Winnipeg SportsLife November/December 2019

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sportslife 2019 | Volume 6 | Issue 6

Winnipeg’s Burke Toews and Son Kai: International Basketball Icons

Sport Manitoba’s Annual Game Day Coming Up in January

Winnipeg’s Tyler Mislawchuk Eyes Olympic Gold

Winnipeg Edition

Winnipeg’s University of Tulsa Soccer Star Jazmiera Ditter Wins Handball Bronze at IHF Trophy Cup Jack Callum Leads the 2019 Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees

National Team Baseball Star Brittney Langlais... Page 20

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4 sports sportslife life

hail to the champions

06 The Starting Line-Up

20 Baseball

10 Handball

22 Triathlon

12 Basketball

26 Curling

Hottest News Stories in Manitoba Sports

Jazmiera Ditter Gets Bronze at IHF Tournament in Montreal

Former U of W Star Burke Towes Surpassed by Son Kai

14 Baseball Hall of Fame

Honourary Lifetime Member Callum Among 2020 Inductees

16 Sports Community

Sport Manitoba Game Day Open House

18 Ringette

Come for the Fun, Stay for the Friends

National Team Pitcher Brittney Langlais Wins Bronze in Mexico

Tyler Mislawchuk Heads for Tokyo Looking for Olympic Medal

Colin Kurz and team (Meghan Walter, Brendan Bilawka, Sara Oliver) Growing List of Accomplishments

29 Figure Skating

Photo Feature

30 Junior Hockey

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 204-296-GOAL (4625). PUBLISHER OV Suvajac Box 66050, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3K 2G0 204-996-4146 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Scott Taylor ART DIRECTOR Debbie Dunmall Advertising and Promotions Scott Browning 204-915-6573 COVER PHOTO James Carey Lauder CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Carey Lauder, Jeff Miller, Sport Canada, Badminton Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Scott Taylor, Sport Manitoba, Basketball Manitoba, Sport Manitoba, Handball Canada, University of Tulsa, Clarise Boychuk/Skate Canada Manitoba, Assiniboia Downs, Chief Glenn Hudson, Sail Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, University of North Carolina/Wilmington, Baseball Manitoba, Baseball Canada, Richard Gray and Stephen Fisher/World Curling Federation, Connie Laliberte/CurlManitoba, Laurie Anderson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Scott Taylor, Johnston Hall, Resby Coutts, Sam Cortes, Olivia Baldwin

HEADED TO AN OLYMPIC YEAR This issue is special for us and for our favourite photographer, James Carey Lauder. As you can see by our cover, we spent a special evening at a photo shoot at Lauder’s downtown studio for 2020 Canadian Olympic Triathlete Tyler Mislawchuk. Mislawchuk, a 25-year-old Winnipegger, was the first Canadian to reach a podium at an International Triathlon Union World Series event when he finished third in Montreal on June 29. Then, in Mislawchuk dug even deeper in Tokyo in August, winning the ITU World Series event on pretty much the same course that will be featured at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He completed the race in a time of one hour 49 minutes and 51 seconds, four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Casper Stornes of Norway. With that Mislawchuk became one of the pre-Olympic favourites to win a gold medal for Canada, but make no mistake, he takes nothing for granted. “There are just too many good athletes to pick a winner in Triathlon,” said. Mislawchuk. “There are a dozen guys who could win. It will be hot and humid and it just depends on who has the best day.” As we say good-bye to 2019, sports fans all over the world get set for an Olympic year. No one is more attuned to that reality than Mislawchuk. Meanwhile, we have three other great stories in this edition. We introduce you to baseball star Brittney Langlais, elite handball/soccer player Jazmiera Ditter and the father-son basketball duo of Burke and Kai Toews. As well, we’ll give you a heads up for Sport Manitoba’s Game Day in January, a look at another big win by Manitoba Super Filly Hidden Grace and the 2019 Inductees into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks for picking up SportsLife Magazine. Now sit back, relax and get set for the dawn of another Olympic year. – 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



Compiled by Scott Taylor, Photos by James Carey Lauder, Jeff Miller, Sport Canada, Basketball Manitoba, Sport Manitoba, University of Manitoba, Sport Canada, Clarise Boychuk/ Skate Canada Manitoba, Assiniboia Downs, Chief Glenn Hudson, Badminton Canada and Sail Manitoba


Hidden Grace with Renaldo Cumberbatch in the saddle

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…


Hidden Grace, the sister of Million Dollar Manitoba Mare Escape Clause and the top three-year-old filly at Assiniboia Downs this year, won the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society of Alberta’s $50,000 Sales Stake for three-year-olds and up fillies and mares at Century Downs in Edmonton. The amazing daughter of Going Commando – High Pioneer worked hard to hold her rivals at bay in the seven-furlong race and won in 1:23.50 for her ninth straight win in nine starts – all stakes races. The three-year-old filly was bred and is owned by Cam Ziprick, Charles Fouillard and Barry Arnason. Hidden Grace is trained by Michael Nault, ridden by Renaldo Cumberbatch and is groomed by Brittany Macdonald – an entire team of Manitoba’s best. Hidden Grace will now rest for the winter and is expected to open her four-year-old season in May 2020 at Assiniboia Downs.

MASRC/2002 NAIG LEGACY SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED The Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council (MASRC) has selected this year’s recipients of the 2019 MASRC - 2002 NAIG Legacy Scholarships for Athletes and Coaches. Among the recipients are hockey stars Bryden Sinclair (Maryland Black Bears NAHL), Kennesha Miswaggon (UBC) and Lauren Legault (St. Thomas University). The 2002 NAIG Legacy Scholarships were created through the generosity of the 2002 North American Indigenous Games Legacies. The Athlete Scholarships are awarded yearly to Aboriginal athletes in Manitoba who have shown athletic leadership in Manitoba’s amateur sport community through well rounded participation as an athlete, as well as on academic standing, and other school and community related activities. The Coach Scholarships are awarded yearly to Aboriginal coaches in Manitoba who have shown outstanding coaching leadership in Manitoba’s amateur sport community, as well as on academic standing and other school and community related activities. This year’s Athlete Scholarship recipients Scholarship winner ($600) are Robert (Jesse) Skelton (Multi-sport, Hartney), Bianca Mckay Kennesha Miswaggon (Softball – Dauphin/Skownan), Cassidy Alyn (Multi-Sport, Fisher Branch), Emma Ricard (Martial Arts – St. Ambroise), Stefanie Byron (Baseball – Oak Point), Cam Gayleard (Volleyball – St. Andrews), Bryden Sinclair (Hockey – Peguis), Kaila Powell (Hockey – Swan River/Norway House), Rachel O’Toole (Hockey – The Pas/Couchiching), Kennesha Miswaggon (Multi-Sport – Cross Lake/Pimicikamak), Breanna McLennan (Hockey – Winnipeg) and Haven George (Basketball/Volleyball – Gillam). This year’s Coach scholarships ($600) are awarded to: Lauren Legault (Hockey – Elie), Hayden Yaremko (Hockey – The Pas), Gregory Meconse (Soccer – Winnipeg/Pinaymootang) and Loryn Evans (Wrestling – Winnipeg (Cross Lake/Pimicikamak).

