Members of the Dalhousie University Tigers men’s curling team won bronze at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World Championships on Jan. 20 in Lake Placid, N.Y., representing Canada.
Led by captain Owen Purcell, Canada managed to overcome a 2-0 deficit to Switzerland and came back to win the last game 3-2. This followed a 6-4 loss to Great Britain a day prior.
“It’s just fantastic,” said Purcell. “It’s not every day that you get to wear a medal around your neck for something like that. You don’t know if you’re gonna feel something like that ever again.”
Purcell said the team was able to apply their knowledge of how Switzerland played in the round-robin to beat them in their final game.
“That was actually the one thing that I was really looking forward to in that bronze medal game,” he said. “I told the guys before that final game that [Switzerland] did beat us in the round-robin but we’re gonna come out and we’re going to be a completely different team than the one that faced them in the first game.”
Words from Marc Kennedy
The team was down two points halfway through the game, but they used inspiration from Canadian Olympic curler Marc Kennedy to pull themselves back into the match.
Kennedy was on the 2018 and 2022 Canadian Olympic teams, placing fourth in 2018 after what, Purcell said, was a half-hearted effort for Canada in the bronze medal game.
“That was their biggest regret at that Olympics, that they never got to come away with the medal,” said Purcell, who was determined not to do the same. The Canadians took Olympic bronze in 2022.
Kennedy sent the Tigers team a video message as encouragement. “It was about playing hard for each other and playing hard for the maple leaf, and that was pretty special. We definitely drew on a lot of that inspiration going into the bronze medal game,” said Purcell, proud of the team’s resilience and perseverance even in their hardest games.
The Tigers almost got the chance to represent Canada at the FISU games in 2021 but lost the spot to Wilfrid Laurier University.
“You always have that dream of getting to go to an international competition, and being that close is always a heartbreaker,” said Purcell. “We definitely used that [loss] as motivation to work harder.”
Throughout the tournament, Purcell never lost confidence in his team, consisting of the third Jeffery Meagher, lead David McCurdy, alternate Caelan McPherson and second Adam McEachren (McEachren and McCurdy just led Dal to an Atlantic University Sport championship on Feb. 5). All hailing from Nova Scotia, they’re the first athletes from the Maritimes to qualify for the FISU games in curling.
“I knew they all had very strong games within them and they had that 110 per cent mentality, but I was impressed with pretty much all of them. Just to be able to stick in there and keep their positive attitudes,” said Purcell. I think that’s what put us over the top with a lot of these other teams.”
Photo: U SPORTS