REGINA — The opening draw of the 2024 Canadian men's curling championship will feature a rematch of Alberta rivals.
Aaron Sluchinski upset Kevin Koe 6-3 in the provincial men's curling final Sunday and will represent Alberta for the first time March 1-10 at the Montana's Brier in Regina.
Four-time national champion Koe, who earned entry via a wild-card berth, will face Sluchinski again in the Brier's opening draw at the Brandt Centre.
Curling Canada announced the Brier's pools and matchups Monday.
Brad Gushue opens defence of his Canadian title against Nova Scotia's Matthew Manuel, host Saskatchewan skipped by Mike McEwen meets Prince Edward Island's Tyler Smith and Jamie Koe of Northwest Territories takes on Quebec's Julien Temblay to kick off the tournament March 1.
The 18-team Brier field features 14 provincial and territorial champions, Gushue's Team Canada and three entries from the national men's rankings.
Along with Brendan Bottcher, Alberta has three teams in the field. Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador each have two.
Bottcher, Manitoba's Matt Dunstone and Reid Carruthers, Ontario's Scott Howard, B.C.'s Catlin Schneider, New Brunswick's James Grattan, Northern Ontario's Trevor Bonot, Andrew Symonds of Newfoundland and Labrador and Yukon's Thomas Scoffin comprise Pool A.
Gushue, Alberta's Koe, McEwen, Sluchinski, Tremblay, Manuel, Smith, N.W.T.'s Koe and Nunavut's Shane Latimer are in Pool B.
Teams play eight games in their pools. The top three in each pool advance to playoffs.
Tiebreakers have been eliminated from the format. Head-to-head results followed by the cumulative results of the draw-the-button that precedes each games are the tiebreakers.
The six-team playoff round determines the four Page playoff teams for the final weekend.
The winner March 10 represents Canada at the men's world championship March 30 to April 7 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.
The Canadian Press