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PARA-BADMINTON AT NATIONALS FOR FIRST TIME Manitoba Badminton, Prairie Badminton and the Winnipeg Winter Club have been named as host venues for the 2020 Yonex Canadian National Badminton Championships this winter. Traditionally the championship tournament brings together more. Than 100 of Canada’s top High-Performance badminton players from across the country. However, the 2020 Nationals will mark an historic moment for badminton in Canada as Para-badminton will be included with able-bodied for the first time. “We are excited that all of our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will be competing together at this year’s Championships,” said Jordan Bridal, High Performance Director. “The tournament will act as a great lead up event for some, and showcase our top talent in Canada. For those unfamiliar with para-badminton, they will be amazed by what these athletes can do.” The premier host for the 2020 Yonex Canadian National Championships will be Prairie Badminton, with the Winnipeg Winter Club acting as supporting hosts for the WH1/WH2 events. The event will be held from Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2020.

Steve Van Vlaenderen and Darlene Hildebrand

Canadian Para-Badminton championships coming to Winnipeg

VAN VLAENDEREN, HILDEBRAND HONORED BY SAIL MANITOBA Young Garden City Gophers star, Quinton Beaulieu, will be a player to watch this season as the Winnipeg High School Football League gears up. He did a great job this summer with Football Manitoba’s U-16 Provincial Team. Team Manitoba played two games in Kamloops as part of the Western Canadian Football Challenge. Although Team Manitoba lost both games, Beaulieu finished with 4.5 tackles, and “loved the experience.” He was also selected by Recruit Ready for the CFC Top 100 in Canada. He finally got on the field with his high school team in early September, after missing two weeks with poison oak. This year he’ll be a Grade 10 student playing varsity for the Fighting Gophers and he’ll start on the line on both sides of the football. It’s a rebuilding year for Garden City and Beaulieu will be a big part of that rebuild.

SIX BISONS ON CANADA WEST ALL-STAR TEAM The Bisons football team finished their 2019 regular season with a record of 4-4 and then suffered one of the most heartbreaking defeats in Canada West playoff history, losing 47-46 in Calgary in the Hardy Cup semifinal. However, six members of the team did Bisons defensive allstar Derek Dufault earn conference All-Star selections for their efforts. On offence, fourth-year Macho Bockru is an All-Star at receiver Bisons and fourth-year Michael Ritchott is offensive an All-Star at running back. Ritchott’s all-star Macho name also appears on special teams Bockru as the All-Star kick returner, alongside fifth-year Matt Riley – who was selected as the All-Star kicker and tied UBC’s Garrin McDonnell for the All-Star punter’s spot. On defence, the Bisons earned three spots. Fifth-year Derek Dufault is an All-Star at defensive end, thirdyear Arjay Shelley is an All-Star at cornerback, and third-year Shae Weekes is an All-Star for the second straight year at halfback.

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ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY HEADING TO PEGUIS Chief Glenn Hudson was proud to announce that Sportsnet’s Rogers Hometown Hockey will be headed to Peguis First Nation from Feb. 29-March 1, 2020. On Saturday. Night, Feb. 29, the Jets play in Edmonton in the national Sportsnet/CBC telecast. The Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour is the ultimate NHL fan experience as hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Slone travel across the country, making stops in 25 different communities to celebrate local hockey stories, and the game’s biggest stars. The caravan will stop in Dauphin on Nov. 16-17. Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson (middle) with the boys from Rogers Hometown Hockey


A.J. Basi

Former University of Manitoba and Basketball Manitoba Provincial team basketball star, Amarjit (A.J.) Basi is on the move again. Basi, who signed with Essen Wohnbau Miners in the German ProB League last spring was signed as a free agent in October by England’s Worthing Thunder for the remainder of the National Basketball League Division One season. Basi was a remarkable player at the U of M. He averaged 14.7 points and 3.2 rebounds a game and led the Bisons to the Canada West Conference Final and a first USPORT play-off appearance since 1985. AJ previously played in England with the Newcastle Eagles in 2017-18 before spending last season in Italy with Basket Gela in Series C. “I’m very happy to be back in England playing basketball and for the opportunity to be joining the Worthing Thunder,” Basi said in a written statement. “Zaire Taylor and Alex Owumi are very accomplished players and some of the biggest names in the sport in England. So, when they reached out to me it was a no-brainer. We share some common goals and I’m excited to be part of their vision.”

Wog wins four golds to lead Bisons Winnipeg’s Kelsey Wog has done it again. Manitoba’s top swimmer went out to the Odlum Brown Colleges Cup – Pacific, hosted by UBC in Vancouver, and led the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s team to a strong finish. Wog, who is coming off a summer where she competed on Team Canada at the FINA World Championships and signed a deal with the Cali Condors in the International Swimming League, won four gold medals, winning all her individual events. She also set meet records in all four. Wog won the 50-metre breaststroke (30.30), the 100-metre breaststroke (1:04.80), the 200-metre breaststroke (2:18.74), and the 200-metre backstroke (2:08.31). She also earned a bronze as part of Manitoba’s 400-metre medley relay team. For her performance, she was named Female Swimmer of the Meet and the U of M’s female athlete of the week. Next up for Wog and the Bisons is the Canada West Swimming Championships, which takes place Nov. 22-24 in Lethbridge.

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Kelsey Wog

SKATE MANITOBA CROWNS ITS CHAMPIONS Back on Nov. 2 and 3, 2019, at the St. James Civic Centre, Skate Canada Manitoba’s Sectional Figure Skating Championship selected the top skaters in the province, skaters who have now advanced to the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge, ultimately leading to the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. More than 60 figure skaters comped in St. James from the Pre-Juvenile to the Senior levels. The three top skaters at the PreNovice and Novice levels and the Top 2 at the Junior and Senior levels had the opportunity to continue to the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton that runs Nov. 27-Dec. 1. For Novice, Junior and Senior skaters, this will be the qualifying event for 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. The Canadian Pre-Novice Champions in men’s, women’s, pair and ice dance are determined at Skate Canada Challenge. Here are the 2020 Skate Canada Manitoba Sectional Championship Results. PRE-JUVENILE WOMEN U11 Jacy Butler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carmen Skating Club Molly Cowan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morden Figure Skating Club Ky-Lynn Jenner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morden Figure Skating Club

Deidre Russell, Skate Winnipeg

JUNIOR WOMEN Danae Russell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg Charlotte Little. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Virden

PRE-JUVENILE WOMEN U13 Gabrielle Hildebrand. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morden Figure Skating Club Jenna Shier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Thompson Mia Thorvaldson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

SENIOR WOMEN Deidre Sherk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

PRE-JUVENILE PAIRS Ainslee McGregor/Seoul Tiilokani. . . . . Waskada Figure Skating Club

Skate Canada Manitoba Chair, Donna Yee, announced the skaters, coaches and team managers who will be representing our province at the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge Competition in Edmonton Alberta at the end of November. Manitoba will send a team of nine single skaters and two pair teams.

