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sportslife 2019 | Volume 6 | Issue 1

Winnipeg Edition

Winnipeg’s place to play Bryanne Lameg and Austin Taylor will lead Manitoba’s Archers into the Canada Games Manitoba’s Mission Staff set for 2019 Canada Winter Games Tanya McKay garners 500th win at Wesmen Classic

Anna Maidment headed to University of Hawaii

Winnipeg skater Yohnatan Elizarov prepares for the National Championship and the Canada Games

Sisler’s Austin Balan is WHSFL’s Player of the Year www.SportsLife.life

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Contents 4 sports sportslife life

22 Elizarov Off to Nationals

06 the starting line-up

20 curling

12 Archery

22 figure skating

14 High school football

24 horse racing

Hottest News Stories in Manitoba Sports

Meet Team Toba’s Archery Squad for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

High School Football WHSFL’s Year-End Awards

16 canada Games

Team ‘Toba Mission Staff Heading to Red Deer

18 ringette

WRL’s U14 Skills Competition and U19 All-Star Games

19 Lawn bowling

The Future of Lawn Bowling 21-Year-Old Rob Law

Manitoba Curling’s Championship Season Begins

Yohnatan Elizarov Reaches National Championships

Report Praises Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Downs

Anna Maidment to Play Beach Volleyball at University of Hawaii (Manoa)

26 beach volleyball

28 junior HOckey 29 water polo 30 university basketball 31 Community Billboard

Photo Feature

Photo Feature

Photo Feature

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SportsLife is Manitoba’s amateur sports magazine. This is where sports fans will meet the Olympians of tomorrow and the medalists of today and they all compete right here in Manitoba. We exist to pay tribute to those who make sport so important to this province. Published by SportsLife Publications, it is edited by Scott Taylor and is designed and developed by Scott Taylor, Debbie Dunmall and OV Suvajac. SportsLife Magazine is printed by Quantum Graphics. Any opinions expressed belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily express the views of the magazine, or of the publishers. All published work is edited for accuracy, style, and clarity. We do accept unsolicited material as long as it refers to athletes, coaches, or volunteers involved in sport in Manitoba. For all information and advertising rates, we can be reached at 204-996-4146 or 204-296-GOAL (4625). PUBLISHER OV Suvajac publisher@sportslife.life Box 66050, Winnipeg Manitoba R3K 2G0 204-996-4146 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Scott Taylor sdtaylor2@shaw.ca ART DIRECTOR Debbie Dunmall ddunmall@gmail.com COVER PHOTO Danielle Earl/Skate Canada CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Carey Lauder, Jeff Miller, Sport Canada, Russell Hons Photography/University of North Dakota, Badminton Manitoba, Energa MKS Kalisz Volleyball Club, University of Arizona, Louisiana Tech University, WHSFL, Manitoba Lawn Bowls, Assiniboia Downs, Glenn Dickson, University of Manitoba, Danielle Earl/Skate Canada, Sport Manitoba, Rusty Barton, Mike Maidment, Laurie Anderson, Kelly Morton, Marla Boyd, Archers and Bowhunters of Manitoba, David Larkins, Shanlee McLennan, River City Photography, Kevin Nikkel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Scott Taylor, Resby Coutts, Ryan Van Berkel, Al Gowriluk, Kathy Heffernan

Happy Canada Games Hey everybody, Happy Canada Games! Yes, I know, at this time of year, I’m supposed to wish everyone a Happy New Year. So, yeah, Happy New Year! However, it is also Canada Winter Games time and here in Manitoba that’s probably more exciting that the ushering in of a new calendar. In fact, there were a lot of people working so hard on Team Toba’s trip to Red Deer for the Games in mid-February, that they missed the New Year’s celebrations entirely. For those who haven’t yet marked the Games down on their 2019 calendars, the CWG (as they are referred to) will run from Feb.15 to March 3, in Red Deerand central Alberta, Manitoba will have some very promising teams as well as some outstanding individual athletes and could be the surprise group at the 2019 CWG, an event involving up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches. Ion this issue of SportsLife, we introduce you to Manitoba’s Mission Staff – all of it – plus the highly-regarded Team Toba Archery squad as well as Figure skater YohnatanElizarov. As well, we have a run-down of the 2018 Winnipeg High School Football League’s award winners; a story on beach volleyball star Anna Maidment’s decision to accept a scholarship to the University of Hawaii; a re-visit with football star Brady Oliveira, basketball player Raizel Guinto, volleyball professional Alicia Ogoms and future NBA player Emmanuel Akot; and some good news for Assiniboia Downs, the University of Manitoba and basketball coach Tanya McKay. It’s a jam-packed issue of SportsLife to open up 2019 and with that in mind, have a Happy Canada Games!!

– SCOTT TAYLOR Editor-in-Chief SportsLife is published at least six times a year by SportsLife Publications. All sales are managed by SportsLife Publications. All design and layout is provided by Debbie Dunmall and SportsLife is printed by Quantum Graphics.

www.SportsLife.life sportslife 5


the

Starting

Compiled by Scott Taylor, Photos by James Carey Lauder, Jeff Miller, Russell Hons Photography / University of North Dakota, Sport Canada, Badminton Manitoba, Energa MKS Kalisz Volleyball Club, University of Arizona, Louisiana Tech University, WHSFL, Manitoba Lawn Bowls, Assiniboia Downs, University of Manitoba

Line-Up

Alicia Ogoms is all smiles

SportsLife Magazine brings you the hottest news stories in Manitoba sports. Once again, we’ll catch up with a number of the star athletes who have been sensational in 2018 and look forward to which athletes should be outstanding in 2019. Here’s the latest in Manitoba sport…

OGOMS SIGNS WITH TEAM IN POLAND Back in November, CanadianNational team member Alicia Ogoms, a 6-foot-5 middle blocker from St. Mary’s Academy in Winnipeg, signed a professional contract with Energa MKS Kalisz in Poland. Ogoms, 24, was an All-American at the University of Southern California (graduated with a degree in policy, planning and development) and this is her third pro club since heading to Europe to play professionally in 2016. She played in Poland in 2016-17, Italy in 2017-18 and now back in Poland in 2018-19. She started her season a little later than most players because with Team Canada, she was at the Worlds until midOctober. On Dec. 23, her final game before Christmas, Alicia had 11 points in an Energa victory.Alicia whose father JoeOgoms played pro basketball in Spain, Belgium, Iceland and Ireland and is an honoured member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, played club volleyball in Winnipeg for the Cobra Volleyball Club under Phil Hudson and Jon Hykawy.

U of M TO PLAY HOST TO 2020 NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS For the second time in the history of the University of Manitoba’s volleyball program, the U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship will be held at the U of M. The 2020 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship, will be played at the U of M’s Investors Group Athletic Centre, from Friday, March 13, 2020 to Sunday, March 15, 2020. “I’m really excited to have this opportunity in my career, as I’ve never hosted a national championship,” said Bison men’s volleyball coach Garth Pischke.“It’s been a missing piece of the puzzle all the way along, and now we get that chance. It’s very exciting, as I know there’ll be a great response from the Manitoba volleyball community and from Bison alumni to participate in the event.For our team, we’re excited to build for next year. We have a young team but we will continue to improve and hope to put on a good show at the U SPORTS National Championship in 2020.” The eight-team U SPORTS tournament in 2020 will be the first men’s volleyball championship hosted by the Bisons since 1976 and follows up national championships hosted in women’s soccer (2017) and track and field (2019).

