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SportsOttawa.com

February 2019

The Golden Goal P.1-11 RAVENS REBOUND

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With most of the core that led them to a national title last year now gone, the Carleton Ravens are rebuilding.

SUPER SCHMIDT SIBLINGS

Maddi Wheeler (centre) scored the overtimewinning goal for Team Canada to win the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship gold medal over USA on Jan. 13 in Japan. The Nepean Wildcats PWHL player is 1 of over 2 dozen Ottawa athletes set to compete at the 2019 Canada Winter Games from Feb. 15-Mar. 3 in Red Deer.

photo: robert hradil / hhof-iihf images

Nepean Wildcat seeks to conquer Canada with Team Ontario after winning World U18 gold By Charlie Pinkerton

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Ottawa ski siblings Hannah & Jared Schmidt are tearing up the North American Cup ski cross circuit.

Less than a month removed from what she considers the highlight of her hockey career, Maddi Wheeler is back to her normal routine, which for any typical 16-yearold would be anything but. On Jan. 13 she scored the gold medal-winning goal in overtime for Canada’s

U18 team against the United States at the world championship tournament held in Japan. Speaking to the Ottawa Sportspage over the phone on the night in early February that saw much of eastern Ontario blanketed by a snowstorm, Wheeler had a rare break because her hockey practice was cancelled. F IT N E SS F IT N E SS

The Grade 11 student MA SS A G E MA SS A G E

was spared the drive from her home in Erinsville (a small community just north of Napanee) to Ottawa to train with the Nepean Wildcats. She makes the trip to Ottawa twice a week for practices and sometimes a third time for a game, unless it’s an away matchup, then she’s headed elsewhere, like to Toronto.

T EN N I S T EN N I S

VO LLEY B A LL VO LLEY B A LL

On days when she doesn’t travel for hockey, she works out or does skill training near her home, which she says she does every day she’s not on the road. Asked if she’s the one taking herself all around the province, Wheeler laughs in response.

W HOCKEY cont. p.11 B A S K ET B A LL B A S K ET B A LL

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– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

Figure skater wants to use his come-up to inspire others By Chad Ouellette Ottawa-born Special Olympics figure skater Michael Raytchev will be going it alone at the Canada Winter Games as Team Ontario’s only shot to medal in the men’s category of his event. Raytchev cemented himself a spot at the upcoming Games after an impressive performance last April in a

regional competition in Arnprior. He’ll be travelling to Red Deer with head coach Cathy Skinner and his fellow athletes from Feb. 23 to March 3. Skinner, who won the Ottawa Sports Awards lifetime achievement award in 2017 for her more than 35 years that she’s volunteered in sport, said that Raytchev only just learned about how signifi-

cant the Games are. “Up until he was named to the Canada Winter Games, he didn’t realize how important it was,” Skinner said. “After the training camps and him receiving his jersey, it finally settled in that he is doing something great.” Skinner has been alongside Raytchev since he enrolled in the Special Olympics program at the Goulbourn

GOOD LUCK TO OUR BIG CREW OF KANATA SOUTH RESIDENTS / SPORTS CLUB MEMBERS COMPETING AT THE 2019 CANADA GAMES! Rachel Freitag, Noah Bouma, Danna Ballantyne & Connor Rogerson — Ottawa Pacers Speed Skating Club Connor Lockhart Kanata Lasers Kayle Osborne Ottawa Lady Sens Michael Raytchev Goulbourn Skating

Councillor Allan Hubley Ward 23 – Kanata South (613) 580-2752 Allan.Hubley@ottawa.ca www.councillorallanhubley.ca

Skating Club six years ago. She’s seen first-hand how figure skating has helped Raytchev, who is autistic, off the ice. “It’s not just figure skating, it’s everything involved with figure skating, is helping him with life skills, independence and so forth,” she said. Though Raytchev speaks minimally, his calm demeanour on the ice allows him to express himself with elegance. Skinner says she’s astonished by how much he’s grown since they first met. At the beginning of February, his hard work and dedication paid off after finishing 1st in the Level 2 men’s singles event at the Special Olympics Ontario Winter Games in Sault Ste. Marie. Immediately after, they left for another Special Olympics event in Toronto. The night before, Skinner asked him if he remembered fellow Goulbourn Skating Club athletes Jack Fan and Katie Xu bringing their medals to

show up-and-coming athletes. “He said ‘yeah,’” says Cathy. “And I said why do you think I want you to bring (medals) to (Toronto) and he said ‘to inspire them,’ – my gosh it was incredible.” Raytchev’s victory at the Ontario Winter Games moves him closer to qualifying for the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2021. The skater and his father, Mikhail Raytchev, explained to the Ottawa Sportspage in an interview why figure skating is Michael’s go-to outlet. “We were trying to improve Michael’s condition of autism,” Mikhail said. “This was the primary objective to get involved in figure skating. We did a lot of research and we found that figure skating can have major benefits not only for everybody, but for him.” He explained that it’s a great way to be social with other kids and that it builds confidence and also helps engage the auditory parts of his

MICHAEL RAYTCHEV S K A T I N G son’s brain. “You see their involvement, their joy and happiness,” says Mikhail. “When they do something like figure skating and other sports, it’s incredible for those kids, they show pride in what they’re doing. Even if they don’t win a medal, it’s prideful to just be there.” While Fan, a multi-medal winner at the 2017 Special Olympics Winter World Games, inspired Raytchev to want to be in the sport and improve himself, his father said that Michael is no doing the same; he’s trying to inspire new kids who want to follow in the same path.


– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

Handful of nation’s capital ringette players lacing up for Ontario By Chad Ouellette When a friend convinced her to try ringette in 2006, Emma Kelly never would have guessed that it would someday lead to her representing Ontario at the Canada Winter Games. Thirteen years and three provincial championships later, Kelly says her biggest accomplishment in the sport will now be playing at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta. “I’m really excited because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Kelly, who’s medalled at the ringette national championships before and also been a first-line all-star at the Ontario Winter Games, where she won gold. “And I get to experience it with girls I’ve been playing with for many years, who I haven’t had the chance to play on the same team with before.” Kelly’s hard work and dedication paid off when the head coach of Team Ontario noticed her while she was in challenge cups across the province. Carrie Hartley, who was named head coach of Team Ontario for the Canada Winter Games, has been playing ringette for 27 years and has been part of the Ottawa Ice in the National Ringette League for over a decade. She’s been on the coaching staff of Team Ontario for the last three years but is in her first year as head coach. When Hartley saw Kelly play, she couldn’t help but notice her skill on the ice. Kelly’s impressive performance led to her being asked to try out for the team. Hartley says the ring seems to be “attracted” to the 16-year-old because of the way she conducts herself on the ice. “I think with Emma it is probably her speed,” says Hartley. “She’s a really good sort of endto-end player, she’s got a lot of speed coming out of the zone. That makes her very flashy if you will; it’s pretty noticeable on the ice.”

‘BEST FRIENDS’ ON ICE TOGETHER On top of the honour of playing for Team Ontario, Kelly has the added bonus of being able to play alongside her best friend, Rachael Pelisek, who she’s used to lining up opposite of. “It’s kind of funny,” says

that I’ve always had the advantage by playing at such high levels at such a young age. You’re introduced to a bigger competition, so it kind of preps you for what you’re going to face in the upcoming years.”

Emma Kelly

Liza Roik

FORMER TEAMMATES REUNITE

photo: michael maclean

Pelisak. “Growing up we were rivals. I play on Gloucester and she plays on Nepean. For the longest time we didn’t like each other.” Now that they sometimes play together outside of their city teams they tend to joke about their past rivalry. “I’m so confident with her (on the ice),” says Pelisak. “I’d say she’s one of our best centres on the team. Being able to see how she plays at home, and then taking that to Team Ontario, it’s a good thing to have. “When we play against each other, she’s really good. Experiencing how good she is makes me even more confident when she’s playing with me,” Pelisak says. Kelly’s parents and biggest fans, Shawna and Charlie Kelly – who’s stepping out of his typical role as “hockey dad” to their two sons, will also be travelling to Alberta to cheer Emma on. “We’re super proud,” says Shawna Kelly. “She was just always competitive. She loves playing the game, being on the ice, practicing, and taking shots. It’s really fun to watch.” Her parents have always been a big part of Kelly’s success. One thing they made sure to instill in their daughter is that it’s okay to lose sometimes and when it happens, to be humble. It’s something their daughter keeps in mind today: to always keep a future goal in mind. “It’s really nice to be exposed to everything,” says Emma. “It’s the high level of intensity. I find

RACHAEL PELISEK

R I N G E T T E

Growing up, budding ringette stars Liza Roik and Paige Miller shared the rink for the Ottawa Ice. They now have a chance to reunite and help propel Team Ontario to a gold medal at the upcoming Games. The long-time friends bring years of experience to the talented cast of ringette players that Team Ontario has to offer. At such a high level, the comfortability of a common face can ease the tension. Roik recalls how close they became after travelling together to tournaments and games, as well as training on the ice, which is something she says is inevitable in a sport like ringette, where there is constant travelling and competitiveness.

PAIGE MILLER

R I N G E T T E

“Just going to this high-intensity level,” she says. “It can be quite an intimidating atmosphere. Just having somebody that you know, that you can always talk to, you’re going through the same things, is always just really comforting to have with you along the way.” Miller had the opportunity to play with Roik when she first moved to Ottawa from Arnprior in order to move up from the AA division to AAA. She spent her childhood playing ringette in Arnprior, where her father, Scott Miller, coached the group she was a part of. Her father has been a big part of her success as a ringette player, helping her build her character and prepare for games. “Constant debriefs in the car after, and strategizing,” says Miller. “It was fun for me as his daughter to be part of the

photo: michael maclean

coaching side of it. Just to have a say and be able to know where he’s coming from as well. I really enjoyed having him as a coach, it really helped me to progress as a player for sure.” Both of Roik’s brothers played competitive hockey growing up and that is where she began on the ice, but after a while she wanted to differ from her brothers, so she joined ringette and hasn’t looked back since. During her 13 years in the sport she’s played for a multitude of Ottawa teams. She recently moved to southern Ontario. Both of her brothers played

competitive hockey growing up and that is where she began, but after a while she wanted to differ from her brothers, so she joined ringette and hasn’t looked back since. Looking forward to the Games, Roik is excited to have the opportunity to play alongside everyone she has played against throughout her years on the ice. “When I was playing throughout my childhood – So (Under)12, U14, U16 and U19 – I would play against all of these girls. So, it’s just been really enjoyable to finally get to play with them,” Roik said.

“I’ve seen them all grow with me, and we’ve always been really competitive with each other. They’ve always been on the team you’ve wanted to beat, it’s just really cool to work with them and all their different playing styles and try to win together.” They will have the opportunity to show off their skills later this month as they embark on their next step in their continuing careers.

FIFTH AND FINAL Kanata’s Marta Matuszewski is the fifth Ottawa ringette player on Team Ontario. The All Saints High School grad now plays for the Montreal Mission in the National Ringette League.

