Vincent Brazeau wants to help kickstart competitive fencing in Quebec, using Sherbrooke’s club as a test case.
Although Sher-lames, the local club, has been around for over thirty years, Brazeau said that it has been a primarily recreational group until just recently.
“Fencing in Quebec is mainly in Montreal,” he said, explaining that he was charged by the Canadian Fencing Federation with the task of growing the club’s competitive dimension, based on the fact that Sherbrooke was once of the largest population centres in the province without a strong link to the sport.
Brazeau pointed out that it is hard for a small club to grow without a full-time coach, but that a coach can’t generally be hired on a small budget. With his position being funded by the Federation, however, the hope is that he can build up the Sherbrooke club enough in the next two years to help build new interest in the sport in the city and surrounding region that could then snowball into new clubs and a bigger competitive presence for the sport in general.
The new coach came to Sherbrooke just over a year ago, but has been involved in fencing since the age of seven.
“The Three Musketeers was my favourite movie,” Brazeau said, explaining that he first got started in the sport when his parents found a class that took place at the same time as his sister’s swimming lessons in a sports complex in Laval. “It was an easy way to do two things at once.”
Before long the young fencer was competing at the provincial level. Over the course of his more than 15 years at the competitive level, he went twice to the junior world championships before moving towards coaching.