Alberta curler hopes Olympic upset sparks change for Canadian curling

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Alberta curler hopes Olympic upset sparks change for Canadian curling

Team Bottcher is in full training mode ahead of representing Alberta at the Tim Hortons Brier in Regina on March 3.

The young curling team representing Alberta consists of Brendan Bottcher (skip), Karrick Martin (lead), Brad Thiessen (second) and Darren Moulding (third).

The reigning Boston Pizza Cup champions hope to finish the season strong at the Brier.

"This year we went hard toward the Olympic run, and we actually did quite well and got a lot of confidence from that," said Bottcher, who is from Sherwood Park.

"We are looking forward to getting back to the Brier, and carrying all that forward and hopefully having a good week."

'Can't keep up with the young guys'

Team Bottcher watched from home when the Canadian men's team placed fourth and the women's team placed sixth at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Bottcher said the disappointing results are part of the nature of the game.

"Curling is a game of inches, and anyone can win any game ... and it's possible they just ran into a few bad breaks.

"It looked like all the teams playing against Canada were playing really well. And you sort of have to expect that when you are wearing the maple leaf. Canada is the huge favourite and every team you're playing against has nothing to lose."

Bottcher said he thinks Team Canada has approached curling one way, with much success for many years. Failing to medal at the 2018 Olympics might be what sparks change for the top Canadian curlers, he said.

"This Olympics is proving that Canada might not be the leader of the pack anymore," he said.

"In a lot of [other] countries, you see younger and younger athletes getting better and better. And in Canada we have quite a few older athletes, and it's a little scary when they can't keep up with the young guys anymore. And we don't have a lot of younger teams that are getting funded to replace those older teams."

He said he hopes Team Bottcher will become one of the young teams that can take on the rest of the world.

But first, they have to conquer the Brier.

"I think we've had a great year and I would set the goal of being in the final four and trying to make the playoffs," Bottcher said. "We're just trying to focus on that for the start. And hopefully the results take care of themselves."