MARTA MATUSZEWSKI R I N G E T T E

OTTAWA SPORT SUMMIT – 7TH ANNUAL EDITION –

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– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

Beaver’s boxer on-the-rise is just along for the ride By Charlie Pinkerton Lucas Craston is quick to respond to questions about himself, boxing and the Canada Winter Games even when – admittedly – he isn’t quite sure about the answers. Leaning back in his chair in the office at Beaver Boxing Club, the 16-year-old smiles with the type of confidence you would expect from someone’s who’s beaten just about everyone who he’s able to fight in the province. Craston is days away from putting the wraps on for Team Ontario and he’s about to get in some last-minute training at Ottawa’s elite, hole-in-the-wall boxing club. Being from Nepean, Craston hasn’t always trained at Beaver. He and his two older brothers, Max and Owen, first picked up fighting at the now-closed Access MMA, when the owner invited them in for a class. The Craston brothers trained at the club that was just steps from their home for two years, though the youngest never had a fight while they practised there. They made the switch to Beaver about three years ago. Now, Craston makes either the 25-minute drive or 90-minute bus ride to the “badass” gym in Little Italy most days of the week. “You walk down those stairs and you’ve got the low ceilings – that right there is pretty cool. It’s like in an old movie,” Craston says about

Lucas Craston with coaches John Edwards and Jill Perry.

photo: bill rankin

the club where he spends much of his time. “It’s school, my house and here,” he says. Craston recalls that before his first ever match that he didn’t even know that fighters had to be licensed by Boxing Ontario, or that they needed to pass a medical test. “I had no idea. You needed that to spar and everything; I didn’t know that, so I finally got that done,” he says. That led to his debut at the 2016

Ontario Summer Games, which he left as provincial champion. In what’s been a trend during his rise in the Ontario boxing ranks, he said he had no clue about its significance. “There was a bunch of things I didn’t know,” he said. He continued a tear through his first 20 fights, which included picking up top finishes as the runner up as a junior at the 2018 Canadian Championships and as Ontario’s champion again at the 2018 Golden

Gloves provincial championships. Craston’s coaches, Beaver youth coach John Edwards, and club president and head coach Jill Perry, are who he says drive and steady him. But at the Games in Red Deer Alta., he’ll have to make do as the only representative from his club. Edwards isn’t worried. He said he’s had positive discussions with the Team Ontario coaches, so he’s not worried about Craston going to the Games alone. Edwards said coaching Craston

is “always a challenge,” since he’s never shy to question the reasoning behind training techniques that he doesn’t see the reason in. “He’s not a ‘yes man’, which makes it challenging, because he has his own opinions, but I think that’s beneficial for me as well,” Edwards says. The coach says Craston’s unashamed questioning ensures that what they’re always training with a purpose. Edwards describes Craston as a “methodical fighter” who likes to “think, move a lot and be elusive,” and also praised his high overall fitness level. Craston will be one of the youngest fighters at the Games and says that while he’s obviously going for gold that he won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t take home 1st place in the men’s 60-kilogram division. “No one wants to go in and lose. You’re fighting people. It’s pretty intense. Even if I lose, it’s a big tournament, so I’m going to learn something and get experience travelling with new people,” Craston said. And while the Grade 11 St. Pius X High School student says he knows it’s not realistic to expect to become a professional fighter that he thinks another victory could open a door to what’s next, whatever that may be. “I’m sure that if I win that the opportunities are going to keep coming,” Craston said.

Sixteen-year-old alpine skier sees a future on the slopes By Chad Ouellette Alpine skier Gill Hamilton has practically lived her life on skis. She started skiing at the age of two, with the help of her parents, and only four

years later she began racing. What started as something solely recreational began to dominate her life and Hamilton hasn’t looked back. So far through the Ontario Cup season, Hamilton has

placed 1st in the Under 16 division in one slalom event and 6th in a giant slalom event. Hamilton says she expects the Winter Games to be similar to last year’s na-

tional championships, which she competed in. “I’m assuming it’s going to pretty similar competition wise but I’ve never been to the Canada Winter Games so I don’t know what the atmosphere will be like in that aspect,” Hamilton said. The one major difference between then and now is that she’s the only athlete representing Ottawa in her sport. Only seven racers qualified for Ontario’s team, none of whom she knows personally. “Last year I was the youngest in my age division,” she says. “I had a lot of friends who were older then me who also qualified. I had three other friends who qualified for nationals with me, so I was able to room with them and be with them and everything.” The 16-year-old, who

Gill Hamilton

provided photo

spends Thursday to Sunday each week after different hills in the Ottawa area, hopes her dedication to the sport pays off with a future on the hill. “(I want to) hopefully get a

ski scholarship and ski somewhere in the states,” she said. “That’s kind of what I would love to do.” --With files from Charlie Pinkerton


– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

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Nakkertok skiers hit Red Deer weeks before hosting nationals By Charlie Pinkerton

Pierre Grall-Johnson.

Three skiers from Canada’s nine-time defending-national champion cross-country ski club will bare Ontario uniforms in Red Deer, Alta. this month.

PIERRE GRALL-JOHNSON Pierre Grall-Johnson, 19, has been skiing for as long as he can remember. He started training for cross-country year-round in his last years of elementary school. Once he graduated from Glebe Collegiate two years ago, Grall-Johnson moved to Thunder Bay, where he trains at one of Cross Country Canada’s national development centres, while studying part-time at Lakehead University. He stayed put in Thunder Bay for last year’s national championships, where he placed 3rd amongst junior men thanks to a 1st overall finish in the long sprints. His performance at nationals earned him the Ottawa Sports Awards prize as the city’s top cross-country skier for last

photo: phillipe daoust

year. The Canada Winter Games will be a warm-up of sorts for Grall-Johnson, who says his “main priority” is still the Canadian Ski Championships, which will be held next month at Nakkertok. “I’m looking forward to (the Winter Games), it’s definitely going to be a good experience,” he said.

CHLOE RANAHAN Nepean-native Chloe Ran-

ahan recalls gliding through trails with her family in the Gatineau Park since even before she could ski and would have to make the rides while strapped to her dad’s back. “(Skiing in the Gatineau Park) is kind of a family tradition,” the 18-year-old said. Ranahan got involved in Nakkertok’s “jackrabbit” program when she was 12 after a friend invited her to a bring-afriend day. Because of her age she soon had to pick between

recreational and competitive cross-country, of which she chose the latter. “I’ve always been pretty competitive and I liked seeing how fast I could go, so I decided to join the racing team,” she said. She’s raced competitively with Nakkertok ever since. Ranahan said the community aspect of cross-country skiing is what she loves most about the sport. “The group of people are very welcoming and friendly and, especially at Nakkertok, it’s like a big family,” she said. She’s also hooked on the beauty of the sport. “You get some days where it’s just really sunny conditions … and they kind of make up for all the days of training in

CHLOE RANAHAN X C S K I I N G

the rain or the cold,” Ranahan added. While speaking to the Sportspage in early February, Ranahan was in the midst of preparing for two of her biggest events of the year – the Canada Games and her first OUA championships as a member of the Carleton Ravens.

SARAH MACINTOSH Sarah Macintosh is the youngest of Nakkertok’s athletes who is competing at this year’s Canada Games. The 17-year-old started skiing when she was eight and remembers receiving gummy bears and other candies as bribes from coaches and her parents in exchange for her dropping her resilience to harsh outdoor conditions. “That was the main strategy for getting us out there,” Macintosh said. A few years later when Macintosh raced in the midget division, her motivation came from a different force – her coach, Sue Holloway. Asked by the Canada Winter Games to submit someone who she

considers a role model, Macintosh named Holloway. “Having her as a coach is just amazing,” Macintosh said about the former Olympian. “She’s done so much for women in sport and she also really shares her love for the sport really well.” Though she’s competed at the national championships for skiing in each of the last three years, Macintosh says the Canada Games is the biggest event she’ll have ever competed in. “(I’m looking forward to)

SARAH MACINTOSH

X C S K I I N G

everything. It’s going to be cool to go out with a bunch of other athletes and it will be good to meet a bunch of other people from other sports,” she said.

Daughter to Ontario ski-royalty has lived a life on the hill By Brianne Smith As Freestyle skier Kye Guembes runs through her routine moments before she leaves the gate, it’s almost for certain that she’s listening to Paradise City by Guns and Roses. “My heart is racing, and I’m going over what I’m going to do step by step in my head, and thinking of everything, making sure I have it all planned out,” says Guembes. For as long as she can remember, skiing has been a centrepiece in her life. Some of her earliest memories come from trips to Banff’s Sunshine Village, where, nestled comfortably in-between one of her parents’ legs, she would snowplough her way down the hill. When asked if she knew from a young age if skiing was the sport for her, Guembes replies, “Always – it’s always been my dream”. Her parents, Julie Steggall and Rafael Guembes, are prominent names in the free-

style ski world. Her father has been coaching freestyle skiing since 1991 and now acts as one of his daughter’s coaches for the Calabogie Peaks Freestyle Club. Her mom competed at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics for freestyle skiing and now works as the high-performance director at Calabogie Peaks where she manages the national freestyle team. “I’m so proud of her,” Steggall says. “She’s got a high attention to details, so anything technical or complicated she’s always excelled at. … It’s exciting, I love watching my kid grow up being part of the sport.” At 15 years old, Guembes is already making a name for herself in the freestyle ski community. A member of the Calabogie Peaks Freestyle team since she was 10, she’s been moving up the ranks in competitions ever since. “It’s exciting, just seeing her go through the sport in every sense, watch her go through the highs, lows, and mediums and just see her en-

Kye Guembes

photo: huyan nguyen

joy every second of it,” said her dad. Freestyle skiing is a discipline of skiing comprising of moguls, half pipe, cross, aerials and slope style. Currently, Guembes is performing moguls, back-tucks and spread eagles in competition and is working on her 360 to add to her routine in the near future. Out of all the trick styles

she competes in, moguls is Guembes’ favourite. She described the first time she tried it as a terrifying, yet exhilarating experience. “It was pretty scary, I was snowploughing the entire time, but I loved it. Once I had gone down, it was scary, but once I was at the bottom I was like, ‘I need to keep doing this.’ I loved it.”

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freestyle ontario

From Feb. 2 to Feb. 3, Guembes competed in the annual Timber Tour competition at Caledon Ski Club, where she won 1st place both days in her mogul runs. During the competition she was also recognized as the K2 Skis “Standout Female of the Week” for her outstanding sportsmanship and exemplary talent as a female athlete.

Myles Adam is the head coach for the Calabogie Peaks Freestyle Club and has coached Guembes for close to 5 years. “Kye’s really neat in the fact that she’s very headstrong, so when she sets her sights on a goal she’s going to get to that goal,” Adams said. “It might take a lot of hard work and perseverance but she’s got the willpower and determination to work through it.” In addition to competitive freestyle skiing, Guembes also regularly attends Jujitsu and Muay Thai classes at Cooligan Martial Arts, where she holds a black belt. She also enjoys rock climbing and playing guitar. She’ll be competing in moguls beginning on Feb. 18 at the Canada Winter Games. When asked about her goals leading into the Games in Red Deer, Alta., Guembes said: “I just want to have more of a clean run, not get too stressed. I want to get a good run down and be happy with it.”


