A New Era for the North Bay Granite Club

In the most ordinary of times the month of September represents a period of transformation. For the Granite Club in particular, the changing colour of autumn leaves signifies a shift from serve and volley to hurry hard.

This September though might arguably bring about the most notable change in the club’s 70-year history on Trout Lake Road. Not only will COVID-19 reduce games to six ends and one sweeper but the club’s leadership will undergo its most significant renewal in over a decade.

A recently restructured Board of Directors, which had been led by former Club Manager Mark Brown for four years will seek a new President at the impending Annual General Meeting of Members. This following news that the club’s present-day Manager of ten years, Bobby Ray, has accepted a new role as Executive Director of the Northern Ontario Curling Association.

As the saying goes, when one door closes another door opens, and rest assured an exciting new era for the North Bay Granite Club is taking shape.

As of September 1st, the club’s Office Manager of two seasons, Stacey Dobbin, will be promoted to General Manager. Dobbin joined the club in 2014 as a participant in the newly developed Adult Learn to Curl and Rookie League program aimed at preparing novice curlers for integration into regular club programming.

Dobbin, who is a mother to four daughters and grandmother of three, was working from home and needed to meet people so, when she heard an advertisement on the radio calling on the public to try curling, she was compelled to act on the advice of old friend who had been trying to get her and her husband Mark to take up the game. Ever since Dobbin has climbed the ranks from beginner league to ‘A’ Division, competing in the Scott Patterson Memorial League, and even participating in a Northern Ontario provincial championship. She’s travelled the province to participate in adult curling camps and play in bonspiels as far away as Wallaceburg, near her hometown of Oil Springs.

Off the ice Dobbin got her first taste of volunteering when the 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship came to town. A wave of interest generated from this record-breaking event enabled the club to hire additional support; and Stacey’s administrative experience, paired with her fresh perspective and growing passion for the sport, made for a perfect fit. After two years and another major event hosted at Memorial Gardens, Dobbin’s appointment to the corporation’s most senior-level staffing position has been well earned and deserved.

Stacey Dobbin (left), with her husband of 35 years Mark (right), is being promoted to General Manager September 1, 2020.

While Dobbin will continue to maintain the financial and administrative functions of the club; a call for applications went out in August for a Sports Coordinator to fulfill a gap in league, event, sport programming, and marketing expertise.

Following a thorough search the Granite Club is excited to welcome former Assistant Captain of the Nipissing Lakers Women’s Hockey Club, Laura McKenzie, to their team.

McKenzie graduated with honours from Nipissing University’s Bachelor of Physical and Health Education program before completing a Master of Human Kinetics in Sport Management at the University of Ottawa in 2019.

Through her higher education McKenzie completed a 600-hour internship with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group where she focused on corporate partnerships for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, Ottawa Fury FC, and the Ottawa 67’s. Most recently this award-winning student, athlete and leader has been working as a Research Coordinator for Dr. Mark Bruner’s Groups for Youth Development Laboratory at Nipissing University.

While originally from the Owen Sound area, McKenzie looks forward to making North Bay home and to contributing towards the continued growth of curling, tennis, and the Granite Club on the whole as a community centre and partner in local sport development.

Other key staff members including Ice Technician Bruno Bin, Regional Curling Professional Laura Johnston, and Tennis Professional Fransua Rachmann continue to contribute beyond expectation as is evident by the expanding value proposition of the modern day North Bay Granite Club.