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Ottawa’s Downtown Playground

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JUNIOR HOCKEY CONQUERER

P.18

Martin Dagenais reflects on his time as Ottawa Jr. Sens head coach as he considers what the future holds.

INSIDE AND OUT

Year 10, No. 1 • February 26, 2020

Olympic flame aim

Rio 2016 gold medallist Erica Wiebe can punch her ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Games at the March 13-15 Pan-American Olympic Wrestling Qualification Tournament in Ottawa. It will be the 30-year-old’s first competition in her hometown since high school.

P.6

Leading teammates comes naturally to Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus; self-reassurement hasn’t always been the same.

GILLES THRILLS

photo: ivan rupes

photo: wrestling canada lutte / scott grant

2016 Olympic champ rebounds from rough 2019 to chase Tokyo Olympic berth in Ottawa By Dan Plouffe

P.5

As Vanessa Gilles remains a fringe member of Canada’s soccer team, her professional career has taken off.

3 MRIs. 7 x-rays. 6 stitches. And 5 defeats in 2019 (more in 1 season than the previous 4 years combined). Erica Wiebe’s road to the

2020 Pan-American Olympic Wrestling Qualification Tournament featured some big bumps along the way, but the defending Olympic champion now says the tough trek to get to Tokyo 2020 has only made her stronger.

MARCH 13-15 SHAW CENTRE WRESTLING.CA FOR TICKETS

The Stittsville native has the once-in-a-lifetime chance to clinch an Olympic berth in her hometown as she prepares to star at the Mar. 1315 event at the Shaw Centre. Despite the special opportunity, it wasn’t Wiebe’s Plan

A to be here. She came up just short in her first shot at Olympic qualification at last September’s 2019 World Championships with a lastsecond defeat. The loss punctuated a difficult 2019 overall. Within 2

weeks of the worlds, Wiebe got her forehead stitched up, separated her shoulder, and was in a walking cast until the day before she left for Kazakhstan.

WIEBE continues on p.3


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WIEBE: Chance to ‘inspire the next generation’ at hometown Olympic qualifier 3 continued from COVER “I had a lot of challenges,” recounts the University of Calgary-based athlete. “I was trying to get my body ready to go, and you know what, on the day I competed, I felt really ready and good, surprisingly.” Wiebe won her first 2 contests and was leading 3-1 in the match that would have sent her to the Olympics until her Estonian opponent produced a miracle score with 1 second left in the final period. “It still haunts me to this day actually,” says the National Capital Wrestling Club product.

“But, it really made me reflect on what I wanted from this sport and why I’m doing it, and it made me really hungry for more.” On top of the pile of injuries and the missed Olympic berth, Wiebe wasn’t long removed from a breakup just before she turned 30 in June. “2019 was a tough year, but when I look back, there’s always been these big challenges that I’ve had to overcome, and that’s what allowed me to be a champion and win when it matters most,” reflects the Sacred Heart Catholic High School grad. “So I know when I

USE #OTTAWABEWIEBES TO WIN FREE OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION TOURNAMENT EVENT PASSES! The Ottawa Sportspage is giving away a pair of free event passes to the Mar. 13-15 Pan-American Olympic Wrestling Qualification Tournament. Show your support on social media with #OttawaBewiebes to enter our draw. look back, 2019 was probably one of the best years of my career because I learned so much about myself, and I grew as an athlete.” Wiebe says that when things in personal life are weighing her down, “I always look forward to training, and in some ways, it becomes an escape.”

To rise up from the downs, Wiebe employs journal writing, meditation, reads inspiring quotes, and often receives a lift from her mental performance coach, wrestling coach or teammates. “There are so many different tools I can use to get me through the tough times, and I use them all,” she highlights.

TICKET TO TOKYO PASSES BY OTTAWA The bright side to the worlds loss was of course the prospect of competing in Ottawa for the first time since high school. But first, Wiebe needed to win December’s Canadian team trials in Niagara. The women’s 76 kg wrestler won her first two bouts 10-0 and then took down 2018 72 kg world champion Justina Di Stasio 5-2 and 2-1 in the best-of-3 final. “I’m excited to compete in front of a hometown crowd. It’ll be crazy,” signals Wiebe, who’s heard many Sacred Heart Huskies and National Capital Wrestling Club athletes will come to watch. “It’ll definitely be a unique opportunity to compete in the city where I grew up in front of all my friends and family. And it’s cool to inspire the next generation.” When asked if she expects the road to defending an Olympic title will be more difficult than winning her first, Wiebe instead frames the whole concept differently. “In early 2016, we never said the goal was to win an Olympic gold medal. The goal

CAMPS

YOGA

FITNESS

MASSAGE

Rio Olympic champion Erica Wiebe is currently ranked #6 in the world.

file photo

was to have a peak performance on the day,” reflects the back-to-back Commonwealth Games champion. “When I sat down with my coach in early 2020, it was the same conversation. What can we do to evolve and be better and to have a peak performance when it matters most? “If I can do that, step out on the mat, put it all on the line, and have no regrets in the process, then I will be so happy with my journey, and that’s what it’s all about.” The top-2 finishers in each weight class at the Pan-Am qualifier will secure a spot for their country at the July 24Aug. 9 Tokyo Olympics. (There remains a later last-chance global qualifier for those who don’t make the grade). World #1 Adeline Gray of USA won’t be in Ottawa, having already earned her Olympic ticket by winning the World Championships. Wiebe has shown good form recently, having won her last international competition in Rome in January to move back up to #6 in the world rankings. Wiebe’s focus remains on taking “one step at a time and one takedown at a time” to execute her game plan at the qualifier. But she draws con-

TENNIS

fidence knowing the tough moments she’s made it through will serve her well. “I’m such a different athlete today,” notes the former Ottawa Fury soccer player. “I’m stronger and fitter than I’ve ever been. Technically and tactically, I can see and feel so much on the mat. It’s really cool to reflect on how far I’ve come. “There are still so many areas I need to work on and improve on, but I’m so much more mature and disciplined and focused on my pursuit. I feel like I’ve never been wrestling better, and I’m really excited to showcase that.”

2 LOCAL WRESTLERS FOR GRECO-ROMAN Ottawa is also hosting the Pan-Am Championships (which features the full spectrum of international weight categories, on top of the six Olympic classes) the weekend before the Tokyo qualifier. A pair of local wrestlers will be in action there (as well as at the Olympic qualifier) in an effort to gain international ranking points. Adam Macfayden (60 kg) and Ioannis Narlidis (87 kg) will compete in the men’s greco-roman event. Wiebe plans to arrive in Ottawa from Calgary on Mar. 11.

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– ELITE – Ivanie Blondin anointed brightest star of Ottawa athletics in 2019 By Elio Elia A fine line separates the ordinary from the extraordinary and based on her achievements last year, Ottawa speedskater very much qualifies as the latter. Her athletics career has taken twists, particularly with her switching competitive disciplines, and dips, including a disappointing performance at the most recent Olympic Games, but in 2019 she was at the top of her game. To cap her year, she was bestowed the honour of the city’s top female athlete by the Ottawa Sports Awards. Blondin, who is turning 30 in April, was born in Ottawa and started skating at as young as 2 years old. The adrenaline of going fast on skates led her to joining short track speedskating at 14 years old, before she switched to her current specialty of long track at 20. Cut to a decade later, and Blondin has become a perennial medal threat on the World Cup circuit. It has not been all good moments for Blondin, as in athletics there must be lows to match the highs. For Blondin, a valley in her career was the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She had targeted a gold medal and was an expected medal threat in multiple races. She disappointedly did not land on a podium – finishing 5th and 6th in the 3k and 5k races. What followed for Blondin was a year for mental recovery. She previously told the Sport-

Ivanie Blondin

start event. She has the opportunity to finish the best season of her career on a high note at the World Cup speed skating finale in the Netherlands on the first weekend of March.

OSA’S TOP WINNERS

photo: isu

spage she had been battling with depression after her disappointing Olympics performance. She expressed in the past that she felt pre-existing feelings of inadequacy contributed to her below-par performances. In a previous article, Blondin described how she felt: “That was maybe my downfall of the season. I think I maybe wasn’t performing as I should have because of maybe my mental state, not because I wasn’t strong enough to do so, but because mentally I just wasn’t there.”

Yet it was by pushing forward that Blondin ascended to her most impressive level of skating in her career. She ended 2019 by winning five gold medals and setting three track records throughout the season’s World Cup speedskating events. She also won a gold medal at last year’s Canadian Championships, where she set a personal best time. With 2020 now underway, she shows no signs of slowing down. At the World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City in February she won a gold medal in the mass

Tim Nedow was named Ottawa’s Male Athlete of the Year at the Sports Awards’ banquet at the end of January, joining Blondin as the evening’s other top honouree. Other major winners included the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team, who won Female Team of the Year. They won a bronze medal at the OUA championships and were later crowned FISU World Cup Champions. They had an undefeated regular season as well. Gee-Gees women’s rugby coach Jen Boyd was named Female Coach of the Year, becoming one of just three people to win one of the event’s major ‘of the year’ awards a total of six times. The Ottawa Jr. Senators won Male Team of the Year, in recognition of their second-consecutive banner season in the Central Canada Hockey League. They also made it to the national semifinals before losing to the eventual national champions. Jr. Sens head coach Martin Dagenais was also awarded Male Coach of the Year. Dagenais was also a silver medal-winning coach of Team Canada East in the 2019 World Junior A Challenge tournament. Read more about the Jr. Sens on page 18.


– ELITE –

5

Ottawa curler basks in Youth Olympics experience By Stuart Miller-Davis Being thrust into throngs of fans following a game is an experience most athletes dread, but for 17-year-old Manotick curler Emily Deschenes and her teammates at the Youth Olympic Games, it was a flash of fame they couldn’t have enjoyed more. Deschenes and her mixed curling team finished 7th overall at the Youth Olympics hosted in Lusanne, Switzerland in January. The highlight for the team was their moment in the spotlight. “Our whole team was on the train coming back from one of our games and Swiss students that had been cheering us on swarmed us,” Deschenes said. “They wanted us to sign different things and wanted to be around us. I think by far that was an amazing moment just to see all these young kids looking up to us.” “It was a really incredible opportunity for our young athletes to be seen as mentors and role models,” said Helen Radford, who coached Deschenes and the Canadian Youth Olympic curlers. “They were like rock stars to the Switzerland kids.” Athletes between the ages of 15 and 18 years old came from 79 competing nations to compete in various disciplines in 16 different sports at the Games. Curlers competed in a pair of events, first teaming up with their fellow countrymen and then being split into 48 mixed-gendered doubles pairs with partners from different nations. Deschenes and Canada finished at the top of their group by going undefeated in round robin play before falling to Ja-

Emily Deschenes

photo: wcf/alina pavlyuchik

pan in the quarterfinals by a score of 5-4. The Japanese eliminated Canada by scoring a point in the ninth end to end Canada’s run. In the mixed nations event, Deschenes curled with Spain’s Oriol Gasto Jimenez. The duo defeated a pair of athletes from Brazil and New Zealand in the round of 48 before bowing out in the round of 24 against a team of athletes from France and Norway. “When we were curling over there it was just using all the experience we had (gotten) with our teammates (who) we met in April and got to know over the nine months,” Deschenes said. “Curling was an amazing time with, now, my best friends.” Deschenes and teammates Jaedon Neuert of Winnipeg, Man., Lauren Rajala of Sudbury, Ont. and Nathan Young of Torbay, N.L. started training almost a year ago for their first opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf. Duschenes told the Sportspage in an interview that the team’s members had to practise by themselves since they didn’t live in the same city (let alone province, for some). For Deschenes, there was the add-

ed challenge of transitioning from her typical skip position to playing third at the Games. Part of the challenge to the position change for Deschenes was learning how to sweep. “She really embraced (a new position),” Radford said. “(Deschenes) worked out lots off ice to strengthen her body to become physically a very good sweeper. She really embraced the opportunity in all aspects.” Both Radford and Deschenes highlighted the event’s Olympic-style athletes’ village as another high-point of the event. “They learn to interact with all people from all countries and sports,” Radford said. “Emily is very social, so, she was able to get to know athletes from other countries and sports. I know for the four athletes that went from Canada that they will definitely take their experiences and it will motivate them to want to go the Olympics as an adult.” After her first taste of the international stage, Deschenes is eager to someday grace an international podium. “Being at the Youth Olympics is like our first step,” Deschenes said. “I definitely want to get back to the Olympics and

bring home a medal. My goal is to play at nationals and worlds for as long as I can.” Radford said she definitely sees a bright future for Deschenes. ‘I see great opportunities for Emily moving forward, whether it’s in under 18 or under 21,” she said. “She’s definitely very talented and she loves it too. You can see the joy in Emily when she was playing. She truly loves the sport.” Ottawa alpine skier Sarah Brown also competed at the Youth Olympics. She did not finish high enough in any of her events to register a recorded placing.

