First Canadians to summit Makalu

By Curtis J Phillips

Congratulations to local mountaineer Al Hancock, who, along with Monique Richard of Montréal, became the first Canadians to summit Makalu the fifth highest mountain in the world May 18, 2014 at 8:39 Nepal time.

“We are so proud to have summited and to have the honour to fly the Canadian flag high above our heads and represent every Canadian from coast to coast,” said Hancock, in a posted dispatch. “The experience was very intense and at times scary, not only did Makalu change me physically (I lost twenty pounds) but spiritually as well. Life is fragile and beautiful.”

Hancock, an inductee into the 2009 Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, was a competitive body builder who at age 39 took interest in the sport with rock, ice, alpine and expedition climbing.


PHOTO: by Monique Richard – Supplied.

Ten years later in 2008 he would become only the 13th Canadian, at that time, to have climbed all seven summits; the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.

Keyano Huskies men’s basketball team is starting to look like an NBA team with not one, not two but four coaches.

Heading into his second season with the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) team, head coach David J. Petroziello has added two new assistant coaches with James Harline and Lunzaya Nlandu.

They join Clarence Smith, who played hoops at Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School and would later go on to achieve 2006-2007 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association All Canadian status suiting up for the Lakeland Rustlers in the ACAC while averaging 19.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. He would later shift over two provinces to play for the University of Manitoba Bisons for one year where in limited playing time he averaged 4.5 points per game.

Harline, head coach of the Westwood Community High School Trojans varsity boys basketball team, also played with the Lakeland Rustlers although a year after Smith had left.

Nlandu, 34, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, came to Canada with his family when he was five years old. He has an impressive hoops resume to say the least.

Playing NCAA Division I for the Northeastern University Huskies (2001-2002) and Western Carolina University Catamounts (2003-2005), averaging 3.5 points and rebounds per game, Nlandu was nominated for the John R. Wooden Award in 2005.

He was also a member of Canadian National Junior team from 1997-2000 and played semi-pro hoops including a stint nearby with the Edmonton Energy of the International Basketball League.

Petroziello has high praise for his staff.

“James (Harline) is a young coach with a lot of passion and he is a local connection to the community which is great, as we are trying to build on our connection with the grass roots programs.
“Lunzaya (Nlandu), from a playing perspective, there is no doubt that he brings a tremendous amount of experience and an intimate knowledge of how high-profile programs and athlete’s operate. All of the things we like to talk about with our players on what they may do our where they may go, they now will be able to look at someone who has experienced it. Lunzaya is passionate about the game and passionate about helping the young players.

“Clarence (Smith) joined us last year and he is a passionate young guy who wants to take his coaching in a new and interesting direction and I have a lot of faith in him.”

Petroziello added that having “three extra sets of eyes” with coaches that are “qualified, dedicated and passionate” will “help us in running and improving this program.”

On the Huskies women’s basketball front, head coach Dwayne Vigilance is pleased to announce that Vanessa Wideman and Jelayne Dubielew will be co-captains for the upcoming 2014-2015 ACAC campaign with Dubielew coming back from a devastating knee injury in 2012-2013 to play this past season.

Both girls have been with the program since its acceptance into the ACAC in 2010-2011

Rumour mill has it that the Fort McMurray Pipes and Drums are in the planning stages to host an annual golf tournament to be titled the Kilted Klassic. Naturally, you have the opportunity to wear a kilt for 18 holes, and perhaps the odd bit of Scotch to wet the windpipe.

The downtown sports arena debate or fiasco or whatever it is called these days, caught my attention when reading the nearly 80-page package for “Response to Request for Interest for Master Developer for Regional Events Centre and Entertainment District.”

This is a multimillion dollar proposal and in the introduction it reads: “Clearwater Consortium (“CC” or “the Team”) is proud to submit this response to the Request for Interest (“RFI”) in the procurement for a Master Developer for a Regional Events Centre and Entertainment District (“the Project”) in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (“the Municipality”), Fort McMurray, British Columbia.”

Well first things first, if I were to hire someone on something this important and this costly, I would like them to at least know which province we are located in.

Catch you on the rebound.