Bisons men’s volleyball coach Garth Pischke

WINNIPEG’S AKOT HAS BECOME A STARTER AT ARIZONA University of Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller has decided to make Winnipeg’s 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard Emmanuel Akot a starter. It’s a big jump for Akot who had not been playing up to his own expectations coming off the bench. Akot, who starred with the Winnipeg Wolves club team before heading to Mount Pleasant Academy in Utah. “With Emmanuel starting the game, it gives us a different look — we have another ball-handler on the court,” said Miller. “With Emmanuel we have almost another wing player to defend. I’m gonna say we’re a little bit quicker, a little more fluid in terms of multiple ball-handlers.” Akot is averaging 4.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as a starter compared with 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds off the bench.”

Winnipeg’s Emmanuel Akot

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GUINTO STEPPING UP AT LOUISIANA TECH Louisiana Tech University Lady Techsters 5-foot-5 guard Raizel Guinto has certainly stepped up her game in this, her sophomore season. Guinto, 19, a former star at Sisler High School in Winnipeg, where she played for head coach Michael Tan, accepted a basketball scholarship to Louisiana Tech and played her freshman season in 2017-18. That year, she averaged 3.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game and was also named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honour Roll. This year, those numbers have increased dramatically. Guinto is averaging 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game on a team that is 7-5 so far this season.

Massey’s captains with the ANAVETS Cup

Raizel Guinto (1) has stepped up at Louisiana Tech

MASSEY WINS WHSFL AAA TITLE Led by quarterback Jackson Tachinski and two-way lineman Kyler Filewich, Winnipeg’s Vincent Massey Collegiate Trojans edged the St. Paul’s Crusaders 28-25 to claim the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Potter Division AAA title. It was the third time in four years that the two teams had met for the title, and the first time Massey has won the ANAVETS Cup. St. Paul’s led 25-21 with 2:21 remaining to play but Tachinski led a final 94yard drive, finding receiver Riley Ho on a 20-yard pass to notch the winning touchdown. Still it took a blocked field goal by Filewich to close out Massey’s regulation-time victory. River East defeated Kelvin 22-14 to win the AA title. St. John’s beat Elmwood 13-10 to claim the A crown while Massey shut out Grant Park 39-0 to win the Junior Varsity championship.

WINNIPEG’S OLIVEIRA FOCUSSED ON NFL Winnipeg’s Brady Oliveira had an outstanding senior season at the University of North Dakota. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound power back, runs with a punishing style that earned him the nickname “Manitoba Moose.” This past season, he had 162 carries for 936 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. Oliveira, who starred for the Oak Park Raiders, finished his career with 2,822 career yards—good for seventh all-time on UND’s career rushing yardage list. More importantly, during the season, 31 of 32 NFL teams and six of Brady Oliveira with an eye on the NFL nine CFL teams watched him play. However, while he would make an outstanding CFL back, Oliveira says his goal always was and still is, to play in the NFL. In recent weeks, he has been working out regularly on campus with UND running backs coach, Malcolm Agnew, but will soon move to a facility in Minneapolis. He will attend the NFL’s College Gridiron Showcase workout and game in Fort Worth, Tex., Jan. 5-9. “I was blessed to be invited,” Oliveira said. “I can showcase my ability against FBS guys and show I’m just as good if not better than those guys. There aremore than 200 NFL scouts confirmed for the game.”

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MORE BLIZZARD SOCCER SIGNINGS In our November/December edition, we introduced the first group of young female soccer players from the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Blizzard program and Valour Elite to sign letters of intent to play the game at the university level this coming September. The Blizzard have since announced three more: Jenna Neumann is a fullback/midfielder who will study science at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C.; Jessica Tsai, a forward, has signed to play at the University Ashley Chomyn, University of of Manitoba Minnesota where she Crookston will study mathematics; and Ashley Chomyn, Jessica Tsai, a defender University of Manitoba who has signed to play at the University of MinneJenna Neumann, sota-Crookston. Ashley will study comTrinity Western munications. That makes it 14 players University from the program to have signed letters of intent this winter.

BISONS’ WOG STILL THE BEST IN THE WEST There is nobody better than Kelsey Wog. The 20-year Winnipegger finished first in four events at the 2018 Canada West Swimming Championships— the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke, along with the 200m freestyle – and was named the Female Swimmer of the Meet. A day later she was named Canada West Conference First Star of the Week. One of Wog’s gold medals broke a conference record that previously stood for six years, a 2:22.28 in the 200m breaststroke breaking the mark of 2:22.40 set by former Olympian Martha McCabe in 2012.Wog, a student in the Agricultural and Food Sciences faculty, now holds the Canada West record in the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke events, having done so in three successive years. Wog is coming off a marvelous summer in which she qualified for the Pan Pacific Kelsey Wog Championships in Tokyo at the Canadian Swim Trials. Other Bison highlights included a fourth-place finish Dora Modrcin in the women’s 100m backstroke (1:01.68). Though just off the podium, the time qualifies her for the U SPORTS Championships in the spring.Modrcin finished the weekend with the other two Manitoba medals, a silver in the 50m backstroke and a bronze in the 50m butterfly.Overall, the Bison women’s team finished fifth in the standings (264 points), while the men finished seventh (141.5 points).This year’s 2019 U SPORTS Swimming Championships take place Feb. 21-23 in Vancouver, BC (UBC campus).

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COCKERILL HAS SHOT AT EURO TOUR FULL TIME Manitoba golfer Aaron Cockerill, who was born in Teulon and now lives in Gunton, MB., has made a huge leap on his way to the PGA Tour. The 26-yearold Canadian Tour star who has full-time status on Europe’s Challenge Tour (Tier 2), has earned conditional status on the major European Tour after a gruelling three-tiered qualifying format that went through France and Spain. Back in Manitoba for the holidays, Cockerill finished 19th in his first European Tour event, the Australian PGA Championship. After some time at home in December, Cockerill went to Arizona to work on his game and will play the Victoria Open in Australia in early February. Aaron Cockerill

SOUSA, DHILLON WIN WYSA SCHOLARSHIPS Mercedes Sousa and Sukcharhat Dhillon have been named the winners of the Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association’s 2018 Scholarships. The annual $1,500 scholarships are awarded annually to one female and male recipient in their first year of university to reward academic excellence, soccer involvement, and volunteer, school and community involvement. Sousa was an honor roll student finishing her final year of high school at the top of her class with an average of 94 per cent at Transcona Collegiate. She has been playing soccer for the last 13 years at both the community and club level with Park City West and the Winnipeg Phoenix Football Club. Mercedes has also volunteered with many different organizations including the Portuguese Association, Teddy Bear Picnic, TD 2018 WYSA Scholarship Recipient Mercedes Sousa Canada Trust Breast Cancer Awareness, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Heartand Stroke Foundation. Mercedes is now in her first year at the University of Manitoba, focused on earning her Bachelor of Nursing Degree. Dhillon is also an honor roll student and finished his final year of high school with an average of 95 per cent at St. John’s Ravenscourt. He was introduced to soccer at the age of five by his older brother and quickly developed a love for the game. Dhillon began playing out of Tyndall Park Community Center in 2004 and finished his youth career with FC Northwest where he represented Manitoba at the National Championships in 2014. Sukhcharhathas volunteered in a number of different capacities including Youth in Philanthropy, Youth Parliament of Manitoba, Project Pulse Winnipeg, and the National Debate and Public Speaking Championships. He is currently attending the University of Toronto to earn a Bachelor of Commerce. Upon 2018 WYSA Scholarship Recipient Sukhcharhat Dhillon, completing his university degree, he would like to return to the Royal aaccepted by his parents Canadian Air Force and serve as a pilot.