BONSPIELS’ BEST Team Homan, which features Ottawa-natives skip Rachel Homan, third Emma Miskew, and lead Lisa Weagle, as well as second Joanne Courtney, from Edmonton, came in 2nd place at the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The event serves as the Canadian championships for women’s curling. Team Homan had 6 wins and one loss in the bonspiel’s pool play to place 1st in their division. They beat the team representing Northern Ontario and a wild card entry skipped by former world and Olympic champion Jennifer Jones en route to the event’s gold medal draw. It took Manitoba’s team skipped by Kerri Einarson an extra end to defeat the Ottawa team 8-7. Ontario’s team skipped by Ottawa’s Sierra Sutherland finished with an even 5-5 record at the 2020 Canadian junior curling championships. Sutherland’s team finished 6th overall at the championships held in Langley, B.C. in late January.

Soccer player misses Canada’s Olympic qualifier, pounds away as pro By Brendan Shykora

Vanessa Gilles wasn’t fortunate enough to crack Team Canada for this February’s Concacaf women’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Instead, she was helping her French Division 1 club achieve its best season in team history. The 23-year-old soccer player from Ottawa was a call-up away from the FIFA Women’s World Cup last summer, but didn’t crack Canada Soccer’s training camp roster ahead of this year’s qualifiers. Without Gilles, the national team succumbed to the U.S. 3-0 in the final of the qualifiers – a match that felt like a practice

run for the Tokyo Games, which Canada punched its ticket to with its placing. In typical Gilles fashion, she took the qualifier snub in stride, something that’s easier to do when her professional team, Girondins De Bordeaux, is playing such high-level soccer. “It’s been night and day since last year,” Gilles says, now in her second year with Bordeaux. Led by new recruits from the French national team including Vivian Asseyi, Bordeaux advanced the furthest it ever has in the Women’s French Cup this year and with six matches remaining were 3rd in the league’s standings. The lone Canadian

on the team, Gilles plays a pivotal role. As of the Sportspage’s publishing date, Gilles was the team’s leader in minutes played, with seven minutes more than Asseyi (the only other player on the team to play in all 16 games), and with almost 170 more minutes than any of her other fellow defenders. It’s notable that Gilles has been on the field as much as Bordeaux’s best player, and a testament to the way she channels disappointments – like being left off the Canadian national team – into added focus on the things she can control.

GILLES continues on p.21

Ottawa Footy Feature

Fun & Affordable Youth Soccer in Ottawa – Footy For All

Ottawa Footy For All is set to kick off Season 2 of their fun-filled youth soccer programs with an expanded lineup available at their home Immaculata High School facility on Main St. The offerings include Spring Developmental Sessions for boys and girls age 3-7 on Wednesday evenings, and Saturday morning Spring/Summer Recreational Leagues for age 4-9. Behind the programs is the Ottawa Footy Sevens group that’s become synonymous with high-quality adult leagues locally. Ottawa Footy’s motivation to provide youth soccer opportunities comes in response to the rapid rise in participation costs that’s made sport inaccessible to some. “A lot of people can’t afford it, especially newcomers who are just grounding themselves,” signals Director of Operations Dan Popowych. “This country is rich in people who come from other parts of the world where soccer is king, and we need to utilize that in order to sort of build a greater society.” Using soccer as an integration tool was something Popowych learned in his own youth. Popowych’s family moved frequently since his father was in the Royal Canadian Air Force, so joining the local soccer team was a way to connect with their new community. “That’s how I made friends growing up,” notes the Gloucester Hornets product who went on to win an Ontario title with the Carleton University Ravens. “It’s such a benefit to have more people be able to access the sport, but it’s not something that’s only affordable – we play at a really great facility, on a turf field with lights, proper nets, proper equipment, sharp-looking uniforms, and we’ve got excellent coaching.”

‘SHARK ATTACK!’ GOOFINESS & LAUGHS KEY TO INSPIRING PASSION FOR SOCCER, SAY ENERGETIC & EXPERIENCED FOOTY COACHES Though Popowych and his coaching counterparts have won high-level provincial and national titles, Ottawa Footy has no desire to form competitive soccer teams – talented players will be encouraged to join leading local community clubs. Fun is the name of the game, and that’s a guarantee with Popowych’s energy on the pitch. “It’s about finding ways to ignite their enthusiasm, because with young children, you can lose their attention like that,” he explains. “So let’s say I want them to dribble a bit and then shoot on net. It’s not enough to say, ‘OK, Coach Dan wants you to do this drill.’ “So what I’ll do is I’ll get out a big shark hat, and I’ll tell the kids, ‘When I yell, ‘SHARK ATTACK!’, you’ve got to get over to a safety boat (which is the net) and you’ve got to put your life preserver (which is the ball) into the boat, and then after, you’ve got to hide behind the safety nets. “It’s so awesome to see them with a huge smile, like, ‘Oh my goodness, shark is coming after me!’ Yes, we are working on developing their skills, but really what it’s all about is making sure the kid goes away smiling.” Pirate costumes, chocolate coins and grizzly bear masks are other favourites in Popowych’s props collection. The inspiration for the eclectic bag of tricks comes from his own father. “When I started playing, my dad had to figure out a way to get me to listen to him. So here’s this Air Force general running around in some ridiculous costume, yelling, ‘I’m gonna eat you!’,” recounts Popowych, who now spends his days sharing his passion for soccer with others. “I want to get the kids active and healthy and away from screens, and socializing and meeting new friends,” he adds. “I want to make them fall in love with the sport like I did.” –> Once a week schedule. Same time, same place. Convenient, central location. Simple online sign-up. Register now at ottawa.footyforall.ca

Ottawa.FootyForAll.ca


– UNIVERSITIES & COMMUNITY –

6

Star Gee-Gees guard searching for the brightness she exudes By Michael Sun

Unsung Hometown Heroes Celebrating Celebrating the the Special Special People People who Drive our Sports Community who Drive our Sports Community

Homegrown Homegrown Gee-Gees Gee-Gees basketball basketball coach coach James Derouin set for nationals James Derouin set for nationals in in town town James Derouin – known affectionJames Derouin – known affectionately ately simply simply as as “Coach” “Coach” on on the the court court –– is one of those amazing hometown is one of those amazing hometown proud proud stories stories to to tell. tell. Born and raised Born and raised in in Gloucester, Gloucester, an an all-around sports guy, Derouin found all-around sports guy, Derouin found his his love love for for basketball basketball in in aa rather rather ununconventional way at the age conventional way at the age of of 15. 15. “I “I grew grew up up playing playing hockey hockey at at aa very very high level, but the sport became high level, but the sport became too too much,” he recounts. “A lot of politics, much,” he recounts. “A lot of politics, with City of Ottawa with City of Ottawa commitment, parent involvement, Sports Sports Commissioner Commissioner commitment, parent involvement, Mathieu etc. Mathieu Fleury Fleury etc. Basketball Basketball came came into into my my life life and and there were no politics, no parents, and no insanity. there were no politics, no parents, and no insanity. “It “It got got me me right right away away and and I’ve I’ve been been involved involved with with the the sport ever since.” sport ever since.” Now Now he he is is lucky lucky enough enough to have made to have made itit aa life-long life-long career, career, one one he he has has sucsuccessfully brought cessfully brought back back to to Ottawa Ottawa after after years years of of playing in Vancouver, playing in Vancouver, B.C. B.C. “There “There is is so so much much more to it now, more to it now, and and that’s that’s what makes it special.” what makes it special.” Derouin says.“It“Itis is reDerouin says. really ally incredible, to see it incredible, to see it grow grow whenI I played, from from when played, when you when you couldn’t couldn’t even even get get into into the the gym gym in in the the summertime, summertime, to to aa full full 12-month 12-month season that the kids now have, balancing that season that the kids now have, balancing that now now with with school and everything else. It’s changed a lot.” school and everything else. It’s changed a lot.” Once Once home, home, Derouin Derouin found found his his place place at at his his former former alma mater, with the uOttawa Gee-Gees, first as alma mater, with the uOttawa Gee-Gees, first as aa player player in 2000, an assistant coach in 2008 and returning in 2000, an assistant coach in 2008 and returning home home once once again again after after coaching coaching out out west west in in 2010 2010 to to become become the the team’s team’s head head coach. coach. The The rest, rest, as as they they say, say, is is history. history. Derouin is the Gee-Gees’ Derouin is the Gee-Gees’ coach coach with with the the record record for for the the most career regular season wins, and was the fastest most career regular season wins, and was the fastest in in uOttawa’s uOttawa’s history history to to reach reach 50 50 victories. victories. Speaking Speaking of of wins wins –– this this coach coach and and his his team team are are headed headed to the 2020 U Sports Men’s and Women’s National to the 2020 U Sports Men’s and Women’s National BasketBasketth th ball ball Championships Championships from from March March 55th-8 -8th.. Derouin Derouin is is looking looking forward forward to to the the challenge challenge and and is is forformulating his plan of attack for him and his team. mulating his plan of attack for him and his team. “Having “Having the the best best draw draw at at nationals nationals is is important important ifif you you want to try and win the tournament,” he noted. want to try and win the tournament,” he noted. Do Do you you know know aa local local sports sports figure figure we we should should feature feature in in the the Unsung Hometown Heroes column? Let us know! Contact: Unsung Hometown Heroes column? Let us know! Contact:

613-580-2482 613-580-2482 •• mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca mathieu.fleury@ottawa.ca

Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus says that ever since Day 1 of her University of Ottawa GeeGees career she’s always tried to keep a positive mindset. “I’m someone who likes to make sure everybody is feeling good,” the fifth-year point guard said. “I like to make a fairly positive environment for most people.” Last season, the sense of energy she exudes was matched by her play; McAlearFanus made the leap to the OUA First Team and in a near national finals-qualifying effort was awarded the status of U Sports Final 8 all-star. But the St. Matthew High School grad’s journey to becoming one of the most dependable players in the country hasn’t come without adversity, and the upbeat attitude and exemplary leadership she’s become known for hasn’t developed without being tested. McAlear-Fanus grew up dabbling in any sport she could in an athletics-orientated family in Ottawa. Sports became a release for her energy, she told the Sportspage. By the time she reached high school, her focus turned towards basketball and soccer. She enjoyed dazzling with creative passes that would lead to scoring chances for her teammates, both as a midfielder and point guard. In Grade 12, she was part of a Tigers team that won a ‘AA’ OFSAA basketball championship. The next year she brought her talents downtown to play for the University of Ottawa as a member of its soccer and basketball teams. During her rookie basketball season where she played only sparingly, McAlear-Fanus said she picked up key lessons from veteran teammates. She learned from players like Julia Soriano – who taught her the importance of hustle and speed in her play, and Kellie Ring – a fellow Ottawa-native who McAlear-Fanus called “one of the best leaders (she) ever had.” “(Ring) was a really good balance of telling you what you did wrong and also being a positive light,” McAlear-Fanus said. By her third season,

Brooklynn McAlearFanus

photo: tim austen/charlatan

McAlear-Fanus decided to focus on basketball to maximize her growth as a point guard. That year, she was thrust into a starting role on a young team. “It was hard,” she noted. “I made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of growing to do.” It took until her fourth season to find her “stride” and become a better point guard and leader, she said. “Once I knew what I was doing, that’s when I was able to start leading,” she said. In talking to the Sportspage, Gee-Gee teammates Natsuki Szczokin and Angela Ribarich sang high praises of their point guard. “She knows what she needs to do…she’s such a leader,” Szczokin said. Ribarich said that McAlearFanus especially knows how to get others going. Crosstown rival Carleton Ravens coach Brian Cheng also had bright things to say about McAlear-Fanus, adding that she has a “warrior mentality.” But while she’s ascended to becoming one of her conference’s top players – a journey that’s included a trip to the national championships capped off with a bronze medal (and a Player of the Game performance for McAlearFanus in which she tallied 12 points, eight assists and four rebounds, to boot), she’s also faced a new battle in and of herself – that with depression.

Her struggle with the mental illness had dated back to high school. McAlear-Fanus said she had “dark moments” then, but she couldn’t identify properly what she was feeling. She kept those feelings to herself until her fourth year at uOttawa. How she felt affected her on the court, she said, as she routinely felt mentally exhausted. McAlear-Fanus says her biggest challenge was reaching out for help. “I kept things to myself a lot and it ended up hurting me in the long run,” she said. She struggled as a leader – leading in ways she didn’t want to. She found it hard to keep her trademark positivity when she herself wasn’t content. “When I was being a leader, I was short of that because I couldn’t take care of myself and I couldn’t take care of others,” she said. She finally told others that she had been struggling maintaining her mental health early this season. To deal with her feelings, McAlear-Fanus took part of the preseason off and also missed a couple of regular season games in November. The decision to take a step back from the game was out of self-realization, she said. “It was just kind of me realizing, ‘Okay Brooklynn, what you’re doing right now is not helping you and you do need help. You need to talk to somebody’,” she recalled. She began seeing uOtta-

wa’s mental health counselor and sports psychologist Anna Abraham and says she’s drawn support from elsewhere, including from coach Andy Sparks, teammates, family and others. McAlearFanus says she’s felt a weight lifted off of her shoulders this year. She is still dealing with depression – its ups and downs – but said she feels in a good place right now. “There’s a lot of support in that aspect and it’s definitely a struggle I still deal with,” she said. “I still have a lot of struggles in that aspect. I think that’s why I like to keep that positive attitude because you never know what someone is going through at any given moment.”

NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT In the marquee annual regular season matchup for the four combined basketball teams of the Gee-Gees and Ravens, the University of Ottawa won both games in nail-biter fashion. With a two-point victory in the women’s game and a one-point victory on the men’s side, this year’s matchups at TD Place were the first time the Gee-Gees ever won both Capital Hoops titles. The Ravens and Gee-Gees hold top 10 rankings in both the women’s and men’s divisions and will all compete at the U Sports championships. The national championships will be hosted back at TD Place at Lansdowne from March 5-8.


– HIGH SCHOOLS –

7

Capital Courts trying to conquer last year’s ghost By Elio Elia In sports, you’re hardpressed to find anybody who takes losing easily, and for Ottawa’s Capital Courts Academy girls basketball team, they’re no exception. Capital Courts is a team of high school-aged girls trained to become the best, something they fell short of last year by losing in the championship game of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA). On the eve of the second shot they had this year to avenge last year’s last second 71-70 loss to Crestwood Preparatory College in their league’s finals, Capital Courts felt a strong need to redeem themselves. “It was painful,” Capital Courts star guard Merissah Russell recalled of last year’s championship in an interview with the Ottawa Sportspage. “We were the only team that season in Canada that gave them a good game. It was tricky, and unfortunately we ended up losing by 1 and it broke my heart.” Russell is the 2nd highest ranked prospect in the 2020 Canadian class of women’s high school basketball players, trailing only Crestwood’s Aaliyah Edwards. A commit, already, to the University of Louisville’s women’s basketball team, Russell has been a force for Capital Courts on both ends of the floor this season. She leads the OSBA in points-per-game and stealsper-game. About this season, Russell has described it as one where her Capital Courts team has

Capital Courts Academy’s Merissah Russell.

photo: supplied photo

“worked harder” to try and avoid the same outcome as last year. “Our coaches are constantly reminding us of how we felt after that game, and that we don’t want to feel that way again,” Russell said. As for the insight gained from the loss, Russell says the team “should never settle. Just keep going and train hard. Those are the lessons we apply in our training and practice.” Capital Courts coach Fabienne Blizzard said she thinks the team is capable of correcting the course this time around. “It’s been an adjustment for all of us, specifically the new girls, but I think now everything is falling into place,” Blizzard said of this season. Looking at the Capital Courts program as a whole, there’s been more thought

given this year into implementing resources to help the girls not only leave the program as confident athletes, but also to graduate ready to take the world by storm. They recently added a psychologist to their team, which Blizzard called a final piece to the puzzle, given the team’s philosophy that providing their athletes with mental training is as important as on the physical side. Ahead of their Feb. 7 away matchup against Crestwood (Capital Courts lost a home game to Crestwood 92-74 earlier this season), Blizzard said her feelings are like that of Russell’s. “We want to come back, we want to get to the finals,” Blizzard said. “It’s there for us, and that’s our goal.” As for her thoughts on her team’s star, Blizzard said Russell’s potential for growth is “insane” and that she expects

her to turn into a “monster” in the NCAA with the perennially top-ranked Cardinals. The coach also expects big things from Russell off the court as well. “Everybody thinks of her as a jock, but she’s a lot more than that. Keeping your marks up, that’s a big deal. She’s a great student along with being an athlete, and nobody gets how much work goes into that,” Blizzard said. Russell said, as well, that there is more to her than just “Merissah Russell: basketball player,” saying that her mother often says she has two personalities – the one between the baselines, and the “chill” person outside of them. Blizzard also had praise for Russell for being an inspiration to younger players, saying that she often tells her, “it’s not just for you, there will be people that want to follow in your footsteps.” Capital Courts will continue chasing revenge against Crestwood after falling to the team by a score of 83-68 in February. Crestwood (with a record of 18-1) is the only team Capital Courts (16-3) trails in the OSBA’s east division. The league’s championship tournament takes place in early March, where the teams could once again face off. Prior to their most recent game against Crestwood, Blizzard summed up her team’s attitude towards the season: “At the end of the day, we want to go back there and take care of business, and that starts with the game (against Crestwood).”

Ottawa Sport Council launches new concussion initiative By Rémi Klander The Ottawa Sport Council (OSC) has brought forward a new initiative this year to try and reduce the prevalence of concussions. The OSC officially launched its “Concussion Education Initiative” on Jan. 1, in response to the coming-into-effect of Rowan’s Law in Ontario. The phase of Rowan’s Law that now applies in the province requires sports organizations to develop and enforce Concussion Codes of Conduct for athletes in their programs. OSC’s new education initiative seeks to help sports organizations become Rowan’s Law compliant and enhance their

knowledge of what’s known as the “4 R’s” of concussion management – recognize, remove, refer and return. “We’re educating people on the symptoms. We’re not educating (people) to become a medical practitioner, we want to prevent any situations that could make (concussions) worse or even (prevent people from) recognizing it,” said OSC executive director Marcia Morris. OSC’s latest initiative was developed in partnership with the injury prevention charity Parachute Canada and the Sport Information Resource Centre. It’s funding was supported by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Morris said that OSC originally

pledged to train 450 individuals through the Concussion Initiative but in just its second month of operation that it had surpassed 1000 trainees. OSC is encouraging sports organizations to reach out to it to sign up for the Concussion Education Initiative, to ensure they’re operating in compliance with Rowan’s Law. “Everything you’ll learn in these lessons will help,” Morris said. “It doesn’t matter how involved you are in community sports, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to help and to prevent a (concussion) case from getting worse because you’ll know what to look for and what to do.”

OSU Force Academy Zone

OSU announces historic move to PLSQ

Ottawa South United is on the move. OSU’s men’s and women’s teams will compete in Première ligue de soccer du Québec next season, switching from League1 Ontario in a historic agreement between the two provincial division III leagues. L1O’s most-eastern club, OSU joined Ontario’s top tier in 2017 with a men’s side before adding a women’s outfit for 2019. The move, sanctioned by Canada Soccer, is the first time League1 Ontario and PLSQ have transferred a club between organizations. “We have two high-performance Canadian leagues, from two provinces, combining to assist a member club in a crucial market,” Canadian Soccer Business vice president Eva Havaris said. “This is a key moment for our organizations as we will continue to look to work together in the near future.”

REDUCED TRAVEL COSTS TO MTL OVER GTA OSU’s move to PLSQ will reduce travel time and cost for both the club and League1 Ontario teams. Rather than traveling five hours or greater for road matches, OSU president Bill Michalopulos saw an opportunity to send his group’s top men’s and women’s programs to closer-by Montreal and Quebec City. “Travel has a direct impact on players,” Michalopulos said. “Players and coaches get burnt out on travel. There was an opportunity to limit these efforts from 10 hours to four, roundtrip. We jumped on that right away. It makes everyone more successful.” PLSQ features seven clubs in the Montreal area and one (Dynamo de Quebec) in Quebec City. Commissioner Kambiz Ebadi says OSU’s transfer to his league is a “win-win” as the Ottawa side replaces FC Gatineau – who are taking a step away from the league in 2020 – as PLSQ’s lone club in the Ottawa Valley. “Our point of view was very clear that, geographically speaking, Ottawa makes sense playing in Quebec,” Ebadi said. “We have been working with Ontario clubs at different levels for years now.” For Michalopulos, his club’s switch to PLSQ is the beginning of an enhanced relationship between the two leagues. “It will prove interprovincial play is possible,” Michalopulos said, referencing the Inter-Provincial Cup played between L1O and PLSQ sides from 2014 to 2016. “That underpins a whole number of other movements. To me, this will be the first tangible way that proves this Canada-wide thing, where every level is involved, can work.”

