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sportslife 2020 | Volume 6 | Issue 3

Ward and McEwen Sign Pro Football Contracts

Walby, Miller Lead 20 Inductees into Football Hall of Fame

Golf Pro Garth Goodbrandson Wins Sport Manitoba Coach of the Year and U of M’s Pat Gill Legacy Award

Manitoba Edition

Olivia Gerula Returns to the Ring, Signs with Agent in Vegas Kelsey Wog Named Canada West Athlete of the Year Downs Opens 2020 Meet Without Spectators

AJ Conner Studying all the Options

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26 Canada West Hall of Fame

4 sports sportslife life

06 The Starting Line-Up

Hottest News Stories in Manitoba Sports

10 golf

Garth Goodbrandson Sport Manitoba Male Coach of the Year

12 basketball

AJ Connor to Play University Next Year

14 Wfla football

Ward and Mcewen Sign Professional Contracts in WFLA

19 Curling

Club Championship Critical for Future of Curling

20 Boxing

Olivia Gerula Comeback with Clean Bill of Health

22 ringette

The Community Rocks

24 Football hall of fame

Class of 2020

16 curling

Looking Back to March

26 Canada West Hall of fame



30 Assiniboia Downs

Wickman Wins 3rd Men’s Title

18 curling

Lang Wins 3rd Women’s Title

Manitoba Well Represented

Photo Feature

31 Community Billboard

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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 204-915-6573. PUBLISHER OV Suvajac Box 66050, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3K 2E7 204-996-4146 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Scott Taylor ART DIRECTOR Debbie Dunmall Advertising and Promotions Scott Browning 204-296-GOAL (4625) COVER PHOTO Dave Mahussier/University of Manitoba CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Carey Lauder, Bruce Fedyck, Rusty Barton, Jeff Miller, Sport Canada, Dave Mahussier/University of Manitoba, Xpression Photography, Scott Taylor, Sport Manitoba, David Larkins/University of Winnipeg, Trinity Western University, Connie Laliberte/CurlManitoba, Judy Wells/Corner Pocket Publishing, Golf Manitoba, Manitoba Football Hall of Fame, Canada West Conference, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Scott Taylor, Johnston Hall, Resby Coutts, Toni Bond

We Haven’t Missed a Beat COVID-19 has been a monster. There have been more than 140,000 deaths in the United States and almost 9,000 in Canada. Here in Manitoba, however, we’ve done a terrific job. We’ve experienced fewer than 400 cases and lost only seven Manitobans. Dr. Roussin has done a tremendous job leading our pandemic response. And that’s why it seems reasonable to believe that sports will return in our province sooner rather than later. The Goldeyes are back, playing out of Fargo and the Jets will open the Stanley Cup playoffs in Edmonton on August 1. Meanwhile, our elite and non-elite adult amateur sports and minor sports are already making a return. In fact, the annual North American Hockey Classic was held at BellMTS Iceplex in July. Regardless, during this world-wide pandemic, we haven’t missed a beat when it comes to handing out awards, inducting our heroes into Halls of Fame, signing contracts and watching sporting events on our devices as some returned without fans. In this issue of SportsLife Magazine, we’ve celebrated all of the above. In this issue you’ll meet the 20 new members of the Manitoba Football Hall of Fame and the 15 new members of the Canada West Sports Hall of Fame. You’ll also meet the winners of Sport Manitoba’s 2020 Provincial award winners and the winner of the Western Hockey League’s most sportsmanlike player award (yep, he’s from Winnipeg). You’ll also get re-acquainted with boxer Olivia Gerula who has a new contract in Las Vegas and two Manitoba female football players, Breanne Ward and Hannah McEwen who signed professional deals in Denver. So, take off your mask, sit back down on the couch and enjoy the latest edition of SportsLife Magazine. We’re sure it will fill a couple of hours of your self-isolating day. – 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. sportslife 5



The University of Manitoba’s Kelsey Wog is the Canada West Conference Female Athlete of the Year

Compiled by Scott Taylor, Photos by James Carey Lauder, Jeff Miller, David Larkins, Sport Canada, Sport Manitoba, Swimming Canada, Dave Mahussier/University of Manitoba, Trinity Western University, Bruce Fedyck 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 we’ve featured before and introduce you to some newcomers who have taken the local sports scene by storm…

WOG NAMED CANADA WEST FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Kelsey Wog’s remarkable, record-setting swim season at the University of Manitoba has been rewarded. The fourthyear women’s swimmer has been named the Canada West Conference Female Athlete of the Year. Wog, a Winnipegger, won four national gold medals (50m and 200m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, and 200m individual medley), while her 200m breaststroke and 200m IM golds were USPORTS records. Wog’s 2:22.42 in the 200 breast is still the fastest time in the world in 2020, while her 100m breaststroke time of 1.06.44 was among the fastest in the last calendar year. Thanks to her stellar national championship, Wog was named the U SPORTS Female Swimmer of the Year. The (now) 2021 Olympics are now on Wog’s radar. Heading into 2021, her sights remain set on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, which are now scheduled for July of next year. Prior to dominating at Nationals in February, Wog earned four gold medals and a relay bronze at the Canada West Championships in November of last year.

WINNIPEGGER JARVIS WINS BRAD HORNUNG TROPHY Winnipeg’s Seth Jarvis, a forward with the Portland Winterhawks, has been named the recipient of the Brad Hornung Trophy, emblematic of the Most Sportsmanlike Player, by the Western Hockey League. A top-rated prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft, Jarvis led the way as the Winterhawks claimed the WHL’s best record during the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season. Jarvis placed second in league scoring with 42 goals and 98 points and incurred only 24 penalty minutes throughout the regular season. A 5-foot-10, 172-pound product of The RINK Hockey Academy, the 18-year-old Jarvis posted career-best totals in goals, assists, and points. Included in his 42 goals were eight power-play goals, two short-handed goals, and eight game-winning goals. Jarvis was named to the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team for his performance this season. On NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft, Jarvis was ranked 11th among North American skaters and is the top-ranked forward from the WHL.

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Seth Jarvis wins the WHL’s Hornung Trophy

WINNIPEG’S KERNAGHAN ON USPORT ALL-ROOKIE TEAM Anna Kernaghan, a point guard on the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s basketball team, was named to the U Sports all-rookie team during the national championship gala award dinner in Ottawa. The Sturgeon Heights Collegiate graduate appeared in and started 18 out of 20 conference games as a rookie and finished in the top 20 in Canada West scoring. She averaged 12.5 points per game, scored in double digits in 13 conference games and was one of only two freshmen in the conference to lead her team in scoring. She scored in double digits in her final four conference games and nine of 11 after the holiday break. In addition, Kernaghan averaged 13.1 points per game in the second half of the season. Kernaghan was named a Canada West all-rookie all-star last month. Kernaghan is the first Wesmen player to be named to the all-rookie team since Stephanie Kleysen earned the honour in 2010-11 and the first Winnipegger since current Wesmen redshirt Kyanna Giles did it for Regina in 2016-17.

Anna Kernaghan of the Wesmen is on the national All-Rookie Team


University of Manitoba Bisons’ Brock Gowanlock selected by the Alouettes

University of Manitoba Bisons fourth-year defensive end Brock Gowanlock was picked 66th overall (eighth round) by the Montreal Alouettes in the 2020 Canadian Football League Draft. He was the lone Bisons player to be selected this year. Gowanlock, 23, is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound pass rusher from Duncan, B.C., who joined the Bisons via the Langley Rams. Changing his position from defensive tackle to defensive end during his time with Manitoba, Gowanlock had an outstanding season in 2019, tallying 35 tackles, one pass breakup, and one sack in eight regular season games, adding five tackles and half a sack in a memorable Hardy Cup semifinal against Calgary. Gowanlock joins former Bisons DJ Lalama and Landon Rice on the Alouettes roster and becomes the 49th Bisons player selected in the CFL Draft since 2000, the fourth most in U SPORTS.

STEINBACH’S LOEPKKY NAMED CW PLAYER OF THE YEAR From Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2016-17 to the conference’s Player of the Year this season, Trinity Western’s Eric Loeppky has had an amazing university career. The fourth-year outside hitter from Steinbach who is also a member of Canada’s National Team was named the conference’s top player after another remarkable season. Loeppky posted an eye-popping .443 hitting percentage, finishing the season as the only player in the conference above the .400 mark. He also posted the second-best kills per set total in the conference at 3.89. Eric Loeppky of the Trinity Western University Spartans with the national championship trophy

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CANADA WEST PULLS ALL COMPETITIONS FOR FALL OF 2020 As Western Canada continues to work through the ongoing impact of COVID-19, university sport will look very different this fall across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Canada West Conference has announced that no conference competition (regular season, playoff, or championships) will occur in football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby 15s, and women’s field hockey during the first term of the 2020-21 season. All of the league’s decisions were ratified unanimously through a vote of Canada West’s 17 member universities. Meanwhile, no two-term sports (hockey, volleyball, basketball) will commence prior to Jan. 1, 2021, with a final decision on the seasons for those sports to be made no later than Oct. 8. “The challenging nature of the announcement can’t be understated,” said Canada West president and University of Victoria athletic director Clint Hamilton. “As a former student-athlete and coach I feel deeply for everyone who won’t be able to experience the joys of university competition this fall. While cancellation isn’t the outcome anyone associated with university sport wanted, I’m confident in the fact that this difficult decision is in the best interests of our student-athletes. Health and safety is at the forefront of everything we do and simply put there was no way to adequately ensure the safety of everyone involved in university sport during competition this fall.”

