Bobcat curlers chasing western championships


Brandon Universitry Bobcats Media Release


BRANDON – The Brandon Bobcats have doubled their chances for success at the Western Canadian University Curling Championships in Edmonton this weekend.

Janelle Vachon is back for a second straight year to skip the women's team, while Shayne MacGranachan leads the men's team into westerns for the first time.

"The success that the women's team had last year helped pave the way for us to get involved," said MacGranachan. "It is pretty cool to join them as Bobcats."

In 2016, Vachon and her team of Kaitlyn Payette, Hayley Surovy and Camille Lough had a top-three finish at the westerns en route to placing fifth at nationals.

The rink also earned individual accolades with Payette being recognized with a national sportsmanship award.

"The most important thing that we learned last year was how the four of us work optimally as a team, and what it takes for all of us to get the best out of each other in every game," said Vachon. "This year we can take that and use that to our advantage in games."

Vachon's 2017 schedule has been busy in the buildup towards westerns. She took part in the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Grand Slam of Curling's Canadian Open while playing second for Winnipeg's Briane Meilleur.

"Both events are almost a week long and can be a lot of games," added Vachon. "You have to stay mentally and physically tough from start to finish. The events have definitely helped me work at staying mentally focused, which will be important coming into westerns as the skip."


Meanwhile, MacGranachan's BU foursome includes Bryce Cisyk, Marc Vachon and Beau Bridgeman.

"I think we are ready to go as a team," said MacGranachan. "The biggest challenge is that we do not know much about the other teams. We are as ready as we think we need to be."

MacGranachan made his mark on the local curling scene by winning the Westman Junior Super League three times. In 2014, he skipped his rink to a 15-and-1 round-robin record before cruising through the playoffs with three straight wins.

His resume also includes helping former world junior champion Braden Calvert capture the U18 men's provincial championship in 2013 and last year MacGranachan made his debut at the Viterra Men's Provincial Curling Championship with veteran skip Terry McNamee.

"I have played in a handful of provincial championships before, but I have never been outside the province to play," added MacGranachan. "We are looking forward to it."

BU has a proud curling history with Mike McEwen winning a national university title in 2002 and a gold medal at the World University Games in 2003. Last fall, McEwen was enshrined into the BU Sports Wall of Fame and he followed up his induction by capturing a second straight Manitoba title to book his spot in the Brier.

Our current Bobcat teams are trying to follow in McEwen's university footsteps by reaching the U SPORTS-Curling Canada Championship in Thunder Bay from March 18-22. Both BU rinks will need a top-two finish in the four-team field at westerns to qualify for nationals.

"We would love to get one of those spots. Two spots with four teams gives us a fairly good chance and then we get to travel in the other direction," added MacGranachan.

The Bobcats are going up against the Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas, the Regina Cougars and the Lethbridge Pronghorns at the westerns with the championship running Friday through Sunday.

Our men's curling roster and schedule can be found here, while the roster and schedule for the BU women's rink can be found here.