Editor’s note: This team is the most recent one to have won a national medal, the second one won by Koe, Galusha and Koehler as a team. They may be the bottom seeds at no. 16 but it’s your votes that could see them cause a massive upset and move on to the quarter-final round.
The 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship very nearly provided the NWT its first chance to have a team from the territory on the international stage.
The 2020 edition of the event also saw the NWT have a chance to possibly get to the world level but it wasn’t meant to be.
The foursome who made the trip to Quebec, though, weren’t upset with the final result.
Jamie Koe skipped the territory’s rink of Kerry Galusha, David Aho and Megan Koehler to a bronze medal back in November after defeating Manitoba, 7-5, in the contest for third place.
Koe spoke with NNSL Media after returning home (“Bronze for Team NWT in Quebec, Yellowknifer, Nov. 13, 2019) and he said at the time that he was quite happy with being the skip of the third-best mixed curling rink in Canada.
“It’s always good to end things on a winning note,” he said. “We played a good final game and we’re happy with a bronze medal.”
The bronze medal finished off a good week for the foursome, one which saw them drop their opening two games of the spiel versus Ontario and Nova Scotia in pool play before they reeled off four straight wins to top their pool and advance to the championship round. From there, they would beat Manitoba for the first time and B.C. before dropping their next two contests to New Brunswick and Quebec.
“We struggled off the bat,” said Koe. “Kerry (had) been on the ice quite a bit (in the 2019) season already and the other three of us have only done club curling so far so it took a bit of time to get into the pressure of a national championship but once we did, we got on a roll.”
All of the losses in the championship round and playoffs were by one point and they had a chance to knock off the host province in the final end during their championship round encounter but came up agonizingly short.
“We had our chance but we missed the last shot by about half an inch,” said Koe.
Even with the two losses, Koe and company finished third in the championship pool to advance to the semifinal, where they met up with New Brunswick for a second time. New Brunswick scored three with the hammer to open the game but Koe fought back with three of his own in the second. New Brunswick scored two in the third, which was followed by a single from Koe in the fourth and a steal of one in the fifth to knot the game at 5-5 after the fifth.
New Brunswick would score a single in the sixth and it would then be their turn to steal in the seventh to put Koe behind the 8-ball, 7-5. With the hammer coming home in the eighth, Koe could only muster one point and fell, 7-6.
Koe started the bronze medal game with the hammer and scored a single, which was answered by a deuce from Manitoba in the next end. Koe took a deuce of his own in the third before a single from Manitoba tied the game at the mid-game break, 3-3. Both teams traded deuces in the fifth ans sixth end but a deuce from Koe gave him the lead, one he would not relinquish as he ran Manitoba out of rocks in the final end.
“We didn’t have any pressure on us and I don’t think anyone was looking forward to playing us because of the roll we were on,” said Koe. “The chances were there but we rebounded to win the bronze and that’s a great way to finish.”
Quebec would go on to win the title on home ice as they ran the table, going unbeaten and beating New Brunswick in the final, 6-5.