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OSU Force Academy Zone

Abe Osman to lead OSU League1 women

The Head Coach for Ottawa South United Soccer Club’s new League1 Ontario Women’s Team will be OSU veteran and multi-champion coach Abe Osman. Abe started playing youth soccer overseas in Europe and the Middle East. Since his father was a diplomat, his family moved around a lot. Wherever he went, he impressed local coaches, and as a result, he gained significant experience playing academy football in various pro clubs in Turkey and elsewhere. His extensive journey eventually brought him to Ottawa, where he is most known for having played and captained the Ottawa Wizards, who played in the Canadian Professional Soccer League from 2001-2003. Abe is proud to say “that they won everything they could win.” Rightly so, as he captained the side two out of three years, and won the Abe Osman. league’s MVP title twice. Abe doesn’t only understand soccer though. In fact he is a multi-talented athlete. When he came to Canada, he taught himself how to play basketball while already in high school. Despite getting into the sport relatively late, he made Algonquin College’s competitive basketball team. But it didn’t stop there. He went above and beyond, as he always does and became a hall of fame athlete. He remains their 2nd highest all-time scorer and they have even retired his number. Abe became a soccer coach for OSU in 2003 and has vast coaching experience both on the boys and the girls side. Most recently, he has won three OPDL championships including last year’s with the 2003 Girls. Abe says that he is ready to take on the challenge of coaching a League 1 team that typically consists of older more established players. He is thankful for having been given the opportunity. Abe is enthusiastic that “OSU can now provide opportunities for female players in the region, who have always thought there was not a complete pathway for them. The League 1 team provides a bridge to the next step of their careers, whether that is playing at the college or university level, or even playing professionally.”

OSU ADDS UEFA ‘A’ COACH DAVID HANNAH David joins us from most recently being Manager and Sporting Director of PS Kemi in Finland’s Veikkausliiga. As a player, he enjoyed a highly successful career that was spent mostly with Celtic Football Club and Dundee United of Scotland. David has coached previously in a short-term role with OSU and we know his experience withDavid Hannah. in the club will allow him to hit the ground running as we prepare for a busy upcoming season. With the hiring of Coach Hannah, OSU is now pleased to announce our coaching assignments for the upcoming 2019 provincial seasons in the OPDL and League1 Ontario: • David Hannah, UEFA A License Coach (U13, U14 & U15 Girls) • Abe Osman, Canada Soccer National B License Coach (U16 Girls, U17/18 Girls, League1 Ontario Women) • Simon Wilshaw, UEFA B License Coach (U13 & U14 Boys) • Samir Karaga, UEFA B License Coach (U15 & U16 Boys) • Peter Mapendere, UEFA B License Coach (League1 Ontario Men) Support Roles: • Paul Harris, UEFA A License Coach (Technical Director) • Jon Eden (High Performance Coordinator) • Jay Bhindi (League1 Ontario Assistant Coach) • Marco Romozzi (Team Assistant Coach) • Juan Monge (Team Assistant Coach) • Julian White (Team Assistant Coach) The coaching staff blends an impressive mix of individuals who possess the necessary experience, qualifications and driven mentality to nurture development in our players and continue our collective success. We look forward to a successful upcoming 2019 season!

www.osu.ca

– CANADA WINTER GAMES SPECIAL – Long-trackers skate similar path to Games By Brendan Shykora The parallels run deep between Ottawa speedskaters Noah Bouma and Rachel Freitag. The two long-trackers used to carpool to competitions as far as Lake Placid, NY, while splitting time between the Ottawa Pacers and the Gloucester Concordes, the city’s two speedskating clubs. After high school, both made their way to Calgary to train at the indoor oval that’s home to the top skaters in the country. Most importantly, the two share a love for going fast. That’ll come in handy as they prepare for the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., starting February 15. Noah Bouma Bouma is coming off a blazing January in which he logged a personal best in the 1000m at the Canada Cup, and another in the 5000m at the Junior National Championships. The 19-year-old finished 14th at last year’s junior nation-

NOAH BOUMA

L O N G T R A C K

als and might have improved on that ranking this year had it not been for a disqualification in the 1500m. During the race, an official noticed some exposed skin around his ankle guard and was forced to uphold Speed Skating Canada’s stringent safety rulebook. But while defeats by technicality can be the most frustrating in sport, Bouma’s positivity never wavered. “There’s a lot of racing ahead and I have a lot of opportunities to compete. It was a decent race but it wasn’t a personal best, so I wasn’t really mad that I didn’t get the time,” Bouma said.

He started competing in long track in 2010 – a year with no shortage of Canadian stars to look up to. “I really got into it when I watched the Vancouver Olympics,” says Bouma. “I just thought it was really cool and was inspired by the Canadian team. So I decided to give it a try and I’ve loved it ever since.” At the University of Calgary’s Olympic Oval – a pristine indoor facility – Bouma trains 6 days a week without fear of disruptive weather. It’s a far cry from the training conditions in his home city. Ottawa’s Brewer Park is home to the only long track in the province, but it’s an outdoor oval in a city known for sporadic winter weather. “Skating outside, you’ll have the coldest and harshest days,” explains Bouma. “Almost every day is different, whereas in Calgary every day is the same.” “That’s one of the first things that I noticed coming to Calgary, that it was actually warm when I

skated!”

RACHEL FREITAG Freitag, 18, also remembers those winter training months in Ottawa. “It’s definitely difficult. Last year I think there were probably about 20 good days of ice time that we got, and not consecutively.” “It would get really cold and then it would warm up and all the ice would melt,” she recalls. “The volunteers put in countless hours, and we really have them to thank for all the ice that we got.” Since moving to Calgary last fall, a consistent training schedule has translated into big gains for Freitag. “At the start of the season I was seeing drastic changes in my performance, and in my races I was getting pretty big new personal bests.” The proof is in the time sheets: this season, she shed a full 10 seconds off her personal best in her favourite distance, the 3000m.

LONG TRACK cont. p.11

Short-track speedskaters squeeze into Games By Jake Romphf Blood, sweat and tears. Through a fight with injuries and mental health struggles, that was Danna Ballantyne’s script to get to the Canada Winter Games. Ballantyne, 16, will face the country’s best speedskaters between the ages of 14 and 19 when she represents Team Ontario at the Red Deer-held Games starting on Feb. 15. It’s her shot to prove that she can skate at the national level. Ballantyne first signed up for speedskating after watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Soon she shared the same sport as Olympic champion Clara Hughes, who like her, shares a history of struggling with mental health. In her early teens, Ballantyne was hospitalized for close to a month to recover from severe depression and anxiety. “Skating sort of took a different meaning for me after that. It wasn’t so much about winning, it was more like rehab and getting healthy exercise in my life,” she said. During Ballantyne’s recovery, Hughes reached out to her and sent her a shirt. To this day, Ballantyne wears it while she’s training, to remind her of what she’s capable of overcoming. Another test – this time physical – almost cost Ballantyne her spot in the upcoming Games. During a practice at the start of her season she suffered a collision that left her with 14 stitches in the back of her thigh. The injury forced her to rein in her training just as she was about to start her first year of competition in the Canada Cup circuit of races, but it wouldn’t stop her. “I’m one of those people who absolutely loves the pain of training and I get a total high off that,” she said. Ballantyne’s wound healed enough to compete. But after a disappointing 51st place finish, she remembers crying on the way home. Yet simply being able to race again was huge for Ballantyne as a means of overcoming her mental and physical obstacles. “When I’m in the race, everything is just quiet,” she said. To secure a Team Ontario spot, Ballantyne needed a strong showing at the provincial trials. She didn’t place in the top four, which

DANNA BALLANTYNE S H O R T T R A C K

CONNOR ROGERSON S H O R T T R A C K

would’ve automatically put her on the team, but she squeaked in by being selected by the Ontario Skating Association. “All I can do now is train as hard as I can,” she told the Sportspage in January.

CONNOR ROGERSON Connor Rogerson has been speedskating with the Ottawa Pacers since he was six years old. Now, the 19-year-old is getting his shot at representing Ontario at the Games. Rogerson is a part of the University of Calgary’s Olympic Oval program. He trains up to seven times a week, and on a daily basis does a mix of on-ice, dry land and weight training. He said the program has improved his times and helped him qualify for the Canada Cup. In the trials for the Games’, Rogerson struggled and even fell in one race. With one race to go, Rogerson was in 4th place overall and needed a strong finish to secure his spot with Team Ontario. “That race was super exciting,” he recalls. Rogerson fell into the second position off the starting line, directly behind a skater who would take his 4th place spot if Rogerson finished outside of the top two. The Pacers-made skater erased that possibility by finishing in 2nd place to secure his spot on the provincial team. “That was an exciting moment after we passed the finish line and I realized I made the team,” he said. Rogerson said he focuses on what he needs to do during a race. “In short track, anything can happen,” he said. “You just have to be prepared for what happens and react accordingly.”


– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

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Youngest Weidemann trying her chops against Canada’s best Lily Weidemann

By Josh Bell For the third Canada Winter Games in a row, a Weidemann will be on the ice for Team Ontario. In 2011, the eldest of the siblings, Isabelle Weidemann, competed. Her brother Jake Weidemann, skated in 2015, and now it’s time for the youngest of the three, Lily Weidemann, to take on the nation in the 2019 Canada Winter Games. She will be competing in Red Deer, Alta. From Feb. 14 to Feb. 23. The announcement of the team came back in December, though for the youngest Weidemann it took a little pre-Games luck to make it in. “The last Games were supposed to be my only shot because of the age range,” Lily Weidemann says, “But I didn’t make it. And then this past year they actually pushed the age range back by a year. It was a surprise that I was allowed to compete in it, I wasn’t expecting to be able to get another shot at it. “ She’s one of three Ottawa speedsters who are part of Team Ontario’s long track team. Once the age range was changed so that Lily Weidemann was eligible

Lily Weidemann is in her second year studying communications at the University of Calgary. Once she followed in her siblings’ footsteps and moved to the city where Canada’s national speedskating team trains, her parents decided to make the move as well, which has made things much easier for their youngest. “It was weird [during last year], you start to miss things. I started to miss things from Ottawa I never would have thought I’d miss. It was very strange going from a club level of speedskating where I was the top female and at the peak of the performance line there and then coming to a place where I am the smallest fish in the sea. I’m skating on the same ice as people who I grew up photo: arno hoogveld, olympic oval watching on TV at the Olympics,” Lily again, the Ottawa native felt good having competed in the Canada Weidemann said. “Ottawa will always have a place in about her chances of making the Games, Lily Weidemann knows that my heart, especially the (Gloucester team. the pressure is on, but it’s nothing that Concordes) Speed Skating Club out “This year it was my goal to make she’s not used to. there and we also have a cottage not the team, for sure. But at the same “Always when following them, they too far outside of Ottawa that we still time, with it being a small sport in leave big shoes to fill. They’ve done have, but Calgary is definitely home Ontario, I knew all the other girls that absolutely incredibly in this sport. But now. Our family is quite close so it’s were competing for it, so it was of at the same time, I think it’s a little bit nice to have the family all out here. course nerve-wracking at the trials, reassuring knowing that what they do Also, the skating community also bebut I had my fingers-crossed and a lit- is possible. It’s not just something that comes your family. This is where my tle bit expected it.” you watch on TV anymore, it’s real,” family is, this is where home is now,” Lily Weidemann said. With both of her siblings already she said.

Proudly cheering on a Beacon Hill speed skater for the third consecutive Canada Winter Games: Isabelle (2011), Jake (2015) & now Lily Weidemann – congrats!!