There will be no Bisons’ football in 2020

CLEGG, PARKER NAMED WESMEN ATHLETES OF THE YEAR A pair of volleyball players have been named the male and female athletes of the year at the University of Winnipeg. Mikael Clegg of the Wesmen men’s volleyball team and Emma Parker of the Wesmen women’s team earned the awards. Clegg, a fifth-year setter from St. Andrews, Man., helped lead an offence that resulted in two of his teammates earning season-ending all-star awards. This season he posted the second-highest total of assists in the Wesmen’s Canada West history and finished his career in the top 10 in Canada West history for assists. He appeared in all 22 conference matches, running his career consecutive conference matches played stretch to 92. Parker, a third-year left side from St. Norbert Collegiate, established herself as one of the top offensive threats in all of U Sports. She finished fourth in the conference — and fifth in the country — in kills (290), fifth in kills per set (3.22) and set career-highs Emma Parker for total blocks (23) and points (323). She also set a new career-high for kills in a match with 21, doing that twice. Here are the 2019-209 Wesmen team-by-team most valuable players: Men’s Basketball: Narcisse Ambanza; Women’s Basketball: Robyn Boulanger and Anna Kernaghan; Men’s Volleyball: Mikael Clegg; Women’s Volleyball: Rylie DickMikael Clegg son; Women’s Soccer: Taryn Raabe.

MANITOBA GAMES POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 Due to the world COVID-19 pandemic, Sport Manitoba and the Dauphin Host Society have announced that the Manitoba Games powered by Manitoba Hydro that were set to take place from Aug. 9-15, 2020, have been postponed and will take place next summer in Dauphin from July 11-17, 2021. The Manitoba Games powered by Manitoba Hydro are staged every two years and alternate between summer and winter sporting events, and are the largest ongoing multi-sport event in the province. The sports showcased at the 2021 Manitoba Games include: Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Cycling, Golf, Rugby, Sailing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Triathlon and Volleyball. “This was a difficult decision to make as we know thousands of Manitobans are affected, including athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, sponsors and people across the province who planned on attending and being a part of the Games,” said Jeff Hnatiuk, President and CEO of Sport Manitoba. “However, the conclusion to postpone was necessary as public health and safety is ultimately our top priority, and we have to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this health crisis. We want to sincerely thank everyone for their patience and understanding throughout this whole process, and we are looking forward to coming together with our sport community in Dauphin in 2021.”

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CAMPBELL, MISLAWCHUK OPEN ATHLETES OF THE YEAR As Sport Manitoba’s Night of Champions was cancelled to reduce the public health risks associated with COVID-19, Sport Manitoba still recognized and celebrated the deserving athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers who were nominees and winners of the 2019 Sport Manitoba Awards. “Manitoba has so many remarkable examples of outstanding athletes, coaches, volunteers and officials,” said Jeff Hanatiuk, President and CEO of Sport Manitoba. “These awards are an exciting and important way of recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments and contributions to sport. As we reflect on their achievements, I want to say congratulations to all the deserving nominees and winners.” Although the announcement was made on-line, the awards are still as noteworthy as they would be during the annual presentation at the Club Regent Entertainment Centre. Here are this year’s Kristen Campbell, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba Open Female Athlete of the Year winners: Official of the Year  Darek Mikita – Table Tennis – Winnipeg Outstanding Volunteer  Christopher Chapman – Winnipeg   Outstanding Youth Volunteer Jacob Morlock-Tellier – Winnipeg Sport Manitoba Performance Male Junior Athlete of the Year  Austin Taylor – Archery – Winnipeg   Sport Manitoba Performance Female Junior Athlete of the Year  Alexa Scott – Speed Skating – Clandeboye   Male Open Athlete of the Year  Tyler Mislawchuk – Triathlon – Oak Bluff   Female Open Athlete of the Year Kristen Campbell – Hockey – Brandon

Tyler Mislawchuk, Triathlon, Manitoba Open Male Athlete of the Year

Junior Team of the Year 16U SHOCK Volleyball Club – Volleyball   Open Team of the Year  Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Football Female Coach of the Year  Tanya Pilat – Figure Skating – West St. Paul Male Coach of the Year  Garth Goodbrandson – Golf – Winnipeg Manitoba Aboriginal Female Athlete of the Year  Heaven Moneyas – Multi-Sport – Lake St. Martin First Nation Manitoba Aboriginal Male Athlete of the Year Conner Roulette – Hockey – Misipawistik Cree Nation Manitoba Aboriginal Male Volunteer of the Year Mike Sutherland – Peguis First Nation Manitoba Aboriginal Female Volunteer of the Year Emma Bear – Peguis First Nation sportslife 9

The Award Winner

By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy University of Manitoba and Golf Manitoba Perhaps the reason golf professional Garth Goodbrandson is one of the most honored coaches in Manitoba history is because he doesn’t seem to spend any time thinking about awards. “Yeah, it’s been quite a year,” said the co-founder of the University of Manitoba golf team and this year’s winner of the Sport Manitoba Male Coach of the Year award and the U of M’s Pat Gill Legacy Award.

“It’s really neat because I’m not really a full-time coach at the U of M, but I do spend my time around great people. And winning an award named after Pat Gill is kind of exciting for me. A few years ago, I asked Pat for a jersey for our sponsor in a fund-raiser. I didn’t know him and I know he didn’t know me, but he was just so accommodating. I felt like a bit of an outsider, but he was just awesome. To win an award named in honour of him is quite exciting for me.” There are people in our community who will tell you that Garth Goodbrandson is not only a great coach, but just might be the nicest person working in sport today.

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The co-founder of the University of Manitoba golf program was named the winner of the Pat Gill Legacy Award for all the right reasons. The award was created in 2013 in the spirit of Pat Gill, who was a long-serving Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Management member and also the Bisons football team manager for more than 40 years (starting in the mid1960s before passing away in December 2011). Created in 1999, the goal and directive for Bisons golf was to give talented Manitoba players the opportunity to continue their development as golfers while receiving a quality education at home. From Day 1, according to Goodbrandson, the mission statement has always been to develop champions on and off the course. Goodbrandson has a long history in the sport before creating the Bisons golf program. He was a golf professional at Tuxedo (Assistant, 1982-86), Halcrow Lake (Head 1987-90), Breezy Bend (Associate 1991) and Minnewasta (Head 1992-97). He’s been the Golf Manitoba Director of Player Development since 1997 and was the first coach hired full-time by a provincial golf association. As a coach, he’s guided more than 20 provincial teams at national events since 1998 and was named a Top 50 teacher in Canada by the National Post in 2007. He won the PGA of Manitoba’s Professional Development Award in 2014 and the Junior Leader of the Year in 1999 and 2000.

“I think Garth’s work with the Bisons golf team speaks for itself,” said Derrik Goodwin, who assumed head coaching duties of the men’s team in 2019 while Goodbrandson managed the program and led fundraising efforts. “He basically funded the program out of his own pocket, took his own vehicle to tournaments, and created fundraising initiatives to help the program get established and thrive. I know Garth always speaks very highly of the university and is committed to doing the right thing. He’s a great representative for the program and university.” As head coach of the Bisons men’s team, Goodbrandson led Manitoba to victory at the 2014 Canadian University Championship and was named the Canadian University Coach of the Year. Afterwards, he was given the City of Winnipeg Outstanding Achievement Award and the team was a finalist for the 2014 Sportswriters/Sportscasters Team of the Year. Under Goodbrandson’s direction, there have been 36 overall team tournament victories for the Bisons since their start in 1999. “I’ve been lucky to have spent my career around good people,” Goodbrandson said modestly. “I’ve grown up with my coaching. My dad Siggi, was a great hockey coach and I learned a lot from him. And my friendship with (Bisons Golf cofounder) Derek Ingram has been really important to any coaching success I’ve had.

Garth started playing the game as a seven-year-old and that year he played his first tournament, the Cubs Tournament at Clear Lake, a golf course he still loves.

