Cotter moves up

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Jim Cotter no longer plays "The Nedohin" position for B.C.'s Pat Ryan.

In fact, there is no Pat Ryan even here.

With Ryan now officially retired, Cotter has become the full-time skip with Winnipeg native Kevin MacKenzie moving up to third from second. Ryan, however, will be the squad's fifth man should the rest qualify for the Brier, MacKenzie said yesterday.

The revamped foursome dropped their opening match of the Grand Slam's Canadian Open 9-4 to Kevin Martin at the MTS Centre yesterday. However, it was not the first time the new squad played together since last month's Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax.

"The weekend after we got back from Halifax, we had to play in our zone playdowns so we had three days of trying to forget Halifax, then all of a sudden had to go out with our new team and play our zones," MacKenzie said. "It was my first experience playing third and things seemed to click already. We beat (Rick) Folk twice and (Bob) Ursel twice and won our zone so, we're off to a good start.

"We actually played pretty good here. We just spotted them five points early and that was too much."

Kevin's sister, Kelly Scott, lost the women's trials final to Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink.

"She took it pretty hard," MacKenzie said. "They worked so hard for that. It was three years in the making for them. They worked way harder than we did in the off-season. They did everything they had to do to win. What really bugged her was last two (missed) shots in the 10th end."

AMAZING ICEMAKER: Head icemaker Mark Shurek had the sheets ready in record time yesterday as the Manitoba Moose played at the arena Tuesday night. The pebble was ready about two hours before the first draw.

"I'm just amazed at how good it is and how nice it looks out there, given the timeframe that Mark and his crew had to do this," said Alberta's David Nedohin.

Not a single curler complained about the ice after the first draw.

TOO YOUNG? At the tender age of 25, some believe that Newfoundland skip Brad Gushue is too young to curl at the Olympics.

"Too young?" Gushue responded. "Geez, in other sports, they're all 21, 22 so we're going to be old I think, when we get to the Olympics. And (second) Russ (Howard) might be real old. But it's great for him to go. We found out he's not going to be the oldest Olympian, which he's pretty excited about. There's a guy on the New Zealand curling team that's a little bit older."

Howard will celebrate his 50th birthday in Italy.

BONSPIEL WOES: Entries for the MCA's 118th Annual Bonspiel closed at 441 last night, seven short of the desired 448, and the lowest number in decades. No more entries will be accepted.


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