Former Alouette makes Brier debut

William Dion has reached the highest level of Canadian men’s curling, marking the second time — and the second sport — in which he’s made waves at the national level.

Dion, 30, was the kicker/punter for Sherbrooke University from 2008 to 2012. The Drummondville native finished his collegiate career the all-time USports (then-CIS) leader in field goals (72) and fourth all-time in points scored (374).

Dion’s play caught the attention of the kicker-needy Montreal Alouettes who signed him to a three-year deal in January of 2013. Dion never saw game action — he was released on May 30 of that same year — but earning a look with his hometown Alouettes was still a great accomplishment for the undrafted placekicker.

Football, however, was not the only sport at which Dion excelled as a young man.

Dion represented his home province at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in 2007 as the third for Ghyslain Richard. Dion returned to the tournament one year later as a skip, winning it all after posting an impressive 10-2 record in the round robin. This victory earned Dion the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships in Osterlund, Sweden in March of 2008.

Dion’s rink finished the tournament’s round robin in first place with a 7-2 record, but struggled in two playoff games. Losing to Sweden and the United States in the championship round, Dion eventually captured bronze with a 5-3 victory over Norway.

Dion has spent the past ten years curling in both men’s and mixed play. Now the second for Mike Fournier’s rink out of the Glenmore Curling Club, Dion is representing Quebec in the Brier after his team knocked off five-time defending champion (and former Brier champion) Jean-Michel Ménard in the WFG Tankard.

Team Quebec lost two games on Sunday (7-6 to P.E.I.’s Eddie Mackenzie and 7-3 to Ontario’s John Epping) following a 5-2 victory over Steve Laycock’s host Team Saskatchewan on Saturday in the tournament’s opening draw.

His team may be in tough to make the championship pool — Manitoba’s Reid Carruthers, Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs, and Ontario’s John Epping make for stiff competition in Quebec’s Pool B — but Dion has already achieved something in extraordinary in (unofficially) becoming the first CFL player to represent his province at the Brier.

A CFL player at the Brier? That’s peak Canadiana right there.