Canadian Francois Lavoie wins PBA Rookie of the Year Title

Francois Lavoie, Quebec, Canada, who joined the PBA following a successful collegiate bowling career at Wichita State University, made four television finals during his first year, but none was more impressive than the U.S. Open where he not only won his first title – and a major at that – but also bowled the first nationally-televised 300 game in the prestigious tournament’s colorful history. The sport’s oldest major championship began as the BPAA All Star in 1942.

Lavoie was involved in a Canadian-dominated Rookie of the Year race with Ontario’s Graham Fach, his Team Canada teammate, who drew first blood when he won the Barbasol PBA Players Championship early in the year to become the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title (also a major).

After winning the U.S. Open, Lavoie broke open the race in the World Series, winning his second title in the PBA Shark Championship and finishing the season fifth among the PBA’s average leaders (222.79 for 330 games) and seventh in earnings ($79,920).

“Usually there aren’t multiple rookies who win titles, but I was fortunate to have a strong finish and that’s kind of what sealed the deal,” Lavoie said. “I’m sure Graham had the same goal, but only one of us can win. To finally have it official is great.

“(Winning Rookie of the Year) was a goal,” Lavoie said. “Every year on Team Canada our coach tries to help us set goals and that’s one of the goals I set for myself. You try to aim high, but also set a goal that’s feasible. It justifies all of the hard work I’ve put in.

“It’s been a great year for Canadian bowling.”

Graham Fach first Canadian to win PBA title

Graham Fach, a 24-year-old left-hander from Guelph, Ontario, became the first Canadian ever to win a Professional Bowlers Association Tour title February 21st, 2016 when he defeated top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 279-244, to win the Barbasol Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

Fach, bowling in only his second PBA Tour event, was nearly perfect in winning the $40,000 first prize, a PBA major championship and a Barbasol shaving cream pie.

His only flaw was leaving a 10 pin, which he converted, in the seventh frame while Ciminelli was almost as good, leaving and converting four single-pin spares.

“It’s a great feeling to win against players of this caliber,” Fach (pronounced “faw”) said. “They want to win, but obviously I want to win, too. I wasn’t sure I would be able to compete out here, but the only way to find out is come out and try. Now at least the PBA staff knows who I am.”

Fach, who earned his shot at the title when he escaped with a 247-244 win over Australia’s Sam Cooley in the semifinal round, said the support he’s gotten from Canadian fans as well as friends and teammates from nearby Urbana (Ohio) University, where he completed his collegiate bowling career in 2015, has been “incredible.”

As happy as Fach was, Ciminelli was equally distraught.

“One of these days someone is going to shoot 210 against me on TV and give me a chance,” he said. “It’s frustrating but there’s not much more I could do about it.”

In the first game of the finals, 21-year-old Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson struck on 10 of his first 11 shots, and converted a pivotal 4-7-10 split in the fifth frame to end PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke’s bid to win a fifth different major championship, 274-258.

Duke, who had previously won the PBA World Championship, PBA Tournament of Champions, USBC Masters and U.S. Open, had hopes of joining Mike Aulby as the second player to win the PBA “Super Slam.”

“I fought hard,” the 51-year-old Duke said. “I never created an advantage in this tournament that stuck out. I was the one hanging around all week, but I put together a game I was really proud of and sometimes it just isn’t enough. The hardest part is I have to wait another year for the opportunity.”

Cooley, in his PBA television debut, eliminated Svensson in the second match, 246-206.

The PBA Tour will take a break during March Madness, returning to competition with the PBA League Elias Cup competition and the Xtra Frame Maine Shootout in early April at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.


Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Sunday

Final Standings

1, Graham Fach, Ontario, Canada, $40,000
2, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $20,000
3, Sam Cooley, Australia, $12,000
4, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $11,000
5, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $10,000

Stepladder Results

Match One: Svensson def. Duke, 274-258
Match Two: Cooley def. Svensson, 246-206
Semifinal Match: Fach def. Cooley, 247-244
Championship: Fach def. Ciminelli, 279-244

Bowling in the Olympics?

On June 22nd the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced that it had selected bowling as one of the 8 sports to make its shortlist for inclusion into the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.  Among the other shortlisted sports are;

Baseball/Softball, Karate, Roller Sports, Sport Climbing, Squash, Surfing and Wushu.

Bowling enthusiasts around the world need to speak up NOW.   Let our voices be heard and let it be known that bowling is everywhere, and is participated by the masses, and WE SHOULD BE PART OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES!

VOTE FOR BOWLING NOW!   The Wall Street Journal-Asia has instituted a poll through its blog section, allowing one to vote for one of the 8 Tokyo shortlist sports. Please join the cause and vote for bowling by visiting….

Get all your friends and acquaintances to vote also.  Let’s be heard!  And let’s get the sound of crashing pins to be the new soundtrack at the Olympic Games.  VOTE NOW!


Bowl Canada’s Annual Meeting is West Coast Bound this June

Vancouver Island will provide the scenery as Victoria, BC hosts the Canadian bowling industry June 2nd, 3rd & 4th.   Bowl Canada’s Annual Meeting brings together the association’s member bowling centre proprietors and industry stakeholders for a few days of meetings, fun social functions, informative seminars and great networking opportunities.  All Bowl Canada members are welcome and encouraged to make the Annual Meeting their start to great off-season, and their ideas-pool for the coming season.

Bowl Canada launches new logo as initial step in rebrand

Bowl Canada is pleased to announce its new logo effective February 1st, 2015.

Created by Gravity Inc. of Toronto, the logo offers a contemporary look and feel for Bowl Canada, and becomes the cornerstone of the industry’s current rebranding process.  “We were incredibly pleased with this design.” claims Paul Oliveira, Executive Director of Bowl Canada, “The entire Board honed in on it right away, which speaks volumes.  And the team at Gravity Inc. has been great to work with.  We can’t wait to see the new website up and running.”

Bowl Canada’s main participation program, Youth Bowl Canada, is also undergoing a rebranding exercise and is expected to launch its new look this spring.