Featured Curling Athlete: Brendan Bottcher

Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher decided to try curling after watching the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games – and he’s been hooked ever since. Bottcher has come a long way since trying the sport as a seven-year-old. Before joining the competitive junior ranks, he was runner-up in the 2007 Alberta Juvenile Curling Championship. He has competed in the Alberta Junior Curling Championship four times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), making it to the national championship in 2010, where he finished sixth.

Alberta's Brendan Bottcher at the M&M Junior Curling Championship (Photo courtesy B. Bottcher)

He’s a two-time Alberta Winter Games participant (2006, 2008) and won the Bronze Medal at the 2011 Canadian CIS/SIC University curling championship. That’s a lot of competitive curling – and it didn’t happen without help. “I have had a few coaches that have been influential in my junior career,” says Bottcher, who currently curls out of the Saville Sports Center in Edmonton. “First, Marilyn Davies guided me throughout my early development in Sherwood Park. She felt strongly that I should take curling seriously and without her I would probably not have gotten so involved in the sport.” He credits his current coach, Bernie Panich, with having the most influence on his career. “He has coached me for… I guess this is year six already… and has been involved throughout every competitive event I have played in. His numerous hours spent coaching me are greatly appreciated and without him I would never have gotten to the point I am at currently.” And that point is very impressive, both on and off the ice. Like most young curlers, Bottcher has volunteered at junior curling clinics and camps. Currently he balances his curling life with a full course load as a student in the faculty of engineering at the University of Alberta. Away from curling? Well, there’s always golf – he scored his first hole-in-one at the age of 12. Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta Curling Club: Saville Sports Center, Edmonton Current Team: Bottcher Position: Skip Delivery: Right Nickname: “Bottcher Express” Quick Hits with Brendan Bottcher Do you have any superstitions? “I used to be much more superstitious than I am today. Over time certain people have convinced me that there are more logical ways to view things than relying on superstitions. With that being said, there are still some habits that have carried over into my current routine. I always clean the rock before I throw exactly the same; 3 clockwise rotations followed by 3 sweeps of the ice with my hand.” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Ed Werenich: my curling idol growing up Shania Twain: no explanation needed ‘The Most Interesting Man in the Universe’: with a title like that how could you not invite him to a dinner party?” If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why? “Tennis. Besides being the only other sport that I am reasonably decent at, I would love to be a tennis star as they receive much more attention than curlers. Playing an individual sport in a packed stadium is the pinnacle of sport and athleticism. It is my dream to go to Roland Garros Stadium, although if I get there it will unfortunately probably be as a fan.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “I would make it mandatory to have a draw to the button before the game to determine hammer. With the increasingly shorter games being played, this aspect is becoming more important and should not be left up to a coin toss.” What music do you like to listen to before a game? “Either Pop or Country; it is mood dependent. Usually I don’t listen to music before curling as I more prefer to sit in solitude.” Favourite: … Website?  “If I ever had time to recreationally use the internet I would have a better response for you…unfortunately it is probably Facebook, partly as it updates automatically to my phone.” Order from Tim Hortons?  “Extra-Large,1 cream, 1 sugar… although why wouldn’t you go to Starbucks…?” … Vacation destination?  “It is a toss-up between Cancun or Las Vegas. The most important thing is that it is warmer than in Edmonton.” … Junk food?  “Old Dutch salt and vinegar chips.” Do you have any pet peeves? “People who are perpetually late… they make life difficult for the rest of us.” Three things you always travel with? “My phone charger (although I tend to leave this item behind in hotels), a good book (on vacations), and unfortunately homework (it is a never-ending cycle).” First thing on your Bucket List? “Travelling. I would like to spend time in Dubrovnik, Perth, and Athens just to name a few places.” Favourite pastime between draws? “Cards: cribbage” One thing most people don’t know about you? “That I play other sports besides curling; mainly tennis and golf in the summer.” What is the biggest misconception about curlers? “That we are physically weak, beer drinking people playing an “easy” sport.” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “An in-turn draw to the four foot.”