“I remember once, we were driving to a golf camp in San Antonio and we didn’t turn the radio on in the car for the entire trip. We just talked about golf and coaching the whole way. To have started the Bisons Golf program with Derek is such an honor. “Then, when Derek moved on to the National program I was very fortunate to continue to have great Coaching partners with Ed Boge and Derrik Goodwin. Having great people around has important to me.” Garth started playing the game as a seven-year-old and that year he played his first tournament, the Cubs Tournament at Clear Lake, a golf course he still loves.

A 37-year member of the PGA of Canada, Goodbrandson was 22 when he became a Class A professional. His resume includes coaching at eight multi-sport Games, including two Manitoba Summer Games, three Western Canada Summer Games and two Canada Summer Games. He was the PGA of Manitoba Coach of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Coach of the Year at the University of Manitoba in 2013 and in 2016 he was inducted into the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame. On top of all that, he has been nominated for Golf Magazine’s Top 100 teachers in the world. “I’m so lucky now that we’ve found

Derrik Goodwin to take over as the head coach at the U of M,” said Goodbrandson. “He’s the associate pro at St. Charles and a very talented person, coach and teacher. While I will be retiring from the team I will always be available as an advisor or to take the team to a tournament if needed. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a career in Golf. I’ve met so many fantastic people who I can call friends. When I help out at Jets games I must see 50-75 people each game that I have developed a relationship with through golf. For me, those friendships, relationships and memories will always be the highlight of my career.” l

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Studying All the Options By Scott Taylor, Photos supplied If AJ Connor isn’t the best high school basketball player in Manitoba, he’s close. And while he waits out the COVID-19 pandemic like the rest of us, Connor is studying his university options. He’ll play university basketball someplace next season, he still hasn’t decided where that will be. “I have a few universities that have shown interest in me,” he said. “One is in the States, the rest are in Canada. It’s probably easiest if I stay close to home and I’m really considering the University of Winnipeg.” A recent graduate of Dakota Collegiate, Connor, 17, had a stellar 2019-20 high school season. A 2019 member of Team Manitoba U17, he was named the MVP of the Manitoba Magic Tournament while playing for his club team, the Junior Bisons, coached by provincial coach Marlin Kraus. He was the final selection for the Canada Basketball Western ID camp in November and was the only Manitoban to participate in the Edge International basketball Tournament in Calgary. He was also selected as an All-Star at the 2019 Brandon Sun/Spartan Invitational Tournament and was the tournament’s leading scorer even though he missed the championship game due to a concussion. He didn’t participate in a basketball game again until February of 2020, but played superbly upon his return. He was selected as an all-star in all three tournaments he played – the Brandon Sun Tournament;

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the St.Vital Tournament; and the Nick Laping/St.Paul’s Tournament in midFebruary. He was named an SCAC Conference All-Star. “AJ is a great three-point shooter and has terrific range from the three-point line,” said Provincial team coach Marlin Kraus. “He’s very shifty, quick and very strong. He is relentless offensively and defensively. AJ is just all-around solid player. “This year, for our squad he was the leading scorer in all four games we played against community colleges, guys who are much older than we were. He’s a very good teammate and fits in with the culture of our program. Overall, he’s just a great guy. He’s become a friend to me and I want to see him do great things no matter where he goes with the game.” Connor averaged 22 points a game this season and played great defence as well. In fact, before Connor returned from the concussion, Dakota was ranked No. 7 in the province. After his return, they moved up to No. 3 and were among the favourites to win the provincial championship before the pandemic shut everything down. Connor, who is now 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, began playing the game when he was 11, but he was in love with the sport long before that. “My dad would take me to his senior men’s games when I was little,” Connor said. “One day, at one of his practices, I said ‘Hey dad, I’m going to shoot a three,’ and I made it. I grew up loving the game.”

He was a star at Island Lakes Middle School and was instantly a top player when he got to Dakota, but his internal driving force was his desire to make Team Manitoba and the fire that was lit under him when he didn’t. “I tried out for Team Manitoba in Grade 8 and Grade 9 and didn’t make it,” he said. “I finally made it in Grade 11. It’s an accomplishment that has meant a great deal to me. It’s funny, but Marlin Kraus took over as the head coach of Team Manitoba and he said to me, I’ve never seen you play before. I guess I was always a little under the radar.” These days, as he decides where to play next season, he’s waiting out the pandemic like the rest of us. “I work out early in the day and get in as many shots a day as possible,” he said. “My goal is to play basketball for as long as I can. I really love the game.” l

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Manitoba Stars Sign First By Scott Taylor, Photos by James Carey Lauder and Xpression Photography Hannah McEwen was perusing social media one day when a post on Facebook made her do a double take. In seconds, she messaged her friend and Winnipeg Wolfpack teammate Breanne Ward and said, “This is what we always wanted.” McEwen and Ward immediately went to work in order to find a way to become involved with the Women’s Football League Association, the newest foray into women’s professional football. “We got super excited about the league right away,” said McEwen. “We talked about moving to the United States to play football professionally. We figured out all the ways to get involved with the league so we’d get signed. There were supposed to be tryouts but they got cancelled because of COVID so we got in touch with all the teams. Finally, we talked to the Denver organization and fell in love with it. That’s where we wanted to play.”

Breanne Ward

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Last month, Ward and McEwen became the first members of the Wolfpack and the Women’s Canadian Football League to sign professional contracts in the WFLA. Both signed with the new Denver Gold Rush in a new league that hopes to begin play in May of 2021. “As soon as Hannah read about the league she texted me,” said Ward, who has played organized women’s football with the Fearless and Wolfpack for nearly a decade. “We’ve both always wanted play the game at the highest level that we could. This seemed perfect for us. “We continued to follow on social media and we saw that the league was having virtual combines, so we sent in our information and got into combines with as many teams as possible. From there, they reached out to us if they were interested, and we were lucky enough that Denver reached out to both of us. I just feel better going out there with her, and having someone from home, because this will be a big adjustment for us.” McEwen is a 21-year-old running back who was the first girl to ever play boys high school football for the Kildonan East Reivers. An all-around athlete, she started playing football as a 15-yearold in the Manitoba Girls Football League. She played a couple of years with the East Side Eagles and then made

the Reivers at Kildonan East. A student at Evolve College of Massage Therapy, McEwen met Ward in 2016 when she started playing for the Wolfpack. By then, Ward was one of the top linemen – both on offense and defense – in Canadian women’s football. A long-time fan of the game, Ward had always enjoyed watching football but, admittedly, hadn’t given a lot of thought to playing. Then, one evening a Blue Bomber game, she was approached by a recruiter for Fearless, one of the two WCFL teams in Winnipeg. She took a pamphlet and committed to going to a practice. She was hooked. That was the summer of 2011. By January 2012, Ward was at her first Team Canada tryout camp. Although she wasn’t chosen to play for Canada at the 2012 World Championship, she did make it to the final cut. That experience was all Breanne needed to convince her she wanted to make Team Canada, 2017. Ward, a 28-year-old medical radiation technologist at Health Sciences Centre, worked tirelessly

Pro Football Contracts in the gym to get stronger and worked just as hard on the field to become a skilled interior lineman. In fact, after two years of playing O-line for Fearless, she decided to play a season with the men’s St. Vital Mustang Majors. Breanne “The Mustang Ward makes Majors” really the tackle toughened me up,” she said at the time. “The experience helped me grow very quickly as a player, developing new skills and a better way of handling myself on the field. “It also opened my eyes to understanding the game in a whole new way. Most Mustangs players begin football at ages five or six, making their knowledge of the strategy involved second nature. For me, starting to play in my twenties, everything was still quite new in comparison.” She also found a great new learning tool: EA Sports’ Madden NFL Football for PlayStation. “Because it requires you to choose your own plays, I would go home after practicing with the Mustangs, not always understanding why one play was chosen over another, and I would put both into Madden,” she said. “As I watched things play out, I could see what the strategy was about and it was even more effective than having it explained to me. All the hard work paid off. In 2017, she earned a spot on Team Canada, our nation’s 45-member national team. Now, however, she and her teammate will take an even bigger step. Professional football, male or female, should not be taken lightly. “I think, for me, the biggest thing is

Hannah McEwen ploughs over an opposing defender

to have mental resiliency,” said Ward, who has been on the front line of Manitoba’s COVID-19 response at HSC. “I always tell people when they ask about Hannah Team Canada that it was the most McEwen stressful, nerve-wracking and amazing experience. There was only so much time and you had to dig so much deeper into your football IQ. It was just all football, all of the time. You just have to have that focus, and that’s one of the biggest things that I think I’ll take in there.” After almost a decade in the game, she’s now about to take the ultimate step. “My plan, my hope, gear up for a second wave is go to Denver in the it will be really interesting next two months,” she to see what happens down said. “There is a minithere. Things have settled camp in February down for me at work but I was (2021) and training camp starts in going through a long stretch April (2021). The season runs from May working double shifts. Now, hopefully, to July and then August for playoffs. I can get back to training and be ready “My biggest worry is that the States when min-camp rolls around are a mess with COVID-19 and as we in February.” l

