Scopes on the 2018 Alberta Winter Games

Catch You on the Rebound

By Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Contributor

Before you know it, the 2018 Alberta Winter Games will be on our doorstep with Fort McMurray and the region hosting more than 2,500 young athletes, coaches and officials in 19 different sports, of which only four will be held outdoors.

Looking at the lineup, it might be of interest to house the sports of boxing, judo and wrestling at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre with it stipulated as the Combat Zone.

The fourth sport with similarity is fencing and that could be held next door at Fort McMurray Composite High School.

Not a big fan of a major television network coming in as a lead sponsor at provincial amateur games, with the basis being only a few minutes of highlights each evening.

I would rather see the usage of webcasting be it YouTube or some other format, where all sports, at all venues, have live streaming all day. It would be cheaper and would reach a much, much, larger audience.

It’s also key to have snow making equipment on hand, in case of balmy weather threatening Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing or Freestyle Skiing.

Such was the case at the 1992 Alberta Winter Games hosted here.

But all this is just rambling thoughts as the AWG team is under excellent leadership with Michelle Toner.

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Congrats to Holy Trinity High School graduate Jacques Saarman who in his rookie season captured the men’s individual title at the recent 2016 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Cross Country Provincials held in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Wearing the colours of Calgary’s SAIT Trojans, Saarman, enrolled in Business, clocked an impressive 27:49 for the eight kilometre distance… breaking the strangle hold that the Lethbridge Kodiaks had held winning 10 of the last 11 men’s titles.

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Sad to hear about the recent passing of Bernie Boyd at age 81. Boyd was a driving force in local softball during the 1980s and early 1990s.

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Fort McMurray Mantas Swim Club recently celebrated 45 years of existence.

I first saw the organization in action in the summer of 1982 with coaches Don Wilson and Randy Bennett guiding young swimmers through the basics down at Centennial Pool.

Already 11 years in existence at the time, the club was already producing provincial and national talent.

Talent that has been recognized locally with the induction of swimmers Mark Versfeld (Class of 2007) and Jennifer Button (Class of 2010) and builders Ewashko Family (Class of 2013) into the local Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

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Speaking of the WBSHF, their president Wade Kolmel, who is also Director of Sports & Wellness down at Keyano College, is taking on a new challenge in December, relocating to Calgary to head up the SAIT program. One of those Triple A personalities, who was also involved in development of local youth, be it baseball, figure skating or hockey, Kolmel’s desire and drive for the last 17 years lifted the Huskies to national prominence.

Honoured with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Director of the Year a few years back, Kolmel had and will always have, the best interest of the student/athlete in mind.

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Remembrance Day on November 11 is coming up.

My uncles Henry and John Kelso were noted athletes growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It’s unfortunate that I never had the opportunity to meet them as they were killed within a few yards of each other December 18, 1941 while serving with the Winnipeg Grenadiers during the World War II Battle of Hong Kong.

Henry was 25 and John 21.

Ten years later January 20, 1951 their younger brother Sergeant Alan Kelso, 19, was accidentally killed when he was crushed between two vehicles while on convoy exercises.

Please remember and honour our veterans.

Catch you on the rebound.

– Connect Weekly –