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Archery Ready for the Games By Scott Taylor and Ryan Van Berkel, Photos courtesy of ABAM Bryanne Lameg, Austin Taylor, Cleo Wermann-Thorn and Kadin Giebelhaus will be wearing Manitoba’s colors in Red Deer. Lameg, Taylor, Wermann-Thorn and Giebelhaus have been selected as the primary athletes on Team Toba’s Archery squad that will represent the province at the 2019 Canada Winter Games from Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta. Should any of the four primary athletes not be able to compete, then alternates’ Nattasha Shpak, Brady Klassen, Janna Hawash and Roman Boyechko will be ready to jump in.  The archers were named following an extensive qualification period consisting of numerous tournaments at Heights Outdoors and Archery Range and Heartland Archery. Lameg and Taylor emerged as the No.1-ranked compound archers, while Wermann-Thorn was the No.1-ranked female recurve archer. Giebelhaus accepted the No.1 role when archer Brody Wilson withdrew citing commitments to hockey. Lameg, 19, is a student at the University of Manitoba Asper School of Business, and Taylor, 18, is a graduate of Austin Taylor

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Kildonan-East Collegiate. Each has an impressive archery resume and are expected to reach the podium in Red Deer. Lameg is the reigning Canadian outdoor target archery champion and has eyes on Team Canada for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, after earning a bronze medal at a qualifying tournament in Medellin, Colombia in August. She has competed at the 2017 World Archery Youth Championship in Argentina and, last June, she competed at a World Cup of Archery event in Salt Lake City. This past

Cleo Wermann-Thorn


Bryanne Lameg

Kadin Giebelhaus

February, she won a silver medal in team play at the World Indoor Archery Championship in Yankton, S.D. Taylor is the reigning Canadian junior-aged outdoor target archery and field archery champion. In August of 2018, he set a Canadian record in field archery at the national championship in Nova Scotia. He finished second at The Vegas Shoot in the Championship Young Adult category last February, and, in July, he won the Alberta Summer Classic. Last February, he won a bronze medal in team play at the World Archery Indoor Championship in Yankton, S.D. Taylor joined Lameg and Klassen at the World Youth Championship in Argentina and is Canada’s No.1-ranked indoor archer. He has a busy 2019 in store, with appearances slated at the World Archery Senior Championship in the Netherlands in June and is a leading candidate to represent Canada at the World Archery Youth Championship in Madrid in August. Wermann-Thorn, 14, is in Grade 9 at Westwood Collegiate and is also a strong athlete in rhythmic gymnastics. In fact, for the past three seasons as a rhythmic gymnast, she has qualified for and competed at the Western Regional

Championships. Last March, she competed as an archer in the Manitoba Winter Games in March in Thompson. Giebelhaus, 15, is in Grade 9 at Stonewall Collegiate and also competed in March at the Manitoba Winter Games. With his teammate Aingeal Hanan, Giebelhaus earned a silver medal in the team competition. Shpak, 14, who will attend if Lameg is unable, is a Grade 9 student at Dakota Collegiate, and a Manitoba Winter Games gold medallist, having won in the team event with teammate Terron Baker. She also won a silver medal in the individual event. Klassen, 16, a Grade 11 student at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate, will attend if Taylor is unable. He is also a reigning Canadian champion, winning gold as a cadet at the national championships in August. He is also a leading candidate to represent Canada at the World Youth Championship in Madrid. Hawash, 12, a Grade 7 student at Churchill High School, would be one of the youngest athletes at the Games if Wermann-Thorn must withdraw. Originally from the United Arab Emirates, Hawash is a regular competitor at local tournaments. Boyechko, 15, a Grade 10 student at Shaftesbury High School, will attend if Giebelhaus is unable. Boyechko is the reigning Manitoba indoor target champion and, with teammate Hailee MacDonald, a gold medallist at the Manitoba Winter Games. The Canada Winter Games run from Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta., but the Archery competition will operate in the second week of the Games, from Feb. 28 to March 1. The event will consist of qualification rounds followed by matchplay eliminations and Manitoba is expected to fare well. l

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Balan Named WHSFL’s Most Outstanding Player By Mike Still, Photo by Glenn Dickson On the field, Sisler Spartans’ two-way star Austin Balan is calm, cool and collected. He lets his play do the talking, puts his head down and gets to work. It’s rare that you’ll see him panic or even lose his composure. And all of that was particularly notable this year. Entering the 2018 season, Balan knew his role would have to expand on both sides of the football with the departure of players such as Tyler Koniuck, Brayden Desjarlais and Easton Montour. Balan, the former Division 1 Rookie of the Year was prepared from the opening play from scrimmage and it showed all season long. He never took a play off, finishing with 1,222 rushing yards and eight touchdowns as a fearless downhill running back as well as 81.5 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks at his more natural defensive back position. In fact, he’ll likely be a DB at the next level when he plays for the University of Manitoba Bisons, upon his graduation from Sisler. Last month, at the WHSFL’s year-end awards banquet, Balan was rewarded for his efforts. And he was rewarded more than once. He was named both the Elite Performance Defensive Player of the Year and the Bomber Alumni Most Outstanding Player. The former award is presented to one offensive and defensive player in each division who made the biggest difference to his team, while the latter is voted on by the Bomber Alumni Association and is presented to the best overall player in each division. “I was very honoured to receive both of these awards tonight. It means a lot,” he said with humility. “It represents all the hard work that I’ve put in over the past couple of years on the practice field and working out. I want to thank all my coaches for all the time and dedication they’ve put in to help me grow into the player I am today.” Meanwhile, the Elite Performance Offensive Player of the Year race was so tight that the committee chose to give the nod to two quarterbacks: Jarrett Alcaraz from Garden City and Jackson Tachinski from the ANAVETS Bowl-winning Vincent Massey Trojans. The former — who will play for the U of M in the fall as a defensive back — was pleasantly surprised to co-win the award for what is technically his secondary position. While this may be true, there’s no denying the impact Alcaraz had under centre for the Fighting Gophers. He had more than 1,000 allpurpose yards and double-digit touchdowns as a playmaker with both his strong arm and powerful legs.

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“It was definitely an honour winning this award, especially it not being my main position,” Alcaraz said. “Being able to win it with Jackson (Tachinski), that guy is one of my buddies, we played together this summer as well, so it’s definitely awesome winning it with him.” Tachinski, whose sister Victoria is a scholarship track athlete at Penn State University, was lights out all year. The MVP of the ANAVETS Bowl had well over 1,200 yards passing and didn’t throw an interception. He also displayed his poise, especially in the championship game, where he perfectly executed the two-minute drill to complete a come-from-behind Trojans victory. “It feels good,” Tachinski said after co-winning the award. “There were definitely a lot of other deserving nominees and I could’ve lost to any of them so I’m appreciative of this recognition.” Tachinski hasn’t yet decided where he’s playing next season. However there is certainly plenty of interest in his services, including from the Bisons.