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MANITOBA’s 2019-20 CURLING SEASON ENDS IN MELITA By Resby Coutts, CurlManitoba Photos by Judy Wells, Corner Pocket Publishing The Curling season ended here at the Melita Communiplex

Looking forward from March 1 this year, the prospects for Manitoba curling showed great promises of gold. Kerri Einarson’s Gimli team had won the national Scotties title and had their first world championship to look forward to. Manitoba had already won a pair of world golds when Jacques Gauthier and Mackenzie Zacharias and their teams came home from Russia in February with world titles. And Colin Kurz’ team had won the World Mixed earlier in the season. There had to be more gold on the horizon! Looking back now to March 1, we know the world took a nasty turn. Like a ‘pick’ on a last shot to win the championship, the curling world ground to a halt in mid-march. The final events of the 2019-2020 curling season were the Curling Canada USports and Canadian Colleges Championships underway in Portage and CurlManitoba’s Curling Club Championships underway in Melita on March 12 when the first Covid-19 cases were identified in Manitoba. CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker was called upon to make the decision in Melita – to continue the event to its conclusion OR to end it now and send people home. By accident of pre-planning, Baker was intending to be in Melita so he was in a position to consult personally with everyone directly affected. “Anytime a decision to continue or postpone an event is required, there are many factors to consider. First of all is the safety of all participants, including athletes, volunteers, umpires and staff. Being in rural Manitoba was a major benefit at this point,”

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Baker says. “The host committee was accommodating and followed all precautions we set up for them.” The CurlManitoba Executive Director acknowledges he was fortunate not to be making the decision in isolation as Curling Canada had to make the same decision in regard to their events in Portage. “Having a National event in our jurisdiction was very important in the decision. We were in constant communication with Curling Canada and were able to follow the identical guidelines and framework for continuing the event.” The curlers were supportive of the decision to continue. “I think it was the right thing to do at the time” says Fort Rouge skip Andrew Wickman, whose team went on to win the Men’s title. “The Covid-19 pandemic was just starting to hit its stride at the time here in Canada so my thoughts were ‘we are down here in Melita and we all have been playing against each other and socializing with each other all week already’.” Wickman says CurlManitoba officials and the host committee did a great job keeping the curlers aware of the situation and the Do’s and Don’ts – such as no handshakes and disinfecting the rock handles before each game. The Women’s champion skip, St. Vital’s Marlene Lang, says her team agreed with Wickman’s assessment. “We feel that the COVID-19 was handled very well. The facility was kept very clean and if soap or hand sanitizer ran out – it was changed immediately,” she says. “The wiping of the rock handles was well received and the instruction to elbow pump instead of

handshakes was great instruction and everyone complied. The committee even offered take-out for the banquet which was great if anyone was concerned.” The dual championship event was hosted by Melita and Deloraine, two of Manitoba’s newer curling facilities. The new 3-sheet rink in Deloraine opened during the 2018-19 season and the 4-sheet Melita facility was built as a millennium project about 20 years ago and has recently become a part of the upgraded Enns Brothers Melita & Area Communiplex. Lang and Wickman were both impressed with the new facilities but playing in two sets of conditions, as they did for the first few games, was a challenge, “It was unique to have to get used to ice and environment in two different clubs. Deloraine was a little trickier – Melita was a little more consistent and easier to pick up,” Wickman says. He also remarked on the great country hospitality. “The proximity of the hotel to the club in Melita was perfect,” says Lang. “The committee did a wonderful job with the event - working together to help make us curlers feel at home and comfortable, providing us with access to home-made soups and sandwiches that were very appreciated when we needed a nutrition bite between our games.” The Club Champions Championships includes 12 teams in each of the Men’s and Women’s competitions. The teams qualify by winning club and regional competitions, with exception of club identified teams as host teams. l

WICKMAN WINS THIRD MEN’S TITLE By Resby Coutts, CurlManitoba Photos by Judy Wells, Corner Pocket Publishing


In the Men’s Championship, following their five game round robins, Wickman and Kyle Csversko (Neepawa) led their pool with 4W – 1L records while Trevor Loreth (Granite) was 4W - 1L in the other pool, a win ahead of Mike Johnson (Baldur) and Kyle Forsyth (Dauphin). Johnson won 7-2 over Forsyth in a tiebreaker but fell 5-3 to Wickman in their semi-final. Loreth blanked Csversko 5-0 in the other semi-final setting up a final game which Wickman both relished and dreaded. “It was the hardest game I have ever had to play. All those guys on the other team I consider great friends,” Wickman says, noting that he The men’s champions from (l-r) Resby Coutts (on behalf of CurlManitoba), Andrew Wickman, and Trevor Loreth were best Jeff Tarko, Craig Strand, Cam Barth, Melita Committee Chair Darren Stewart man at each other’s wedding. In any other situation, they’d have been at rinkside cheering hard for the other. The game went to an extra end and Wickman won it with a steal for a 2-1 victory. “I was a little surprised they didn’t play more aggressive that is kind of their specialty. I had said to my team before the game ‘the only way we win this game is take it down to one shot. We need to keep it as close as possible’ but I sure didn’t Spirt Integrity expect 2 to 1.” Strength For Wickman, and teammates Jeff Tarko and Cam Barth, Programs for: it was a third Manitoba championship and a first for Craig ages 4-6 Strand. In 2016, Mark Blanchard was their second and in (Young tigers) 2018, Brent Baschuck threw second. Family Classes Adult, youth Both times Wickman has gone to the national and Specialty championship, his teams have finished with 6W-1L records Classes but they have yet to advance past the quarter-finals. That’s definitely the objective for next fall if/when circumstances allow the 2020 Everest Canadian Curling Club CONFIDENCE Championships to proceed as scheduled for late November in STRENGTH Ottawa. DISIPLINE “It would be awesome and that is the goal,” Wickman said Ask about Family pricing! recently. “The first time we went (to Kelowna in 2016) Tracey 5924 Roblin Blvd Andries from Manitoba won the women’s side and I was really Winnipeg, MB R3R 0H3 happy for them because they are awesome but I was a little Phone: (204) 896-3354 jealous. I wanted that feeling and I know the guys that I curl with want that feeling. We want that title! It would be a cherry on top for all the hard work and sacrifices we as players have Email: put in over the years.” Website: The club championship playoff has been going on since 2009. Manitoba has yet to win the Men’s national title. l

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LANG WINS SECOND WOMEN’S TITLE By Resby Coutts, CurlManitoba Photos by Judy Wells, Corner Pocket Publishing In the Women’s competition, it was a second championship for St. Vital’s Marlene Lang, Pamela Kok, and Jackie Hendrickson who had won in 2015. Megan Pauls is this year’s lead replacing Lori Campbell. In their round robin pool the Lang foursome had a 3W – 2L record, creating a four way tie with Deb McCreanor (LaSalle), Liza Park (Deloraine), and Kristy Mackie (St. Vital). In the other pool Jennifer Briscoe (ThompsonBurntwood) ended on top at 4W – 1L ahead of Kara Balshaw (Thistle) and Judy Colwell (East St. Paul) who had three wins and two losses. Colwell bested Balshaw 8-2 in a tiebreaker and advanced to a semifinal against Lang who, based on the tiebreaker formula, was awarded first place in that group. Lang beat her clubmate 8-2 in the semi-final. Park survived a three team tiebreak with wins of 4-2 over McCreanor and 5-3 over Mackie and met Briscoe in the other semi-final. Park was a 7-5 winner in that one. The Women’s final was the polar opposite of the Men’s. Lang scored early on the Deloraine team which was playing their fourth game in less than 24 hours. A first end three for Lang suggested a blow-out in the offing but trailing 4-1, Park and her team re-grouped to score four to take a 5-4 lead after four ends. The teams traded deuces on ends 5 & 6, but Lang was able

The women’s champions from left to right Resby Coutts (on behalf of CurlManitoba), Marlene Lang, Pamela Kok, Jackie Hendrickson, Megan Pauls, Melita Committee Chair Darren Stewart

to put a five on the scoreboard and Park conceded after seven ends with the final score at 11-7. “Our strength in that final was our ability to not get down on ourselves when we gave up that 4 ender in 4 and our adaptability in being able to change our strategy that was not working for us,” Lang says. “Our support for each other in that final game and our focus on working together was extremely important in our success.” Like Wickman, the St. Vital skip

believes the previous experience at the national event will be an asset this time around. Manitoba has won four previous nationals (Meghan Armit – 2011, Stacey Fordyce – 2013 & 2017, Tracey Andries – 2016) and Lang would love to add her name to that list. “We are thrilled and very proud to be Manitoba Champions,” she says. “If we perform to our best ability we can join the others as National Champs. To be a National champ would be ‘icing on the cake’ and ‘a dream come true’.” l