The eldest of the Weidemann siblings is coming off of a stellar year which saw her debut at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where she finished 7th in the 3000m, 6th in the 5000m and helped Team Canada to a 4th place finish in the team pursuit. She also won her first ISU World Cup, among many other successful finishes. In her top distance, she’s currently ranked 3rd in the world in the World Cup circuit. Jake Weidemann is having a great season as well. At the first Canada Cup of the year he finished 1st place in the 1500m, which he’s currently ranked 4th in nationally. For the youngest, it’s only natural to compare herself to her older siblings. “I compare myself to them in a lot of ways: academically and in skating. Sometimes that can be rough, knowing that I’m not quite where they were when they were my age, but at the same time, it can be really reassuring to know that improvement does happen over time,” Lily Weidemann said. Yet having two family members in the same sport who have already experienced everything that Weidemann is now going through is something she says has helped get her in her speedskating career.

WEIDEMANN cont’s on p.11

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– CANADA WINTER GAMES – Trio of top OHL prospects will rep Ottawa By Charlie Pinkerton Three of the city’s budding hockey stars will lace up for Ontario at the Canada Winter Games, in an attempt to make history by winning consecutive gold medals at the event, a feat that the province has never accomplished. Leading the way are former Ottawa Junior Senators teammates and friends, Brandt Clarke and Connor Lockhart. Clarke, the brother of Ottawa 67s winger Graeme Clarke, started playing hockey at four years old. He and Lockhart played together on the Jr. Sens before Clarke moved to Toronto with his brother three years ago. That’s when Clarke said he seriously started thinking about a future in hockey. Now, Clarke is widely expected to be the first defenceman selected in the OHL draft that’s less than two months away. He told the Sportspage that it’s not something he thinks about while he’s on the ice. “I’ve just been playing my game, so I think that I may as well just stick to it since it got me to where I am so far,” Clarke said. The Don Mills Flyers defender says he’s looking forward to playing with Lockhart

BRANDT CLARKE I C E H O C K E Y

CONNOR LOCKHART I C E H O C K E Y again, who he says he has “really good chemistry with,” from their years together playing for the peewee Jr. Sens. Unlike Clarke, Lockhart says he didn’t get any “hockey genes.” His father immigrated to Ottawa from Scotland and mostly played rugby throughout his life. Yet when his son was only three years old, he enrolled him in a local CanSkate program. That led to the younger Lockhart quickly developing a passion for being on the ice. “Today it’s really become a lifestyle for me,” Lockhart said. Prospect Pipeline, a hockey scouting website, ranks Lockhart as a potential top pick in the upcoming OHL draft. The site also praises his skating as his top on-ice skill, which the 16-year-old agrees with. For a period when he was younger, Lockhart was taught by figure skaters in CanSkate, while at the same time playing hockey. “I was doubling up, just always trying to get better,” Lockhart said. “(CanSkate instructors) taught us how to use our edges, how to do crossovers forwards, backwards and kind of just work on default skating and it really kind of helped me to develop.” Lockhart is second in Hockey Eastern Ontario’s mi-

nor AAA (HEOMAAA) league in scoring at the moment, having tallied 77 points for the Kanata Lasers midget team in 40 games. He told the Sportspage that part of the reason he’s looking forward to the Canada Winter Games is because of the rich history of players who have used it as a stepping stone in their hockey careers. “You look at the names of the players who have played in this before and a lot of those guys were just in the World Juniors representing Canada, so you know you’re in good hands when you’re at an event like this,” Lockhart said.

MASON MCTAVISH Carp-native Mason McTavish is the third Ottawa-linked player who will lace up for Ontario. McTavish is the son of Eganville’s Dale McTavish, who played nine games for the Calgary Flames in 1996-97 and had a lengthy professional hockey career in Europe. The elder McTavish bought the Pembroke Lumber Kings in 2013 and currently serves as its head coach. His son is a member of the Lumber Kings’ midget AAA team and is the only player ahead of Lockhart in points in HEOMAAA, a lead that he holds by two points, at the time of publication.

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– CANADA WINTER GAMES –

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Slovakia to Red Deer in a week for biathlete By Dan Plouffe Zach Connelly’s skis have carried him across Canada – and recently overseas as well for the IBU Youth Biathlon World Championships in Slovakia – but the 17-year-old still remembers the first time he strapped ‘em on was much less pleasant. “I couldn’t go 10 metres without falling on my face,” recounts the Canada Gamesbound biathlete. “It was really rough.” So Connelly went back home, watched some youtube videos, and figured out how to ski in a couple hours, he says. “That night I drove back here and skied for another hour-and-a-half with my mom,” recalls the Chelsea Nordiq club member. “And from there, the love of the sport just kind of came naturally. “I love being on the snow, out in the forest, just being on my own. Hearing the sound of the snow when you push and just feeling the wind on your face, the dopamine high that you get from doing exercise – it’s all there and it’s all hitting you at the same time. It just puts a smile on my face. It’s really beautiful.” Not everyone’s reaction to face-planting repeatedly would be to get right back it. But that’s not the Connelly way, explains the member of a driven family of ironman triathletes and marathoners. “I don’t know. I kind of had that feeling of if I’m gonna do this, I want to do it right and I want to be the best,” signals Connelly, who joined Army Cadets at age 12 and first tried biathlon near the Canada Avi-

Zach Connelly hardly made it home between the Jan. 25Feb. 3 World Youth Championships in Slovakia, a Feb. 9-10 event in Valcartier, QC and the Canada Games in Red Deer.

Rockin’ Rebelles Wrap

Shared passion connects LR hockey coaches from different eras

photo provided

ation and Space Museum. “I wanted to go out and just enjoy racing, having fun, and making every moment count.” Chelsea Nordiq/Team Ontario coach Eric Schreyer says Connelly’s level of dedication is rarely seen. “There are a ton of athletes who are going to set goals like this to make Canada Games, to make worlds,” notes Schreyer. “But Zach is really always questioning how to get better, and then figuring out what he wants to work on, and then really setting his mind to doing that.”

WORLDS APPEARANCE ADDS FUEL TO THE FIRE Following a double-bronze medal performance at the 2018 youth nationals, Connelly

earned the right to represent Canada at the youth worlds, which ran from Jan. 26-Feb. 3 in Slovakia. After a rough first worlds race on jet-lagged legs, Connelly felt more comfortable come his second and third events, finishing as the top Canadian in the 10 km pursuit, and in the top half of the field in the 7.5 km sprint. “Coming back from Slovakia, I see exactly what I have to work on,” notes Connelly, who plans to move to the national training centre in Canmore, Alta. once he finishes high school at Louis-Riel later this year. “Kind of got the bug and I just really want to get back out there again to race with the best.”

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Around the time Mark Dregas first got into coaching, Dan Sauvé was standing on skates for the first time. Though the cocoaches of the Louis-Riel sports-study hockey program may have a bit of an age disparity, it simply means double the devotion for their players. Dregas draws on 25+ years of coaching and teaching experience across many settings, including the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, Jr. ‘A’ hockey, and his long-time home at Louis-Riel, while Sauvé is one of the region’s rising coaching minds – at 29, the youngest head coach and general manager in the Central Canada Hockey League with the Rockland Nationals. “We have coaches here at our school who coach Jr. ‘A’ – I think that’s amazing,” highlights Louis-Riel sports-study hockey player Nadia Fournier, also an Ottawa Lady 67’s Intermediate ‘AA’ forward. “It gives us the perspective of what it’s like at that level.” Dregas and Sauvé both spend their afternoons on ice with members of the Louis-Riel hockey program, and they agree that the key ingredient to hockey success has never changed over the decades – hard work. “Hockey is very competitive. If you’re not doing

everything 100% in terms of your off-ice conditioning, somebody else will be,” signals Sauvé, once a point-per-game defenceman for the Cumberland Jr. ‘A’ Grads and also the Gatineau Olympiques. “You have to love practicing just as much as you love playing,” echoes Dregas, who started coaching relatively young himself, inspired by his friend, Guy Lalonde – a long-time Olympiques assistant who started under Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien. The coaching pair focus on the unglamorous work behind the scenes to prepare their student-athletes for bigger stages. There’s no practicing team concepts like the powerplay or defensive systems while on ice with Louis-Riel, it’s like a year-long summer camp focused on individual skill development. “Seeing kids get better and seeing them happy when they tell us they went from House ‘A’ to Rep ‘B’ or from Rep ‘B’ to ‘A’ or ‘AA’ – that’s a extremely rewarding for us,” underlines Dregas, a uOttawa biochemistry grad and NCCP Level 4-certified coach. Dregas has led numerous Rebelles teams to FrancoOntario and OFSAA medals in the past, but it’s player progress that he and Sauvé celebrate most. “The key thing for us is that they’re all here because they want to improve,” underlines Sauvé, an NCCP High Performance 1-certified coach. “And what’s even more important for us is that we’re developing good people.”

Entraîneurs de hockey de l’école Louis-Riel partagent la passion Au moment où Mark Dregas a commencé à être entraîneur, Dan Sauvé chaussait ses premiers patins. Bien que les deux coentraîneurs de hockey du programme Sports-études n’aient pas tout à fait le même âge, ils sont tout aussi dévoués l’un que l’autre envers leurs joueurs. Dregas a accumulé une expérience de plus de 25 ans comme entraîneur et comme enseignant en travaillant à plusieurs endroits et pour plusieurs équipes, dont les Gee-Gees de l’Université d’Ottawa, le hockey junior A et (depuis longtemps) à l’école Louis-Riel. Quant à Sauvé, il est l’une des vedettes montantes de la région. En effet, à l’âge de 29 ans, il est le plus jeune entraîneur en chef et directeur général au sein de la Ligue centrale de hockey junior A, avec les Rockland Nationals. « Notre école a engagé des entraîneurs de hockey junior A. Je trouve ça fantastique », déclare Nadia Fournier, joueuse de hockey dans le cadre du programme Sports-études de Louis-Riel et pour les Lady 67’s d’Ottawa. « Ça nous donne une idée du jeu à ce niveau. » Dregas et Sauvé, qui passent leurs après-midis sur la glace avec les membres du programme de hockey de Louis-Riel, s’entendent pour dire que le secret du succès dans ce sport demeure le même depuis des décennies, soit qu’il faut travailler dur. « Le hockey est très compétitif. Si un joueur ne donne pas son 100 % pendant son entraînement hors-glace, un autre joueur le

fera à sa place », fait remarquer Sauvé, qui a déjà été un défenseur qui comptait près d’un point par match lorsqu’il était membre des Grads de Cumberland junior A et des Olympiques de Gatineau. « Il faut aimer s’entraîner autant que de jouer », acquiesce Dregas, qui est devenu entraîneur à un âge relativement jeune, inspiré par son ami Guy Lalonde, qui a été longtemps adjoint aux Olympiques et qui a fait ses premiers pas sous l’égide de Claude Julien, entraîneur en chef des Canadiens de Montréal. Les coentraîneurs œuvrent en coulisse à la préparation de leurs élèves-athlètes à des rôles plus prestigieux. À Louis-Riel, lorsque l’élève est sur la glace, on ne lui enseigne pas des stratégies d’équipe comme l’avantage numérique ou les systèmes défensifs. L’apprentissage ressemble plutôt à un long camp d’été mettant l’accent sur le perfectionnement des compétences individuelles. «  Il est extrêmement gratifiant pour nous de voir nos élèves s’améliorer et de lire la joie dans leur visage lorsqu’ils nous racon-