Division 2 It’s not easy stepping out of the shadows of Dayton Black, however that’s exactly what quarterback Evan Nachtigall did this year for Brandon Neelin. In the process, he broke two records set by last year’s Division 2 Offensive Player of Year, putting up a record 234 passes for a new Division 2 high of 1985 yards. The gunslinger was honoured for his work as the second straight player from the Spartans to win the Elite Performance Offensive Player of the Year award and third in a row from a Brandon school after Mack Adams from Massey Brandon took home the trophy in 2016. The River East Kodiaks swept the Defensive Player of the Year and Bomber Alumni awards, with Ethan Topping taking home the former and Sammy Hezekiah securing the latter. Topping, a hybrid linebacker had seven sacks and five forced fumbles and was all over the field for the Kodiaks, helping them to their first varsity title in over two decades. He’s also the fourth player in the past six years from the school to win the award. The charismatic Hezekiah had 19 combined touchdowns as a dual threat under centre for River East and was also lockdown all year at the halfback position, which he will play in the fall for the Bisons. He was also the CTV Bowl MVP after a stellar performance that included the game-winning pick six.


Division 3 Two record breakers were acknowledged for their performances in Division 3, as Elmwood’s Evyn Melville-Toth took home the Elite Performance Offensive Player of the Year award while William Barnsdale of Churchill was selected as Defensive Player of the Year. Melville-Toth, also known as the human bowling ball, used his small but built frame to bounce off of defenders all season. In the process, he broke the division record for rushing touchdowns, with 17. Barnsdale was a hound for the football, eclipsing the division record for fumble recoveries in a season, with seven while also tying the record for fumble receives in a game, with three. The Bomber alumni award went to division 3 champion Asher Wood of St. John’s. The title game MVP did a little bit of everything for the Tigers — who won their first championship since 1980. He was the team’s leading receiver with 427 yards and eight scores, added five interceptions on defence and also tallied eight field goals. Wood, who is also a standout soccer player, has had interest from universities in reference to his play on the pitch, but is still undecided on whether or not he will go that route or play football. One way or the other, he’s in a good position, as St., John’s gives out a number of full scholarships to the U of M, so he’s going to try and get one of those.

OTHER MAJOR AWARD WINNERS  Heavy Metal Design Coach of the Year: Mike Steeves, Vincent Massey Brandon

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Rick Symonds Memorial Assistant Coach of the Year: Jason Park, St. Paul’s 1 Arnie Taylor Volunteer Award: Mark Dibol, Portage Robert Whitlaw Memorial Rookie of the Year Award: Keshaun Ducharme (Churchill, Div 3), Kaiden Banfield (Portage, Div 2), Nic Pereira (St. Paul’s 1, Div 1) Kas Vidruk Memorial Lineman of the Year Award: Jeremy Hampshire (Elmwood, Div 3), Isaiah Letander (Kelvin, Div 2), Kyler Filewich (Vincent Massey WPG, Div 1) Jim Foubister Award (Presented annually to a high school football player who displays excellence on the field, sportsmanship, teamwork and overall good person. The selection of the award winner is determined by the officials of the league): Reese Francey, Garden City John Potter/D’Arcy Bain Sports Physiotherapy Bursary Award (Presented annually to a grade 12 graduating high school football player who plans to continue their football career. The selection will be based on the development and progress made by a player during their high school playing career): Elijah Rivera, Garden City Harry Hood Memorial Trophy (Awarded annually to the high school football player who exemplifies the standard in playing ability, school citizenship, fair play and scholastic standing. The selection of the award winner is made by the special committee. A scholarship of approximately $500.00 will be awarded to the trophy recipient upon registration at an educational institution of their choice next fall): Brody Lawson, St. Paul’s l

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Team ‘Toba Mission Staff Named By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy Sport Manitoba

When Marcie Halls-Stronciski gets to Red Deer in February, she will start getting ready for her sixth Canada Games. This year, however, things will be a little different. In 2019, Halls-Stronciski will be Manitoba’s Chef de Mission, the person in charge of Team ‘Toba at the biggest amateur sporting event in our nation. An employee of Sport Manitoba in the Games area for the past 14 years, Halls-Stronciski was the Assistant Chef at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and prior to that, she was the Office Manager for Team Manitoba. This year, however, the University of Winnipeg graduate will take the reins of our province’s entire team. “My sport growing up was figure skating and I was an alternate for the 1995 Canada Winter Games team,” she said. “My message for our team is, don’t ever say ‘I wish I would have.’ Just go do it to the best of your ability and enjoy the experience.” It’s a great message to send to a team from a small province in the middle of the country. However, at this year’s Games, which will be held from Feb.15 to March 3, in Red Deer and central Alberta, Manitoba will have some very promising teams as well as some outstanding individual athletes and could be the surprise group at the 2019 CWG, an event involving up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches. When you have a team with so many young athletes, you need the best of the best at the top. SportsLife is proud to introduce our readers to the team that will make up Team ‘Toba’s 2019 Canada Winter Games Mission Staff:

Pete Conway: Assistant Chef de Mission Although he’s been involved in multisport games in Manitoba snice 1998, this will be Pete’s first time as Assistant Chef De Mission. Another “Northerner” Pete is originally from Northern Ireland and moved to Canada in 1980. He lived in Leaf Rapids and Thompson, played “all the sports” including hockey, volleyball, soccer and baseball and then became a coach. He’s been a sport administrator for or 23 years.

Marcie Halls-Stronciski: Chef de Mission Born and raised in Thompson, she moved to Winnipeg to get her degree in Kinesiology & Applied Health from the University of Winnipeg. Married with two kids, she will be working at her sixth Canada Games and first as Manitoba’s Chef de Mission.

Sarah Tone: Media/Communications – Lead Sarah is Sport Manitoba’s Communications Coordinator and specializes in creating content for a variety of audiences and channels. She manages 20+ social media networks, creates countless Enewsletters, and leads all communications efforts. She

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Patrick Kirby: Assistant Chef de Mission With more than thirty years of sport leadership experience, Pat is the Senior Games Manager at Sport Manitoba. Pat, who hails from Souris, oversees the planning and logistics of all Games programs, including the Manitoba Games, Canada Games and the Western Canada Summer Games programs. Pat has been the Community Development Manager for Sport Manitoba and CEO and Director Hockey Development with Hockey Manitoba. He has a diploma in Recreation Management from Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta. Kelly Babb:  Office Manager As a Games Specialist at Sport Manitoba, Kelly is responsible for the logistics, administration, and program planning for the Canada Games, Western Canada Games and Manitoba Games programs. As an athlete, Kelly was a member of both the Manitoba Provincial soccer team and the Canadian Regional Training Center as a centre-back.

Marcie Halls-Stronciski

was the Communications Manager for the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Nolan Kowal: Media/Communications support (Week 1) Nolan will be part of the communications team for the upcoming Canada Winter Games. This will be Nolan’s first time attending the Canada Games. Jessica Alcantara:  Media/Communications support (Week 2) This will be Jessica’s second time as a member of the Mission Staff. She was also a part of the communications team for the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Lin-Ping Choo-Smith: Biathlon (Week 1), Judo (Week 2) Lin-Ping has volunteered at several multi-sport Games including being a minor official for the mountain bike events at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, an official at the 2014 Manitoba Games and a member of the Mission Staff at the 2012 Manitoba Games. She has also been part of local organizing committees and has officiated many biathlon and crosscountry ski events. Stephen Younger: Boxing (Week 1), Squash (Week 2) Stephen is a retired Pharmacist who was the Team Manager for the Canadian squash team at the World University Games in Chennai, India.


