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg and Kerry Burtnyk of Winnipeg, all former world champions.

* Kevin Martin, the 2002 Olympic silver medallist.

* Colleen Jones, a six-time national champion, two-time world champion and defending Cup champ.

* Jan Betker, the 1998 Olympic gold medallist with the late Sandra Schmirler skipping.

Morris, who has sat idle since losing the provincial quarter-final in Innisfail in early February, salivates at the mention of the field.

"Man, we have seven or eight of the top teams in the world to play -- there's Martin, Ferbey, Stoughton," Morris said.

"It's hard to describe what it's like to play these guys in an arena setting.

"If you can't get motivated for that, I don't know what you can get motivated for."

OK, 'idle' may not be a fair way to describe Morris's activity for the last month. He has been busy at his day job, working with autistic children, and training for a future with the Calgary Fire Department.

Fact is, he hasn't had much spare time to devote to preparing for this big week.

"I haven't had a heck of a lot of time to practise," said Morris, who skips for third Kevin Koe, second Marc Kennedy and lead Paul Moffat. "But we've been watching the Brier and we caught the itch again."

Daley said there'll be a dogfight at Sport Mart Place, home of the three-time Memorial Cup champion Kamloops Blazers.

Especially since the winners will earn the last available berths for the Olympic trials in Halifax, Dec. 3-11. If the winner already has one, the next non-qualified team in the standings will earn the berth.

The Canadian Team Ranking System berths should also be decided this week and Calgary's Cheryl Bernard needs every win she can get to surpass Alberta women's champ Cathy King, who isn't playing.

Daley said no one should have an easy game from start to finish, kicking off with the first draw at 7:30 a.m. today.

"People ask me, 'Which one do you think is going to be a great draw?' and I say all of them," Daley said.

"There are no weak sisters in the field. You can't afford a loss."


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