tent qu’ils sont passés de la ligue locale A à la ligue élite B ou de la ligue élite B à A ou AA », souligne Dregas, diplômé en biochimie de l’Université d’Ottawa et entraîneur certifié ayant atteint le niveau  4 dans le cadre du Programme national de certification des entraîneurs. Bien que Dregas ait aidé à maintes reprises les Rebelles à remporter des médailles aux championnats provinciaux, ce sont les progrès personnels des joueurs qui font le plus plaisir aux deux entraîneurs. « Certains de nos jeunes sont d’excellents joueurs de hockey; d’autres sont des joueurs moyens. L’important pour nous, c’est qu’ils sont tous ici pour améliorer leur jeu », souligne Sauvé, entraîneur certifié au niveau Haute performance 1 du Programme national de certification des entraîneurs. « Mais, ce qui compte encore plus pour nous, c’est que nous produisons de bonnes personnes. »

www.louis-riel.cepeo.on.ca/sports-etudes


10

– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

Table tennis Duo prepared to battle it out at Canada Games things when you’re playing to, so a lot of that.” The rapid drumming of pingShiao not only trains three pong balls echoes through the times a week, but she also goes Geng Table Tennis Academy’s to the gym as much as possible training area where a group to ensure that her core, legs of students practice across and arms and are in perfect four tables for their upcoming condition for matchups. matchups. Chen also stays on top of With a gold medal on the her game by practicing and line at the Canada Winter training every opportunity she Games, proud parents watch as has, says her head coach, and both Taiwanese-born Yu-Hsan former Team Canada table tenChen (who also goes by Sabnis player, Horatio Pintea. rina) and Ann Shiao rehearse “Sabrina is a very deterquick rallies and point-winning mined player,” says Pintea. “She techniques with their coach Liloves to practice, and she does juan Geng and other members a lot of extra work on her own. of the academy. The family has invested a lot in The women training are two her career because they travel to Toronto to attend competitions, training camps, and they go back to Taiwan sometimes to practice and so on. For them Barrhaven Councillor it’s a very serious investment.” Chair, Planning Committee Both girls have immense Good luck to all athletes family support, something that 613-580-2473 Good luck to all the is essential for athletes who are heading to the 2018 Jan.Harder@Ottawa.ca athletes heading to the trying to bring themselves to Olympic Winter Games! @BarrhavenJan Barrhaven Councillor 2019 Canada Winter Games! the next level. Chair,facebook.com/BarrhavenJanHarder Planning Committee “For Ann, she’s been very www.JanHarder.com dedicated,” Pintea says. “I’ve 613-580-2473 .com known her since 2009 or so, Jan.Harder@Ottawa.ca www.

By Chad Ouellette

parts of the six-member team who are set to represent Team Ontario at the upcoming Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta. The amount of training that goes in to preparing table tennis players for competition may often be overlooked, but make no mistake, Chen and Shiao are fine-tuning their bodies and skills on a constant basis. “It’s definitely different from football and rugby, and sports like that,” Shiao says. “But we work a lot on speed and power and in-game situations. When you’re in a match you actually need to think a lot about how to win the point. It’s a lot of mental

JanHarder

@BarrhavenJan facebook.com/BarrhavenJanHarder

www.JanHarder.com

and she’s always loved competing. … She trains hard. Whenever she practices, she does it seriously.” Both girls will be representing Team Ontario, and both have partners who currently live in Toronto. Chen will be taking part in the mixed doubles event with her partner Alexander Bu and Shiao will be alongside Jin Wu for the women’s doubles event. Having to coordinate with someone who you often don’t have the chance to train with sounds difficult, but both Shiao and Chen treat it for what it is, and practice hard to ensure they’re prepared. “Doubles definitely requires a lot of coordination,” says Shiao. “It’s not actually splitting half of the table. One person plays the ball, and then they move out of the way, and then the next person plays the ball. It’s a lot of rotating and playing one ball each.” For Chen, she explains that there aren’t very high expectations when your partner is in another city, but she is excited for the opportunity to play mixed doubles. “It’s kind of fun to play when

Sabrina Chen.

Ann Shiao

photo: chad ouellette

your partner is a boy instead of a girl. Your style of play will be different. For girl’s doubles, you would just play girls style. With a boy, maybe you need to talk together and figure out how you’re going to play,” Chen says. Both Shiao and Chen have been playing for close to a decade, and in that period they have had the opportunity to represent themselves at national tournaments and play abroad. Shiao even had the opportunity to represent Canada at the Pan-American Junior Games. Pintea explained that the Canada Winter Games is just another step in the right direc-

tion for the two up-and-coming athletes. “These girls are the best in Ontario essentially,” he says. “It’s a long process but they got it.”

SQUASH There’s one other racquet-sport athlete representing Ottawa at the Games, Team Quebec’s Iman Shaheen. She’ll be competing for Team Quebec in squash. She’ll don the fleursde-lis because she competes for the Gatineau club Sporthèque. Shaheen, 13, hopes to follow up a tremendous 2018 in which she competed for the Canadian junior team, was named the Under 15 player of the year by Squash Ontario and the Ottawa Sports Awards squash player of the year.

IMAN SHAHEEN S Q U A S H file photo

Scott.Moffatt@Ottawa.ca | (613) 580-2491 | www.RideauGoulbourn.ca

Good luck to Rideau-Goulbourn’s Kayle Osborne (with the Ottawa Lady Senators) & to Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games!


– OTTAWA AT THE CANADA WINTER GAMES –

GO Capital duo drowning any doubts By Charlie Pinkerton A pair of Go Capital Synchro athletes make up the Ottawa contingent that will compete in the pool at the Canada Winter Games. Ottawa-native Jade Warren and Waterdown-import Emma Fox will swim together in duet and team competitions for Ontario. Warren took after her mother and got involved in synchronized swimming (which the international governing body for the sport started referring to as artistic swimming in 2017) when she was nine, after she became interested in the sport while watching other athletes practice it during her swimming lessons. “Before I started synchro, swimming was always my favourite thing, even just in my pool in my backyard,” Warren said. She started swimming competitively for Nepean Synchro and cracked her first provincial team at 12 years old. After switching clubs to GO Capital, she began competing nationally as a member of Canada’s age 1315 team in 2016 and 2017. Last year she picked up a gold and a bronze medal as a member of Team Canada at the UANA Pan American Championships and finished in 4th place in the solo competition at the Canadian Championships for artistic swimming. “Synchro just really combined

Emma Fox (left) and Jade Warren.

“No, I don’t have my G2 (license) yet,” Wheeler laughs. Her hard work has already paid off, as she’ll be bound for the University of Wisconsin once she graduates Napanee District Secondary School to play for the Badgers’ women’s hockey team, which is currently ranked 2nd in the NCAA. Her ascension up the Ontario hockey food chain started when she was around eight years old, as she remembers it, when she decided to try out for the Quinte Red Devils boys’ triple-A team. She not only cracked the boys’ roster that year, but played above her age group for a year, before settling in with the Red Devils triple-A squad of her age the next year. “I think playing boys helped (me) develop a lot,” Wheeler says. “I’m not very big, so it

WEIDEMANN: Siblings having career years continued from p.7 “They quite often tell me that it takes patience. This summer I was really struggling in that I felt like I had worked really, really hard and wasn’t seeing the improvements that I wanted to see in my skating. Both of them noticed that I was feeling this way and said, ‘we all go through those.’ Isabelle, as one of the top skaters in the world right now was saying she feels that every day, she’s not where she wants to be, and you’ve just got to be patient. It’s almost the people who are patient who end up at the top. That’s helped me a lot through

the days.” Lily’s patience seems to have paid off this year, as she has set career best times in each of her events – the 500m (42.94 seconds), the 1000m (1:24.19), the 1500m (2:11.64) and the 3000m (4:43.09). After the Canada Games, she’ll compete in the fourth and final Canada Cup of the year in March. As with any elite athlete, Weidemann has her eyes set on bigger events, such as the 2022 Winter Olympics. But in the meantime, she will be facing off against some of the best in Canada later this month.

LONG TRACK: Freitag swapped out hockey skates at 7

RACHEL FREITAG L O N G T R A C K

continued from p.6 photo: dan robichaud

the challenge for me of how hard it is, with the music aspect and swimming – so just everything I love,” Warren explained. Warren and Fox swam together at the provincial level before Fox moved to Ottawa, but only paired up as a duet once Fox started her schooling at Carleton University and found a new home at GO Capital. The 16-year-old Warren says it “doesn’t feel like” Fox is two years older than her since they get along so well in and out of the pool. “Sometimes I get really stressed at competitions and from past experiences I know that (Emma) will be

able to calm me down. She definitely gives me confidence and we know what we need from each other to perform well, so I’m really lucky to have her,” Warren said about their pairing. Outside of the pool, Warren says she’s looking forward to meeting other athletes at the Games, watching other sports and enjoying herself at the event, which is structured to have an Olympic-village-like feel. “I’m excited for all of that. … It just seems like it’s a really well organized, big competition and I’m really excited,” Warren said.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Ottawa tendy joins Wheeler continued from COVER

11

KAYLE OSBORNE I C E H O C K E Y helps with the physical side of the game and the speed.” Just over two years ago, when she was 13 years old – around the same time that she committed to Wisconsin – Nepean offered her a spot on their Under-19 team. “Not a lot of teams would have taken me, but they did,” Wheeler said. She’s played for the Wildcats ever since. Wheeler says opportunities like the Canada Winter Games or the U18 world

championships, where she has the opportunity to represent her province or her country, is what keeps her motivated. Her “big motivation” is to make Canada’s U22 team, which she hopes to do as a first-year in university. But long before then, she’s looking forward to the “mini-Olympics” that is the Canada Games. “I’m definitely nervous, you’re always nervous when you’re going into big events like this. I’m just trying to manage those emotions I guess,” Wheeler said. Fellow 16-year-old Kayle Osborne will join Wheeler as the only other Ottawa-based player on Ontario’s team. Osborne is a goalie with the junior Lady Sens. In 15 games this year she’s registered 11 wins and four losses, along with five shutouts.

With the Winter Games approaching, Freitag feels she’s not done improving. “I still have a couple more competitions so hopefully that time will go down even further.” Freitag knew by age 7 that speedskating was her sport. “I was doing the Learn to Skate program, just on hockey skates, and at the end of my practice the speedskaters would come on, and I thought they looked super cool,” Freitag recalled. She signed up for speedskating the following season and hasn’t looked back. Little has changed since the days when 7-year-old Freitag would speed around the rink on hockey skates,

competing with her friends to see who was the best skater of the bunch. “I love the concept of whoever’s the fastest (and) the strongest will win,” she says, explaining why she wants to stick with the world’s fastest human-powered sport for as long as she possibly can. “Just the thrill of going so fast – it really drives me.”

A dozen Ottawa staff joining Team Ontario Constant hard work and dedication goes into not only competing but also being a coach at the highest level, and those representing Team Ontario are among some of the best. Twelve sport staff from the Nation’s capital will embark on their journey to Red Deer, Alta. to aid their young athletes at the Canada Winter Games. These leaders who hail from Ottawa range from coaches, mission staff, managers and assistants. The local list includes coaches Jasmine Leblanc (goaltender for the Ottawa Ice), Kristin Johnston (forward for the Richmond Hill Lightning), Carrie Hartley (defence for the Ottawa Ice), Jeff Jordan (Kemptville 73’s Under 18 AAA), Cathy Skinner (Goulbourn Skating Club), Eric Shryer (Biathlon Ontario), support staff Doug Skinner (Goulbourn Skating Club), long-track speedskating manager Mike

photo provided

Team Ontario coach Cathy Skinner (middle) flanked by Canada Winter Games athlete of the past Jack Fan (left) and now (Michael Raytchev). Rivet (Gloucester Concordes Speed Skating Club), and dedicated Ontario mission team, Ottawa Sport Council executive director Marci Morris, 2016 Ottawa Sports Awards

Lifetime Volunteer honouree and Sherbrooke 2013 mission team vet Cathy O’Doherty, and director of sport development with Speed Skating Canada Janice Dawson.