OSU ADDS U SPORTS’ TOP COACH TO LEAD MEN OSU has nabbed Kwesi Abe the reigning CaLoney Osman nadian university coach of the year to direct its new PLSQ entry. Kwesi Loney, also Ontario’s top university coach three years running, coaches a slew of OSU Force Academy products with the Carleton Ravens in the fall. Loney will find familiar confines for OSU’s home matches – Carleton U’s MNP Park is set to serve as OSU’s home pitch. Fresh off a historic season with the OSU 2003 Girls, Abe Osman returns for a second year leading the club’s top women’s team. Osman’s U17 Girls won the OPDL’s first-ever “triple crown” of League, Cup & Charity Shield provincial titles in the same season. He also led OSU to a playoff berth in their debut League 1 Ontario campaign. PLSQ play kicks off in early May.

www.osu.ca


– COMMUNITY CLUBS –

8

Kanata gymnast bursts into Elite Canada top-10 in national debut By Dan Plouffe

The Tumblers Telegraph

Friendship key to teammates’ medal haul The 2020 Tumblers Classic once again produced a pile of precious memories for the gymnasts who took part in the provincial championships qualifier on Feb. 7-8 in Orleans, like countless young athletes have accrued in the Classic’s 20+ years. Take Mia Michaud-Fleet and Lilly-Rose Anderson – long-time Tumblers teammates, and best buds to boot. The pair stayed side-by-side every step of the way in the Level 6, Age 10-11 competition (though both are still 9 years old). That included the post-event awards, when they occupied the 2nd and 3rd-place podium positions in the allaround standings. They flip-flopped one another’s results – Michaud-Fleet was 2nd on vault ahead of Anderson in 3rd, while it was a 1-2 Tumblers finish (Anderson followed by MichaudFleet) on balance beam. “It’s fun, and also challenging” to have a teammate of similar abilities, says Anderson, who also won gold on floor. It’s a big help having a friend there when it comes to competition time too, the girls highlight. “After our events, we always run back together and hug,” notes Michaud-Fleet, who took her first gymnastics class at Tumblers when she was 16 months old. “It’s just really fun.” The young pair have known each other for over 5 years already, progressing through the competitive ranks at the same speed. “We’re like partners because we’re basically the same height,” Michaud-Fleet indicates. They now train together 19 hours a week at Tumblers. “I like making new friends at gymnastics,” states Anderson. “I met Mia as my friend, and I’m really happy with her.” Sharing in each other’s successes is special as well. “We were really happy with our results,” Anderson adds. “I got 1st on my worst events actually, so I was really happy. I’ve never got 1st in my life.” She says the reason it went so well on the big day was simple. “Mia was there for me,” Anderson explains. “When I got nervous, she helped me.” “I gave her a squishy toy,” Michaud-Fleet chimes in. “It’s a big cookie that smells and makes really good impressions that you can feel,” – functioning like a stress ball. Michaud-Fleet was “really happy” with her performance as well. “My friend got a few better medals than me, but I don’t get mad because I did my best,” she beams. “Boy, that’s what it’s all about,” Tumblers coach and general manager Connie Groom says of her gymnasts’ relationship. “It’s really beautiful to see the kids having a great time, developing lasting friendships, and making all these memories. “And it’s great to see this new generation having success.”

COACH ALFREDO CALDERON JOINS TUMBLERS

In mid-December, Tumblers hired a new women’s artistic gymnastics program director to help fuel the young athletes’ development – a well-known figure in the local gymnastics scene, Alfredo Calderon. “It’s really, really good for the club,” Groom says of adding the coach who’s helped numerous athletes onto provincial and national teams. “Our gymnasts love him, our parents love him – he’s just so easy to work with, and it’s really special to see how he works with the kids. We’re really excited to see what the future holds.”

Tumblers.ca

Freya Cope earned a groundbreaking 10th-place finish in her debut national high-performance competition at the Feb. 5-9 Elite Canada women’s artistic gymnastics competition in Calgary. Rewind 4 years to her first season at the new Kanata GymnoSphere club and it would have seemed impossible that she’d win a top-8 ribbon for balance beam amongst the very best of her novice age group in the country. “I remember when I first started with Freya when she was 9 years old, she had a major fear on beam,” recalls Kanata coach Lauren Mooney. “She was really hesitant and scared, but I would say to her, ‘You know, one day you’re gonna do front tuck, and one day you’re gonna do this other big skill, and she would always argue with me and say ‘No, no. I’m never gonna do it.’ “It’s kind of funny now. After spending four seasons working with her and getting her to the point to be able to go to Elite Canada and do the beam routine she did over 2 days (with the second-highest degree of difficulty in the field) – that was amazing.” Cope’s performance represented a milestone moment for the young Kanata club – their first competitor to attend Elite Canada, and qualify for the national championships in a high-performance stream to boot. “To be honest, that was my plan with her from Day 1,” indicates Mooney, who spotted “the natural power that not every athlete has” in Cope, despite the missing confidence. It was a long road to build

Freya Cope

“It’s really cool,” says Cope, who’s hoping some of her teammates will qualify for nationals in other streams as well. That, of course, is all part of the plan for her coaches. “Freya’s kind of setting the path, but we’re definitely going to have more coming up in the next year and for years after,” signals Mooney. “I want to thank my coaches,” the soft-spoken Cope underlines. “They helped me get to where I am now. They’re supported me so much, and they’re always giving me positive feedback.” Jenna Lalonde of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre also competed at Elite Canada, earning a 13th-place finish allaround in the junior event and a bronze medal for uneven bars.

PILES OF PODIUMS AT PROVINCIAL QUALIFIERS

photo: dan plouffe

Cope up for the pinnacle moment – a 25-hour per week training commitment. The final decision to make the trek to Calgary came fairly close to competition day, since small injuries and inconsistencies were a concern. “She surpassed the expectations,” notes Cope’s co-coach Fiodor Martea. “I think she competed super well – basically the best she could do.” That the breakthrough came in what was the biggest meet of Cope’s life – when she was competing in the same gym as world silver medallist Ellie Black (in the senior division) – wasn’t entirely anticipated. “I was really proud of her. She was really brave,” adds Martea, noting that they mod-

ified some of Cope’s routines to remove more difficult elements that were inconsistent in practice. “Every single event was approached with a difficulty that she would be confident that she’d be able to perform. She felt a bit more relieved and had a little bit less pressure.” Cope says she definitely did feel the nerves at Elite Canada. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” signals the athlete who’s jumped up from the Level 7 provincial category just 2 seasons ago. “My goal was to make it to nationals (with a top-24 finish), so I was really excited.” Getting the chance to compete in her backyard for the May 19-24 Canadian Championships in Gatineau will be a big treat, she adds.

Back at home, piles of local gymnasts leapt towards the April’s Ontario Championships with strong performances at Les Sittelles’ Jan. 24-26 Envol meet and the Feb. 7-8 Tumblers Classic. Posting standout scores at Championships qualifiers to rank themselves in the top-8 of their provincial categories were TRYumph’s Myra Fauchon (Level 6 Age 15+), Avery Carriere (L7 A13), Stacy Lelei (L8 A16+) and Annika Magneron (L9 A11-13+), Kanata’s Mila Dwivedi (L7 A12), Ottawa’s Kiera Vered (L7 A14), Danica Henriksen (L8 A11-12) and Lucie Robert (L8 A15), and Corona’s Jane Vo (L8 A13) and Ella Martel (L9 A14-15). The Ottawa Gymnastics Centre will mark its 60th anniversary as the club hosts its annual Tulip Classic provincial qualifier Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

Kanata Rhythmic sends club-record 8 athletes to Elite Canada meet By Rémi Klander Selena Pang and Cynthia Zhang earned the right to compete at May’s Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Gatineau and their Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club sent its biggest contingent yet to Elite Canada, a national competition held Feb. 12-16 in Burnaby, B.C. “All of our national level gymnasts had a great weekend,” reports Kanata Rhythmic national program coach Yuliana Korolyova, who brought a club-record 8 qualifiers to the event for novice, junior and senior athletes.

“They went into the championship with high expectations for themselves and they accomplished what they were aiming for. Of course 1st is always the goal, but they trained hard and performed very well so we’ll take that.” Elite Canada was a breakthrough competition for Pang, who finished 6th all-around in the final out of 45 juniors in total. “It was fun – a little bit of nerves, but fun,” recounts Pang, who placed 4th in the ball final and had the best rope score in the qualifying round. “Of course 1st (overall) would be nice, but in my head I was aiming

for top-5 and I wasn’t far off with two good results. “I’m always trying to push myself to be better and beat my previous scores to be better than the person ahead of me. My motivation is myself, I want to be better than me.” Cynthia Zhang, a national team representative alongside Kanata clubmate Haley Miller (who’s currently injured), finished just behind Pang in 8th spot. Kanata’s Leann Situ placed 7th in the novice event.

RHYTHMIC continues on p.17


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE OttawaSpOrtSCaMpS.Ca

About the The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project is an initiative that provides free sports opportunities to children/youth from Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods. Featured within this unique guide are the sports organizations that offer the free summer camps or seasonal programs positions in exchange for advertising in the Ottawa Sportspage and on OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca. The CAMPS Project is run in collaboration with the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program, which employs sport and recreation as a tool to offer low-income Ottawa Community Sport Media Team

The CAMPS Project vision

kids a brighter future. Worthy participants are identified by recLINK’s family coordinators, who work in OCH communities to actively engage children and youth.

They work to overcome barriers to sports participation such as finances, language, knowledge of sports systems and supporting organizations, parental capacity, transporta-

The CAMPS Project functions under the guidance of the incorporated not-for-profit Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, which also operates the Ottawa Sportspage. Our goal is to help build community sport.

tion and social isolation. The CAMPS Project would not be possible without the efforts of many, including Canadian Tire Jumpstart, the Ottawa Sport Council Foundation, and our partner clubs. The organizations featured in this guide not only provide exceptional sports experiences, developmental opportunities and loads of fun, they are also committed to giving back to their communities. Each of these CAMPS Project partners have offered free program positions to OCH children or youth. We thank them for their collaboration and encourage you to support these groups in turn!

recLINK/OCH Foundation

Sports offer not only health benefits from physical activity, but also help teach resiliency, discipline, confidence and self-esteem, and create a sense of belonging. Our program connects children and youth to free sports opportunities with our partner organizations, primarily community sport clubs, who are leaders in athlete and character development, and community building. This setting engages the youth in positive activities, exposes them to role models, and aids in integration to Canadian society for new Canadians. It combats isolation within their own community and allows them to discover available opportunities. For talented athletes, the program can open the door to university athletic scholarship opportunities and sports careers, and for all, it teaches an active lifestyle and fosters an interest to be part of next generation of sport volunteers, coaches and mentors in our community. The program links cross-sections of our community that otherwise may not interact frequently, allows participants from diverse backgrounds learn from one another, and helps build stronger communities.

OCH Foundation goes beyond the bricks and mortar to help each of its 32,000 tenants achieve personal success through education, employ-

ment, and community engagement. The OCH Foundation’s recLINK initiative helps children and youth participate in sport and recreation.

A big thank-you to our partner clubs who have opened a new class, site or session to welcome a large number of participants from Ottawa Community Housing!

