Westman tour on tap for Bobcats

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Courtesy:  Brandon University News Release

BRANDON – The Brandon University Bobcats are gearing up for a barnstorming tour of intrasquad games in neighbouring communities.

The BU basketball and volleyball teams will travel to Virden, Carberry, Deloraine, Boissevain and Dauphin this fall.

September 13, Men's Volleyball in Virden at 7 p.m.
September 15, Women's Volleyball in Carberry at 7 p.m.
September 20, Men's Basketball in Deloraine at 7 p.m.
September 21, Women's Basketball in Boissevain at 6:30 p.m.
October 6, Men's Volleyball in Dauphin at 6:30 p.m.

Last year, the Bobcats broke new ground with all four Canada West teams hitting the road for tune-up contests in Gladstone, Glenboro, Hamiota and Souris.

Brandon University Athletic Director Russ Paddock feels the initiative helps the Bobcats promote and prepare for the 2016-2017 season.

"We got great feedback following our tour last year and we want keep building on that momentum," said Paddock. "Scheduling a second round of intrasquad games was an easy decision after the events were so well received in the small towns we visited last season."

Two of the five schools that the Bobcats are bound for this season are guided by principals who are BU hockey alumni members. Bruce McCallum and Carberry Collegiate will host the women's volleyball team on September 15 while Tony Franklin and Deloraine School welcome the men's basketball team on September 20.

"Anytime you can get a high level of volleyball like that coming to a rural community it is exciting for all the people in the community and the students in the school," said McCallum. "The Bobcats are good role models and hopefully our students will aspire to be that way themselves."

"This is a great opportunity for our community to observe the sport at its highest level in Canada," added Franklin. "Hopefully a showcase like this will spark interest in basketball and encourage our students to participate in the future."

Elsewhere, it will be a trip down memory lane for Kinsley Ransom as the former Boissevain Broncos' star returns home as a veteran member of the Bobcats.

Ransom won multiple MVP awards and provincial high school championships during her time as a Bronco. She is looking forward to playing in front of friends and family with her current BU teammates on September 21.

"I am really excited to play at my old school and I am thrilled for my team to see where it all started for me," said Ransom. "I think it is important to promote our programs in rural areas to motivate young athletes and to get communities excited about our teams and gain more fans in the process."

Meanwhile, the men's volleyball team has double the travel plans with a pair of intrasquad games on their schedule including Virden on September 13.

Virden Golden Bears' coach Nathan Holovach says their varsity boys' program needs a boost and he feels the Bobcats can deliver a shot in the arm.

"It gives our current players something to aspire to and for the athletes in the area not currently playing volleyball, it lets them see how exciting the sport is and hopefully gives them a reason to try the sport," said Holovach. "I am a BU grad, so I know firsthand how excellent the Bobcat men's volleyball program is. It is world-class volleyball."

The second tune-up contest for men's volleyball will be in the newly renovated gym at Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School on October 6.

Dauphin Clippers' varsity boys' coach Taylor Schmidt says hosting the Bobcats is a great way to celebrate.

"We jumped at the chance to host the Bobcats when we learned that the BU teams were travelling to rural communities," said Schmidt. "We are excited to host one of the top teams in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and we are hoping to the pack our gym."

Admission is free to all five intrasquad games.