Kelly Babb He has also competed on the Squash Manitoba National Masters Team, as a Team Captain. Stephen’s two children have competed at Canada Winter and Summer Games, Western Canada Games, as well as international and professional competitions. Luc Therrien: Gymnastics – Artistic (Week 1), Badminton (Week 2) Luc is a retired physical education teacher who coached at both the school and community levels. This will be Luc’s second time as Team Toba Mission Staff, he was also a part of the team at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. His passion for sport was passed on to his three kids, two of them participated in the 2013 Canada Summer Games on Team Manitoba’s volleyball team. Bernie Reichardt: Male Hockey (Week 1) This will be Bernie’s sixth appearance at a Canada Games, having participated in 1999 (Corner Brook), 2003 (Campbellton/Bathurst), 2007 (Whitehorse), 2011 (Halifax) and 2015 (Prince George). Bernie is in his 24th year at Hockey Manitoba and 21st as the Director of Development. Debbie Schween: Artistic Swimming (Week 1), Curling (Week 2) Debbie has been involved in sport in Manitoba since the 1999 Pan American Games, where she was a media liaison. She has been with the Mission Staff at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, Assistant Regional Manager for the 2016 Manitoba Games, and the Accreditation Lead for the 2017 Canada Summer Games. She is also the pastpresident of Curl Manitoba and still a member of the board.

Patrick Kirby

Pete Conway

Ryan Van Berkel: Table Tennis (Week 1), Archery (Week 2) Ryan is the executive director of the Archers & Bowhunters Association of Manitoba. He has been involved in major sport competitions since 2011, starting as a Technical Delegate in Sailing. He’s been a team manager, team leader, sport chair, provincial sport representative, president, and committee member for a variety of sports. Tara Funke: Wheelchair Basketball (Week 1), Snowboarding (Week 2)  A Canada Games alumna, Tara, has been to many national multi-sport Games. This will be her third time as part of the Team Toba Mission Staff. Bill Gendron: Speed Skating (Week 1), Alpine Skiing (Week 2) Bill took his first NCCP course in 1981 and is now coaching speed skating (long track and short track) as a level 3 certified coach. Bill attended his first Canada Winter Games in 2003 as the manager for speed skating and has been at every Canada Winter Games since. Kyla Ray:  Ringette (Week 1),  Gymnastics – Trampoline (Week 2) Kyla works as the Coordinator of Intramurals, Clubs, and Leagues at the University of Manitoba. She has been involved in the recreation field for more than 15 years. Kyla was the venue co-chair for beach volleyball at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and has been both an athlete and member of the Mission Staff at the Manitoba Games.

Sarah Tone Kylo Harris:  Figure Skating (Week 2) Kylo is Sport Manitoba’s Community Development Manager and has been a member of Team ‘Toba Mission Staff at both the Canada Summer and Winter Games, Western Canada Summer Games and Manitoba Games. Mandy Los: Medical Liaison Mandy is an Athletic Therapist at the University of Manitoba with the hockey, basketball and volleyball teams. She has been involved with two teams that have won National Championships; the AAA Midget Wheat Kings and the University of Manitoba Bisons Women’s hockey team. Andriana Demchuk: Freestyle Skiing (Week 1), Cross Country Skiing (Week 2) Andriana was a member of the 2017 Canada Summer Games Host Society and will take on a new roll at the 2019 Canada Winter Games as a member of Manitoba’s Mission Staff. Dustin Stewart: Female Hockey (Week 2) Dustin is a member of the hockey development staff at Hockey Manitoba and does contract work for the Winnipeg Jets. He’s worked with highperformance teams and attended various National Championships, including the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. l

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Winnipeg Ringette League’s 10th Annual Vickar Automotive Group U14 skills competition and Boston Pizza U19 all-star games By Al Gowriluk, Photo courtesy River City Photography

WRL

December 29 marked the Winnipeg Ringette League’s 10th annual Vickar Automotive Group U14 skills competition and the Boston Pizza U19 all-star games. This event has evolved since the initial offering at Bell MTS Place in January 2010. All-Star Game #10 had many firsts. The event was broadcast live on Amateur Sports TV in conjunction with Manitoba Sports Network. Senior Referee Myles Blahut was the play-by-play voice, coupled with his cohort in stripes, Tamiko Hisanaga, as the color commentator. This is not something you can practice for as the players’ numbers were chosen just before game time, but keeping the show on the right track just seemed a natural progression for both of them. The day started out with the U14 skills, and the expertise of Cassidy McGowan and her team of dedicated volunteers, Erica Lischynski, Kierra Kostal, Noella Delorme and Emma Grimolfson, all of whom are all-star game alumni, showed just what these players have to offer back to the sport. This was the first year the players Katie Kalyniak 62.50%

Courtney Feeleus 83 Km/H

were introduced through a fog and laser show and followed to centre ice with a spot light. This was added not only to up the show, but as we spoke with many of the athletes, this made them feel that they were well beyond the next pinnacle… and isn’t that why we do this? This was the first year we separated the U14 A and the U14 B skills, and we presented six trophies. We also had a second round. As the champions were crowned and the trophies were presented, the winners were taken rinkside for their live one-on-one TV interview with Devon Shewchuk; and all six players nailed it. The Boston Pizza U19 A and U19 B all-star games did not disappoint. U19 A went to over overtime and it wasn’t until halfway through the extra frame that Rachel Owens broke the tie at 8. The U19 B game produced a more lopsided score, but still, everyone had fun. As has been the case over the years, Prema Manitoba East has sponsored the Prema Manitoba East “Playmaker of The Game.” Prema Manitoba East President and former

Skylar Martel 21.90 Seconds

Ringette Manitoba coach of the year, Joe Cabral, has always instilled in his players that you can’t score by yourself, that it was your teammate who got the ring to you for the goal. It was the player who made the play who got you the goal. As I listened to the playmaker one-on-ones and Devon Shewchuck asked what was the best part, time and time again, both on-camera and off, the common thread was that the players had the opportunity to sit on the bench, talk in the dressing room with girls that they have played against their entire careers – not what happened on the ice, but the connections made off the ice. The event can’t be complete if we fail to mention the efforts of Nancy Tovell and her team of U12 players, selling 50/50 tickets all day long. This year the WRL had chosen the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation as their charity and the Vickar Automotive Group had generously offered to match every dollar donated. Thanks to the efforts of all these volunteers, sponsors, fans and athletes, nearly $500 was donated to the charity. l

Greta Buschau 21.78 Seconds

Blue 13 Ashley Manaigre

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mings

Fans came to cheer

Jorja Profopick 84 Km/H

Red 11 Danica Hoium Blue 13 Ashley ManaigreRed 12 Ciera Melnyk nel Ha Red 10 Rachel

Red 10 Kaity Cum

Grace WozneyMcCulloch 75.00%

Blue 3 – Kallysta Blasko Red 8 Skyla Tuk


Laying Down the Law By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy Marla Boyd

When he was nine-years-old, Rob Law’s grandmother took him to the Dakota Lawn Bowling Centre. Most kids fall in love with hockey or football. It only took one visit and Rob Law fell in love with lawn bowling. “Yeah, I went that first time on what was called buddy day and I really took to the game,” said the 21-year-old University of Manitoba student. “It’s something I enjoyed right from the start. As I played more, I moved over to the Norwood Club. But I’d always loved playing Bocce in the backyard and lawn bowling just became an extension of that. Two years after I first bowled, I went to the Nationals The more he played, the better he got and now he not only has a World Championship experience under his belt, but he’s also been selected to compete at the 2019 Asia Pacific Championships in June. Law just returned from Scotland where he participated in the 2018 World Indoor U-25 Championships. Although he didn’t reach the semifinals, he was extremely close. The current Manitoba men’s singles and men’s Triples champion, Law finished the round-robin event in a tie for second place but after net points were taking into consideration as the tiebreaker, Law was on the outside looking in. “But it was a pretty good event for me,” he said proudly. “I didn’t reach the semifinals, but I played pretty well. Canadians use a straighter bowl than the Europeans and the European technique might have worked better for them in Europe, but I was still pleased with how I bowled. I was very close to the semifinal round.”