JUVENILE WOMEN U12 Megan Dryden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Virden Ava Kemp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg Alison Convery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morden Figure Skating Club JUVENILE WOMEN U14 Hailey Penner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Morden Figure Skating Club Jayla Butcher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Stony Mountain Mya Malcolm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

PRE-NOVICE PAIRS Megan Dryden/Wyatt James from Skate Virden/Carmen Figure Skating Club they are Coached by Patty Hole & Jody James. Jade Pilat/Emmet Dewar from East St. Paul Figure Skating Club they are coached by Tanya Pilat. PRE- NOVICE WOMEN Ella Young from Skate Brandon, she is coached by Tammy McKay

PRE-NOVICE PAIR Megan Dryden/Wyatt James. . . . . . . . . . Skate Virden/Carmen Skating Club Jade Pilat/Emmet Dewar. . . . . . . . . . . . . East St. Paul Figure Skating Club/ East St. Paul Figure Skating Club

PRE-NOVICE MEN David Howes from Skate Winnipeg and he is coached by Margo Russell Mason Panko from Portage Skating Club and he is coached by Gisele Sutherland

PRE-NOVICE WOMEN Ella Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Brandon Shanna Yaskow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Virden Cali Boychuk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

NOVICE WOMEN Breken Brezden from Skate Dauphin coached by Patty Hole Annika Duguay from Carberry Figure Skating Club coached by Tammy McKay Chanel Cabak from Portage Skating Club coached by Scott Davis

PRE-NOVICE MEN David Howes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg Mason Panko. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Portage Skating Club Keith Lau. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

NOVICE MEN Yohnatan Elizarov from Skate Winnipeg coached by Margo Russell

NOVICE WOMEN Breken Brezden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Dauphin Annika Duguay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Carberry Figure Skating Club Chanel Cabak. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Portage Skating Club NOVICE MEN Yohnatan Elizarov. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Skate Winnipeg

JUNIOR WOMEN Danae Russell from Skate Winnipeg coached by Margo Russell SENIOR WOMEN Deidre Sherk from Skate Winnipeg coached by Margo Russell TEAM LEADERS Cadfan Edwards Shelley Meakin

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A Multi-Sport Star: Putting in the Hours

Jazi and Team Canada against Puerto Rico

By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy Handball Canada and the University of Tulsa Winnipeg’s Jazmiera Ditter has just returned to the University of Tulsa soccer program after winning a bronze medal at the International Handball Federation’s Junior IHF Trophy Tournament in Montreal. If that all seems confusing, well it is. Kind of. After all, not many NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer programs would allow their goaltender to leave the team (and school) for a week to play in an international team handball tournament in another country. But that’s exactly what happened in October when University of Tulsa’s women’s soccer coach, Kyle Cussen, told Monique Ditter that it was OK with him if Monique’s daughter, Jazi, wanted leave the team to play handball. “It’s one of the reasons why Tulsa wanted Jazi on the team,” said Monique, a star handball player in

her own right and a Phys Ed teacher in Winnipeg. “They like good athletes, multi-sport athletes, and Coach Cussen encouraged her to go.” The trip was certainly worth it for Jazmiera, whose mom played on Canada’s National Handball Team. The Canadian team finished third and Jazi, as her friends and family call her, got to represent Canada in international play. It is somewhat, ironic, however, that as an NCAA Division 1 soccer player, she’s a goalie and as an internationallevel handball player she’s an offensive minded left wing with a big shot. “I was extremely honored to represent my own country,” Ditter said. “I was given the opportunity to do the same for soccer, but it didn’t work out. I said yes right away when I was invited to the national camp for handball, but when I found out I made the team I was crying in happiness. It was an honor and I was stoked.” Ditter grew up playing club soccer for the Bonivital Soccer Club and Spirt Integrity Mountain United Strength Futbol Club and Programs for: is a member of ages 4-6 the Manitoba (Young tigers)


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Provincial Team. She was selected as the All-Star Goalkeeper at the 2015 Vancouver Whitecaps Showcase and was named the Player of the Match in an international friendly against the Australian High-Performance team. She has been a member of the U14 and U17 Canadian National Excel Program and was selected to train with the Regional Excel Canadian Development Program. But through it all, she never gave up handball and often gets asked why she continues to be a multi-sport athlete in an era when concentrating on one main is all the rage. “Just because coaches want you to choose one sport, their sport, even if you are good at many different sports and interested in playing many sports, it doesn’t mean you have to,” she said bluntly. “In the end, by playing a variety of different sports, the skills feed off of one another and it makes you a much better well-rounded athlete. In the end, it also makes you better at their one sport, the one sport they wanted you to concentrate on.” Ditter, who is studying nursing at Tulsa, played competitive volleyball, soccer, handball, softball, and track in high school. “All of the skills I have learned by cross training, have been through Jazi with the Canadian flag at the IHF Trophy tournament in Montreal

A big save against McNeese State

countless hours of training,” she said. “This would be through clubs coaches, training, academies and private sessions in all of the sports I’ve played. “And playing multiple sports has definitely helped me in my soccer career. All the sports have taught me different things. One being the different, various types of coaches and coaching styles I’ll have to face. When it comes to performance, in volleyball

for instance, I had to dive a lot and being a soccer goalie, that is what I do for a living. With handball, because I’m a left wing, or any position, you have to have the quick explosiveness and be able to have a great vertical. Taking that back to being a soccer goalie, I need to be able to fly through the air at great heights and be quick and explosive to get the upper 90 per cent of my saves. “My track coaches have helped me tremendously to become explosive for high jump, long jump, triple jump and my sprints. Again, great skills for soccer goalies. As for softball, pitching has given me discipline in perfecting such a fine skill and batting has helped me to be fearless and focussed on the ball.” Although she plays soccer at university – pretty much a full-time commitment – handball is still a big part of her life. It’s s sport that runs deep in the Ditter family. “When I was in Grade 8, my mom taught the sport to me in my Phys Ed class and I found it somewhat fun,” Jazi said. “Then she had brought me out to the junior provincial team and that’s where I fell in love with the game.

