The Year 2016 in sport Fort McMurray style

Below is just a cross section of various sports within our great community.

By Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Contributor

Curtis J. Phillips

Curtis J. Phillips

January
Owner Danny Dion’s Noholdingback Bear wins its first of four thoroughbred races in 2016 with a victory at Woodstock. The three-year-old Colt would compete in the prestigious Breeders Cup Sprint-G1 in November placing seventh.

Kristin Jensen is part of the University of Dinos Women’s Ringette team that wins gold at The University Challenge Cup beating Ottawa 10-3.

Robert Gibson earns gold at the Fort McMurray Chess Club championships in the 16-18 years-of-age category.
Football’s Tyler Henderson participates in 10th Offence-Defence All-American Bowl in Daytona, Florida which features top high school players from across North America.

Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame announces its inductees for the Class of 2016: Alwyn Piche, volleyball; Lori-Olson Johns, curling; Ernie Kimball, Special Olympics and yours truly as builder all-around.

February
Emileigh Grant is golden on bars and beam at Alberta Winter Games held in Medicine Hat. Anzac’s Jared Reitz earns a bronze in cross country’s midget male relay.

A 10 game winning streak ends for the Fort McMurray Bantam AA Junior Oil Barons losing to Beaumont Braves 4-2.

Gymnastic sisters Anna and Calle Inkster tumble and vault at the 2016 Elite Canada Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Halifax.

Cross country skier Graeme Killick places a respectable 30th at the 50-kiometre classical race in Holmenkollen, Norway by clocking 2:16:50.3.

March
Pitcher Shane Dawson Jr. suits up for the Toronto Blue Jays in an exhibition series against the Boston Red Sox.

Keyano Huskies men’s basketball place fifth at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championships hosted at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre.

Fort McKay’s Alice Ladouceur wins four medals at the Dene Games event held at the Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland. Badminton aces four medals.

Noralta Skating Club figures it way to two gold at prestigious STARSkate Championships.

Former Oil Baron Ben Lake scores a goal for the Alaska Aces in a 8-2 loss to Fort Wayne Komets to break his rookie 35-game goal drought.

April
Danny Stewart retires from pro hockey after a career which started in 2003 with the Fort Wayne Komets and ended with the Fife Flyers of the Elite Ice Hockey League.

May
After 1,179 NHL games wearing the Ottawa Senators jersey, Chris Phillips retires.

Fort McMurray Thunder Volleyball Club claim silver in 16-Under national competition in Calgary.
Sweet Science of Boxing Club’s Perry Felderhof is edged by Edmonton’s Cougar Boxing Club’s Nay Koe Sve in a split decision at a card in Slave Lake.

June
Scottie Upshall signs a one-year two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues. To date in the NHL he has suited up for 623 games, scoring 121 goals and 127 assists.

Fort McMurray Monarchs return to the gridiron at Shell Place and throttle the Grande Prairie Drillers 79-3 in Alberta Football League play.

July
Local swimmers make a huge splash at the 2016 Alberta Summer Games in Leduc bringing home 30 medals. Naomi Slee goes on a spree with 3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze in the pool!

Charles Wilkinson placed fourth overall in the Beaumont Triathlon held Canada Day and was tops in his age category 40-49. Wilkinson was also joined by a bevy of local runners for the Great White North Triathlon held in Stony Plain, including perhaps the fittest couple in Fort McMurray, Kristen Bjornson and Maynard McInnis.

After being displaced by the May fires (Fire 9, MWF-009, Horse Creek Fire), which also carried the moniker “The Beast”, the Fort McMurray Giants return to play their first home game at Shell Place. Playing their inaugural season in the Western Major Baseball League the Giants played their first 20 games (7-13) in Edmonton.

August
Juan Gomez finishes fourth among 366 walkers in his age category for the Edmonton 10-k Walk.

Former Keyano Huskies men’s hockey coach Nate Bedford lands the head coaching gig for the Battleford North Stars in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Bedford had only prior received a double whammy, losing his coaching job as Huskies hockey was dropped with a Keyano College budget cut in April and then the May forest fire claiming his home in Abasand Heights.

Prestige FC 7 is held at Casman Centre with crowd favourite Teddy ‘Bear’ Ash knocking out Bill Fraser in round one.

Team Alberta finishes fifth at the Baseball Canada Cup held at Shell Place. Team Saskatchewan hit their way to gold beating Team British Columbia 6-1.

September
Twins Drew and Ellie Germain combined for three silver and three bronze medals at the 2016 Canadian National Water Ski Championships.

Fort McMurray Oil Barons opened the 2016-2017 Alberta Junior Hockey League season with a victory on home ice at the Casman Centre, shutting out the Grande Prairie Storm on September 16. Eric Szudor turned back 29 shots and 8-0 on September 17, as goalie Nicholas Leeseberg was tested 19 times.

Fort McMurray Monarchs claim the Canadian Major Football League (CMFL) national title by defeating defending champion Greater Toronto Area All Stars 59-45 at Shell Place. “This (Monarchs) is one of the most talented teams I have ever played on,” admits player and founding member Jesse Maddox. “Our team is explosive.”

Nicole Ban is head coach of Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Fort McMurray Knights lose 34-12 to Leduc Crude in Edmonton Rugby Union Division II finals.

Former Oil Baron Carson Cooper turns pro with the French team Strasbourg.

October
Jordan Socholotiuk rushes for 196 yards on only 17 carries in a St. F.X. 42-21 win over Acadia. Socholotiuk will break the 1,000 yard marek with 1,056 in eight games!

Joel Gonzalez and Richard Bertrand finish the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 Los Cabos placing 19th and 24th in their age group 30-34.

Tar Sand Betties slaughter Highway 14 by a score of 291-76 in women’s roller derby action.
David Stirling represents at the Ironman World Championships with an impressive 29th in the male 25-29 years-of-age division.

Mike Klippenstein wins his 27th World Title in jet ski racing!

November
Keyano Huskies earn their first ever CCCAA team medal with a silver in men’s soccer after falling to the defending champion Humber Hawks 2-0 at Shell Place.

Curler Lori Olson-Johns as part of the Val Sweeting rink capture the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge.

Cross country runner Jacques Saayman in his Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference rookie season, captures the men’s 5 k crown while wearing the uniform of the SAIT Trojans from Calgary. He is also named a CCAA All Canadian while placing 10th at nationals. Former Keyano runner Idris Ahmed, now wearing Humber Hawks colours, finished 21st.

Fort McMurray awarded the hosting of the 2018 Baseball Canada 18 and Under Championships to be held August 16-20, 2018 at Shell Place and Ross Hennigar Ball Park.

Westwood Trojans repeat as Challenge Cup boys and girls volleyball champs.

Snowboarder Brooke Voigt finishes ninth at World Cup Big Air event in South Korea.

Keyano Huskies men’s volleyball finish first half of ACAC season with 12 matches won and a No. 5 CCAA ranking.
Fort Chipewyan Aquatic Centre opens.

December
After 17 years leading Keyano Huskies athletics, Wade Kolmel leaves to take on the new head role for Calgary’s SAIT Trojans.

University of Calgary Dinos’ Josh Dow swims to gold in 50-metre backstroke at Canada West Championships.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons are in third place in the AJHL North only three points behind Whitecourt Wolverines.

– Connect Weekly –