– ELITE & UNIVERSITIES –

12

Ski cross siblings/elite the new familyint’l passion Schmidt herefor top Nor-Am circuit siblings By Dan Plouffe Like a bouncy ski course, Hannah As far as sporting trajectories and Jared Schmidt’s journey through go, it’s hard to imagine a direct line high-performance hasandbeen between competitivesport volleyball profull of peaks, valleys and unexpected fessional ultimate frisbee. bumps. now,the the path Dunrobin But Right that was takenathby letes on aand definite – ranked Aidan are Hayter Scott high Graham, who st 3 and 1first respectively overall in the inrdtheir season with the Ottawa North American Cup standings in their Outlaws of the American Ultimate Disc latest of ski cross. Leaguepursuit (AUDL) also find themselves “I think in sport, it’s always and on Canada’s Under-20 World up Junior down,” roster. reflects Hannah, who, at 24, is a “Ifew yearsthink oldera than of can her actually lot ofmost players fellow development go fromCanadian volleyball to ultimate, or team from members. “There’s no kind ofsaid. clear ultimate to volleyball,” Graham trajectory. It’s always, you’re goingvolto There are likenesses between have days; goodhow years, leyballgood and days, frisbeebad that explain the bad So I think pushing so through two years. 19-year-olds transferred fluidly that to take and from and onecontinuing to the other. Forsteps example, learn is what’s a player’s senseimportant.” of timing is crucial in are lessons acquired from a bothThose sports. passionate As read kids, the “When sports you’re family. trying to Schmidt siblings tookjump partatin the all kinds disk in the air and right of sports. Paddling main sumtime to catch at was yourthe peak height, mertime pursuit at athelotOttawa River that’s something of players Canoe Club, familylearning,” founded struggle withwhich whentheir they’re at the Bonnenfant Graham explained.Y Outdoor “I think Centre. that’s a Skiing was theirskill winter love, from with really transferable coming most weekends and holidays spent volleyball.” alongside at Mont-Tremblant, Timing family isn’t their only advantage: where their dad an instructor. As at 6-foot-1 and was 6-foot-2 respectively, juniors, Hannah and Jared were being both Hayter and Graham went from solid regional racers court with the diminutive on alpine the volleyball to National Capital Ski frisbee Team, being among the Outaouais tallest on the though didn’t to field — athey useful edgequite when manage challenging break onto the sport’s bigger stages. for a flying disc. Never selected to a and provincial In high school, Graham Hayter alpine team years earlier career, it spent three on in theher same Ottawa was a big moment team. for Hannah Fusion competitive Aroundwhen the she a was national team spot many timeearned Graham calling universities in years searchlater. of openings on varsity volleyball “I was quite honoured,” highlights clubs he joined Ignite, a competitive Hannah, who’s had Carleton to overcome team within thealso Ottawa Ultithe challenges associated with Type 1 mate Association. diabetes. “It just goes to show you – After deciding to focus on frisbee never give up.” of 2017, he persuaded in the summer There were suit. definitely times when Hayter to follow her “He’s belief the wasn’t as strong. After me finguy who really helped ishing high school atHayter West said. Carleton, get into Ultimate,” GraHannah spent years focused on ham would later 2 push Hayter to try out alpine skiing as her main pursuit, but

“That’s so much of it – saying the Hannah right things, or sometimes saying nothSchmidt. ing and just listening. Just a squeeze or a hug,” notes mom and chief logistics planner L.A., who endeared herself to Jared and Hannah’s Team Canada mates with her homemade chili at recent Nor-Am Cup events at Calabogie. “That’s it, right? The ups and downs,” L.A. continues. “The thing I love about sport is – you’re not always going to win. And I think the journey for both kids has been a lot of hard work. In my mind, I’m so proud, because this is not something that’s been given to photos andrea & jim leask them, they had to work.” now won 4 World Cup medals and we’re working together. It’s really cool Though they’re enjoying the curcounting. She encouraged him to kid to share this with her.” rent rise, the Schmidts say they’ve got ski cross a try, so Jared attended a a further peak to climb yet. FAMILY FUN AT CALABOGIE spring camp in Alberta after compet“When I was younger, my biggest ing nearby in alpine. Though they now regularly com- goal was to make it to the Olympics,” andrea & is.” jim leask “That was crazy,” recalls the now- pete across the continent,photos the Hannah smiles. “Still 21-year-old. “I was like,record. ‘Wow, this is Schmidt parents got Hayter to catch ham would later push to trytheir out the Outlaws, currently last in the Eastern division with a 2-9 OTTAWA ATHLETES SCORE definitely something I wantreally to do.’”close kids’ bigOutlaws breakthroughs recent ern division with a 2-9 record. for the and the live U20atnational “We’ve had some INTERNATIONAL HARDWARE Thatso ledit to lotsofofappears time onlike thewe’re road Nor-Am eventsand 45 together minutes from “We’ve had some really close team in Cup February, they losses, kind with his father, steppedbut in home at Calabogie Peaks. A number of Ottawa athletes losses, so it kind of appears like made we’re managed to crack both rosters. not doing well Bevin, in thewho standings as coach. The pair travelled around, Hannah mark on sports not doing wellthe in international the standings but “I achieved earned higher thanback-to-back my expect- their we’re definitely giving good runs at figuring thisnotes. new pursuit where 4 bronze Jan. 19 & having 20 at Calabogie, we’re recently. definitely giving good runs at ations,”on Hayter said, only been stage teams,” out Hayter skiers head-to-head down Grathe made Cup debut the Buoyed by notes. her signature rarelyHayter playingher the World sport competitively for next one teams,” Butbattle even in a losing season, slopes at the same time. startin times, Rahneva But even a losingMimi season, Grayear priorintoCollingwood, the tryouts. Ont. (placing matched ham and Hayter revel in the “spirit of weekend was – cool. Really phrase cool,” Jared and then and by silver podium a Jan. ham andthe Hayter revelwith in the “spirit25 of Graham waswon lessbronze surprised his topped the “It game” a common in the 27th), says. “We wereto kind of learning at Calabogie for Nor-Ams Feb. World Cup –skeleton victory in St.inMorthe game” a common phrase the teammate’s success: “Aidan’sonprobsport referring its unique culturetoof back gether, but we’dAtwatch and below see what & 2. Switzerland. sport referring to its unique culture of ably one of the most athletic guys I’ve itz, sportsmanship. all levels pro- 1 worked andgames what didn’t. My dad’s in- everJared, the Blue sportsmanship. At the ISU World Championships At all levels below promet. I who knewwas he’d45th be a at contender.” fessional, are played without tense. He’s really and hebylikes WorldWorld Cup, Junior took silver on in Germany, speed skater without Ivanie fessional, games are played The 2018 Ultimate referees; their roleintense is assumed the Mountain to see us do well, so it’s fun. And you Jan. 19, scoredtake his place first Nor-Am vic- Blondin her isbest result by of the referees;earned their role assumed Championships in Waterloo players themselves. kindGraham of feed off that, on Jan. 20, and that up– season in the biggest race of the year players themselves. – where Graham goesfollowed to university was lesstoo.” surprised by his tory In his rookie ski cross season, gold onCanada Feb. 1 & she won silver medal in Graham wasaless surprised by the his fromback-to-back August 19 to 25. set2.a when teammate’s success: “Aidan’s prob- with Jared managed to qualify for the 2017 high“Itbar was suchmost a good feeling. Espe- Feb. 10 women’s mass “Aidan’s start race. teammate’s success: probat the recent championably one of the most athletic guys Under-21 World Championships in cially familygold here,” details Homan Ottawa Curling oneRachel of the most athletic guys ships to in have 2016,mytaking in the wo- ablyThe But even in a losing season, GraItaly, he finished 32nd. who treasured dinner ClubBut rinkeven earned a record-breaking in a losing season, Gramen’s division and silverhaving in the men’s. ham where and Hayter revel in the “spirit of Jared, full on. He packed up with the many relatives to 10th career Grand when ham and Hayter revelSlam in thetitle “spirit of Graham and Hayter saywho’d they come look forthe Then game”it –was a common phrase in the and across theunique country to Calthefurthering race. “Just to have internaa great they won the the game” – aMeridian commonCanadian phrase inOpen the ward to Canada’s sportdrove referring to its culture of watch gary and rented At a basement suite with crew when I showsoil. up at the on Jan. 13 in North Sask. sport referring to its Battleford, unique culture of tional reputation on home sportsmanship. all levels below pro- support two fellow young cross athletes. realize who’s kind of Canada’s 2018 At Olympic representatsportsmanship. all levels below pro“It’llyou be really a great experience playfessional, gamesskiare played without finish, He’d fallen love the thrill of gotten you here. It was awesome.” also won the are Ontario Scotties to fessional, games played without ing in front of friends,” Graham said. ives referees; their in role is with assumed by the ski cross, and told his sister she had “I can’t Bothwait Schmidt kids stress how aptherole Feb. 16-24 Scotties referees; to their is assumed by the to see how we stack up advance players themselves. to give theytopare for their of Hearts in Sydney, N.S. players themselves. against other players in theparents’ world.” Tournament At italla try. levels below professional, preciative “I’m are gonna credit for that dedication andthey’re sacrifices they’ve made And Nepean product At all levels Skating below Club professional, For now, in the middle of games playedtake without referees. when she the makes bigreally one day,” Jared the season way, particularly in a sport her second games Chartrand are played earned without referees. their first as professionals – a Alaine “He’s guy itwho helped me along smiles. learning a lot,said. but she’s on been expenses, not grind to menseasonhigh that’s an uphill for career Canadian women’s crown at get into“She’s Ultimate,” Hayter Gra- that’s still got a lot to learn, and so do I, but tion the constant emotional support. January’s nationals.

Hannah Schmidt.

Jared Schmidt.

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didn’t make much headway towards her goal of racing at top international levels. “I didn’t really make it, so then I kind of looked at university,” recounts the Carleton criminology student. “I didn’t to stop butnational I was for thewant Outlaws and skiing, the U20 definitely like, ‘I don’tand know if it’s going team in February, together they to happen.’” managed to crack both rosters. Hannah wanted continue skiing “I achieved highertothan my expectcompetitively, there was only no team ations,” Hayterbut said, having been at Carleton. So –competitively as per familyfortradiplaying the sport one tion she started up a club herself. Lo year–prior to the tryouts. and Graham behold, her results came in was best less surprised by his her rookie year on the Quebec teammate’s success: “Aidan’suniverprobsity ably circuit. one of the most athletic guys I’ve you go you’re not ever“When met. I knew he’dhome, be a contender.” always about Junior skiing,”Ultimate signals The thinking 2018 World Hannah, who competed forinCanada in Championships take place Waterloo the 2017Graham FISU World Games.– – where goesStudent to university “Ifrom found I wasn’t as 25. hardCanada on myself August 19 to set aif Ihigh didn’t good recent race. Ichampionwas like, barhave at thea most ‘OK, Go taking to school couple shipsrefocus. in 2016, goldforinathe wodays, back, then go back to men’scome division andand silver in the men’s. school Grahamagain.’” and Hayter say they look forward to furthering Canada’s internaNEW LIFE IN SKI CROSS tional reputation on home soil. Jared a bitexperience of a crossroads “It’ll behad a hit great playat same oftime as his Graham older sister’s ingthe in front friends,” said. struggles. Hetowas competitive “I can’t wait seealways how we stack up in races,other “but Itop wasplayers never in thethe best kid,” against world.” he indicates. For now, they’re in the middle of Facebook message theirThen first came seasona as professionals –a from a fellow product season that’s Mont-Tremblant been an uphill grind for –the Britt Phelan,currently a 2014 last alpine Outlaws, in Olympian the Eastwho switched to ski cross and has

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The generation of lady-Ravens are here and and they’re finding their footing Nextnext generation of Ravens women’s ballers are here they’re finding their footing By Michael Sun As a new generation blossoms for the Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team, development has become a focal point of Taffe Charles’ coaching. After an undefeated season last year, in which they won their second straight Critelli Cup and first ever U Sports National Championship, the Ravens lost five graduating veterans, including Ottawa-area players Catherine Traer, Heather Lindsay and Steph Carr.