“Family has been a huge part of my success. They’ve been very important. They’re the ones who aspire me to be the best, I can be whatever I want Jazi Ditter at Tulsa to be no matter how difficult it might be to get there and most importantly, it was to just, ‘get out there and have fun.’” Although she did extremely well at Glenlawn Collegiate – 85 per cent, 3.5 GPA – she is quick to admit that her university studies are no walk in the park. “Right now, school is pretty difficult but it is a lot better because I have several tutors and academic professors who are always there to help me,” she said. “When I finish, my plan, right now, is to be a psychiatric nurse, but if that doesn’t work out, I would love to follow in my parents’ footsteps and be a Physical Education teacher.” l



Winter Coed Rec Leagues: Dodgeball, Volleyball, Indoor Soccer, Basketball, Pickleball, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Beach Dodgeball, Floor Hockey Winter Registration opens November 15th, 2019 Early Bird Registration ends December 9th, 2019

To register go to 204-289-2982 | sportslife 11

The Son Has Surpassed the Father By Johnston Hall, Photos courtesy the University of Winnipeg and the University of North Carolina/Wilmington Burke Toews was an outstanding basketball player at the University of Winnipeg. He was also Kai Toews a tremendous football player starring with the old Manitoba Junior Football League’s St. Vital Mustangs. In fact, Toews was one of the best all-around athletes in Manitoba in the 1980s. But that was then, this is now. Burke, or BT Toews as he’s known in his adopted country of Japan, is in his second year as head coach of the Fujitsu Red Wave of the Japanese Women’s Professional Basketball League. Since leaving Manitoba on a permanent basis in the late 1990s, Toews has been a teacher and basketball coach in Japan. His road is long and winding. Toews was a star at the University of Winnipeg and then played a season with the touring team, Athletes in Action. He moved to Japan in the early 1990s and played professionally for Kuroda Electric Bullet Spirit, returning to Winnipeg in 1992 to play for the city’s old WBL team, the Winnipeg Thunder. After two seasons with the Thunder, he Do your kids scare you when they jump from heights and tumble around the house? Are they constantly jumping on the bed and off the furniture? Do they love water? Would you like them to take this energy somewhere productive and away from your broken furniture and frazzled nerves?

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went to Germany and played two years of pro ball with the BG Steiner Bayreuth, but his heart was in Japan. He went back to Japan to teach, married, raised a family and got back into coaching in 2004 with the Canadian Academy High School. In 2011, he got an offer to coach the Hyogo Sharks of the Japanese (Men’s) Professional League and did that for two seasons before moving to Fujitsu to coach the Red Wave for the first time. In 2016, he left the Red Wave to coach in the men’s league with the Hitachi SunRockers (Tokyo-Shibuya) and the Toyama Grouses and then returned to Fujitsu in 2017. He’s still there today. In the meantime, Burke and wife Eiko’s young son Kai, a kid that Burke taught to play the game on the driveway of their home, grew to become an outstanding player. “When I was 15, I said to my dad, I want to move to the States to play High School Prep basketball because my dream was to play Division 1 NCAA basketball,” Kai told the Dreams Come True Podcast. “It’s hard to make it in Japan. It’s not like the scouts are Burke Toews back in the there. They sent me over to play the University of Winn day at ipeg Prep School (Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass.) and then I went to UNC-Wilmington.” In his freshman year of 2018-19, Kai was simply amazing. He earned conference Rookie of the Week Honors three times and set various single-game assist records. He averaged 8.8 points, 7.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 33 games for the UNCW Seahawks. He made 32 starts and logged a team-high 1,014 minutes. He was an All-Conference Rookie First Team all-star and was nominated for the Kyle Macey Award as NCAA Freshman of the Year. Not a bad start for the second-cousin of Chicago Blackhawks and Hockey Canada superstar Jonathan Toews. “When I was younger I had goals, but those goals were really dreams because I didn’t expect them to happen,” Kai said. “But the dream to play NCAA D-1 and maybe pro became a reality when I came to the States. They weren’t just dreams anymore. When I saw how my skills matched up against other players, I realized I could definitely play at the D-1 level. “So, my goal I guess was always to play D-I basketball and then eventually go back to Japan, and play professionally there. That was just kind of the route that I envisioned. “This year, things changed a little bit. I’ve heard some people say, like, ‘You keep improving these numbers, NBA might be an option in four years, you never know.’ And when I heard that, I’m just like, that’s never even occurred to me. I don’t think people know where I come from. It’s not even a thought that crosses your mind. I’ve obviously shown I can do some things.” l






Honourary Lifetime Member Callum Leads New Baseball Hall Class By Scott Taylor and Baseball Manitoba, Photos by Scott Taylor and courtesy Baseball Manitoba

Jack Callum with Kalam Paull Jack Callum has been a fixture in Manitoba baseball circles for decades. This year, he will be honoured for his service. Callum will become the first Honourary Life Member selected by the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame when the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame holds its 24th annual induction banquet on Saturday, June 6, 2020, at the Morden Event Access Centre. Callum will enter the Hall this year alongside individuals Ron Arnst, Les Charles, Blaine Fortin, Andrew Halpenny, John Kroeker, Morris Mott and Kalam Paull; minor club teams’ Carman Goldeyes Midgets 1994-95 and 1997-2000, the Elmwood Giants Juniors from 2002-2007 and the Cardale Cougars Bantams, Midgets and Bisons from 1971-75; and a special category team, the 1991 Portage Athletics Midgets. Callum, 83, was a member of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame Board of Directors from 1998 to 2017 and was Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2003 to 2011. As Chairman he was responsible for two important initiatives: He worked tirelessly to make the local Morden Committee an important contributor to decisions made by the Board and he was the person most responsible for the success of Baseball Manitoba’s Museum expansion project in 2008-2010. Callum will be joined in the Hall in 2020 along with the following inductees:

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Ron Arnst, Winnipeg: The former station manager at CKLQ in Brandon, Arnst, 69, grew up playing minor ball in Saskatchewan. He broadcast games in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League and did play-by-play of Western Canada Championships. He was the inhouse announcer at Canadian National Senior Championship tournaments held in the Westman area and was part of the organizing committee that brought the 1991 World Youth Championships to Brandon. Since 1994 Ron has been the park announcer for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

Ron Arnst Les Charles, Didsbury, Alta.: As one of the better players in the Souris minor baseball program Didsbury, 53, had an outstanding career in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League from 1978 to 1993 as a pitcher and hardhitting infielder. He won a national championship as a member of the 1981 Bison team, as they took the gold medal in Sarnia, ON. In 1985 Les was a member of Team Manitoba at both the Nationals in Nova Scotia and Westerns in Vancouver. In 1989 he represented Manitoba at Westerns in St. Albert, AB.