TUMBLERS GYMNASTICS CENTRE

OTTAWA CITY SOCCER CLUB

GLOUCESTER SKATING CLUB

OTTAWA TFC SOCCER CLUB

JOIN THE CAMPS PROJECT MOVEMENT! Contact execdir@sportsottawa.com to get your organization involved today.


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE THUNDERBIRD SPORTS CENTRE & AMBERWOOD VILLAGE CAMP DATES: Weekly June 29 through August 28 AGES: 5-12

SUMMER SPORTS

CAMP

COST: $289/week & tax (4-day weeks: $237) Golf, Archery, Soccer, Basketball, Water (Lunch and Pre/Post Care Included) LOCATION: Thunderbird: 1927 Richardson Side Rd. Amberwood: 54 Springbrook Dr. WEB SITES:

thunderbirdsportscentre.com amberwood.ca

ROYAL CITY SOCCER CLUB SUMMER DAY CAMPS CAMP DATES: Weekly June 29 through Sept. 4 AGES: 5-13 COST: Full day sessions - $189/week Half day sessions (mornings/ afternoons) - $119/week Discounts also available. LOCATION: Ottawa (Pinecrest & Brewer Park), Nepean (Jockvale ES), Kanata (A.Y. Jackson SS) & Orleans (Portobello Park) WEB SITE:

www.royalsoccer.com

Games & Much More FUN!

thunderbirdsportscentre.com

Lunch & Pre/Post Camp Care Included at Both Sites!

SUMMER SPORTS

CAMP

Swimming, Tennis, Archery, Basketball & Much More FUN!

amberwood.ca Register through our websites, or call us at

613.836.2256


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE Since 2i!nce 197S 972! Camp 1Options:

Corona School of Gymnastics

SUMMER CAMP Corona School of Gymnastics Each theme week SUMMER CAMP is action packed

- Full Day 5 yrs & Up Camp - Half Day 5 yrs Options: & Up - Full Day 4 yrs - Full Day 5 yrs & Up - Half Day 3 &Day 4 yrs - Half 5 yrs & Up - Advanced Gymnastics - Full Day 4 yrs - Acro & Tumbling - Half Day 3 & 4 yrs

- Advanced Gymnastics - Acro & Tumbling

155 Colonnade Rd S 613-224-6524 Coronagym.ca 155 Colonnade Rd S 613-224-6524 Coronagym.ca

NEPEAN CORONA SCHOOL OF GYMNASTICS CAMP DATES: Weekly June 22 through Aug. 28

with gymnastics, Each theme week sports, crafts, field is action packed trips and withother gymnastics, fun activities! sports, crafts, field

AGES: 3-4, 5 & up COST:

Full Day: $248-$311 (Trip included) Half Day: $158

and other Dailytrips snacks provided! fun activities!

LOCATION:

Daily snacks provided!

155 Colonnade Rd. S.

WEB SITE:

Before & After Care Available! Before & After Care Available!

CoronaGym.ca

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED SOCCER CLUB CAMP DATES:

Weekly June 29 through July 24

AGES: 5-14

COST:

First Kicks/Soccer Kidz: $235/week International Camp: $350/week

LOCATION:

Larkin Park, Barrhaven George Nelms Sports Park, Manotick

WEB SITE:

osu.ca

AWESOME PROGRAMS, FROM THE PLAYGROUND TO THE PODIUM!

OTTAWA LIONS TRACK & FIELD CLUB

The Ottawa Lions T&F Club’s SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM provides an introduction to track and field, and develops all-round athleticism & fitness through speed, strength, endurance & agility training. Find out more at:

AGES: 6-12

WWW.OTTAWALIONS.COM

CAMP DATES: Weekly from June 29 through August 21 COST: $280/week, $515/2 weeks LOCATION: Terry Fox Athletic Facility PHONE: 613-247-4886 E-MAIL: info@ottawalions.com


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE RIDEAU SPORTS CENTRE RideauSportsCentre.com

SUMMER CAMPS

CAMP DATES: June 15-Aug. 28 AGES: 5-13 COST: $180-$270/week Location: 1 Donald St. (at Adàwe Footbridge on the Rideau River)

TENNIS | MULTI-SPORT SOCCER | BASKETBALL DEK BALL HOCKEY

RSC offers Sports Camps at 4-Acre ‘Downtown Playground’

Ottawa’s Downtown Playground! Camps available June 15 to August 28 Dropoff: 7:30am - 9:00am SWIM Pickup: 4:00pm - 5:30pm

OUTDOOR S EV ERY DAY!

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!

Weather permitting

Rideau Sports Centre 1 Donald Street K1K 4E6

Call us at 613.749.6126 or visit

www.rideausportscentre.com

There is 100+ years of sporting history at 1 Donald Street (formerly the members-only Rideau Tennis Club). This summer will mark the third year that this property is open to the public. Summer Camps programming has grown to 11 weeks across many sports offered by the Rideau Sports Centre (RSC). “We’re really excited to launch our third year of Summer Camps, showcasing our incredible Downtown Playground, situated on 4 acres in the heart of the city,” says Nicki Bridgland, CEO and Founder of the Rideau Sports Centre. The facility features a state-of-the-art Tennis Dome, Multi-Sport Dome and Outdoor Dek Hockey facility. Families can choose a dedicated Sport Camp in Tennis (including a High Performance option), Basketball, Soccer, Dek Hockey – or enjoy a variety of sports in the Multi-Sport Camps. Every day the campers are guaranteed an outdoor swim in the pool, weather permitting. In 2017, Bridgland hired a Program and Camp Manager with deep roots in delivering children’s camp programming, and who was able to bring along many seasoned counsellors he had worked with in the past. “Our camp staff’s enthusiasm level and their experience working with children is phenomenal,” Bridgland says. “I feel so proud of the team we have built over the last two years.” At the end of the RSC’s recent March Break Camps, the feedback forms filled out by parents received an average score of 5 out of 5. “I know we are delivering a fantastic experi-

ence for all campers aged 4-17 years old,” adds Bridgland, who is also the Founder of the Ottawa Sport and Social Club.

LUNCH PLANS & EXTENDED DAY CHILDCARE Also home to after-school children’s Sports Programs during the school months, RSC strives to be as accommodating as possible to parents’ needs. Included with Summer Camp registration is childcare from as early as 7:30am and as late as 5:30pm (formal programming runs from 9:00am4:00pm). RSC offers multi-week and sibling discounts. A lunch plan for the week is available from The Bridge Public House, the incredible onsite restaurant, for those parents wishing to free up some time. An important element of RSC Camps is the GiveBack program, in which 20 free camp spots are given to families in need through partnerships with recLINK and Vanier Community Service Centre. “It’s nice to be able to open the doors to all socioeconomic backgrounds, and make sure we’re supporting everyone in our local community,” Bridgland indicates. “It’s been wonderful to witness the transformation of this historic property from a private members-only club to a property which is fully open to the public. “We’ve got a magnificent community here, and we’re looking forward to having more people come experience everything that makes this such a welcoming environment.”

DÔME LOUIS-RIEL MULTISPORTS CAMP | Louis-Riel.CEPEO.on.ca/DomeLR DATES: July 6-Aug. 21 AGES: 6-12 COST: $195/week (1/2 Days: $165), July 6-10: $295 (2 Days Barça Academy) LOCATION: 1659 Bearbrook Rd.

Dome multisports camp the Le camp multisports au Dôme – place to be in Olympic year! parfait pour l’année olympique Does your young athlete have trouble choosing just one sport? They can have it all at the Dome Louis-Riel’s Multi-Sport Summer Camp! Let them explore all their sports passions – soccer, badminton, swimming, volleyball, basketball, touch football, track & field, and many more! “They get to try a lot of sports – it’s not always the same one,” underlines Dome manager Sophie Anderson, whose camp staff includes many talented and knowledgeable graduates/ upper-year students from Louis-Riel high school’s renowned Sports-Study program. All are bilingual. “If the kids speak to us in English, we’ll answer in English, and if they speak French, we’ll answer in French,” adds Anderson. “So it’s a great environment for kids to be exposed to both languages during the summer, and parents certainly also enjoy that our fees are much lower than other options.” All camp weeks include Friday pizza lunch and 2 swim sessions. Special this year is the July 6-10 week when participants join the Barça Academy Ottawa soccer camp for 2 days (and they’ll get to keep their own academy uniform!) “The Barça brand is known across the globe, so the kids are always really excited to put that badge on their chest,” Anderson highlights. There’ll also be an extra buzz for the camp’s popular “Mini-Olympics” events given that the Tokyo 2020 Games are coming up this summer. “Everyone gets pumped up for the Olympics,” Anderson adds, “so there’s really nowhere better to ignite kids’ spirit for sport than right here.”

Est-ce que votre jeune athlète a de la difficulté à choisir seulement un sport ? Il aura l’option de pratiquer une multitude de sports au camp d’été du Dôme LouisRiel ! Laissez-le explorer toutes ses passions sportives – soccer, badminton, natation, volley-ball, basketball, football, athlétisme, et beaucoup d’autres ! « Les participants peuvent essayer beaucoup de sports – ce n’est jamais le même », souligne la gérante du Dôme, Sophie Anderson. Son personnel comprend de nombreux diplômés / élèves séniors du programme Sports-Études de l’École secondaire publique LouisRiel – ce sont des athlètes talentueux qui possèdent une richesse de connaissances à partager avec les jeunes. Tous sont bilingues. « C’est un excellent environnement bilingue pour les enfants durant l’été », note Anderson. « Et les parents apprécient certainement que nos frais soient plus abordables que d’autres options ». Toutes les semaines de camp incluent un déjeuner pizza les vendredis et 2 sessions de baignade. Unique cette année : durant la semaine du 6 au 10 juillet, les participants rejoindront le camp de soccer Barça Academy Ottawa pour 2 jours, et pourront garder l’uniforme qui leur sera fourni !) « La marque du Barça est connue à travers le monde, les enfants sont toujours fier de mettre cet emblème », raconte Anderson. De plus, il y aura un enthousiasme réel pour les « mini-Jeux olympiques » organisés au Dôme, qui vont plonger les jeunes dans une ambiance de compétition similaire aux Jeux qui se dérouleront à Tokyo cet été. « Tout le monde s’attend aux Jeux », rajoute Anderson. « Alors il n’y a vraiment aucun meilleur endroit pour enflammer l’esprit sportive des enfants qu’ici. »

CAMPS D’ÉTÉ

SUMMER CAMPS

MULTISPORTS MULTISPORTS CAMPS D’ÉTÉ

SUMMER CAMPS

POUR LES LES ENFANTS ENFANTS DE POUR DE 6 6À À 12 12 •• FOR FOR KIDS KIDS 6-12 6-12

INSCRIPTIONS EN COURS INSCRIPTIONS EN COURS • ONGOING REGISTRATION ONGOING REGISTRATION dome@cepeo.on.ca dome@cepeo.on.ca| |613-830-1993 613-830-1993

LOUIS-RIEL.CEPEO.ON.CA/DOMELR

FRANÇAIS : bit.ly/2HkOUSn ENGLISH: bit.ly/2OS2Irz


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH CLUB | ONEC.CA/DAY-CAMPS | 613-746-8540 CAMP DATES: July 6-Aug. 28 COST: Varies by camp type. AGES: 7-17 LOCATION: 501/504 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway

THE OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH CLUB Ottawa’s Waterfront Sports Centre

ONEC SUMMER DAY CAMPS

TENNIS • SAILING • ROWING • CANOEING • STAND UP PADDLEBOARD July 6 through August 28, 2020

The Ottawa New Edinburgh Club’s Unique Single & MultiSport Summer Day Camps! If you want to give your children (or grandchildren) a great summer day camp experience, check out the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC), where they will discover new skills, new friends… and lots of fun adventures! ONEC has operated summer day camps from its scenic location on the Ottawa River since the mid 1980s and offers tennis, sailing, rowing, big canoeing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP), all taught by certified instructors. Campers can select single or multi-sports in different combinations. Operating weekdays from July 6 to August 28, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, ONEC’s Summer Day Camps offer half- or full-day attendance for one to four weeks. Pre- and post-camp supervision is available from 8:00 am and up until 5:00 pm. It doesn’t matter if participants are trying a sport for the first time or if they have previous experience. On the first day, their abilities are assessed, and campers are then divided into groups that match their skills.

