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The Tim Horton’s Brier begins Friday with Newfoundland and Labrador sending two teams for the first time ever.

Team Gushue, featuring lead Geoff Walker, second Brett Galant, third Mark Nichols and skip Brad Gushue, will be dawn the Maple Leaf as the defending champions. The Gushue rink won last year’s Brier for Newfoundland and Labrador on home ice, so it gets to return as Team Canada.

The newcomers are a young team that plays out of the same rink as Gushue. Team Newfoundland and Labrador will be represented by a young crew, ranging in age from 21 to 26, with skip Gregg Smith, lead Ian Withycombe, second Andrew Taylor and third Matthew Hunt.

Newfoundland and Labrador is ranked 13th heading into the 16-team tournament.

Gushue’s rink will take on Smith’s rink near the end of round-robin. The tournament, being played in Regina, begins with a wildcard game today. Team Canada will play British Columbia Saturday at 7 p.m. (central), while Newfoundland and Labrador will play the Northwest Territories in their first game.

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