COVID’s Triple Take-Out Kills the Curling Season By Resby Coutts Like a Jason Gunnlaugson triple takeout, as with sports events from the local level to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, the Covid-19 panademic has killed the Manitoba, Canadian and World curling championship seasons. At a glance, here’s the triple takeout chain-reaction of decisions. MARCH 12: The first presumptive

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cases of Covid-19 were identified in Manitoba. CurlManitoba faced the decision of whether or not to terminate the Club Champions Championships already underway in Melita and Deloraine. Curling Canada faced the same decision regarding the USports & Canadian Colleges Championships already underway in Portage la Prairie. The decision was

made to continue the two events to their conclusion on the weekend MARCH 12: Curling Canada “indefinitely postponed’ the 2020 Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships in Portage la Prairie and the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship in Boucherville, PQ

IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE By Resby Coutts, CurlManitoba Photos by Judy Wells, Corner Pocket Publishing The Curling Club Championship event is now, to a great extent, what the quest to go to the Brier and the national women’s championship used to be. In bygone days, curlers competed at the club level to get to zones or regional level. The objective was to get to the provincials, with one team going on to the national championship. That’s the model still followed for the provincial playoff that took place in Melita/Deloraine in mid-March this year. The national Brier/Scotties quest has evolved into an elite level event for high performance curler-athletes who no longer play at the local club level. There is a regular and on-going discussion about how many of the 32 teams competing in the Manitoba Viterra championship, or of the 12 teams competing in the Manitoba Scotties, could hold their own if they were to win and advance to the national level. The honest answer is – not many. That’s why the club champions championship playoff is viewed as being critical for the future of curling at the local club level right across the country. While perhaps not being capable of competing successfully at the elite level, club curlers still have a great desire to compete, to improve their game, and to win a game or series of games that matters enough to stir the competitive spirit. Manitoba champion Andrew Wickman has earned credibility at the Viterra championship level through past performance but his attention is

focussed much more now on the club champions event. “I think it is the next big thing in this province,” he says. “There is a relaxed atmosphere about this championship which allows socializing and fun - two things that I think can be missed a bit at the top level. This championship gives players a chance to represent their province in a bit more relaxed atmosphere.” Wickman does appreciate the competitiveness at the more elite level of curling but he believes it is possible to get wrapped up in the competitiveness to the point where you can lose the joy of playing the game. Marlene Lang admits to having great admiration for the Scotties level competitors and acknowledges she admires their commitment to the game but she also understands the requirement for a lot of time travelling, money/sponsorship, practice and months of determination. “Most of us can’t take the time off from our families and work, nor do we wish to, to be curling every weekend in major events,” she says. “So this championship is ‘our Scotties’.” The two-time champion skip suggests the club champions championship is very important for all the curling clubs and curlers as it gives club curlers the feel of what it’s like to curl in a major event. “We work hard and try to improve because we are competitive in our own way. We like curling well, and having fun. This Championship allows us to have it

and announced the U-18 Canadian Championship would be re-evaluated in coming days. MARCH 13: CurlManitoba announced the upcoming Chicken Chef Manitoba Mixed Championship was postponed indefinitely and said it anticipated the event will be played at a later date (LATE-APRIL UPDATE: If circumstances allow, the Mixed Championship will be played in the fall of 2020.) MARCH 16: CurlManitoba in

consultation with Curling Canada, based on consultation with provincial and national health authorities, suspended all programs and events and recommended that all curling clubs suspend league play and close their facilities “to protect the health of members, volunteers, staff and renters.” MARCH 19: While the teams were assembling in Prince George for the World Women’s Championship, the World Curling Federation announced the immediate cancellation of the 2020

Resby Coutts presents Darren Stewart, the Melita Committee Chair with a CurlManitoba wall plaque commemorating the championship event, marking the seventh (in total) Manitoba curling championship hosted in this ‘new’ Melita Curling Club.

all,” she concludes. CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker says the development of the Curling Club Championships is a major discussion point. It is an event that not only CurlManitoba but Curling Canada would like to see grow. “We are trying to establish guidelines that will foster the growth of this event,” he reports. “We think this event has the potential to become what the Brier & Scotties used to be but altering the curlers perspective on which event to curl in is a major challenge.” Curling is a sport rich in traditions. A national championship featuring the best curlers playing at the local club level is a tradition which goes back nearly a century here in Manitoba. “If we can re-kindle the tradition through this club championship event, it will be important recognition for those curlers and an important boost for our curling clubs,” Baker concludes. l World Women’s, World Men’s, World Mixed Doubles, and World Senior Men’s and Women’s Championships. APRIL 9: WCF announced its 2020 World Women’s, Men’s Mixed Doubles, and Seniors Championships will not be rescheduled. APRIL 9: Curling Canada announced 2020 Canadian Mixed Doubles, Seniors, Under-18 and Wheelchair championships will not be contested due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. l

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on the comeback trail By Scott Taylor, Photos supplied One year ago, Manitoba’s top international boxer, Olivia (The Predator) Gerula’s boxing career appeared to be over. It wasn’t another fighter that had knocked her out of the game, but a Danish MRI. “It was June 15, 2019, and I was getting ready for a fight in Denmark,” said Gerula, who has just announced that she has a new agent, a new training home and is getting ready to return to the ring. “I had my medicals in Winnipeg 10 days before I flew out. But I didn’t get an MRI in Winnipeg. I was going to wait until I got to Denmark because it’s so much easier to get one there. Then, right before the weigh-in, I had worked really hard to get down to 125, and they told me the doctors there had flagged my MRI.” Apparently, Gerula had three heretofore unknown white spots on her brain. They had never appeared in Canada before and when the doctors saw them in Denmark, they decided she was not fit to fight. “They thought it might have been a brain injury, some scar tissue or signs of a seizure,” Gerula said. “Well, I knew I’d never had a seizure, but still, they

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told me my boxing career was over. They looked right at me and told me I was done.” Gerula, 41, wasn’t so sure. She’d fought for 22 years and admitted that she often thought of “retiring” after 20 years in the ring. However, after spending some time on her own in Denmark, she returned to Canada with a renewed love of the sport. “I always wanted to defend my UBS (World Championship) in Winnipeg,” she said. “But there just aren’t any fight cards in Winnipeg anymore and there haven’t been for four or five years. So, I’ve been fighting in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark and France. I thought about what defines me after boxing. I also thought about how difficult it is to win on foreign soil. I knew I would have no chance to win that fight in Denmark on points so I was prepared to knock out my opponent any way I could or be disqualified. But, I couldn’t fight. “So, when I was leaving for home, I almost left my boxing gear in Denmark. I didn’t, but when I got home, I packed up all my boxing stuff and admitted to myself that I was done. I’ve built up a nice business in Winnipeg as a personal trainer and I’m also a contract trainer with the City of Winnipeg. I was a mom, a coach and a successful trainer outside the ring, so I figured that was it.” But then, she spoke to her doctor in Winnipeg and said there is no way she needed to quit. In fact, by the end of 2019, she had a clear MRI and had even passed seizure protocol. She was healthy, in great condition and wondering why she gave up her first love. “I January, I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ I want to get back in the ring,” she said. “So,

I had a contact in Vegas, a guy I had signed with in 1998 when I was getting started. I went off on my own in 2010 because I wasn’t having any problem getting fights and I didn’t need an agent, but we stayed in touch. This time, I thought I needed a wingman so I called him and it worked out right away.” It didn’t take long for Gerula to announce she had signed with Alessandro (Sandro) Gelke of Arete Agency and as soon as the pandemic ends and she can cross the border, she’ll move to Las Vegas to start training with Kofi Jantuah out of Mayweather’s Gym. “What’s kind of ironic is that we’re in discussions right now for a fight in Canada in September,” she said. “We’re even getting a number of bareknuckle offers from Florida. I won’t fight bareknuckle unless I’m offered $30,000. Right now, the offers are only around $10,000 and I won’t touch those. You can too much damage to your face in bareknuckle and if I’m going to put myself in that position, I want to be paid for it.” Gerula, of course, is a ring veteran. She’s been a pro boxer since 1997 and at 5-foot-3, 126-pounds she’s 16-14-2 (2 KOs) and as she says, she’s never had an easy fight. She’s also a bomber. There is very little finesse in the ring to this former soccer player, gymnast and world champion kickboxer. She is aggressive and exciting and often takes fights that others wouldn’t. When you take about fearless female athletes, you must include Gerula. “I was in gymnastics and was a big

soccer player when I was younger and before I was a teenager, I asked my mom if I could get into kickboxing,” Gerula said. “I had these strong treetrunk legs and I was quite flexible from my gymnastics days so I thought I’d be pretty good at kicking boys in the head. Well, my mom preferred I just did the martial arts. She thought kickboxing was too rough. But I’d just go to the gym and then miss my bus and hang around for the kickboxing workouts to start.” An amazingly successful amateur kickboxer, she just wasn’t getting enough fights. So, her coach said to her, “You want to make money, try professional boxing.”

