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Forrest & Njegovan Announce a New Team for 2015-16

Saturday Apr 04 2015

For the past few years, Manitobans have had two teams to cheer for week after week if they followed the weekly World Curling Tour and Grand Slam circuit results. Mike McEwen and Jeff Stoughton have carried the Manitoba banner and they were, of course, joined in 2014-15 by Reid Carruthers and his team. From time to time, William Lyburn took in the WCT events and got his occasional shot in the Slams.

With Jeff Stoughton stepping aside for next year, his 2014-15 team has morphed into a new young foursome which will be exciting to watch. Like Stoughton, third Rob Fowler is not saying he is retiring. In fact he says if the right opportunity came up he would continue but he will also be content if the time has come when his involvement in the sport is at the club level or the major event level in Brandon.

And that has left second Alex Forrest and lead Connor Njegovan to build their own new, young team.

Forrest will be the skip – returning to the tee where he was successful in winning a Manitoba Junior title in 2010 with Njegovan at second. Their third will be Travis Bale who was also a successful Junior skip, winning Manitoba in 2006. The second will be Ian McMillan, moving over from Steen Sigurdson’s team, and Njegovan will be the lead.

Speaking for the team, Njegovan says their aim is to build up enough sponsorship to allow them to travel and compete at the World Curling Tour level with the hope of qualifying for Grand Slam invitations and the Pre-Trials.

 “We know we’re going to take some bumps and bruises but we’re prepared to be patient and go out and pay our dues. Hopefully we learn from it and put in the effort to become a good team,” Njegovan says.

Njegovan recalls the time when he played with Forrest in Juniors and he says it is exciting to have him back skipping. “There’s going to be a transition for him,” Njegovan admits, “but if he gets back to being as comfortable as he was in Juniors we’re going to be a scary team to play against,”

The team members have made the commitment to each other to do what they have to do to be the best curlers they can be. Their initial planning has them travelling to 6 or 7 out of province events in the fall of 2015.

Energy – they have it. Optimism – they have it. Talent – they have that too. Sponsorship is the thing they need. It could be a ‘ground-floor’ opportunity to be part of the next Manitoba success story if Team Forrest can come close to duplicating the two examples they hope to follow. Alex Forrest may just make the step back to skipping with the same success as Reid Carruthers did or over time, Team Forrest may just duplicate the longer-term success of the Mike McEwen team, the last foursome of talented Manitoba juniors to make the bold move to take on the world.

The story will be written over time. Sponsors who would like to help write the first chapter next fall can contact the team by email to [email protected].

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