Blaine Fortin, Lundar: By the time Fortin, 42, completed his 16-year old season in 1994 he had already compiled a resume worthy of Hall of Fame admission. That year alone he played at the Midget, Junior, and Senior level and played on the Provincial Youth Team. He was also chosen to play on Team Canada at the World Youth Championships in Brandon where he batted .346. He was named Manitoba’s Minor Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994 and Baseball Canada’s Youth Player of the Year in ’94. His talent and awards caught the eye of the Toronto Blue Jays who drafted him in the sixth round and third Canadian overall of the MLB Entry Draft. He played three years of professional minor league ball from 1995-97 for Blue Jay affiliates in Dunedin, St. Catherines and Medicine Hat. Andrew Halpenny, Winnipeg: Halpenny, 47, started his minor ball career in his hometown Selkirk but soon advanced to represent Manitoba at the national and international level. In 1990 Andrew was catcher for Team Manitoba and then for Team Canada at the World Youth tournament in Cuba. He earned a scholarship to the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver and in 1993 he represented Manitoba at the Sumer Games in Kamloops. In 1994 Andrew was signed by the Winnipeg Goldeyes and spent three years with the team. In 1997

The Cardale Cougars

The 1991 Portage Athletics Midgets Andrew opened Rookies Baseball Experience, Canada’s first indoor baseball and softball teaching facility. John Kroeker, Stonewall: Manitoba’s own Field of Dreams exists today in Stonewall thanks mainly to the efforts of John Kroeker. Opened in 1995 and known as Diamond No. 1, Quarry Park is a world-class, lighted facility that has attracted provincial and national tournaments. Kroeker, 71, had been active in Stonewall baseball since 1987 when he joined the Minor Baseball executive. He also coached Minor ball from 1987-93. He chaired several baseball committees and in 1994 was named Baseball Manitoba Volunteer of the Year and Sport Manitoba’s Volunteer of the Year. Morris Mott, Brandon: Morris grew up playing both baseball and hockey in rural Saskatchewan. Although now better known for his hockey career, Morris was good enough on the diamond to be inducted as a player into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Mott, 73, played some senior ball after moving to Manitoba but his work with the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame has been instrumental in its success. Over seven years, 2013-19, Morris’s strong

The 1994-95 Carman Gioldeyes

leadership served the Hall of Fame well as Board Chairman. Kalam Paull, LaSalle: Starting in 1989, Paull, 47, was a member of the Manitoba Youth Team and helped pitch the Elmwood Giants to a provincial Midget title. In 1990 he Kalam Paull with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks

dominated locally as a MJBL all-star and Top Pitcher as he led his Junior team to the league Kalam Paull with the championship Winnipeg Goldeyes and was named Manitoba’s Junior Player of the year. He again dominated the MJBL in 1991 by throwing two no hitters and being named MVP and top Pitcher. Kalam next took his talented arm to US college ball for four years along with a season at the National Baseball Institute in Vancouver. He turned professional with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and spent seven years, 1997-’02,-’04, in

the Northern League with five teams. Minor Team. Carman Goldeyes Midgets 199495 and Juniors 1997-2000: This talented group of players dominated the Manitoba Midget classification for two years and many went on to continue winning even more championships with the Junior Goldeyes for four years. In 1995 the Midgets captured the Western Canada title before bringing home a silver medal from the National Midget tournament in Stonewall. The Carman Juniors were the first team in league history to win four straight Manitoba Junior League titles. Minor Team. Cardale Cougars Bantams/Midgets/Bisons 1971-75: The hamlet of Cardale managed to dominate Manitoba minor baseball form 1971-75 with a core group of nine local players coached by Graeme Shaw, Only future major leaguer Terry Puhl prevented them from claiming National titles in 1971 and 1973. The 1975 Bison edition of the Cougars captured the Western Manitoba Bison Baseball League pennant and playoffs but finally lost to Winnipeg in the provincial final. Minor Team: Elmwood Giants Juniors 2002-2007: The Giants represented the province all six years in either Western Canada or National championships. Four times they were Manitoba Junior Baseball League and provincial champions (2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007) and attended the Baseball Canada National events. Their best performance was at the 2006 Nationals, where they were unbeaten in roundrobin play but lost two close games to finish 4th. The other 2 years they hosted the Western Canada championships at Koskie FIeld, placing third both years. Special Team. Portage Athletics Midgets 1991: The ultimate achievement for the 1991 Portage Midgets was winning the National Midget Championship held in Saskatoon. No Manitoba Midget team had ever achieved this goal before and none have been able to accomplish it since. Tickets for the induction ceremony in June are available online at www. l

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Experience the Game By Sam Cortes, Photos courtesy Sport Manitoba On any given day, Sport Manitoba sees all kinds of people walk through its facility doors, including athletes and teams, school and community groups, folks who come to check out the Hall of Fame, visit the clinic, or use the fitness centre or performance space. Put simply, it’s one of Winnipeg’s major hubs for sport, physical activity and wellbeing. But there’s one day a year when that energy takes on a life of its own, and the five-level Sport Manitoba facility transforms into an inspiring open-house for the sole purpose of exploration, discovery and fun: Sport Manitoba Game Day.

During the often cold and snowy first weeks of January, it’s a refreshing opportunity for people to get out of the house, get active and create lasting memories with friends and family in an inclusive, safe and positive environment. In an atmosphere like this, it’s easy for a child to realize their knack for throwing a football; a man to discover a helpful chiropractic service; a woman to find herself motivated in a spin class; a person to feel moved by a story in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame; an athlete to find a service that fuels their athletic potential. These are the kinds of moments that can make Game Day the spark behind limitless possibilities. The Story of Game Day Sport Manitoba Game Day takes the visitor through the five ways we can experience the Game: • Remember the Game through the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame if you love local sports history, artifacts, memorabilia and storytelling. • Protect your Game through the Sport Manitoba Clinic and learn

WHAT IS SPORT MANITOBA GAME DAY? Sport Manitoba Game Day welcomes downtown residents, families and sports fans of all ages and backgrounds from across Winnipeg into the Sport Manitoba headquarters at 145 Pacific Avenue, and takes them on an exciting, memorable journey through physical activity and sport. An event completely free of charge, it gives the entire community a chance to participate in fitness classes, explore the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, learn about medical services and athlete development programs, and engage in interactive activities and games while trying out different sports.