“I thought, ‘Well, why not? If I can make money at it, sure,” she said. “So, I had to learn to box right from the start. I was a beginner. But when I was 17, I turned pro. I was under age and they had to sneak me into the Casino in Rochester, Minn., to fight my first pro bout.” In order to get fights, Gerula had to fight in Casinos all over North America, from Biloxi, Miss., to Las Vegas, Nev., from Worley, Idaho, to Atlantic City. And not one of her fights was easy. “I order to get fights, I’d go anywhere and fight anybody,” she said. “For the most part, I was supposed to be the opponent for many upand-coming star American fighters, but I never backed down. In every one of my wins and every one of my losses, I fought as hard as I could until I had nothing left.” Which is a major reason why she’s making a comeback at age 41. It’s her life and not even a pandemic will put a halt to her desire to punch somebody else for money. “I’m all set up at home because of COVID and I haven’t seen my trainer in months so I’m excited about getting to Las Vegas,” she said. “Hopefully, I can leave July 5, that’s what we’re planning on. I know I’m leaving a very comfortable life in Winnipeg, but if that’s what I have to do, I’m prepared to do it.” l

“But when I was 17, I turned pro. I was under age and they had to sneak me into the Casino in Rochester, Minn., to fight my first pro bout.”

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The Ringette Community Rocks! By Toni Bond There are many ways to measure the success of a charity sporting event: The amount generated in proceeds, the number of people in attendance, the smiles on the faces of the participants, the feedback received by those in attendance. By all these accounts, our 3rd annual Keira’s Winter Klassic was a resounding success! Keira’s Winter Klassic, an annual ringette tournament held at Keith Bodley Arena in St. James, is an 8-team tournament for U12 A2 and A3 players. This tournament is held in honour and memory of Keira Bond, a passionate ringette player for 6 years, who passed away from brain cancer in June 2017, at the young age of 11. Keira truly loved the meaning and spirit of Christmas, so each of the opening-game teams received a giant Christmas present. Inside each gift box were hand-crafted reindeer loot bags for every single player. Our 3rd annual KWK had begun!

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SJRA’s newly-minted St. James Boom team – donning newly branded Boom jerseys – tried to channel last year’s success against city teams from NWRA, BVRA, and SWRA as well as rural challengers from Selkirk and Macdonald. Spectators, enjoying the thrill of the games, were treated to an overflowing silent auction, a delicious bake sale, Keira’s Kindness apparel, a candy table, loonie stick, and much more! The Rising Strong workshop was offered to all of the players: Empowering each participant by enhancing self-esteem and building confidence through invaluable insight and skill development! Especially moving was a large banner showing images of Keira, throughout her ringette years – a visual representation of an all-too-short ringette career. A social was held at Heritage Victoria Community Club with all proceed contributing to the Keira’s Winter Klassic event fundraising total. The playoff showdown saw U12 NWRA Stars take gold in a barn-burner 10-9 win over Macdonald Wildfire in the A2 loop. In the A3 pool, Selkirk Stingers grabbed gold in a tight 6-4 final match against the Oxford Heights Stars. “What an amazing tournament. It was so well organized and so much fun. It was honestly – hands down the best tournament my daughter has ever participated in! We had a blast, and it was so amazing to see how the Ringette Community came together to honour Keira. What a special little girl she was, you could see and feel how truly loved she was by her former teammates, coaches and all those who volunteered at the event.” – Parent of a KWK player In Keira’s honour, an incredible $23,353.94 was raised, with 100% of the proceeds going to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation via Keira’s Krusade to help fight pediatric brain cancer. This brings our 3-year KWK grand total to over $83,000! Equally as important, the deep kindness and compassion that Keira always possessed for helping others carries on through the ongoing love and support of all involved in Keira’s Winter Klassic. This ringette community of ours continues to show its true colours every year. We already know that ringette players possess passion, talent, speed, and determination, but each year our KWK players, coaches, families, and volunteers show us the immense warmth, strength, care, and kindness that they also bring to the arena. Because of this, Manitoba children diagnosed with brain cancer will have a better chance, and our community will grow in hope and love just a little bit more. l

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Football’s Hall of Fame Class of 2020 is Huge By Scott Taylor, Photos supplied by Manitoba Football Hall of Fame

Chris Walby

Just call it 20 for ’20. Perhaps the greatest offensive lineman in CFL history, a former Blue Bombers’ special teams star, Manitoba’s most famous 21st Century on-field official and the Vanier Cup-winning 2007 University of Manitoba Bisons lead a class of 20 into the Manitoba Football Hall of Fame in 2020. Although the ceremony itself has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, a ceremony doesn’t replace the numerous accomplishments of the seven players, three coaches, two officials, two builders, one media member and five teams in this year’s Hall of Fame class. Chris Walby won three Grey Cup Championships with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was named the CFL’s outstanding lineman twice and was a nine-time CFL All-Star. He just might have been the greatest player in the history of the Blue Bombers. Wade Miller came out of Surgeon Creek High School, played for the University of Manitoba Bisons and then, after being drafted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he played 11 seasons in the Canadian Football League. Today, Miller is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Winnipeg Football Club. Glen Johnson was 18 when he started officiating and after 10 years in the Manitoba Football Officials Association, he became a CFL official for 24 years. He was a head referee for 14 seasons and earned 11 Grey Cup assignments. And Brian Dobie’s 2007 Vanier Cup champion University of Manitoba

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Bisons, featuring defensive MVP Mike Howard and offensive MVP John Makie, had perhaps the greatest defensive numbers in the history of Canadian university football. These are the anchors of a Hall of Fame class that reflects the game at its highest levels here in Manitoba over multiple generations. Let’s meet the 15 individuals and five teams that make up the Class of 2020: Lou Bernstein, Player: Bernstein, a fullback, played for the St. John’s High School Tigers from 1941 to 1943. He then played for the University of Manitoba Bisons before turning down a scholarship offer from the University of Miami in order to help his father in the family grocery store. He is an honored member of the Winnipeg High School Football League Hall of Fame. Kevin Hart, Player: Kevin played high school football for the Daniel McIntyre Maroons and then played both offensive and defensive lines for the Winnipeg Hawkeyes. He excelled with the St. Vital Senior Mustangs and coached with the Winnipeg Nomads. Off the field he has dedicated his life to advancing the priorities of First Nations both provincially and nationally. Harold Jackmann, Player: Harold started his career with the Bantam Nomads and then in 1977, he moved on to play for the Tec Voc Hornets. He played junior college football at the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton and then played his final two years of college football at Moorhead State in Minnesota. The big O-lineman went to play in the Canadian Football League for the B.C. Lions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ottawa Rough Riders. After coaching the Nomads and the U of M Bisons, he played 10 more seasons with the St. Vital Senior Mustangs.

Wade Miller

Wade Miller, Player: Miller was twice named to the CFL East Division All-Star team (1997 and 1999) and is second alltime in the CFL in special teams tackles with 184. He is an honored member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame (2011). Vic Solylo, Player: Vic played junior football for Winnipeg Light Infantry and in 1949 was named as the centre on the Junior Grid Dream Team. He played centre on offence and linebacker on defence and was comfortable at both positions. Chris Walby, Player: It could be argued that Walby is the greatest offensive lineman in the history of the Canadian Football League. A junior hockey star, he started playing football in Grade 12 at St. John’s High School. He played two years of junior with the Rods then earned a football scholarship to Dickinson State University. He was selected in first of the 1981 CFL Draft by the Montreal Alouettes, but after playing five games for the Larks in 1981, he was traded to Winnipeg where he played 16 outstanding seasons. David Wheeler, Player: David played started in the game playing minor bantam for the Nomads. He moved on to the Maples Marauders high school

team and then played junior for the Winnipeg Hawkeyes. In 1987, he was voted the Canadian Junior Football League’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player. From there, he played two seasons with the U of M Bisons. Bob Lawlor, Coach: Bob played for the Weston Wildcats Juniors and the Senior St. Vital Bulldogs, winning a Canadian Championship in 1969. But it was with his pal, Bob Wilkes, that he rejuvenated the dormant Gordon Bell Panthers football program in the late 1960s.

and then got involved with the East Side Eagles 31 years ago. He has been both a successful coach (a Manitoba Bantam Champion) and a member of the east Side Eagles board for 20 years. Laura Shea, Builder: Laura is a board member and past president of the Manitoba Major Junior Football League and is also involved with the Manitoba Minor Football Association. She is a member of the Board of Football Manitoba and Football Canada. She has been committed to youth football in Manitoba for nearly 30 years.

