North Glengarry’s Marshall MacPherson completed his university curling career in early March, capping off his time at the University of Western Ontario by being recognized with the MVP award for curling at the school’s athletics banquet, which this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held remotely.
He tells me that the 2019-20 season was a year of transition for the Western curling program. The previous campaign saw the club claim bronze at the OUA Championships, going on to “have a strong showing at the nationals in Fredericton.” Following that year, the skip and third graduated, opening the door for MacPherson’s leadership.
The longtime curler out of the Alexandria Curling Club and graduate of Glengarry District High School stepped in the skip role, whilst throwing third stones.
“Thankfully, the entire curling season was able to be played before the COVID shutdown,” he notes. “We had a few tune-up events in St. Catharine’s and Waterloo, where we had very strong showings. We also had the incredible opportunity to play an exhibition game on arena ice at the Continental Cup (hosted in London this year) side-by-side with the stars of the sport and in front of a crowd of over 1,000.”
The provincial championships (OUA) were held in Guelph, where the Mustangs started 1-4.
“We won our last two games to end the round-robin at 3-4, but we just missed out on the playoffs,” MacPherson recalls.
He admits to me that he and his teammates were disappointed to miss the OUA playoffs and the opportunity to “make a run to qualify at nationals.” On the season as a whole, though, MacPherson says, “We were pretty happy with the successes we were able to create as a first-year team. I’m quite happy with where we left things.”
He graduated recently and believes “the rest of the team is in a really good spot moving forward (providing the season isn’t also cancelled for the upcoming year).”
At the end of the year he was named Male Curling MVP by the Western Mustangs program.
On the academic front, he completed his dental school studies in June.
On his university curling career he reflects, “Stepping up to skip and being amongst other provincial, national, and world champions was really exciting, and I’m really glad I got to finish off my varsity career as skip.”
MacPherson adds, “I’m really thankful for my teammates, coach, and the entire faculty at the dental school who were all very understanding with my commitment to both finishing up a very busy program all the while leading the curling team. Despite the end of my university days coming to a very abrupt halt, I’m very satisfied with what I’ve been able to accomplish in my years at Western.”