Rambling thoughts…

by Curtis J Phillips

Mountaineer Al Hancock will be traveling to Nepal in March to take on Annapurna and Dhaulagiri which are the 10th and seventh on the list of highest mountains in the world. He has already conquered six of the world’s 14 tallest mountains. His goal is to become the first Canadian, and only the second North American, to summit all 14 of the world’s peaks over 8,000-metres.
Shout out to local squash players Jordan Ratzlaff and Carlos Vidal Wu. Playing out of MacDonald Island, both do well in provincial individual men’s competition with Wu competing at the national level. Wu wrapped up 2014 placing second at an Edmonton tournament winning four of five matches.
Jet Ski racers Mike Klippenstein and Gerry Wong continue to globe-trot the world representing us in various competitions while bringing home gold medals galore. They were recently in…of all places… Dubai and Adu Dhab.
Keeping to the water did you know that local councillor Sheldon Germain is an avid water skier? Last year he placed fourth at the provincials in slalom while his kids Drew and Ellie won medals in slalom and trick.
Keeping with council, would be great to see former council member Guy Boutilier take over the reins at MacDonald Island. He has the energy, knowledge and most important heart to lead.As a young adult what was our MLA Guy Boutilier’s ambition in life? Guy wanted to be Commissioner of the National Hockey League.
Sticking with trivia…here are two more local sports ones.
Born and raised in Fort McMurray, leaving as a teen, this athlete wears two Stanley Cup rings. Name him and the championships teams played for? Also…name the three local brothers that played NCAA hockey?
Answers are: Nolan Pratt with the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lighting champions. Brother Harlan has also played professional hockey. Older brother Jason was a nationally ranked swimmer.
The Stewart brothers’ Bobby (University of Maine), Dan (Miami University of Ohio) and Jay (University of |Wisconsin-Superior).
Congrats to Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame member Lori Olson (2008 Inductee) who is off to the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts as part of Team Alberta’s Valerie Sweeting rink.
Sending our thoughts to George Decker of Fogo Island, Newfoundland way for a speedy recovery. George, who spent more than 30 years in the Fort McMurray Public School system with Beacon Hill, Clearwater and Dr. Clarke School before retiring in 2012, guided the Clearwater School to six consecutive volleyball titles many sneakers ago. He was also instrumental in having the gyms at the three respective schools revamped to meet modern standards.
There will be many a local volunteer taking time to help out in March with one or two or maybe all six of these high-profile sporting events which include, in chronological order: Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championships, Keyano Athletics One on One Banquet, World Curling Tour Elite 10 Men’s Grand Slam Curling, Alberta Schools Athletic Association 3A Boys Basketball Championships and the Tim Horton’s Canadian Ringette Championships.
But I have to ask. Are we facing a volunteer burnout with this just being the tip of the iceberg for local sports initiatives in 2015?
Congrats to Keyano Huskies Pedro Bianchi on being named the ACAC Men’s Athlete of the Week. Bianchi led the Huskies with nine goals during their four-game winning performance at the recent ACAC Futsal Tournament #1 held at Ambrose College in Calgary. Huskies, two-time defending champions in ACAC men’s futsal, outscored their opponents 23 goals for 7 goals against.
“He is one of our captains and in my opinion, one of the best players in the province offensively and defensively. He has the abilities to step up and take over the game when he does the right things,” Keyano Huskies futsal coach Connor Brady.
Bianchi is a second year Environmental Technologies student from Paracatu MG, Brazil. Catch you on the rebound.