Glen Johnson

Len Sitter

Glen Johnson, Official: Glen was the head referee for the 100th Grey Cup game in 2012, the infamous “13th-man Game” that cost Saskatchewan the championship in 2009 and the second overtime Grey Cup game in the history of the CFL in 2005. He also chaired the CFL’s Rules Committee for six years.

Len Sitter, Coach: After playing at St. Paul’s High School and Brandon University, he became an assistant coach and then head coach at St. Paul’s where he was Coach of the Year in 1974. He returned as head coach of the Crusaders in 1981, took a break and returned again in 1990. He is an honored member of the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. Bob Wilkes, Coach: Bob started playing as a linebacker for the St. James Junior Rods in the 1960s. But alongside his pal Bob Lawlor, he turned the dormant Gordon Bell Panthers program into a dominant force in high school football, winning three championships in five years during the 1970s. Al Leitch, Builder: Al played his amateur football at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and Elmwood High School

Hall of Fame as a player with the St. James Rods and Tec Vic Hornets. Shawn Churchill, Media Member: A graduate of Red River College’s Creative Communications Program, Shawn started his career in Dauphin. He later moved to CKX in Brandon and then to CTV in Winnipeg. While in Winnipeg he covered the game from Minor Football to the Bombers and worked multiple Grey Cup games for CTV and TSN. He is now an assignment editor at CTV Saskatoon. 1970 North Winnipeg Nomads Bantam Team: The team was undefeated, won the Manitoba Provincial crown and then beat the Regina Cosmos Cougars to win the Western Canadian Championship. 1970, 1971, 1972 Sisler Spartans High School Teams: The Spartans won the 1970 title, beating a Churchill team that hadn’t lost a game in four games. The ’71 Spartans went 6-1-0 and won the City and Provincial crowns. The ’72 Spartans went 6-1-0 and won the North Division, but lost to St. John’s in the City final. 1971, 1972 Winnipeg Hawkeyes Teams: The undefeated 1971 Hawkeyes won the Western Canadian Championship and then they repeated the feat in 1972. 1987 Crocus Plains High School Team: The Plainsmen went undefeated, beating Daniel McIntyre 44-9 to win the City Championship.

MLA Jon Reyes with Bernie Novak

Bernie Novak, Official: Bernie Novak started with the Manitoba Football Officials Association in 1962 and for 58 years and more than 2,500 games, he was running around provincial football fields. Of course, as he was doing that, he was also officiating basketball and slo-pitch games, as well. He was a sideline official and a member of the support crew at CFL games for 54 years. Bernie is an honored member of the Winnipeg High School Football League Hall of Fame and was previously inducted into the Manitoba Football

2007 Bisons Vanier Cup victory. John Makie s cores the winning touchdown

2007 University of Manitoba Bisons Team: The Bisons became the 11th team in CIS (now USPORTS) history to win the Vanier Cup after going through an undefeated season. l

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Manitoba Well Represented in New Canada West Hall of Fame By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy the Canada West Conference and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame When the decision was made to honor the people who had brought athletic glory to the universities across Western Canada, there was little doubt that the honor roll would include the stars ad heroes from the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Brandon University. After all, beginning with the University of Manitoba capturing the first Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) men’s hockey banner in 1919-20, Manitoba’s best student-athletes have been competing across the West. So, in the spring of 2019, in order to commemorate 100 years of university sport across Western Canada, the Canada West Hall of Fame was created and the first induction class – 100 inductees – has been unveiled in an ongoing fashion, during the 100 days of the 2019-20 season.  Of the first 100, there were 15 athletes, coaches, athletic directors and builders with direct ties to Manitoba’s three Canada West members who were named to the Hall. Granted, you had to wonder how the likes of Garth Pischke, Barry Trotz, Martin Riley, Wanda Guenette, Sandra Carroll, Jerry Abernathy, Henry Janzen, Janet Lumsden, Andy Murray, Ken Opalko, the Brandon Bobcats 1987-89 Men’s Basketball Team, Gail Winston, Vic Pruden, Walt McKee, Ted Milian, David Onyemata, (and on and on) didn’t make the inaugural list, but the future is bright as they say. As for now, let’s get up close and personal with the first 15 Manitobans in the Canada West Hall of Fame (thanks to the Canada West Conference for its help with the biographies): Mike Burchuk, University of Winnipeg, Volleyball Coach Presiding over one of the greatest dynasties in Canadian volleyball history, the long-time former head coach of the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s program, Burchuk was named CIAU coach of the year four times. With Burchuk at the helm,

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Mike Burchuk

the Wesmen women won six straight national titles between 1982 and 1988 and won 123 consecutive matches. Burchuk also coached Team Canada at NORCECAs, World Cups, Pan-Am Games and, ultimately, the 1984 and 1996 Olympics. Mike Ridley, University of Manitoba, Hockey Player Years before this Winnipegger was an AllStar in the National Mike Ridley Hockey League, Mike Ridley was an AllCanadian with the University of Manitoba Bisons men’s hockey team. Ridley played forward with the Bisons for two seasons from 1983-85, amassing an incredible 68 goals and 79 assists in 76 games before going on to a 12-year NHL career with stops in New York, Washington, Toronto, and Vancouver. Dale Iwanoczko, University of Manitoba, Volleyball Player When Dale Iwanoczko was 15-years-old, living in his hometown of Selkirk he made his Dale Iwanoczko senior high school team, and had already arrived as an elite volleyball player. It was the beginning of an impressive athletic and academic

journey cut short by Hodgkin’s Disease. However, during his too-short life, Iwanoczko became one of the top university men’s volleyball players in Canada and a member of the national team, while earning his medical degree from the University of Manitoba. Iwanoczko was the only male volleyball player in U SPORTS history to be named a First Team All-Canadian for four years and was the 1990 CIAU Player of the Year. Jerry Hemmings, Brandon University, Basketball Coach Jerry Hemmings came out of Mount Airy, N.C. and served nearly three decades at the helm of the Bobcats, Jerry Hemmings winning four national titles to go along with 19 conference championships, while amassing 13 final four appearances. He had 734 career victories, while being named Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Coach of the Year eight times and winning the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union’s (CIAU) Coach of the Year award in 1980. Hemmings began coaching the Bobcats in 1974, following a stint as an assistant coach of Lakehead’s men’s basketball squad, and led the Bobcats to their first national championship appearance in 1979 before winning three straight national championships from 1987 to 1989. The Bobcats won their fourth CIAU title in 1996. Joyce Fromson, University of Manitoba, Builder A native Winnipegger Fromson served as director of men’s and women’s sport at the University of Manitoba from 1979 to 1995. After teaching high school, she served as director of women’s athletics at the University of Winnipeg from 1966 to 1970 and then, in 1972, she moved on to the University of Calgary, where she became the first woman in North America to hired as

a sports information director. In 1979, Fromson was hired by the University of Manitoba. She passed away in 2001. John Carson, Brandon University, Basketball Player The 6-foot-4 Carson, who starred for the Bobcats between 1982 and 1987, arrived in Brandon from Huntsville, John Carson N.C. and became a five-time Great Plains Athletic Conference All-Star, five-time All-Canadian, and in 1985-86 was named the nation’s top player. In 1987 he led Brandon to the program’s first men’s basketball national title with a win over UBC, as Carson was named tournament MVP. Carson still stands alone as the only five-time First Team All-Canadian in university basketball history. Coleen Dufresne, University of Manitoba, Coach and Builder Dufresne, a star basketball player on Canada’s National Team, coached the Bisons women’s basketball team for 17

years and then became athletic director the next 15. Dufresne coached the Bisons to three U SPORTS (then Coleen Dufresne CIS) National Championships in 1987-88, 199596, and 1996-97. Over her 17-year coaching career she also led the Bisons to five Great Plains Athletic Conference championships, was named GPAC Coach of the Year five times and was twice the U SPORTS Coach of the Year. Michelle SawatzkyKoop, University of Manitoba, Volleyball Player A two-time national player of the year, Steinbach’s Michelle SawatzkyKoop played for the Bisons between 1988 and 1993, helping Manitoba Michelle Sawatzky-Koop to national titles in 1990, 1991, and 1992, winning championship MVP honours in 1991

and 1992. Along with her success at the university level, Sawatzky-Koop competed for Canada on multiple occasions, highlighted by her 1996 trip to the Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta. As a senior she received the Bison Sports Female Athlete of the Year award for the 1992-93 season. Israel Idonije, University of Manitoba, Football Player Idonije starred on the gridiron for the Bisons Israel Idonije between 1998 and 2002. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Brandon, Idonije joined the Bisons with just one season of football under his belt before eventually playing a decade in the NFL, mostly with the Chicago Bears. In his five outstanding seasons at Manitoba from 1998-02, he was the outstanding down lineman in the CIS (2002), was the Bisons’ MVP in 2002 and was selected twice as a Canada West AllStar and First Team All-Canadian in 2001 and 2002. He then became the first Bisons football player to be signed

