1. Brier's Battle of Alberta
Tuesday evening's draw features the Brier's Battle of Alberta, but Calgarians John Morris and Kevin Koe have already met three times this curling season. Koe is 2-0 versus Morris in Grand Slam events with one-point wins in both. Morris won four skins to Koe's two in the Pinty's Skins Game semifinal last month.
2. Northern Ontario revival
Brad Jacobs ended a 28-year drought for Northern Ontario at the Brier two years ago. His Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink will try to make it two Canadian titles in a row. They didn't play in last year's Brier because of their run to Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia.
3. Minus McEwen
The top-ranked men's team in Canada is not in the field. Mike McEwen's team is far and away the World Curling Tour's money leader. But McEwen lost the Manitoba final for the fifth time in six years when he fell to Reid Carruthers.
4. Big bag of bonuses
In addition to wearing the Maple Leaf at the upcoming world curling championship in Halifax, the Brier winner gains automatic entry into this year's Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling, next year's World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling in Las Vegas and the 2016 Brier in Ottawa. The victors earn $55,000 in prize money, get another $20,000 for cresting at both the Brier and world championship and are eligible for up to $144,000 over a two-year period from Sport Canada. This year's winner also qualifies for the 2017 pre-trials for the next Winter Olympics.
5. Olympic gold yes, Canadian title no
Brad Gushue has led Newfoundland and Labrador into the playoffs seven of 11 times at the Brier, but a national title has eluded the 34-year-old skip. Gushue was just 26 when he and Mark Nichols, Russ Howard and Jamie Korab won Canada's first men's curling gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
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