Law is part of a new generation of Manitoba lawn bowlers who are not only taking up the game, but excelling at it. He has been to the Canadian Junior Championships for eight straight years and medaled in six of those events. “Unfortunately, I’ve never won gold,” he said. “But it’s always been an honour representing Manitoba at the Nationals.” He will admit that most lawn bowlers are seniors, but slowly, that’s changing. “I often get some surprised looks and a little confusion when I bowl,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know much about the sport and they assume, unfortunately, that it’s a game exclusively for older people. They either say, ‘Why aren’t you 70?’ or ‘What is lawn bowling?’ Still, more people know me as a lawn bowler and I certainly have no problem with that. “The sport is relaxing, fun and competitive and that’s a pretty nice combination.” An accounting and finance student at the U of M, Law says that although he tries to find time to do a little curling, school and lawn bowling command almost all of his attention. He’s currently training and practicing for the Asia Pacific Championships in June at Broad Beach on the Australian Gold Coast. “I’ve been there before to compete,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place. Lawn bowling has been extremely good to me.” l

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Manitoba Curling’s Championship Season Underway By Larry Michaels, Curling Canada Photos

As a new year begins, Manitoba curling’s championship season also begins. As this edition went to press, the Canola Junior Championships were already underway at Winnipeg’s Heather Curling Club. Over the next three months, 14 championships will be played across Manitoba in seven rural communities and three Winnipeg clubs. In addition, the Canadian Men’s Championship Tim Hortons Brier will be played in Brandon in early March. Let’s take a look at what’s to come: WOMEN: Gimli (January 22-27): Manitoba’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer is likely to be the most competitive provincial championship right across the country as, at year end, four of the top five teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) were Manitoba based. Curling fans across the country have

been looking forward to the Manitoba championship ever since former Alberta champion Val Sweeting signed on as third for Kerri Einarson’s new team; former Northern Ontario champion Tracy Fleury signed on to skip Einarson’s former team; and former Ontario champion Allison Flaxey signed on to skip the champion team skipped formerly by Michelle Englot. Defending World champion Jennifer Jones and her team are ranked No. 3 in Canada but will not be in Gimli as they will be Team Canada in the nationals in Sydney, NS. However, No. 2 – Kerri Einarson, Gimli; No. 4 – Tracy Fleury, East St. Paul; and No. 5 – Darcy Robertson, Assiniboine Memorial will all compete in the provincials. In all eight of the top 27 teams in Canada will compete in the provincial Scotties in Gimli. In addition to Einarson, Fleury and Robertson, these include No.

n’s new team will be challenged this year Kerri Einarson with her 2016 Manitoba Champions. Einarso with their new skip Tracy Fleury sh MacCui Kristin and Fyfe, Liz in Gimli by Selena Kaatz,

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11 Flaxey; No. 12 Jennifer Clark-Rouire – Miami; No. 16 Beth Peterson – Assiniboine Memorial; No. 24 Kristy Watling – Fort Rouge; and No. 27 Barb Spencer – Assiniboine Memorial. Add in teams skipped by former Manitoba Junior champion skips Laura Burtnyk and Abby Ackland and you have the most competitive field in a generation and guaranteed great curling entertainment on every draw in Gimli in late January. MEN: Virden(February 5-10): Compared with the elite competition likely to be presented inGimli, it is a challenge to try to project who will advance to the 8-team championship round or the final four in the men’s Viterra Championship in Virden. Last spring, when Mike McEwen joined forces with defending champion Reid Carruthers and his West St. Paul foursome they were considered automatic to be the home team at the Brandon Brier. However, their season has been a chequered one as they have struggled to find the hoped-for magic. An early season bonspiel championship and another finalist finish were season highlights until a pre-Christmas trip to Japan and an international bonspiel championship. At year end, Team Carruthers was the third ranked Manitoba team on the CTRS listing at No. 11 but they do have the defending champion’s invitation to Virden. CTRS No. 9 Jason Gunnlaugson – Morris and former world junior champion No. 10 Braden Calvert – Assiniboine Memorial will also be in Virden and will also be among the pre-event favorites. After these three, the field developing for Virden is mostly a combination of good young teams still working to make their mark in the sport and veterans whose best opportunity to compete for a championship may already be in their personal record books. Four teams have yet to qualify for the provincial mens’ with one team coming


from the Brandon Bonspiel and three more out of the Manitoba Open. In Manitoba’s unique 32-team double knock-out qualifying round, a team must start sharp. An early stumble is Virden is a big disadvantage for any team and opens the door for any of about 20 teams to win that coveted berth in the Tim Hortons Brier down the road in Brandon. Ranking Carruthers, Gunnlaugson and Calvert as the top three in the field, and that is by no means a sure bet, one of those other teams is still going to reach the provincial final four. What all that means is there is a very real chance of an “unknown” feeling the pressure of representing Manitoba in Brandon’s Brier. THE VETERANS: Two-time Masters champion Mark Franklin – Granite will be among the favorites in both the Strathcona Senior Men’s at Rivers/Minnedosa in late February and the Manitoba’s Credit Unions Masters at Stonewall in March. The 16team Senior (50+) event includes reigning champion Dave Boehmer – Petersfield and former world silver medalists Kelly Robertson – Neepawa and Randy Neufeld – LaSalle. Former Canadian champion Ron Westcott – Fort Rouge will be highly ranked in the Masters (60+). Defending champions Kim Link – East St. Paul (Seniors) and Gwen Wooley – Arden (Masters) will be favourites in their respective open-entry championship events.

Defending champions Reid Carruthers. Derek Samagalski, and Colin Hodgson will be favo with Mike McEwen replacin urites in Virden g Braeden Moskowy at third

MIXED: The open-entry Manitoba Mixed Doubles Championship presented by Dynasty will be played at Deer Lodge CC in mid-February and the Chicken Chef Mixed team event will be played at Springfield CC in April. The success of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris at the Olympics drew attention to mixed doubles and the Colin Kurz team win at the recent Canadian Mixed has also drawn new attention to the team event. UNDER 18 YOUTH: Swan River (March 7-10): Qualifying for the Asham U-18

sportslife

Winnipeg’s place to play Contact: Advertising and Promotions Phone: 204.996.4146 Email: sportslife@live.ca

championships begins in mid-January and continues into February CURLING CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS: Charleswood (March 14-17): Club curlers across the province compete every fall for the opportunity which many of them chased earlier in their careers – to compete at a national championship. With defending champions specifically excluded from the annual competition, the regional winners in this club champions’ playoff compete each year with optimism that their turn has finally come. l

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Elizarov Off to Nationals By Scott Taylor, Photos by Danielle Earl/Skate Canada