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and make it onto an NFL team roster and later became the first Bisons grad to play in a Super Bowl game. Desiree Scott, University of Manitoba, Soccer Player One of the leaders of Canada Soccer’s women’s national team, Desiree Scott was the 2009-10 Bison Sports Desiree Scott Female Athlete of the Year. She was a four-time Canada West All-Star (First Team in 2008 and 2009; Second Team in 2005 and 2006), and was the Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2005. She was also named a CIS First Team All-Canadian in 2008 and 2009. She made her debut with the Canadian national senior team in 2010 and was part of Canada’s bronze-winning Olympic teams in both 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio). Professionally, Scott has played more than 90 games in the National Women’s Soccer League. Wayne Fleming, University of Manitoba, Hockey Coach Fleming came out of Snow Wayne Fleming with former Lake, Man., and Bisons stars Mike Ridley (left) arrived at the and Vaughn Karpan University of Manitoba as a student-athlete in 1970. He joined the Bisons men’s hockey coaching staff as an assistant in 1976, and took over as head coach in 1980. During nine seasons with Fleming at the helm, the Bisons went 140-78-14 in regular season play and won backto-back conference titles in 1984 and 1985. Fleming was named the CIAU Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year in 1985. Following his time at the U of M, Fleming went on to find success at the prolevel, spending more than a dozen seasons as an NHL assistant with the Islanders, Coyotes, Flyers, Flames, Oilers and Lightning. Wesmen Men’s Volleyball Team 1970-74 The University of Winnipeg men’s volleyball team of the early 70s became the school’s first sports dynasty when it reeled off four consecutive CIAU gold medals. The Wesmen captured national championships in 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974.

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TEAM: Bob Syko, Ed Alexiuk, Charlie Dickson, Rusty Rischuk, Gary Gerylo, Keith Doan, Barry Gros, John Paulsen, Robert Boyle, Tom McCormack, Bob  Harrison, Keith Wasylik, Terry Braun, Randy Lawson, Bob  Urquhart, Larry Kich, Ron Hinkewich, Cliff Bell, John Paulson, Gord  Howard, Larry Plenert, Dave Leonhardt, Don Michalski, Dan Paulsen, Garth Pischke, Boris Tyzuk, Bruce Wasylik, Jim Matthews, Charly Bridle, Jerry Ilchyna (head coach), Dr Glen Conly (head coach), Dennis Nord (assistant coach), Larry Kich (assistant coach), Jerry Kolt (manager), Dave Wilkinson (manager)

Bisons Football Team 1968-70

Bisons Football Team 1968-70 In 1969 and 1970, head coach Henry Janzen’s University of Manitoba Bisons became the first team to win the Vanier Cup in consecutive seasons. In 1969, the Bisons won the Hardy Cup for a second consecutive season before going on to beat McGill in the Vanier Cup. The following season, Manitoba once again claimed the Hardy Cup, going on to beat Ottawa in the 1970 Vanier Cup. TEAM MEMBERS: Ray Ash (Assistant Coach), Gill Bramwell, Doug Calder (Athletic Therapist), Jim Carlson, Garry Corbett, Tom Coyle, Cliff Crawford, Bart Evans, Clint Evans, Jim Fildey, Gerry Fraser, Pat Gill (Equipment Manager), Lou Furlan, Jack Galbraith, Walt Gibson, Olie Hensrud, Wayne Hildahl, Jamie Horne, Richard Howden, Dennis Hrycaiko, Nick Iafolla, Richard Jackiw, Henry Janzen (Head Coach), Bob Jaskiewicz, Bob Johnston, Bob Keating, Alan Kinley, Graham Kinley, Bob Kraemer, Hank Lodewyks, Gord Mackie (Athletic Therapist), Ian McLeod, Walt McKee, Mark Millen, Randy Miller, Terry Moss, Norm Nicol, Doug Olynyk, Roy Parker, Gord Rowland (Assistant Coach), Dean Samson, John Shanski (Assistant Coach), Bill Schick, Don Shylo, Mike Shylo, John Silver, Lawrence Stockton, Bruce Taylor, Bob Toogood, Dr. Gerry Wilson (Team Doctor), Robert Wright, Kim Ziola.

Wesmen Women’s Volleyball 1982-88

Wesmen Women’s Volleyball 1982-88 One of the most dominant stretches in Canadian university history belonged to the 1982-1988 Winnipeg Wesmen women’s volleyball teams. The Wesmen won six consecutive national titles (1983-1988) during the 80s, as they were powered by a CIAU Player of the Year each season. From January 1987 to January 1989, the team won 123 straight games and had a 58-0 overall record during the 1987-88 season. The Wesmen had a number of team members who would go on to play for Canada’s national junior or senior teams in: Boroski, Leug, Wanda Guenette, Joanne Onishko, Paulette Jerrard, Sheila Picklyk, Ruth Klassen, Ardith Lernout Parker, Bernice Bowley, Diane Scott, Leesa Fast, Carrie Chernomaz Patrick, April Stephenson, and Suzi Smith. Wesmen Women’s Basketball 1992-1995 From 1992-93 to 199495, the University of Winnipeg’s women’s basketball team went on an unprecedented run winning three Wesmen Women’s national championships Basketball 1992-95 while setting a Canadian record that may never be matched. Under the direction of coach Tom Kendall, Winnipeg won 88 consecutive games, which stands as the longest streak in Canadian university basketball history. TEAM MEMBERS: Sandra Carroll, Michelle Chambers, Pam Flick, Jody Rock, Andrea Hutchens, Diane Zunic, Heidi Rowley, Sheri Telke, Larisa Waschuk, Sandy Corby, Sarah Meyers, Nicole Jonker, Tracey Peter, Andrea Pales, Marnie Nechwediuk, Anna Weber, Lynette Lafreniere, Lara Asplin, Natalie McVicar, Jen How (manager) Carla Lenz (assistant coach) Craig Kennedy (assistant coach), Keith Pruden (assistant coach), Gail Kendall (assistant coach), Tanya Mckay (assistant coach), Tom Kendall (head coach). l

The countdown to your next adventure begins now.

We’d like to thank you for your continued support over the past months, as we’ve all weathered this storm together. We’re pleased to announce that after much consultation and every precaution, our doors are now open! We will be abiding by the latest retail safety regulations set by global health authorities as the safety of our customers remains our top priority. We’re ready to put our pent-up travel expertise to good use, whether that’s securing top value for your Future Cruise Credit, or starting afresh with incredible deals to your dream destination. Whether your next vacation is in a few months, or even next year, we’re here to help you turn your daydreams into a reality! We understand that you may have questions, and we are here to answer them. If you prefer to keep things virtual for now, we are happy to set up a meeting over the phone. Call our Corydon Ave location at 204-224-7447 or our Henderson Hwy location at 204-421-5611

Call, Click or Come in. (204) 224 7447

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sportslife 29

Hidden Grace, ridden by leading jockey Antonio Whitehall makes her return to the track on Canada Day

Rafael Zenteno Jr. rides Purrsibility to victory to give trainer Jerry Gourneau his 500th career win

The Downs Sets Records During a Strange Season By Scott Taylor, Photos by Rusty Barton and James Carey Lauder

On Monday night, May 25, Manitoba’s great little thoroughbred race track, Assiniboia Downs opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic by running six races with no fans in Racing in front of zero spectators by Rusty Barton attendance and yet, by the end of July, the track was having one of its greatest racing seasons ever. Miss Imperial, Dazzling Gold and Real Grace has emerged as outstanding young horses, Antonio Whitehall and Jerry Gourneau were walking away with the jockeys’ and trainers’ championships, the track set a record for most money wagered on one day ($4,106,601) and most money paid out in a single day ($3,132,280). This summer’s 50-day meet has been more successful than anyone could have dreamed and as the Manitoba Derby approaches, fans are slowly being allowed back to eat in the Terrace Dining Room and wager in the Club West Lounge. To make sure SportsLife was on top of all the action, we sent photographers James Carey Lauder and Rusty Barton out to record the track’s biggest days. l

Downs CEO Darren Dunn on Opening Night by James Carey Lauder

Jockey Stanley Chadee celebrates victory on Miss Imperial in the Canada Day stakes

Jockey Rico Walcott on Derby Trial winner Real Grace

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On the inside, Miss Imperial gets set for her winning run to the finish in the Go Go Lolo Overnight Stakes by James Carey Lauder

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Winnipeg SportsLife July/August 2020  

Winnipeg SportsLife July/August 2020. SportsLife is Manitoba's amateur sports magazine.This is where sports fans will meet the Olympians of...

Winnipeg SportsLife July/August 2020  

Winnipeg SportsLife July/August 2020. SportsLife is Manitoba's amateur sports magazine.This is where sports fans will meet the Olympians of...


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