Team Bottcher off to its fourth straight Brier

EDMONTON — They may still be considered underdogs by the curling world but with two Brier silvers under their belts Team Bottcher is heading into the 2020 Brier with confidence.

“I think I’m as optimistic as I can be,” said skip Brendan Bottcher. “You practice hard, we’ve done that, we’ve taken care of all the off-ice stuff so we’re going to get to Kingston as square one as any of the top teams.”

Team Bottcher is going into the 2020 Brier knowing they will be competing the whole week of round-robin but in 2019 it was a different story.

“Going through that wild card game was tough… last year we had to play our best curling right off the hop and then come out right after winning and play one of the best teams in the world.”

The team is glad to be competing as Team Alberta this year, avoiding the drain a wild card start can bring.

“Later that extra energy you spent on the game gets to you. Not so much the extra game but the extra emotions and stress,” said third Darren Moulding.

Even without the stress of the wild card game the team starts off the round-robin against Brad Jacobs’ rink, the same team they faced first in 2019. Jacobs won gold in curling at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

One advantage that Team Bottcher believes they have is diverse personalities among their players.

Bottcher said one trait he tried hard to emulate from top skips when he was beginning his career was the ability to radiate a sense of calm.

“Whether things were going great or whether things were going awful they were out there just doing their business.”

“That quiet intensity really brings a lot of confidence to your team and I think intimidates a lot of other teams.”

In contrast Bottcher and his teammates describe Moulding as ‘excitable.’

“Darren’s a 10 on the ice, we’re more of a 6 or a 5,” said second Brad Thiessen. “It’s good for us to have that kind of difference, he’s able to amp us up a bit and we can bring him down. I think it’s worked well for all four of us.”

The Brier goes from Feb. 29 to March 8 in Kingston, Team Alberta’s first game is at 7 p.m.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Adam Cook