Twenty-one games into this season, the team is in 3rd place in the OUA East with 16 wins and five losses. There’s also a new group of Ottawa-area players settling into the roles that were left empty. “Sometimes, your expectations get lowered in terms of what you feel you’re going to do based off experience,” said Charles, the Ravens’ head coach. He’s had to balance a will to win with the necessity of developing younger players this season.

Emma Kieskamp

photo: tim austen

“We’re trying to do both,” he noted. “We’re trying to win a

lot of games and keep the process going. That’s challenging”

Second-year players Madison Reid and Emma Kieskamp have seen major minutes this year, having jumped to the starting lineup. Charles said they both have “all-star” potential. Reid and Kieskamp played together at Ottawa Elite (along with rookie Deanna Hinds). Reid said she struggled with the intensity in her first year with Carleton. Having taken over the starting point guard position, she says her newfound success comes from within.

“The coach will give you as much confidence as they can but you’re only going to score if it comes from yourself,” she said. “As long as it’s a mindset thing: ‘Oh, I can score the ball. I should score the ball’.” Kieskamp said she’s been constantly learning, having not started competitive basketball until eighth grade. “I thought I knew what I was doing but you really don’t know basketball,” Kieskamp said.

CAPITAL HOOPS on p.13


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OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS OTTAWA TEAMS ON OPPOSITE TRAJECTORIES IN OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association season concludes in less then a month and one Ottawa team seems to be on track to finish top two in their division while the other is coming to the end of a disappointing season. Capital Courts Academy sits in 2nd place in the Women’s East Division with a 12-3 record. Louis Riel is currently last place in the division, with a record of 2-12. The season ends on Saturday, Feb 23, 2019 with Louis Riel facing Central Technical School.

LOCAL SQUADS IN PLAYOFF PURSUIT IN PWHL The Provincial Women’s Hockey League is in it’s second-last week of regular season play. Both the Ottawa Lady Sens and the Nepean Wildcats are tied with 45 points and sit well within playoff contention. With 35 games under their belt, the Lady Sens sit comfortably in 5th place, with the Wildcats a spot behind them in 6th place, with 36 games in the book. The playoffs kick off on March 3 where both teams will look to finish first.

Ottawa TFC Telegram

Morning training part of popular ‘culture-shift’

OTTAWA TEAMS HAVING VARIED SUCCESS IN CCHL The Central Canada Hockey League is less then a month away from the playoffs, and the Ottawa Junior Senators sit 1st place in the Yzerman division and 2nd overall in the entire league. Both the Navan Grads and the Nepean Raiders are positioned at the bottom of the same division. The Kanata Lasers are in 3rd place in the Robinson division, but with seven more games played than the team below them, they will need a steady losing streak from the Smiths Falls Bears to stay there.

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED TO ENTER LEAGUE1 ONTARIO Three new teams in the women’s division will be heading into League1 Ontario. Ottawa South United, Oshawa FC and Alliance United FC will all get the chance to showcase their superb athletes in what looks to be an exciting sixth season for League1 Ontario. Both Alliance United FC and Ottawa South United already have teams in the men’s division, but with the addition of the women’s teams more players will have the chance for success. They will join West Ottawa F.C. in 2019 and will be looking to dominate the division.

OTTAWA PAIR RECOGNIZED AMONG COUNTRY’S TOP STUDENT-ATHLETES Ottawa-native Ciera Disipio is one of eight students named Academic All Canadians for her success on and off the field. Disipio plays soccer at Cape Breton University and has been named AUS Rookie of the Year, has received back-to-back AUS MVP honors, was the AUS’ scoring leader, and was named a First Team All-Canadian two years in a row. Her efforts in the classroom, and in her time volunteering for multiple organizations and as a soccer coach, have cemented her as one of the leading student athletes in Canada. Brookfield High School-grad Alina Dormann spent last summer with the Canadian Women’s Senior National Team, which propelled her to greater heights in the OUA, where she led the league in kills per set and placed top five nationally in points scored per set. A three-time winner of the OUA East Player of the Year Award, she helped lead Toronto to a 15-4 regular season where they advanced to their second-straight OUA Final Four. Throughout it all, she pursued a double major in Biology and Health Sciences at the UofT. In her spare time, she volunteers as a volleyball coach and gives back to the volleyball community.

FIGURE SKATER COMPETES AT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS The 2019 Canadian Tire National Figure Skating Championships were held from Jan.13 to Jan. 20. Ottawa-born Emmanuelle Proft represented the nation’s capital with an 18th place finish in the junior women’s competition.

HISTORIC RESULTS FOR PHOENIX TAEKWONDO ACADEMY AT NATIONALS The best results in Ottawa Taekwondo history occurred at the National Taekwondo Championships in mid-January in Quebec City, Quebec. Ottawa’s Phoenix Taekwondo Academy took home the best coach of the year and MVP female athlete of the year. They also had more athletes earn spots on Team Canada than any other team in the country, according to a club executive.

OTTAWA-BORN FENCER BRINGS HOME BRONZE Canadian fencers erupted at the Senior and Veterans north American Cup in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Canadians took home four medals. Kelleigh Ryan of Ottawa finished 3rd to take a bronze medal in the Division 1 Women’s Foil. Ottawa-native Zygmunt Jakubek finished 10th place in the Veteran 60+ Men’s Sabre event.

GEE CAPTURES MORE HARDWARE WITH CANADIAN MEN’S PURSUIT TEAM The Canadian men’s pursuit team brought home silver at the cycling World Cup in New Zealand on January 18, 2019. Ottawa cyclist Derek Gee was part of the silver medal-winning team.

OTTAWA FURY FC JUMPSTART CLUB AFFILIATION PROGRAM

The Ottawa Fury FC club affiliation program is designed to help foster soccer development in the nation’s capital. It hopes to enable young athletes to better prepare for a potential career on the field through talent identification and better access to sporting facilities. Those who take part in this program will get discounted home game rates to watch the Fury play. There are nine clubs in the Ottawa-Gatineau region who are set to take part in the program.

OTTAWA WATER POLO PLAYERS SNAG MEDALS AT UANA CUP

Canada brought home a gold in the women’s competition at UANA Water Polo Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil in late January. Ottawa goaltender Jessica Gaudreault finished off the final game against Cuba only surrendering four goals in a 18-9 drumming of Cuba. Dusan Aleksic, Bogdan Djerkovic, Aleksa Gardijan, and David Lapins helped secure a bronze medal win in a 10-6 win over Argentina.

REGION’S ATHLETES FIND SUCCESS AT PROVINCIAL LONG-TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS

Twenty-eight athletes from the Ottawa region took part in the Provincial Long-Track Championships on Jan. 12, 2019. Tremblay Cardinal Blanche of Ottawa took home 1st place in her division. Rachel Mallard and Daria Vogt finished 1st and 2nd place in their division, and Phoenix Bouma of Gloucester took home gold as well. Colin Syed finished 2nd place in the mixed eight and under division and Renata Kenzie and Ian Milne placed 1st and 2nd in the mixed gender 9-11 event.

CAPITAL HOOPS: Ravens women fall to Gee-Gees continued from last page “Taffe’s taught me so much. University basketball’s just like a different game and it’s nothing like high school, nothing like anything I’ve done before,” Kieskamp added. Among the team’s six rookies, four are from the Ottawa-area: Hinds, Mallory Katz, Emma Huff and Navneet Sandhu. It’s no secret that Charles puts an emphasis on recruiting Ottawa-area players. “The more people we have from Ottawa, that may not be as talented, but (that) we can

work with them throughout the summer and the offseason and there’s no stress having to go home because they actually are home,” he said. “That’s a big priority for me.” The youngsters had a collective breakout game against the Brock Badgers in November, when Huff led the Ravens with 17 points and Hinds and Sandhu scored their first OUA points. “When Deanna and Nav scored their first baskets, all of us were going crazy and I was like ‘yeah, I know that feeling’,” Kieskamp recalled. “I’ve been there before. Seeing

them go on the court, I can see their nerves and I felt the exact same way. I know exactly how it feels.” Katz scored her first points on Jan. 12 against Nipissing University. She said she’s been adjusting to the learning curve of university basketball while growing her confidence. “Being in an environment where there’s girls three, four years older than you, obviously you have to learn to be way more assertive in drills,” she said. “You learn quickly that there’s not a lot of room for error. There’s not a lot of room for you to be not confi-

dent. You’re forced to.” Katz knew Sandhu, Hinds as well Scarborough rookie Sydney Fearon before coming to Carleton. “Coming in with these rookies I was familiar with helped a lot, just to know that we’re all in this together and we’re all adjusting to this together,” she noted. The rookies got to be part of their first Capital Hoops as the Ravens lost to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 6152 on Feb. 1. Charles said, despite the limited minutes, the key is how they develop by year three.

Scheduling ingenuity is helping to fuel soccer excellence while making high-level training more feasible for coaches, players and families at Ottawa TFC. “It makes a more balanced lifestyle,” highlights club general manager Pavel Cancura. “We’re training more than anyone, yet our schedule is nicer.” On the heels of its innovative after-school academy, Ottawa TFC began morning training sessions this past fall. It started outdoors before shifting to François Dupuis Recreation Centre once the weather turned cold. Groups of 12-15 players now gather a weekday each from 6:45-8 a.m. under the watch of senior Ottawa TFC staff. Players age 9-12 work to build their physical literacy in the gymnasium with fun drills to promote agility, balance, coordinator, strength and flexibility. “It’s about making them overall coordinated and athletic, so that whatever you ask them to do, they can do it,” explains Cancura, noting that younger players can more easily participate in other sports thanks to the club’s decreased reliance on traditional evening training. Working alongside strength coaches from Performance Training, athletes age 13+ spend part of their time in the weightroom and part in a studio to enhance strength and mobility. “It’s not like another soccer practice, they do complimentary things to help them recover and stay injury-free, and make them stronger for when they train later in the day,” signals the long-time leader of Ottawa TFC’s root Cumberland club. Finding more training time is crucial for Canada to catch up the global standards, adds Cancura, noting the “10,000 hours” rule (the amount of practice time required to become an expert in a given field). “I don’t think there’s any getting away from that one, but what’s most important is that they really enjoy it,” he underlines. “There are some really talented kids here who I bet just might get to where they dream of being, but man, are they ever smiling the whole time! “And that’s the key – those 10,000 hours have to be fun hours.” For 8-year-old Sarah Benoit, morning sessions mean more treasured time with teammates and friends. “After her first practice, she said, ‘If they did this every day, I would want to come every day,’” recounts Sarah’s mother, Isabelle Roy. “The coaching staff is really awesome. It makes it fun for the kids to come. They’re very encouraging. It’s competitive in the sense that it’s hard work, but they’re very positive in how they coach them and help them along.” Some parents will workout themselves in the morning at François Dupuis while their kids are training. “It’s such a culture-shift,” notes Cancura, whose club was asked to present their formula to fellow Ontario Player Development League clubs at a recent presidents’ meeting. “It’s cool to turn heads with it and have people be excited, and to be producing great players and great people, excellent leaders, and an excellent community. “It’s great that we can look people in the eye and say we have everything we need here to get as far as you want to go.”