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about physical health and wellness, as well as services including physiotherapy or massage from specialists in a range of clinical disciplines. • Develop your Game through Sport Manitoba Performance by engaging with Sport Performance Specialists who train and develop high performance athletes both physically and mentally. • Up your Game through the Sport Manitoba Fitness Centre and try out a class, run on the indoor track, use the equipment and connect with personal trainers, instructors and a Certified Nutrition Coach. Find your Game through Provincial Sport Organizations and get a taste of what their sport is all about through interactive stations with fun activities and games. WHAT TO EXPECT As soon as you enter the building, you step into an exciting world of opportunity. Each guest receives an event program with the schedule, information about what’s on each floor, a ballot to enter a draw, and all kids will receive a passport. The passport is a ticket to discovery. Kids can collect stamps at different

destinations throughout the day and submit their form to enter a draw. Adults can also enter to win a prize if they complete a facility tour. Last Game Day, the draws for the kid passport were a Fit Kids Healthy Kids equipment bag and Manitoba Moose tickets. The draws for adults

included a sixmonth fitness centre membership, Jets tickets, a massage, and a bootcamp registration. There are also opportunities to take part in scavenger hunts and facility tours with plenty of chances to ask the friendly faces of Sport Manitoba and other sport organizations any question you’d like. Ultimately, Game Day isn’t only about exploring the facility and learning about great programs, services and resources – it’s about building a community in our city who share a passion for sport, and who seek new and creative ways to take care of our minds and bodies

through physical activity and human connection. It’s about finding joy in all the ways we experience the Game. Experience the Game at Sport Manitoba Game Day on Saturday, January 11, 2020. For more details on the event, including schedules and which sports you’ll see on the courts, visit www. l

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Come for the fun, Stay for the Friends: New and Returning Players Hit the Ice for 2019-2020 Ringette Season Leighton (5) an Chandra is hopind mom Chandra hit the ice. g to pa game to her younss on her love for the g daughter

By Olivia Baldwin Ringette players across Manitoba are lacing up their skates for another season of fun, both on and off the ice. Step into any rink hosting tryouts, first practices or events that profile and bring new players to the sport and you will be greeted by an overwhelming sense of pre-season excitement. While nerves may be evident on the faces of girls trying ringette for the first time or those trying out for a new team, they are quickly washed away by warm welcomes and words of encouragement as each girl steps on the ice. It’s hard to remain nervous in a room full of excited, giggling girls who are reconnecting after several months off the ice! As these players fill dressing rooms and teammates see each other for the first time since spring playoffs, stories are shared of summer activities, camps and school. It takes only moments

Leighton and Lily are just two of the new players growing our sport this year. Already best friends off the ice, both girls are loving the extra time spent together on skates

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for these old friendships to be reestablished, and new ones formed. This is ringette in Manitoba. The fastest sport in the friendliest place! Leighton is one of the players new to our sport this year. At 5, she is excited to play ringette because she likes to skate and thinks it is “very fun”. So far, she likes to play sharks and minnows and is really enjoying sitting with her friends in the dressing room. While Leighton is one of this year’s ringette rookies, she is far from new to the sport and has grown up as part of the ringette community. Leighton’s mom Chandra has been involved with ringette for 25 years as a player and as a coach. Ringette has given her the opportunity to travel to tournaments and championships across the country and even to Finland for the Lions Cup tournament. “There are a lot of things I love about the sport,” says Chandra. “It’s interesting and unique, it’s fast paced and exciting to watch and play.” “But overall, I really love the people. The ringette community is small but it’s a family. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years and have so many friends that I would never have known had it not been for this sport,” she added. Ringette’s commitment to the development of players in a positive environment that promotes teamwork, confidence-building, and friendship creates special relationships and brings players – new and returning – back to the sport each and every year. While skating and scoring are

important components of the game, ringette’s most enduring and special qualities are the people involved in the sport and the friendships it cultivates. These friendships and the close connections built within each team keep girls coming back to ringette year after year after year and are bringing a new generation to the sport. The close relationships developed between players not only keep the game fun but allow them to develop to their full potential, both as individual players and as successful teams. Strong teams are made up of players who both support – and push – one another. Ringette teams do this with a whole lot of fun and laughter mixed in! For Chandra, and for many other parents involved in the sport, it is this supportive, friendly and FUN environment that motivates us to bring our daughters to rinks across the province during cold Manitoba winters. “I love the idea of Leighton playing a sport that I’ve had so many great experiences being involved in,” shared Chandra. “I’ve watched the girls I’ve coached develop these incredibly special life-long friendships through ringette and I want those same opportunities for her.” l

simply the Best By Scott Taylor, Photos courtesy Baseball Manitoba and Baseball Canada

Righthanded pitcher Brittney Langlais called her time with Canada’s national women’s baseball team this summer, “a once in a lifetime experience and opportunity.” It could be, one supposes, but one also gets the distinct impression that she’ll enjoy many more years as a national team player. This summer, Langlais became the first Manitoban in almost twenty years to make Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team. At a selection camp at Tourmaline Field in Okotoks, Alta., Langlais earned her spot and helped Canada win the bronze medal at the COPABE Women’s Baseball World Cup Qualifier in Aguascalientes, Mexico. With that third-place finish, Canada qualified for the 2020 World Cup. “I was very excited when I found out I made team Canada, and my support team back home was very happy for me too,” said Langlais, the 20-year-old University of Manitoba student from Garson, Man. “Obviously I wanted to make the team and was hoping I would, but I was not expecting to make it. There are so many talented female baseball players in Canada that you can never be sure if you have a spot secured. “And it was It was a once and a life time experience and opportunity. I made so many memories with friends that will last a life time. Being able to go to Mexico with team Canada has wanted me to keep pushing to get better.” For Langlais, being the first or the best is nothing new. In fact, this past summer she became the first female player to play in the Manitoba Junior Baseball League in the 43-year history of the organization, coming out of the bullpen for the Interlake Blue Jays. In 2018, she was Manitoba’s female player of the year. It’s been a long, sometimes hard but mostly fun, ride. In 2018, she helped the North Winnipeg Pirates of the Winnipeg AAA Midget Baseball League win a championship and last winter travelled to Australia to play semi-pro women’s baseball with the Rouse Hill Wildcats. She has been a major part of Manitoba’s provincial girls’ baseball program over the past few years, competing at the Baseball Canada U-21 Women’s Invitational in Stonewall in 2017 and 2018, as well as in Baseball Canada’s Prospects Camp. “I started playing baseball at eight-years-old out of the St. Andrews baseball program,” she said. “Ever since then I haven’t looked back. I have always played baseball with the boys so it never even crossed my mind that it was something different. Once I started playing baseball in the boys leagues I didn’t want to switch over and I stuck with it, which I am glad I did because it got me where I am today. “From a young age I started training with coaches and going to many camps. my parents were also very dedicated in helping me get better, and put countless hours into training with me and also gave me the resources I needed to succeed. “Putting in the extra hours of training on top of going to practice with my teams was very

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beneficial. It helped me develop my skills at a young age, and helped me build a work ethic that has stuck with me throughout my baseball career.” As much success as she’s had playing with boys and men throughout her career, she will admit it hasn’t always been easy. Rewarding, but not easy.