ONEC’S PROGRAMS TENNIS One and Two Week Sessions; Full and Half Day for Ages 7 to 17; Certified Instructors; Extended Drop-off and Pick-up Times 10% DISCOUNT FOR PAID BOOKINGS RECEIVED BY MAY 31 Full Details and Online Registration at www.onec.ca/day-camps or phone 613.746.8540

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ONEC’s Tennis Camps (for ages 7 to 17 years) are a great way to get kids interested in tennis or build on the skills they already possess. Participants learn stroke basics, game strategy, footwork and sportsmanship. Fun structured off-court activities are also organized, and all campers receive an ONEC Summer Day Camp t-shirt.

SAILING

Sailing (for ages 9 to 17 years) is one of ONEC’s most popular programs. Campers are introduced to its many different elements, including seamanship and safety.

ONEC’s Sailing Camp uses the CANSail progressive certification from levels 1 to 4. CANSail 1 may take a week or more; CANSail 2 takes two to three weeks; CANSail 3 and 4 each take four to six weeks. All participants must sign up for full-day sailing camps.

WATERSPORTS

ONEC’s Watersports Camps (for ages 11 to 17 years) include rowing, canoeing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP); all take place on the beautiful Ottawa River. Rowing Adventures are offered in the morning. They follow Row Canada’s Journey 1-2-3 program, and Journey 1 and 2 certifications may be attained. Paddling Adventures take place in the afternoons and follow Paddle Canada course material for Big Canoe Paddling and SUPs. Campers mastering the art of paddling a big canoe on the Ottawa River will also learn the concept of teamwork. Stand up paddleboarding is great for strength and balance. Fun excursions take place every Friday for all watersports programs!!

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT!

Book early and save! ONEC Summer Day Camps offer great value and are HST-exempt as well. Early booking discounts of 10% are offered for reservations paid by May 31. For further information go to www.onec.ca and register online at http://www.onec.ca/day-camps/ or call 613.746.8540.

ONEC Day Camps Ad / February 2020 OttawaSportspage / Image size 5.1875”w x 6.125”h / 4C / Cynthia Hamady at cyn.hamady@gmail.com for ad production inquiries

TUMBLERS GYMNASTICS CENTRE CAMP DATES: Weekly from June 22-Aug. 28 AGES: 3-12 COST: $275/week (or $65/day) Half Days: $150/wk ($35.50/day) LOCATION: 330 Vantage Dr. in Orleans WEB SITE:

Tumblers.ca

THEME WEEKS A HIT AT POPULAR TUMBLERS CAMPS

Astronauts, cowboys, princesses and pirates – “Holy Hawaiian Luau, Batman! I thought this was Gymnastics Camp!?!” If you thought gymnastics camp was only about practicing somersaults and walking on the balance beam, then you sure haven’t seen Tumblers Gymnastics Centre summer camps. “Every week has a theme,” explains the Tumblers’ Connie Groom. “I remember all the kids coming in disguised as superheroes and just being so excited to fly through the air and act like them during their superhero training. It’s really something special to see.”

CARNIVAL, WORLD TOUR & MORE! For MAD SCIENTISTS week, participants explore the wonders of gravity, balance and science through gymnastics, while making their own lava lamps and slime. Other themes include PRINCESSES & PIRATES, SUPER HEROES and CIRQUE DU TUMBLERS. Appropriate for beginners and seasoned gymnasts alike, children enjoy seeing the familiar faces of experienced Tumblers camp staff, who have all been trained by High Five – a leading organization in ensuring quality standards for children’s recreation and sport. “Our staff are really part of our family,” underlines Groom, noting many staff have been present for the bulk of the 10+ years Tumblers summer camps have been in operation.

It’s a bright atmosphere where campers can make new friends and progress their gymnastics skills on a daily basis. Crafts and outdoor play time are also part of the equation, not to mention the guest speakers and special events, which all take place on-site at the large Tumblers facility in Orleans. The week always ends with Friday pizza day, which the campers will have earned after exercising all week.

FREE PRE- & POST-CAMP CARE The camps run for 10 weeks total. Half days are available for the youngest campers aged 3-5, while single-day rates are possible for parents who may need child care on a particular day. “For us, it’s really about being there for the community and meeting their needs,” indicates Groom, the leader of the not-forprofit club that has served the community for 25+ years. Pre- and post-camp care is included with registration, with drop-off as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick-up as late as 5:30 p.m. for the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. scheduled activities. Oftentimes, convincing the campers that it’s time to go home can prove challenging. “If the parents come early, it’s like, ‘Aww, c’mon, it’s not finished yet!’” Groom smiles. “They love it. They’re never ready to leave.”

S C I T S A N M Y G

S P M A C R E M M U S UE

IQ T S A N M Y G E D CAMPS D’ÉTÉ A T U M B L E R S.C

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4 O R V IS IT

M E S, C R A F T D W E E K S, G A

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OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE

OTTAWA TFC SOCCER CAMP DATES:

Weekly from July 6 through 24.

AGES:

U9-U13 (U9-U18 Goalkeepers)

COST:

$225/week

SUMMER CAMPS

U9-13 Open Camps: July 6-10 @ Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS July 20-24 @ Gloucester HS

Train with UEFA-licensed coaches, former professional/university players, and our popular and talented academy coaches.

U9-18 Goalkeeper Training Camp: July 13-17 @ Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS

LOCATION:

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School & Gloucester High School PHONE: 613-573-7627

WEB SITE:

OttawaTFC.com

OTTAWATFC.COM

+

OTTAWA’S NEWEST SOCCER ALLIANCE:

YOUR PATHWAY TO THE TOP!

OTTAWA CITY SOCCER CAMP DATES:

Weekly from June 29 through Aug. 28 (See web site for full schedule details)

AGES: 5-18 LOCATIONS:

Algonquin College Soccer Complex Trend-Arlington Park Guelph University (July 2-5 & 5-10 GPS Canada Elite Residential Camp)

COST:

Varies by week/camp type (see web site for full details) Generally $179/week ($126 for half days)

WEB SITE: OttawaCitySoccer.com

RA CENTRE CAMP DATES: Weekly from June 29 through August 28 AGES: 4-17 COST: Varies by camp type. LOCATION: RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Dr. WEB SITE:

RAcentre.com/Camps


To all our 2020 CAMPS Project partners:

THANK YOU!

Become a CAMPS Project partner today! 613-261-5838 • execdir@sportsottawa.com

OttawaSpOrtSCaMpS.Ca

The following organizations have generously provided free spaces in their programs for kids from Ottawa Community Housing neighbourhoods. See OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca for more detailed information on each of them. BEAVER BOXING CLUB

CAPITAL CITY DANCE

CARLETON JR. RAVENS

DOME LOUIS-RIEL

FOOTY FOR ALL

beaverboxing.ca

capitalcitydance.ca

athletics.carleton.ca/camps

domelr.cepeo.on.ca

ottawa.footyforall.ca

FOR PIVOTS SAKE

GLOUCESTER LACROSSE

GLOUCESTER SKATING

KANATA RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS CLUB

KV DANCE STUDIO

forpivotssake.ca

gloucester-lacrosse.com

gloucesterskatingclub.ca

krsg.org

kvdancestudio.ca

NEPEAN CORONA GYMNASTICS NEPEAN HOTSPURS SOCCER NIGHTHAWKS FIELD HOCKEY

coronagym.ca OTTAWA GIRLS HOCKEY

nepeanhotspurs.ca

nepeanfieldhockey.ca

OTTAWA BEAVERS BANSHEES RUGBY

OTTAWA CITY SOCCER

ottawabeavers.com

ottawacitysoccer.com

OTTAWA GYMNASTICS CENTRE OTTAWA LIONS TRACK&FIELD OTTAWA NATIONAL DIVING OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH

ogha.info

ottawagymnasticscentre.ca

ottawalions.com

ottawanationaldiving.ca

onec.ca

OTTAWA RIVER CANOE

OTTAWA ROWING CLUB

OTTAWA SOUTH UNITED SOCCER CLUB

OTTAWA SPORT COUNCIL

OTTAWA TABLE TENNIS

ottawarivercanoe.com

ottawarowingclub.com

osu.ca

sportottawa.ca

ottawatabletennisclub.com

OTTAWA TFC SOCCER

OTTAWA TITANS WATER POLO

RA CENTRE

RIDEAU CANOE CLUB

RIDEAU SPORTS CENTRE

ottawatfc.com

titanswaterpolo.ca

racentre.com

rideaucanoeclub.ca

rideausportscentre.com

ROYAL CITY SOCCER

TRYUMPH GYMNASTICS

TUMBLERS GYMNASTICS

YMCA-YWCA

CAMPS PROJECT

powered by

royalsoccer.com

tryumphgymnastics.ca

tumblers.ca

ymcaywca.ca

OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca


OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region | ymcaywca.ca CAMP DATES: Weekly from June 29 through August 28. AGES: 4-16 COST: Varies by camp type Y OUTDOOR DAY CAMP LOCATION: Camp Otonabee - Dunrobin Y NEIGHBOURHOOD DAY CAMPS LOCATIONS: Carlingwood Y, Clarence-Rockland Y, Ruddy Family Y, Taggart Family Y

Y Camps An experience they will never forget!

Y Neighbourhood Day Camps Camp Otonabee

Outdoor Day & Overnight Camp

Ages: 4Y-16Y

Register online today! YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region

ymcaywca.ca


– COMMUNITY CLUBS –

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Ottawa Sting take a bite of gold at Bell Capital Cup By Martin Laruelle

Ottawa Sting

The Ottawa Sting Minor Atom ‘AAA’ team were the big local winners of this winter’s Bell Capital Cup, the largest annual hockey tournament held in the nation’s capital. Innis Robinson scored the overtime tournament winner for the Sting, putting them on top of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers 4-3 in the event’s finals, which were held at the Canadian Tire Centre on Jan 1. “I was really tired at the moment and very happy. The game was very close, I wanted something like that happen,” said Robinson, who relayed that his teammates shared the same emotions during what he and his coach, Bino Cesario, described as a very tense overtime. The Sting held a 3-1 lead in the third period before the Jr. Rangers, who had beaten them earlier in the tournament in preliminary play, rallied back to force overtime. Cesario remembers Robinson’s winner as being elating, more than anything. “I was very stressed, it was

Anyone serious about hockey should be playing lacrosse.

photo provided

out of our control, but when (Innis) scored, it was a relief. I lost during the final of the Bell Capital Cup, two years ago. I was scared it was like a déjà vu,” Cesario said. The Sting’s Capital Cup victory fits into a larger season of success for the downtown-based team. In Hockey Eastern Ontario’s Minor Atom ‘A’ division, the team cruised through their regular season with a record of 22-5-3. At the time of publication, the Sting were competing in their league’s playoffs. The Sting’s next playoff game is against Ottawa Valley Silver

Sevens ‘White’ team on Feb. 29. The teams recently tied 2-2. The Silver Sevens ‘White’ had a regular season record of 13-11-6.