Yohnatan Elizarov is a bit of a rarity. It’s rare that Manitoba has any male figure skaters at all. It’s even rarer when one of them is good. In fact, in mid-January, Elizarov will become one of the very few Manitoba male skaters to reach the National Championships. From Jan. 13-15, in Saint John, N.B., Elizarov will be one of 18 skaters in the Novice Men’s category at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. It’s been a long and winding road for the 15-year-old who was born in Haifa, Israel and brought up in Winnipeg, but in early December he sent a message to the nation, that he could no longer be ignored. And along with Yoni’s parents, German and Elena Elizarov, it’s unlikely anyone could be prouder than his coach, Margo Russell. Russell explained the route Yohnatan took to the national championships. “There is a summer series that Skate Canada facilitates,” Russell said. “He participated in that event but usually to qualify, you need to skate in two of the five events. He only skated in one so he would have qualified at Manitoba sectionals in November. “So, we tried to do some other competitions. One in Barrie, Ont., and one in Weyburn, Sask., to get him some exposure. He qualified for The Challenge, which took place in Edmonton at the end of November and beginning of December. There were 25 skaters and he had to finish in the Top 18 in order to qualify for The Nationals. I was really hoping he could reach that Top 18. “Well, he was 12th after the short program and then moved up to ninth after the long program. He had the skate of his life – to this point. Getting to ninth for a Manitoban in a competition like this is huge.” By finishing ninth, Elizarov was obviously at the top of his game. Now he’ll get another shot at most of the 18 skaters he competed against in Edmonton and with that shot, he’ll have another chance to move up in the eyes of Canada’s top judges. People are so excited about the fact he’s simply qualified for the national championship that they have set up a Go Fund Me Page (Yoni to Nationals) to help him finance the trip. “His jumping is his strength,” said his coach. “He’s quite a powerful skater so he has big jumps. He also tends to be pretty good under pressure – his skating, if not his mental approach.” While it was a long road to get to the Nationals, it was also a long road to get to Winnipeg. Yohnatan’s dad, German, is a plumber, while his mom is a senior financial reporting analyst for Great-West Life. German moved to Israel from Baku, Azerbaijan in 1991 while Elena moved to Israel from Russia in 1996. The couple emigrated to Canada in 2009 with their five-year-old son, Yoni. “I had been a figure skater in Russia,” Elena explained. “There were no rinks in Israel, but when we came to Canada, we were able to get Yoni into the CanSkate program when he was about six years old. After a year, he was asked if he was going to play hockey or go into figure skating and I said right away, ‘He is going be a figure skater.’ “Since then, he’s been the only boy for quite a few years, but still, he has really improved his skating.” A lot of that improvement has been a result of his outstanding working relationship with Coach Russell, a veteran of 40 years of figure skating coaching, a job that started after 11 years as a skater herself.

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Yonatan Elizarov is a bit of a rarity. It’s rare that Manitoba has any male figure skaters at all. It’s even rarer when one of them is good. “I just feel I connect with her,” Yohnatan said. “I’ve had three or four coaches and she’s the best one. Sometimes, I’ll go out of the province to see other coaches, but I always like to come home to Margo. She knows how to calm me down when I get nervous. And when I’m feeling down at practice, she knows how to brighten my day up. She’s also very funny and makes lots of jokes.” A Grade 10 student at J.H. Bruns Collegiate, Elizarov does “pretty well,” in school, but it’s clear his biggest focus is on his skating. At 15, he still has a long way to go, but this month, he could take a giant step in his development. “We’ve had other skaters in the province go to the Nationals (including Deidre Russell, Margo’s daughter),” Coach Russell said. “But this is kind of special, having a male skater reach this level. Especially for a skater who stays here and trains here. There have been other skaters from Manitoba who have gone off to other provinces to train, but for a young man who trains right here in Winnipeg, it’s pretty cool for him to end up at the National Championship.” l

Photography by Jeff and Tara Miller 204-430-5522

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Study Says Things Looking Up at Downs By Scott Taylor, Photos by Rusty Barton and courtesy Assiniboia Downs Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler commissioned a report on ways to sustain horse racing in Manitoba. BluSlate Inc., the Toronto-based consulting firm headed by former Woodbine Entertainment COO Sean Pinsonneault produced a 125-page report with some reasonable recommendations. It also praised Winnipeg’s little track for doing so many things so well. “Manitoba is unique in the relative harmony and cooperation between horsepersons, breeders and the Manitoba Jockey Club,” the report stated. “Manitoba Jockey Club operating costs are at or below industry norms and

The horses will ruin for 50 days this summer

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revenue enhancement from events at Assiniboia Downs exceeds industry norms and the races we attended attracted larger audiences than we have experienced at similar tracks throughout North America.” All that resulted in the news that Downs CEO Darren Dunn wanted to hear. “The Manitoba Jockey Club, the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission and the Manitoba Great Western Harness Racing Circuit will have their funding maintained at current levels for the next three racing seasons to provide adequate time to develop a long-term strategy,” said Eichler. With that, the future of horse racing in Reasons to be happy at Assiniboia Downs Manitoba – even for more harness racing (operated by the Red River Ex?) – will be guaranteed.  “This revised agreement means further stability for the industry and an ability to plan,” said Dunn. “To be clear, we understand the need for government to be fiscally responsible so it is very important to understand that this deal does not reflect any new funds that were not already committed to the industry in the original agreement. I also believe that it is very important to remind everyone that the vast majority of the funds allocated in the agreement are created right here onsite at Assiniboia Downs. The balance is reflective of an investment in an industry that is overwhelmingly ‘net positive’ in tax contributions to Manitoba.” The 2019 live racing season has also been announced. The 50-day 2019 Meet will open on Sunday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m. and run to Sunday, September 8. The final race day of the season will also go to post at 1:30. The 2019 Manitoba Derby will run on Monday, August 5, and there will be a special Monday evening live racing card on July 1. There will be nine Wednesday race dates this season – one on May 29, on June 5, 19 and 26, on July 10, 17 and 24 and on August 14 and 21. Post times are 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. on Sundays and Holidays with the exception of Canada Day (7:30 p.m.). l


Basketball Manitoba announced a new opportunity for elementary and middle schools in the greater Winnipeg area to take part in a new outreach program led by professional basketball player and Canadian National Team member Emily Potter; and the program is already

AT CAPACITY FOR JANUARY AND FEBRUARY.

take advantage of at NO COST TO THE SCHOOL.

Emily is one of the most successful basketball players to come out of MB and is now able to get involved with Basketball Manitoba with this new in-school opportunity for schools to

Schools interested in finding out more and to be added to the waiting list for future opportunities can visit: www. basketballmanitoba.ca/2018/12/newemily-potter-experience-basketball

New “SunUp Basketball” Program at Canada Games Centre Offered on Tuesday & Thursday Mornings in January a opportunity for the community to access the centrally-located Canada Games Sport For Life Centre basketball court for additional time on the basketball court. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00-9:00 am, the new SunUp

Basketball Manitoba will also make available TWO Dr. Dish Shooting Machines*.  Wilson Evolution basketballs will be provided. Basketball program will allow anyone of all ages to come down to the Canada Games Centre on a drop-in basis. As an added bonus, Basketball Manitoba has partnered with Coach Jon Giesbrecht who will be on hand during the morning drop-ins to work with players looking to improve their skill and understanding of the game.  Attendees will have a choice to pay a drop-in admission fee or for a slightly higher rate be able to work with Coach Giesbrecht.

Other training aids for use on request include; cones, dots, bands, tennis balls, skipping ropes, etc. For more information visit: www. basketballmanitoba.ca/2018/12/ new-sunup-basketball-program-atcanada *Basketball Manitoba reserves the right to monitor and limit time on the shooting machines and training aids use based on demand.