“It definitely wasn’t easy at first when I was little,” she conceded. “It was intimidating being the only girl most the time and I was always worried about not being good enough. But over the years I made lots of good friends in all the teams I’ve played for. I have also earned the respect of many players and coaches in the leagues I’ve played in.” Despite the fact she doesn’t always have time to prepare for a game properly – most amateur athletes don’t – she still earns respect from her teammates by always being ready. “I don’t really have any specific game day routine,” she explained. “During the summer months I am usually very busy between work and training, causing me to run from one place to another with barely any time to spare. If I do have some spare time before a game, I do enjoy having a nap a few hours before I need to be at the diamond. I also always make sure that I’ve had a good meal before a game. “When I get to the diamond I enjoying being around my teammates and spending time with them to see how everyone is doing and feeling that day. “Also, to get myself mentally prepared for the game I visualize myself successfully throwing all my pitches to my catcher for that game.” Langlais, who loves country music, the TV show Dragon’s Den and the movie, The Blind Side, is in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. She’s pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and says that she finishes her undergraduate degree, she wants to go on to do her Masters in physiotherapy or occupational therapy. Her family has also played an important role, not only in her baseball career, but in her entire life. “My family has been very important to my success in baseball and in life,” she said. “They have supported me in every decision I’ve made, even if that means leaving them behind and moving across the world to play baseball, which I did do when I moved to Sydney, Australia last September. My family has been so caring, loving and overall, they have just been amazing in every possible way. I don’t know where I would be without them. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am in baseball today if I didn’t have such an amazing family.” l

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The run for gold

By Scott Taylor, Photos by Sport Canada and James Carey Lauder Tyler Mislawchuk was going to be a hockey player. At least, that was the plan. In fact, he was introduced to Triathlon as a way to stay in shape while pursuing his fledgling hockey career. “Yeah, I was 14 and I was looking to stay in shape for hockey and my mom’s friend at work recommended Triathlon so that’s when I started,” said Canada’s greatest triathlete. “My mom, Eleanor, volunteered me or put me in a race and I actually did my first one at 14, but it was too hard and I quit. “Then I came back to it two years later and tried it again. It was too hard for me at 14, but I came back to it at 16 figuring I had some unfinished business. I did one race at 16 and fell in love with it.” Not surprisingly, he was a good player. In fact, when he decided that Triathlon was going to be his passion, he had just finished a season with the Triple A Midget Central Plains Capitals.

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It was a good decision – not just for himself but for Canada’s Olympic medal hopes. After all, because he won the grueling World Triathlon Series race in Tokyo on Aug. 15. It was hot and humid and the conditions were almost exactly as they will be during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After becoming the first Canadian to reach a podium at an ITU World Series event when he finished third in Montreal on June 29, Mislawchuk dug even deeper in Tokyo. He completed the race in a time of one hour 49 minutes and 51 seconds, four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Casper Stornes of Norway. He finished the swimming portion of the triathlon in 18:39, followed by a time of 59:34 on the bike. He capped the race with a 30:27 run at Tokyo’s Odaiba Marin Park. Mislawchuk has done an incredible job coming back from what turned out to be a broken leg following a 15th-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio. His victory in Tokyo put an exclamation point on a year in which he had four, Top 10 finishes and now, it’s full speed ahead to the Tokyo Games, which begin on July 24. For Mislawchuk, starting and failing at 14, led to an almost immediate love for the sport two years later. “Two years of age change made a big difference,” he said. “You have to be more adult to take on Triathlon and I was two years older and was about as adult as a 16-yearold can be, I guess. Triathlon is a

unique sport. What you put into it is exactly what you get out and that’s what I liked about it. And if you work hard you tend to get luckier. I liked that, too.” However, while Mislawchuk was prepared to give up hockey for triathlon, he didn’t have instant success. It was a long, hard grind to get to the top. “I didn’t win any races when I started,” he said. “I wasn’t the best of the 200 people in my little town of Oak Bluff. There was someone better at Triathlon than me in Oak Bluff. So first, I was trying to be the best in Triathlon in Oak Bluff, then the best in the region and then the best in the city of Winnipeg, then the best in the province, the best in Canada and now I’m trying to be the best in the world. For me, it’s always been one step at a time. “I’m 25 now and it’s been nine years of day-in and day-out Triathlon. I get a few weeks off every year but for 50 weeks of the year, it’s 30-35 hours a week of physical training for Triathlon. You also get to do all the little things like working on your nutrition and all the video, so it’s a fill-time gig.” Mislawchuk, a Vincent Massey

After becoming the first Canadian to reach a podium at an ITU World Series event when he finished third in Montreal on June 29, Mislawchuk dug even deeper in Tokyo Collegiate grad, attended the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba for a couple of years but decided if he was going to win Olympic gold, he needed to train and compete in Triathlon and do nothing else. “My personality is such that I can’t do anything half way,” he said. “I was trying to do both – school and Triathlon – and I was OK at both. But for me, OK isn’t good enough. So, I felt I had to make a choice. I could have continued to do both, but I wasn’t outstanding at either one, so I told my parents, ‘I want to give this a try,’ and at the end of 2014, I went full-time Triathlon with the goal to qualify for Rio. I qualified there and now Tokyo is coming up in 2020.

“School is something I might go back to, but right now, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I know that I’m only young once and if I don’t continue doing this, I’ll never know how good I could be. Now, I’m going into my second Olympics and I’m going to try to win a medal. If I don’t at least try, I’ll hate myself in a few years down the road.” As he heads into his training for Tokyo – he’ll open his training camp in Phoenix at the end of November – the 5-foot-8, 130-pound Winnipegger knows that despite his success, he’s definitely not the Olympic favourite. In his mind, there is no real favourite. “There are so many races and so many good athletes at Olympicdistance Triathlon that even though

I won one of the biggest races of the year, I’m still not the favourite going into the Olympics because I wasn’t in the Top 5 at the World Championships,” he said bluntly. “But going into Tokyo, one of the things on my side is that it’s going to be a really hot race and I’m a small guy. I do well in heat and not well in cold which is kind of ironic for a guy who comes from Winnipeg, but performing well in the heat is one big advantage for me.

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“I base in Phoenix in the winter because it’s too cold to train here and you can’t train inside because you lose the skills of riding and running outside. So, I’ll set up a base in Phoenix for a few months and start racing. This next year will be different than other years because everything will be geared toward the Olympics. I’ll be racing early in the year, but it will be B performances. Then as I get closer to Tokyo it will be A performances. “Then, when I get to Tokyo, I will try to knock out an A-plus. I’m the type of athlete who can’t be at my A-plus

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level all year, but I know that. I can come out and race big on one-off days. It’s just my personality. I can dig really deep but I can’t do it all the time because it does hurt to go to that deep, dark place I need to go to in order to win.” It is amazing how deep and dark Mislawchuk can go. His dad, Fred, a longtime cameraman for CBC and TSN Sports, has not only become a “proud dad,” but sometimes a worried one, too as he watches his son train incredibly hard for those few A-plus performances. Tyler knows the feeling all too well. “How deep do a I go?” he laughed. “Well, they were starting the TV interview after the race in Tokyo and they were counting me down and I said, ‘Excuse me,’ and I turned away from the camera and started vomiting for the next four or five minutes continuously. After I won bronze in Montreal, we were waiting for the podium presentations and I went behind the stage and started throwing up into the garbage cans. I just push my body so much that it does affect me physically. Everybody trains really hard and you have to have a way to separate yourself from the other competitors on race day, and in the last 18 months, I’ve learned how to push my body as close to its limits as I can. “I’ve also learned to be tactically smarter, but in order to win, I have to have everything going at once. It’s a place I can’t go to all the time, but I can on special days and when I get there I can win.” l