MULTIPLE LOCAL CAPITAL CUP CHAMPS This year’s Bell Capital Cup was the 21st annual edition of the tournament. Each year more than 200 players, including teams featuring both boys and girls, of varying competitive levels travel to Ottawa to play in the tournament. Teams have also come from more than 11 countries to play in Ottawa during the

event’s lifespan. The tournament is open to teams of players between 9 and 13 years old and has previously hosted future NHL All-Stars including John Tavares and Connor McDavid. Five other Ottawa teams won their division’s titles at the Capital Cup. An Ottawa Sting team won the Minor Atom ‘A’ division. A Nepean Raiders team won the Major Atom ‘AAA’ division. An Ottawa Valley Silver Sevens team won the Major Atom ‘AA’ division. Gloucester Rangers teams won both the Minor and Major Peewee ‘AA’ divisions.

RHYTHMIC: ‘Our sport is beautiful because it’s art’ continued from p.8

Alanna Lu (23rd senior), Keira Agnew (23rd junior), Maria Sokolova (29th junior), Serena Nie (41st ju-

Why Hockey Players Should Play Lacrosse

nior) also competed in Burnaby, as did Ottawa Rhythmic Gymnastics Club competitors Viky Lin (8th novice), Stella Li (9th novice) and Raya Boicey (40th junior).

FAREWELL TO LOCAL LEGEND

photo: dan plouffe

On the Saturday night before Christmas, the parking lot at Bridlewood Community Elementary School overflowed with visitors who’d been impacted by Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club founder Dasa Lelli. The mother of rhythmic gymnastics in Ottawa recently retired from her coaching role of 45 years, though she is unlikely to stray far from the club that now includes her grandchildren.

“It’s a great event for the girls. It allows them to showcase their skills in front of judges and then learn from their mistakes – unless they do a perfect routine, which we’re still waiting for,” laughs Korolyova, who joined the club 4 years ago to kickstart its national program. The Kanata gymnasts train 6 days a week for a total of 24 hours in the national program, aiming to perfect their skills and routines, which they often watch on video to pinpoint areas to improve. “I think our sport is beautiful because it’s art,” signals Pang, who will soon be traveling to Greece and Spain with Zhang for rhythmic gymnastics opportunities. “All the little details we work on allows us to make something beautiful.”

Selena Pang

From Gretzky to Tavares, Shanahan to Stamkos, Canadian-born NHLers recommend playing lacrosse in the summer to improve @griffinslax hockey skills. Take their word for it: /griffinsminor “It’s lacrosse that helped teach me to spin lacrosse off checks, take shots and protect the puck under pressure. My stick skills, the way to read the play quickly comes from lacrosse. The hand-eye coordination, is just one of the little things that helps you in hockey.” – John Tavares I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball against the walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey. All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and everyone of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other - things athletes can only learn A former Gloucester Griffin, by mixing up the games they play Toronto Maple Leaf Cody Ceci when they are young.” is one of many current NHLers who played lacrosse growing up. – Wayne Gretzky Both hockey and lacrosse are high tempo, physical team sports that have similar elements to the game. Both sports utilize 5 players and a goalie, three periods and a strategy of developing odd-man situations to create scoring opportunities. Hockey players excel in Lacrosse, and, in turn, they become markedly better hockey players. Comparatively, lacrosse is a much less expensive sport than hockey and uses much of the same protective upper body equipment.

HOCKEY PLAYERS BENEFIT FROM LACROSSE BY DEVELOPING:

• Stick handling creativity • Creativity in tight areas • Reading the play offensively • Strong, dynamic defensive tactics • Strength and endurance • An appreciation for a new, fast-paced sport • The use of both hands • Better hand-eye coordination • Heads-up play - teaches players to play with their head up and to be more aware of their surroundings

• Quickness and agility around the net • Self esteem, respect, integrity and fairness • Leadership skills • Both offensive and defensive positions and the ability to make a quick transition from defense to offence and vice versa • Scoring skills are honed by shooting at smaller targets and picking corners • Creativity of fakes, back passes and shots

HOCKEY STARS WHO PLAYED LACROSSE:

• Wayne Gretzky • Bobby Orr • Gordie Howe • Sam Gagne • Mike Gartner • Doug Gilmour • Paul Kariya • John MacLean • Steve Larmer

• Joe Nieuwendyk • Jonathan Toews • John Tavares • Steve Stamkos • Dave Andreychuk • Paul Coffey • Adam Oates • Brian Bellows • Mike Ridley

• Gary Roberts • Cliff Ronning • Joe Sakic • Brendan Shanahan • Kyle Turris • Sean Monahan • Cody Ceci and the list keeps going...

ONE MORE REASON TO PLAY LACROSSE:

It’s FUN!

REGISTER ONLINE NOW FOR 2020 SEASON! photo: dan plouffe

gloucester-lacrosse.com


– COMMUNITY CLUBS –

18

What a run: Uncertain future highlights Jr. Sens unprecedented success By Charlie Pinkerton With the Dagenais era of the Ottawa Jr. Senators perhaps soon entering untrodden territory, six years in retrospect tell the story of a do-it-all executive and coach who broke the mould for what it takes to build a championship franchise in the Central Canada Hockey League. The Jr. Sens had been regulars of the CCHL’s playoffs by 2014, but it had been 11 years from their last Bogart Cup when Martin Dagenais purchased the team. “I knew that we had a decent team. Not great, but decent,” Dagenais recalled over the phone during an interview in February. “And with some changes here and there I thought that we could put a very good product on the ice and hopefully win a championship in three to four years down the road.” Before buying the Jr. Sens, Dagenais had been an assistant coach, and had been coaching hockey in some form since joining the staff of his brother’s Bantam ‘B’ team when he was 18 years old. When the opportunity to purchase the Jr. Sens came up, and he personally didn’t have the funds, he turned to his father Jacques Dagenais, and brother, former Paralympian Patrice Dagenais, to chip in on the $225,000 price of the team. From the onset of Dagenais’ ownership tenure, the centrally-located Jr. Sens faced a disadvantage in the CCHL of no fault of their own. They couldn’t rely on the same sort of default community-backing that some of their league’s perennial top contenders – the Cornwall Colts, the Carleton Place Canadi-

photo: dan plouffe

Martin Dagenais was the Ottawa Sports Awards’ 2019 Male Coach of the Year.

ans, and Pembroke Lumber Kings – could. “It’s a big plus if you’re outside the city. There’s so much to do in the city – so much to compete against. The Ottawa Sens, you compete against the 67’s, you compete against the Gatineau Olympiques and you compete against all the junior A-B-C teams around you,” Dagenais said. “There’s a lot to do, also, when it comes to whatever activity you want to do on the weekend, where if you’re in Pembroke on a Sunday night, well everyone will go watch a Lumber Kings game, so that’s the toughest because right away your budget is not as big as the teams that are outside of the city.” The beginning of the Dagenais era is reminiscent of it as a whole: The Jr. Sens lost the first five games of the 2014-15 season (all one-goal games), before righting the ship to finish with an Yzerman division best 44-13-4 record. That year and the next they lost in game sevens of the CCHL semifinals. Part of Dagenais’ strategy off the ice has been

to ditch frugality to try and grow the reach of the team. Making facility upgrades like overhauling the team’s dressing room as well as arranging more team activities during road trips have fit into the larger plan of professionalizing the team’s experience. “I think to build a winner, it’s a cultural thing that starts at the top… I think that’s what OJS has become. Most people around town will call it ‘OJS’ now, they don’t call it ‘Ottawa Jr. Sens’, but when you say OJS they know what it is and they know who we are and that’s kind of what we were striving for… You kind of build a reputation and kids want to play for you,” Dagenais said. In each of the next two years the Jr. Sens eclipsed the CCHL semis, but lost the Bogart Cup in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons to Carleton Place, who was on the back half of winning four straight league championships. In the two ensuing years, the Jr. Sens finished back of the Canadians in the regular season but were better when it counted. They bested the Canadians to win consecutive Bogart Cups, following each league championship with a Fred Page Cup and earning trips to compete for the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) title. Dagenais’ coaching and teambuilding ability hasn’t been without notice outside of the CJHL. He was named by Hockey Canada as Team Canada East’s head coach in last year’s 2019 World Junior A Challenge, after serving as the assistant of the team in previous years. His Eastern Canada team went on to upset the heavily favoured Americans before losing in double overtime 2-1 to Team

Russia in the gold medal game. It was only the second time in eight years that Team Canada East medalled at the tournament. His efforts with the Jr. Sens and Team Canada East were recently recognized by the Ottawa Sports Awards, who named him their Coach of the Year for 2019. Dagenais was also recently tapped by the Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for an assistant coaching job. He’s remained on the bench with the Sens while in an interim role with Gatineau, but says he would be pained to pass up a permanent QMJHL job if its presented to him. “Whatever happens in the spring, I’m not sure yet, I’m sure I’m going to know soon enough but obviously I can’t do both for an entirely year, it just doesn’t make sense,” Dagenais said. This season, the Jr. Sens have been nagged by injuries but still maintain a playoff spot with less than two weeks left in the CCHL regular season. Because of their standing, Dagenais expects his team may match up with Carleton Place once again, but this time ahead of the league’s championship – which is something he’s not shying away from. “It’s been us and (Carleton Place) for the last four years, but you know what, to be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” Dagenais said. “No matter what” ends up happening with Dagenais, the Jr. Sens season and a potential extension with the Olympiques, the coach says he does not plan on selling the team, only that he’s considering stepping back from manning the bench. However it ends up, what a run it’s been.