OttawaTFC.com


– EDITORIAL & ELITE –

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YMCA-YWCA OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION STARS OF THE MONTH

Athlete of the Month: Ella Martel

Contacts For News/Editorial: Charlie Pinkerton Editor 613-929-3681 editor@sportsottawa.com For Advertising/CAMPS Project Partnerships: Dan Plouffe Executive Director 613-261-5838 execdir@sportsottawa.com The Ottawa Sportspage is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Bytown Storm Triathlon Club Capital City Dance Capital Wave Water Polo Club Carleton Jr. Ravens Cumberland United Soccer Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel FC Capital United Soccer Club Geng Table Tennis Academy Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Kanata GymnoSphere Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Olympia Gymnastics Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Club RA Centre Resolute Gymnastics Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club Sports Training Academy St. Anthony’s Futuro Soccer Club Tennis For Life Ottawa TMSI Sports Management Inc. Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA

Team of the Month: Kanata Blazers Minor Peewee AAA

About: Ella Martel won the floor event and placed 2nd on vault to launch Ontario to a Level 8 team title at the Jan. 10-14 California Grand Invitational in Anaheim. The Nepean-Corona gymnast earned the sunny trip thanks to her strong performance at the Ontario Tour Selection meet back in November in Mississauga. Martel is also the only local athlete sitting atop a division’s standings for provincial championships qualifying (as of Sportspage press time). Her podium-packed performance (vault & floor gold, balance beam silver, and uneven bars bronze) at a Jan. 19 qualifier in Milton launched her into the leading position of the Level 8, Age 14 women’s category.

About: The Kanata Blazers Minor Peewee AAA team won the gold medal at the Bell Capital Cup to wrap up 2018. They posted a record of four wins, zero losses, and two ties in what would eventually come down to a 2-1 win over the Lambton Sting. Both goalies, Charlie Laroque and Carson Pike, blanked the opposing team with a shutout a piece. Peter Legostaev led the team with 11 points and seven goals, and the Blazers outscored their opponents 20-6 throughout the tournament. Roster: Peter Legostaev, William McCulligh, Carson Osborne, Copper Rock, Ryan White, Ryder Wilson, Thierry Demers, Jacob Begin, Riley Pundyk, Louka Njima Bechard, Blake Egan, Carlito Vallejos, Hayden Reid, Jacob Goh, Jaxon Zanatta, Carson Pike, Charlie Laroque. E-mail editor@sportsottawa.com to nominate your Stars! Courtesy of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Stars of the Month will receive free passes to the Y.

Ottawa Gymnastics Club athlete qualifies for nationals By Chad Ouellette Despite spraining her right ankle during her vault routine on day two of the 2019 Elite Canada in Women’s Gymnastics competition, 12-year-old Jenna Lalonde battled through the pain and clinched a spot at the upcoming national championships. Because her final event was bars, Lalonde decided to continue with a routine that she knew would end with some pain from the landing. Surprisingly to her, she finished 1st overall in what she says was her best bar routine ever. Representing the Ottawa Gymnastics Club, Jenna was the only gymnast from Eastern Ontario to qualify. Out of 36 gymnasts at the novice level, she placed 7th to qualify for the upcoming national event being held in Ottawa from May 21 to May 29. “I’m actually really excited for it to be held in Ottawa,” Lalonde says. “Because I know most of the people there and it’s nice when you don’t have to travel as much. It wouldn’t bother me if everyone came to watch. So, I’m happy it’s at Carleton (University).” Having the opportunity to have those who are looking up to her to watch her perform may inspire them to follow their dreams. After a rough first day where she finished 17th overall, her father, Terry Lalonde, says his daughter told him that she planned to move up 10 spots in day two of the event, which was on Feb. 1. Her prediction proved prophetic, as she moved into 7th place following a 4th place finish on the floor and a 1st place finish on the uneven bars. “The first day I found I was a bit nervous and bouncy,” said the younger Lalonde. “But then the second day I was able to get focused and I was able to hit my routine.” After finding out her day one placement, head coach Melanie Major knew that her two events on the second day must be top-notch performances if she hoped to qualify for the national event. “What we were trying to do was get our difficulty score up,” Major says. “So trying to be as consistent as possible so that she could qualify to the Canadian Championships. That’s something you need, you need to have

With all the training she does, Lalonde is constantly surrounded by those who push her to be the best she can be. After the first day of her competition, she went back out onto the floor to watch the senior gymnastics team perform, for a glimpse at what she hopes is her someday. “It’s really cool,” she says. “I look at all the skills they have and it kind of gives me an idea of what I want to have in the future.”

Jenna Lalonde

IN ONTARIO photo: terry lalonde

a certain execution score.” Since Lalonde began competitive gymnastics at seven years old, Major has been alongside coaching her through competitions and training. Lalonde’s father explained that the start to his daughter’s gymnastics career originally meant to be just a fun outing with friends and family. “We were at Starr Gymnastics with friends just doing rec classes,” he said. “It was her friend that moved over to Ottawa Gymnastics Club, we had no intention over going there. “Of course, Jenna says ‘I want to go with my friend.’ So, she went over there and they saw her and the coach … from Starr gymnastics called the club where she was headed and said ‘take a look at this girl.” From there they evaluated her, and put her in a competitive program. Unfortunately, she was too young to compete – only being seven at the time – but she was paired up with Major. She began training only eight hours a week and is currently up to 26 hours. With such a busy schedule, it takes a lot of people to turn the gears in Lalonde’s journey. Her father ensures she has a drive to every training session, often leaving work to drive her, while her school, Joan of Arc Academy, also helps accommodate her busy lifestyle. They offer a program that takes in to consideration how athletically involved she is outside of school. She does all of her core curriculum with them, which includes math, science, and French, while she’s able to adapt classes like phys-ed and drama outside of regular classroom time.

Local provincial-level athletes have been busy winning medals in Ontario Championships qualifying competitions both in town and away. The biggest bevy came from the hometown event on Jan. 26-27, as pink and purple from the city’s east and west-end clubs ruled Les Sittelles’ Envol meet. Winning all-around age group crowns were Kanata GymnoSphere’s Leah Floysvik, Mila Dwivedi & Tehya Hopkins, and Les Sittelles’ Kaitlyn Ross & Julia Hajjar in Level 6; GymnoSphere’s Emma Ireland, Victoria Beaudin & Ariane Charron, and Les Sittelles’ Maya Tudor & Janique Boulet in Level 7; GymnoSphere’s Angelina Polegato and Les Sittelles’ Jasmine McIntyre in Level 8; and GymnoSphere’s Freya Cope & Madison Capretta in Level 9. Level 7-10 women’s artistic gymnasts will compete at the Ontario Championships Apr. 5-7 in Amherstburg (with the men next door in Windsor), while the Level 6 provincials are the following weekend in Dorchester. The provincials serve as a nationals qualifying competition for the women’s Level 10 National Open division, where TRYumph’s Hanna Nixon (currently ranked #2 in the province) will seek to join Lalonde as a hometown representative. Ottawa will welcome several more provincial qualifier meets in the coming months, including Feb. 16-17 at Nepean-Corona, Feb. 22-24 at Tumblers, and Mar. 1-3 at OGC. Competing abroad, Ontario tour team members Myra Fauchon of TRYumph Gymnastics Academy and Ella Martel from Nepean-Corona helped their province to team titles in their respective L6 and L8 categories at the Jan. 10-14 California Grand Invitational in Anaheim.


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Woods wins athlete-of-the-year, bike race at same time By Charlie Pinkerton During the night of the Ottawa Sports Awards, Elly Woods sat nervously as she routinely checked her phone. It wasn’t in case word may have gotten out about the fate of the Male Athlete of the Year Award – since her husband, Mike Woods, had been announced as the winner two weeks prior – but because he was midrace, on the other side of the globe. But to Elly’s relief, the couple became double winners within minutes, as she accepted her husband’s award almost at the same time as Mike clinched 1st place in the second stage of the Herald Sun Tour. Mike finished in 3rd place at the end of the race’s five stages, to continue his steep ascension in the cycling world. That rise was recognized by the Sports Awards with one of the event’s top honour for an individual athlete, which he won for the first time. “It’s a big honour to receive this award,” Woods told the Ottawa Sportspage by email. “I am a proud Ottawa boy and I feel great pride in being able to say that I am the city’s male athlete of the year.” The 32-year-old cyclist’s year was topped by a bronze medal performance at the 2018 World Road Cycling Championship. It was the first podium finish by a Canadian at the event since 1984. Other 2018 highlights for Woods include winning the 17th stage at the Vuelta a Espana and finishing 2nd overall in Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, which he finished inside the top 20 overall. He was also named the Canadian Male Cyclist of the Year for 2018. “This award, like all that I have accomplished in cycling, is just as much a product of Elly’s work

The Carleton Ravens women’s basketball team was celebrated as the city’s top female team thanks to an undefeated season, and victories in the OUA championship and national championship.

Elly Woods.

MALE COACH OF THE YEAR University of Ottawa women’s soccer coach Steve Johnson was awarded the prize as Ottawa’s top male coach. He coached the Gee-Gees to a 20-1-1 record and a national title, which they won on home turf.

photo provided

as it is mine,” Woods added. “Elly is the person who convinced me to quit my job and pursue cycling. She is the one who paid our bills when I first started, and she has been with me, and supported me, throughout my entire career. Therefore, I couldn’t think of a better person to accept the award.”

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Isabelle Weidemann won the award as Ottawa’s top athlete. She

debuted at the Olympics last year and finished 2018 on a hot streak that included winning her first ISU World Cup gold medal.

FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR

MALE TEAM OF THE YEAR

Cassandra Smith won the top honour for female coaches thanks to exceptional finishes by her athletes in regional events in Ontario and Quebec that included 13 podium finishes and six other top five finishes. —with files from Dan Plouffe

Canada Topflight Academy was recognized as Ottawa’s best men’s team in 2018. They won their 2nd consecutive national prep school title.

FEMALE TEAM OF THE YEAR

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2018 MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

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Isabelle Weidemann

Kristina Groves Female Athlete of the Year Award

Mike Woods

Male Athlete of the Year

T ADU L Steve Johnson

Male Coach of the Year

Cassandra Smith

Female Coach of the Year

Carleton Ravens Basketball Female Team of the Year

Canada Topflight Academy Senior Men’s Basketball Team Male Team of the Year

FOR A FULL LIST OF WINNERS, SEE: WWW.OTTAWASPORTSAWARDS.CA


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Profile for Dan Plouffe

Ottawa Sportspage  

The February 2019 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

Ottawa Sportspage  

The February 2019 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

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