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hail to the champions

By Resby Coutts, Photos by Richard Gray and Stephen Fisher/World Curling Federation and Connie Laliberte/CurlManitoba Colin Kurz and his Assiniboine Memorial CC team (Meghan Walter, Brendan Bilawka, Sara Oliver) added a pair of “firsts” to their growing list of accomplishments in mid-October when they completed an undefeated run through the World Mixed Curling Championship in Aberdeen, Scotland. The first Manitoba team to win a World (four-person teams) Mixed Championship, Team Kurz also became the first team to defend a World Mixed gold medal won the year before by a team from their nation. They entered the competition as one of the younger teams in the field and with the pressure of trying to retain the title won a year earlier by Mike Anderson and his team. It is an interesting coincidence that the only Canadian teams to win the World Mixed championship had won their Canadian titles in a Manitoba championship event. Kurz and his team

had won the Canadian Mixed at Fort Rouge in 2018 while Anderson’s Ontario foursome had won the year before in Swan River. Returning to the Winnipeg Airport a full week after their championship win, Kurz and Walter were still bubbling with the excitement of their world championship win. Greeted at the airport by a small group of friends and family and the traditional CurlManitoba bagpipe reception, Kurz echoed remarks he had made in a Curling Canada news release after the victory, attributing the success to being a close-knit team and a relaxed attitude. “I think that how good friends we are helped,” Kurz had said about going undefeated. “We never really got into any big problems. We were really happy all week spending time having fun in Aberdeen and enjoying the event. We were able to socialize a little bit with all

the teams here and we didn’t overthink anything. We really can’t be happier how this whole week went.” The key was an opening round win over Andy Kapp whose Team Germany was by far the most experienced in the Canadian team’s pool which also included Slovakia, Belarus, Hong Kong, Estonia, Kosovo and Nigeria. Kapp, who has a Manitoba connection – having won a bronze medal at the Men’s Worlds in Brandon in 1995, played in his first World Championship several years before any of the Manitobans were even born. Going into the event, the Canadian team was confident it would be able to

Hail to the victors. WCF photo: Stephen Fisher

The Champions. WCF photo: Stephen Fisher

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Skip Colin Kurz delivers a stone at the World Mixed Curling

advance to the playoff round as one of the top three teams in the relatively inexperienced group of teams. The first draw win over Germany added to that confidence. Down two points after the first three ends, Canada scored two and stole two more points on the next two ends as they posted a 6-3 victory. From there until they reached the final the Canadian team only trailed in one game, a mid-week game when Hong Kong opened the scoring with three and led the Kurz foursome 5-2 at the mid-game break. Third Meghan Walter also established her own ‘first’ by becoming, at age 17, the youngest person to win the championship since World Mixed Championship play began in 2015. Walter said it was interesting being a part of expanding curling around the world with games against such new curling nations as Nigeria and Kosovo. With a playoff position assured late in the round-robin, Team Canada played the role of coach/mentor for the less experienced teams. Walter explained that, for practice and to not run up the score, in those games the Canadians tried to play the more difficult shot among the options they faced. With 40 teams in the event, 16 teams advanced to the playoffs and the team from Assiniboine Memorial knew they would have to up their game as they faced teams from established curling nations. In the single-knockout playoff round, again they never trailed in wins over Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Manitobans knew the final with Andy Kapp would be a tough game. “We knew his resume, we knew he had world silver and bronze medals and we knew how much he wanted the gold medal (to complete the set),” Kurz said. The final was tied 1-1 at the fourth-end break and Canada looked like they had taken control of the game when they scored three in the fifth end. Kapp, who also has three trips to the Olympics on his resume, came right back with three and stole one. “Andy made one of the nicest shots I think I have ever seen to get his three,” Kurz explained. “That’s when the nerves started to set in a little bit – only two ends left and you have to figure out what to do.” After giving up another point, the young team still realized

Coach Jim Waite, Sara Oliver, Brendan Bilawka, Meghan Walter, Colin Kurz. WCF photo: Stephen Fisher

they were in an enviable position – down a single point with last rock coming home to win a world championship. Team Kurz was able to build a game-winning score of two in the final end. “Meg made two beauties to set up the end and I made what I wanted with my first,” Kurz said. “Andy lined up a little in-off with his last rock and when it came to rest, we realized we had two. That was a pretty cool feeling.” Cool, indeed. It meant Colin Kurz, Meghan Walter, Brenda Bilawka, and Sara Oliver had earned a permanent spot in the storied history of Manitoba curling. l

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Danae Russell, Skate Winnipeg

Charlotte Little, Skate Virden

Manitoba’s Best Compete at Civic Centre By Scott Taylor, Photos by Clarise Boychuk

Cali Boychuk, Skate Winnipeg

Marrin McKee, Skate Winnipeg

Back on the first weekend of November, Manitoba’s best figure skaters converged on the St. James Civic Centre to try to earn a spot at the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge, ultimately leading to the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. More than 60 figure skaters competed in St. James from the Pre-Juvenile to the Senior levels. Clarise Boychuk of Skate Canada Manitoba was there to record the event. l

Hailey Bird, Skate Virden

Mason Panko, Portage Skating Club

Leah Braun, Morden Figure Skating Club

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Winnipeg’s Sequioa Swan, OCN Blizzard

Swan River’s Carter Cockburn, Swan Valley Stampeders

Manitoba Junior Hockey League Season Underway

Winnipeg’s Dante Giannuzzi, since traded from the Winnipeg Blues to the Steinbach Pistons

By Scott Taylor, Photos by Laurie Anderson and James Carey Lauder On Sept. 20, a brand-new Manitoba Junior Hockey League season opened up in Neepawa, Selkirk, Steinbach, Swan River and Portage la Prairie. This year, the Portage Terriers will defend both the Turnbull Cup, emblematic of the MJHL championship as well as the ANAVET Cup, emblematic of the annual SJHLMJHL playoff. With a new season upon us, SportsLife sent photographers Laurie Anderson and James Carey Lauder out to the league showcase at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex to record the opening of a new Junior A campaign. l

Winnipeg’s Jaymes Knee, Waywayseecappo Wolverines

Portage’s Joey Moffatt, Portage Terriers

St. Andrews’ Carter Barley, Captain of the Selkirk Steelers Oakbank’s Owen Blacker, Virden Oil Capitals

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