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Beach Star Maidment off to the University of Hawaii By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy Mike Maidment St. Mary’s Academy volleyball star Anna Maidment has had a lifelong love affair with Hawaii. By her own admission, “I’ve visited the Hawaii a number of times and I’ve really connected with the indigenous people on the island.” That’s why it was no surprise that last month, she signed a national letter of intent to play beach volleyball at the University of Hawaii (Manoa). “I think, originally, I thought she’d go to Pepperdine,” said her father, Mike Maidment. “It’s such a beautiful campus at Malibu and it has a tremendous reputation when it comes to NCAA volleyball. “But Anna has been to the island a few times and she loves the people, especially the indigenous community and she’s connected with the people and the culture and the lifestyle. It’s a dream come true for her. I think it’s something she always wanted to do and the best part is, we’re all going together.” That’s right, Anna won’t be off to Hawaii on her own. Her dad and mom, Angie, will be joining her in paradise. In fact, Angie, who has been an occupational therapist for more than 20 years, got a job in Hawaii almost as quickly as it took Anna to sign her letter of intent. “Yep, we’re all going as a family,” said Mike. “My wife is an occupational therapist and she applied for a job and got it right away. They did all the paperwork to get her into the United States and so we’re all set. I’m going to coach some youth volleyball, but I’d be quite happy to go over t men Maid Anna and ErikaVermette (right) and just enjoy the sun and the surf.”

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Anna Maidment (left) as a 10year-old playing against a team of Am erican 13-year-olds

As she calls it, “it’s a dream come true,” for half the membership of Canada’s former U-16 national beach volleyball team. It was back in 2017 when Maidment and her teammate Erika Vermette won the national title and the pair was named Volleyball Manitoba’s team of the year. At 5-foot-11, Anna isn’t an overly tall beach player, but she’s quick and has all the tools to be a successful NCAA Division 1 player. Of course, volleyball is a big part of her life. She started playing in the Junior Bisons program when she was nine-years-old and played nine years of indoor volleyball with coach Ken Bentley at the U of M. This year, however, she is focusing more on beach volleyball, a game she has played at a high level since she was 11, to prepare for her 2019-20 season with the Rainbow Warriors. A left side player, she led St. Mary’s to the 2016 Manitoba High School Girls Indoor Volleyball Championship, but from this point forward, she’ll be a beach player. “At 5-foot-11, I’m not an ideal size to be an indoor player,” she said. “There are a lot of girls who are taller than 6-feet. But when it comes to beach, I get around the court pretty quickly.” A brilliant student whose average is well into the 90s, Maidment already has her educational plans in order. It doesn’t hurt that she’s at St. Mary’s where success in the classroom is more Anna playing beach important that one’s volleyball in Huntington athletic achievement. Beach, California “I’m going to take environmental sciences,”


Anna with a dig at the 2017 Nationals

Anna with a bl ock at the 2017 Natio nals

she said. “I want to be an environmental lawyer. So, I’m going to get an environmental science degree and then go to law school. I’ve had this figured out for a long time.” Although she has been a star for Coach Bentley at the U of M, her coaches at St. Mary’s have been particularly

important – Marshall Lawrence and her dad, Mike Maidment. Mike played at Dakota in the 1980s and started coaching at age 18. In fact, while still a high school varsity player, he was coaching U-15 teams. He started playing beach right after high school and admits, he got into the game “at the right time.” He and Angie went to Hawaii for their honeymoon and that started the family’s love affair with the 50th State. “My dad has been my coach at every level since I was a baby,” she said with a laugh. “Both of my parents have been extremely important for my volleyball career. Their support has meant everything to me.” l

Game On Photographer James Carey Lauder has 35 years of photography experience. He’s a member of the Professional Photographers of Canada and Manitoba and is accredited in Sports Photography. He is currently in his 10th year as Photography Instructor at Tec Voc High School.

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Brady Foreman, Winnipeg Blues Avery Smith, Dauphin Kings

The Stars of the MJHL By Scott Taylor, Photos by Laurie Anderson

Brody Moffatt, Winkler Flyers

Big news for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. It would appear that next season, the 11-team league will expand outside Manitoba’s borders and welcome a new team from Grand Forks, N.D. Just more good news for the best amateur hockey league in the province. In the meantime, back in December, the league held its annual Showcase at the BellMTS Iceplex and the games were highly contested and well-played, as they always are. This season, SportsLife Magazine has been sending out photographer Laurie Anderson to record all the action. Let’s meet some of the stars of the MJHL. l

Jeremy Link, Winnipeg Blues

Isaac Labelle, Waywayseecappoo Wolverines Brock Shwaluk, Virden Oil Capitals

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Carter Barley, Selkirk Steelers


A defensive steal by white to prevent a shot on goal

A block by white to stop the pass

Manitoba Water Polo Associations’ First 3 v 3 Tournament of the 2018-19 Season By Kathy Heffernan – MWPA President, Photos by Kevin Nikkel The first 3 v 3 Water Polo tournament of the season was held at Pan Am pool on December 15th and 16th, 2018. 3 v 3 means only 3 field players (instead of the usual 6) and a goalie, so the game is fast and everybody touches the ball. One hundred and seventy two Winnipeg athletes, ranging from 7 to 29 years of age competed. There were 22 teams consisting of athletes from Neptunes, Bushido and WinCity Water Polo Clubs and School League. Thirty-eight games were played over two days. Athletes worked hard swimming, throwing and blocking shots while having fun with their friends and newcomers to the sport! l Black wins the swim-off

A layout to pass by white around the defence

A shot on goal by white

Black on a breakaway, dribbling the ball

sportslife 29


Winnipeg’s Faith Hezekiah attacks against the UBC-Okanagan Heat during the opening game

Wesmen head coach Tanya McKay celebrates her 500th career win following a victory over UBC-Okanagan

Winnipeg’s Jessica Dyck drives to the hoop against the Manitoba Bisons during the Wesmen Classic semifinal

Regina Tops Winnipeg in Wesmen Classic Final By Scott Taylor, Photos by David Larkins and Shanlee McLennan Winnipeg’s Faith Hezekiah against Regina

There was a big shakeup at the University of Winnipeg this year. For the first time in 52 years, the Wesmen Classic Basketball Tournament became a women’s university event. The University of Winnipeg Wesmen welcomed UBC-Okanagan, Regina, Algoma, Calgary, Lakehead, Manitoba and Brandon to battle it out for Holiday U SPORTS tournament supremacy and while Winnipeg lost 65-54 to Regina in the championship game, there was still one major highlight earlier in the tournament. On opening night, Winnipeg beat UBC-Okanagan 72-62 as head coach Tanya McKay, in her 23rd season as Wesmen head coach, won her 500th game. Two Wesmen players, Faith Hezekiah and Farrah Castillo were named tournament all-stars. David Larkins and Shanlee McLennan recorded the historic event for SportsLife. l

Winnipeg’s Farrah Castillo looks for a reverse layup against Regina

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Regina’s Kyanna Giles tries to find some room against the tough Wesmen defense


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Winnipeg SportsLife January/February 2019  

Winnipeg SportsLife January/February 2019. SportsLife is Manitoba's amateur sports magazine. This is where sports fans will meet the Olympia...

Winnipeg SportsLife January/February 2019  

Winnipeg SportsLife January/February 2019. SportsLife is Manitoba's amateur sports magazine. This is where sports fans will meet the Olympia...

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