Handicapping the Brier field

STEVE GREEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:36 PM ET

The contenders

1. Alberta (5-2): Looking to extend province's Brier-winning streak to four.
2. Ontario (7-2): Team has made at least semifinals the past five Briers.
3. Newfoundland/Labrador (5-1): The Rock's best bet for a second title.
4. Manitoba (8-1): The Bison is rarely out of the mix.

The dark horses

5. Northern Ontario (12-1): Same team was third last year in Halifax.
6. Saskatchewan (15-1): Will have to be almost flawless to win this week.
7. New Brunswick (20-1): One of these days, the province's first Brier title will come.
8. Nova Scotia (30-1): Bluenosers will have to work hard to get above mid-table.

The long shots

9. British Columbia (50-1): Team light on Brier experience.
10. Territories (75-1): Will be hard-pressed to reach .500.
11. Quebec (100-1): Least-experienced Brier entry.
12. Prince Edward Island (150-1): A long, hard week looms.

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Meet the teams

ALBERTA (Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton)
Skip: Kevin Martin
Third: John Morris
Second: Marc Kennedy
Lead: Ben Hebert
Players' total Brier appearances: 26 (including 2011)
The skinny: The 2010 Olympic gold medallists will be out for their third Brier title in four years ... Martin will be trying for a record fifth title as a skip.
Money: Second on the World Curling Tour money list this season with $92,000.
Brier titles: 25, last in 2010 (Kevin Koe).

BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vernon and Kelowna CCs)
Skip: Jim Cotter
Third: Ken Maskiewich
Second: Kevin Folk
Lead: Rick Sawatsky
Players' total Brier appearances: 7
The skinny: Cotter is one of three first-time Brier skips ... Kevin Folk is the son of two-time Brier and world champion Rick Folk.
Money: Team is 11th on the WCT with $29,250.
Brier titles: 4, last in 2000 (Greg McAulay).

MANITOBA (Charleswood CC, Winnipeg)
Skip: Jeff Stoughton
Third: Jon Mead
Second: Reid Carruthers
Lead: Steve Gould
Players' total Brier appearances: 22
The skinny: Stoughton, in his ninth Brier, won in 1996 and 1999; lost 2009 final to Kevin Martin ... Manitoba1s Brier drought its longest ever at 12 years.
Money: The rink is third in WCT earnings with $68,250.
Brier titles: 26, last in 1999 (Stoughton).

NEW BRUNSWICK (Gage G&C Association, Oromocto)
Skip: James Grattan
Third: Charlie Sullivan
Second: Steve Howard
Lead: Peter Case
Players' total Brier appearances: 23
The skinny: Grattan making his ninth Brier appearance, fifth as a skip ... Steve Howard is the son of 1987 and 1993 Brier and world champion Russ Howard and nephew of Ontario skip Glenn Howard.
Money: N/A.
Brier titles: None, best recent finishes second in 1990 and 2000.

NEWFOUNDLAND/LABRADOR (Bally Haly G&CC, St. John1s)
Skip: Brad Gushue
Third: Mark Nichols
Second: Ryan Fry
Lead: Jamie Danbrook
Players' total Brier appearances: 21
The skinny: Gushue and Nichols won 2006 Olympic gold in Turin ... Has made playoffs the last four Briers, losing 2007 to Glenn Howard.
Money: Seventh on WCT list with $37,348.
Brier titles: 1, in 1976 (Jack MacDuff).

NORTHERN ONTARIO (Soo Curlers Association)
Skip: Brad Jacobs
Third: E.J. Harnden
Second: Ryan Harnden
Lead: Scott Seabrook
Players' total Brier appearances: 12
The skinny: An impressive third last year in Halifax ... Jacobs stole three in the 10th to win Northern Ontario final this year.
Money: Tied for 23rd on the WCT with $14,250.
Brier titles: 4. last in 1985 (Al Hackner).

NOVA SCOTIA (Mayflower CC, Halifax)
Skip: Shawn Adams
Third: Paul Flemming
Second: Andrew Gibson
Lead: Kelly Mittelstadt
Players' total Brier appearances: 16
The skinny: Adams, the 1993 Canadian junior champion, lost 2005 Brier final to Alberta1s Randy Ferbey ... Flemming was third for 2004 champion Mark Dacey.
Money: N/A.
Brier titles: 3, last in 2004 (Dacey).

ONTARIO (Coldwater & District CC)
Skip: Glenn Howard
Third: Richard Hart
Second: Brent Laing
Lead: Craig Savill
Players' total Brier appearances: 33
The skinny: Most experienced team at this Brier, appearing in their sixth straight, making at least the semifinals the previous five ... won 2007 Brier in Hamilton, beating Gushue in final ... Glenn Howard making 13th Brier appearance overall, having played third for brother Russ in seven.
Money: Fifth on WCT list with $52,900.
Brier titles: 9, last in 2007 (Glenn Howard).

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND (Charlottetown CC)
Skip: Eddie MacKenzie
Third: Mike Gaudet
Second: Mike Dillon
Lead: Alex MacFadyen
Players' total Brier appearances: 9
The skinny: MacKenzie making Brier debut as skip, having played third for Gaudet in 1994 ... MacFadyen a four-time P.E.I. junior champion.
Money: N/A.
Brier titles: None.

QUEBEC (Chicoutimi, Mont Royal CCs)
Skip: Francois Gagné
Third: Robert Desjardins
Second: Christian Bouchard
Lead: Philippe Ménard
Players' total Brier appearances: 5
The skinny: The least experienced rink in this field ... Gagné the third first-time Brier skip in London ... Ménard is brother of 2006 Brier champ Jean-Michel Ménard, whom Gagné defeated in this year1s Quebec final.
Money: N/A.
Brier titles: 2, last in 2006 (Jean-Michel Ménard).

SASKATCHEWAN (Tartan CC, Regina)
Third: Pat Simmons (throws fourth stones).
Skip: Steve Laycock (throws third stones).
Second: Brennen Jones
Lead: Dallan Muyres
Players' total Brier appearances: 10
The skinny: Laycock is 2003 Canadian and world junior champ ... Simmons finished third in 2008 Brier, the last of four previous appearances.
Money: Sixth on WCT list with $45,800.
Brier titles: 7, last in 1980 (Rick Folk).

TERRITORIES (Yellowknife CC)
Skip: Jamie Koe
Third: Tom Naugler
Second: Brad Chorostowski
Lead: Marty Gavin
Players' total Brier appearances: 16
The skinny: Koe making third straight Brier appearance, went 1-10 last year in Halifax.
Money: N/A.
Brier titles: None, best finish tie for second in 1975 (Don Twa).


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