Put a ring on it

by Curtis J Phillips

Ringette I understand. Curling I do not.
My two daughters played ringette in the local association many skates ago, so I am in tune with the sport and look forward to the 2015 Tim Horton’s National Ringette Championships that kick off March 29 – April 4 at rinks in Fort McMurray, Fort McKay and Anzac.
A total of 38 teams are registered to compete for National AA titles in the Under 16, Under 19 and National Ringette League’s professionals in the Elite Eight. The Fort McMurray Rush will be competing in the Under 19 division with about 10 local players to be supplemented with additional talent from the Edmonton area.
“There’s a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our girls to elevate their game and compete in the CRCs on home ice. To make the team as competitive as possible, we looked outside our community to add bench strength in some key areas. Once we have approval of our player roster and team staff, we’ll forge ahead with fielding the Rush team,” said Rush coach Terry Dirk in a press release.
The Rush will have to be in top physical form as they will be retuning with the odd bump and bruise from the provincial championships being held March 27-28 in Drayton Valley. I also love the National Championship catch phrase “Put a Ring On It!”
Ringette I understand. It is similar to hockey except the stick has no blade and the puck is a blue rubber ring. Fun to watch.
Curling? Even though part of our Canadian heritage, I just can’t figure it out. First time I saw it in person was down at MacDonald Island in the fall of 1982. The scoreboard threw me off completely. My first attempt at the sport had me chasing my own rocks after the throw. To me sport meant sweating and getting the heart beat up. Curling was lawn bowling, bocce or shuffleboard on ice.
Then came the professional circuit with the men and women competing for big bucks. In what other professional sport can the female athletes wear makeup when competing? Heck, according to the smart people down at Harvard University, if you curl for 30 minutes it burns 149, which is the same as if you walked for 30 minutes.
In retrospect I admit that I am a bit harsh in that there are more than 3,500 different forms of recreation and sport in this world, many of them of the aerobic and strategic nature similar to that of curling. In curling you have to have perfect balance, solid knees, strong arms and expert aim, when lunging out to deliver those heavy rocks, which are like carrying one or two full grocery bags. The sweepers have to keep up with the stones and also keep a tune to the commands being yelled out. That takes strength and quick bursts of energy.
So, yes curling is a sport and curlers are athletes with a loyal fan base. A fan base that will be out in full force when the Grand Slam of Curling Syncrude Elite 10 arrives down at MacDonald Island March 19-22, 2015 when the best-of-the-best in men’s curling with the likes of Gushue, Jacobs, Howard, Epping, Laycock, McEwen, Koe and Edin rinks take to the sheets. But I still don’t get it.
Amazing performance by Keyano Huskies athletics last weekend. The men’s futsal team captured the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference banner for their third consecutive year beating host Lakeland Rustlers 5-3 down Lloydminster way.
Huskies’ Pedro Bianchi was named tournament MVP and also got the nod for ACAC Male Futsal Player of the Year. Not bad for someone who was a walk-on. Bianchi, also a star on the soccer pitch, came to town two years ago from his native Brazil to visit his girlfriend and decided to stay while lacing on the cleats and attending Keyano College as a student/athlete (Business Administration).
In men’s hoops the Huskies placed fourth at the 2014-2105 championships which they were hosting, falling to Olds Broncos, 94 Keyano Huskies, 74. Big cheering section for Fort McMurray born Jacob Simmons in Broncos uniform as the Fort McMurray Composite High School Miner graduate dropped in 11 points.
Huskies had a major upset in the opening game Thursday, beating two-time ACAC defending champion Red Deer 83-79 in front of more than 500 fans at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre.
Good luck to graduating Husky Lance Wesolowski as the 5th year multi-talented hoopster earned all-tournament first team and All Conference status. The poster boy for a true sportsman.
A shout out for a shut out to Logan Stebner as the Keyano Huskies goalie held Grant MacEwan Griffins to a 2-0 win Sunday to claim the best of three ACAC quarter final series to advance to the semi-finals against the NAIT Ooks in Edmonton. Rookie Owen Sobchak had five assists in the three game series.
Catch you on the rebound.