Calabogie freestyle athletes compete at home-hosted Canada Cup By Victoria Klassen As Nick McDermid, 15, flew down the mogul course at Calabogie Peaks, his complete focus was on sticking his jumps and finishing with a fast-enough time. He blocked out the cheering crowd around him, landed a front flip, followed by a backflip iron cross of his next launch before speeding through the moguls to the bottom of the

course. As a Calabogie Freestyle athlete, McDermid’s talents were on display in front of family, teammates and his club at the 2020 Canada Cup at Calabogie Peaks. The January event was Calabogie Peaks’ second time hosting a Canada Cup event in the last three years. “It was super cool to see a big competition like that at such a small hill. Being able to compete at my home hill is an ex-

perience I’ll always remember,” McDermid expressed. The Canada Cup Series is Freestyle Canada’s national competition circuit that travels across Cana-da and has four disciplines: moguls, slopestyle, halfpipe and aerials. Calabogie Peaks hosted the first moguls and dual moguls Canada Cup competition of the season. Provincial team athletes at-tend Canada Cup competitions, as well as club-level athletes like

McDermid who have high-rankings within their province. In the moguls competition, skiers are judged on their time, their jumps and their technical skiing skills. Calabogie skiers had a difficult time against some of the best competitors of their age group, with McDermid’s 51st place finish during the qualification run for the men’s dual moguls as the top placing by a Calabogie Peaks athlete. While McDermid has been skiing with Calabogie Freestyle for the past five years, he first strapped on a pair of skis at two years old. The Grade 10 Glebe Collegiate Institute student spends his off-snow time mountain biking, rowing, playing rugby, trampoline training and going to the gym. Along with McDermid, there were five other local athletes competing: Jake Jarvis, Aaron Turnau and Drew Hansen from Calabogie Freestyle, and Quinn Ladouceur and Noah Harley from Fortune Freestyle. Fifteen-year-old Drew Hansen has also been skiing

Drew Hansen rotates in the air at the 2020 Canada Cup at Calabogie Peaks.

photo: robert foreman

with Calabogie Freestyle for five years. The Renfrew native said he was happy that his friends and family were able to watch him compete in his first Canada Cup. “Competing in the Canada Cup was a really cool experience. It was my first time, but hopefully the first of many,” said Hansen. Hansen’s best run, with a back tuck on the top jump, and a flat three Japan on the bottom jump, landed him in 57th place in men’s single moguls on the first day of the event. His placing in the men’s single moguls was the best of any Ottawa skier.

“Calabogie Freestyle is very proud of our four athletes who competed in the Canada Cup. It was their first time competing in such a high-level event. They gained a lot from the experience and it will certainly help them with their season ahead,” said Myles Adam, head coach of Calabogie Free-style. There is one Canada Cup Series event remaining for moguls and dual moguls athletes this season. It will take place in Red Deer, Alta. from March 2122. The Canadian Championships for the dis-ciplines takes place in Apex, B.C. the next weekend.


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OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS PROVINCIAL PRIZES FOR OTTAWA GRAPPLERS A men’s 86 kg freestyle quarter-finalist at the Olympic trials, Ismail Ayyoub of the National Capital Wrestling Club defended his Ontario junior title at the Jan. 25 provincials in London. At the Feb. 1-2 cadet/juvenile provincials in Toronto, Pathway’s Sam Griffin (juvenile male 75 kg) and National Capital’s Gabrielle Chartrand (cadet female 80 kg) and Laila Seed-Desai (juvenile female 43 kg) also captured championship crowns, while Tsunami Wrestling Academy’s Gabrielle Gauvin (cadet female 57 kg), National Capital’s Kai Harada (cadet male 60 kg), Ziad Saif El Nasr (juvenile male 55 kg) and Kathryn Robinson (cadet female 43 kg) were all silver medallists, and National Capital’s Samey Al Beajan (juvenile male 75 kg) and Pathway’s Max Roxburgh (juvenile male 71 kg) and Anthony Le Count (juvenile male 125 kg) took bronze.

Ottawa TFC Telegram

Player-to-coach pathway fuels Ottawa TFC

SENIOR WOMEN’S AND MEN’S FOIL TEAMS STAB TOKYO TICKETS Ottawa’s Kelleigh Ryan helped Canada’s senior women’s foil team qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In a weekend event in Kazan, Russia in late February, Ryan’s team that also included Toronto’s Jessica Zi Jia Guo, Hamilton’s Eleanor Harvey and Calgary’s Alanna Goldie battled not only opponents but also illness and injury to do just enough, finishing 16th overall, which clinched them a spot at the Games. Making their weekend even sweeter was the fact that Canada’s senior men’s foil team was also able to punch their ticket to Tokyo on the same weekend. There are no Ottawa fencers on the men’s side, which is made up of Montrealers Maximilien van Haaster, Alex Cai and Blake Broszus and Richmond, B.C.’s Eli Schenkel.

FLYING FIGURES Lilly Napier and Joshua Dore from the host Gloucester Skating Club (above) dazzled in the novice pairs division at the Elizabeth Manley Winter Classic on the rink that bears the Calgary ‘88 silver medallist’s name inside the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex – Orléans. With a silver medal in the pre-juvenile women’s (U13) event, Napier enjoyed a double-podium performance at the Feb. 21-23 competition that was part of the Ontario Super Series qualifiers for the Skate Ontario Provincial Championships, set for Mar. 26-29 in Belleville. Local skaters who finished atop their categories in pre-juvenile through senior categories included Nepean’s Katherine Medland Spence, Glen Cairn’s Victoria Gardner, and Reese Rose, Mila Marleau and David Shteyngart – all from host Gloucester.

FEISTY JUNIOR FENCERS A pair of junior foil fencers from Ottawa have also achieved success recently. A Canadian team featuring national capital athletes Cynthia Liu and Tinney Mak placed 6th overall at a World Cup event in Zagreb, Croatia as part of a Canadian women’s junior foil team. Aided by their teammates Ting Cao of Toronto and Jane Caulfield of Edmonton, the ladies secured a bye to the event’s table of 16, where they defeated a team from Great Britain by 45-43. They lost to an Italian team 45-32 in the ensuing quarterfinals.

PADDLING IT OUT Michael Tayler secured his spot at his third consecutive Olympic Games by being Canada’s top paddler at the 2020 Australian Open in February. In the K1 slalom, Ottawa’s Tayler finished 21st, a spot that was strong enough to secure him Olympic selection based on the point-based, best two-out-of-three qualification system of the event. Tayler earned the country’s open spot, which had already been qualified in an open sense due to Team Canada’s showing at the 2019 World Slalom Championships, which were held is La Seu D’Urgell, Spain. Meanwhile, Ottawa’s Lois Betteridge was tied in the overall points standings in the women’s C1 event by Calgery’s Haley Daniels. Daniels finished in 21st, bettering Betteridge by 6 spots. They next qualification event for the two of them will be held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Olympic whitewater park in early April, where one will likely nab Canada’s entry in the C1 event. Fellow Ottawan Cameron Smedley competed at the same event, placing 30th amongst C1 men.

LITTLE NINJAS Near the end of last year, TRYumph Gymnastics hosted a qualifier for the Canadian Ninja League national championships. Little ninjas in age groups of 6-9 and 10-12 ran a creative gymnastics-style course to score points and beat a timer of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Finalists ran a more challenging course. TRYumph’s ninja program is wrapped into its pre-athlete programs designed by the gym’s coaches Paul ApSimon and Alina Florea to build skills to help competitors succeed in a range of athletics. The club plans on holding more ninja-style competitions in the spring and summer.

Commitment. Passion. Hard work. Kaden Engbers says the keys to becoming a successful coach are the same ones he learned as a player. And those lessons and attributes are even more applicable in life. Engbers is a young coaching talent who’s philosophical beyond his years, but the 19-year-old is the perfect example of what Ottawa TFC Soccer Club strives to create in its player-to-coach development pathway. Engbers started playing soccer with Ottawa TFC’s root club, Cumberland United, at age 3. He joined the competitive ranks and was part of the first group to train within the club’s Academy model, now gaining notoriety nationally. While waiting to be picked up after practice, Ottawa TFC General Manager Pavel Cancura asked a 12-year-old Engbers to jump in and help with a younger age group. Engbers enjoyed coaching right off the bat, so he kept at it. He was inexperienced and made mistakes at first – the biggest was getting frustrated and yelling too much, he recalls. “Eventually, I started realizing it was a bit less about the player and a bit more about the person,” reflects the Cairine Wilson Secondary School grad. “Really, I just want to see young men and women succeed. For me, the most important thing as a coach is that I care for them as people, not just as players. I enjoy watching them grow.” Engbers’ story isn’t the only one of its kind at Ottawa TFC. Club Technical Director Vladan Vrsecky estimates that 80% of Ottawa TFC’s coaches are “homegrown” products. “Our players are aware of our values, and values are very big in our club,” Vrsecky underlines. “We try to choose some potential leaders who can start coaching the U5-6s, then youth teams, then maybe our Academy and beyond. It’s a really great way for them to share their passion.” That’s certainly true for Engbers, who’s chosen to focus on coaching over playing. “You’re only going to have so long a career as a player before your body kind of stops doing the same things it used to,” explains Engbers, who still suits up for Ottawa TFC’s men’s premier team while studying management at the University of Ottawa. “But as a coach, once you develop those skills, you should never lose them, and you can just keep building on them,” he adds. “I got pulled in at first, but I fell in love with coaching immediately, and it’s been my passion ever since.”

TFC BOOSTS COACH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM Engbers’ first formal step to becoming a coach was attending a 2-day course to get his initial licence. Ongoing education was crucial within the club’s Coach Development Program – a model into which the club has invested a lot of energy in recent years. The CDP includes classroom and on-field clinics, often directed by Cancura or Vrsecky, or high-level coaches from Ottawa TFC’s parent Toronto FC Academy, who visit several times each season. Matched up with a more experienced counterpart, young coaches receive mentorship from a strong group of Ottawa TFC coaches who are collectively “the best in the province, if not Canada – bar none, I would say,” signals Engbers, who now coaches a U11 group and leads the club’s grassroots program (U4-U7). “All of them care so much, which just creates a culture here that you want to be a part of.”

OttawaTFC.com


– EDITORIAL & ELITE –

20

Mailing address 345 Meadowbreeze Dr. Kanata, Ont. K2M 0K3 Website SportsOttawa.com

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

Athlete of the Month: Weslie Wang

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 Capital City Dance Capital Wave Water Polo Club CARHA Hockey Carleton Jr. Ravens Elmdale Lawn Bowling Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel For Pivots Sake Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Gloucester Skating Club Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Corona School of Gymnastics Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Ottawa Beavers-Banshees Rugby Ottawa City Soccer Club Ottawa Girls’ Hockey Association Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa New Edinburgh Club Ottawa River Canoe Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Club Ottawa TFC Soccer Club Ottawa Titans Water Polo Club RA Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club TRYumph Gymnastics Academy Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA

Team of the Month: Colonel By S.S. Junior Girls Nordic Ski Team Roster: Kaia Thomas, Amalia Tinmouth, Paige Saravanamuttoo, Jemima Saravanamuttoo and Greta Mader-Stevens.

About: Sir Robert Borden’s Weslie Wang won a silver medal at the OFSAA championships for alpine skiing. In the event held at the Osler Bluff Ski Club on Feb. 23, Wang outpaced 13 of the best high school skiers in the province to place 2nd. He completed his two runs in times of 36.91 seconds and 39.03 seconds for a combined time of 1:15.94. His combined time was less than onetenth of a second slower than that of the OFSAA gold medallist. Wang had the second fastest first run time and the fastest second run time, as well.

About: Colonel By’s junior girls Nordic ski team were winners of their division’s OFSAA championship. The team of Kaia Thomas, Amalia Tinmouth and sisters Paige and Jemima Saravanamuttoo captured four of the top 12 placings in their race to win their school its first provincial Nordic banner in more than 20 years. Paige Saravanumutto came in 5th place, followed by Tinmouth in 7th, Thomas in 9th and Jemima Saravanumuttoo in 12th. Greta Mader-Stevens finished 123rd as the team’s alternate. Only the top four placing skiers’ scores counted towards the team’s gold medal-winning score of 33, which was well in front of the silver medallists from Huntsville High School, who had a team score of 70. The OFSAA championships were held in Huntsville, with the junior girls’ race taking place on Feb. 20. 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.

Former Paralympian trying to reach pinnacle again in second sport By Charlie Pinkerton After former Paralympian Jon Dunkerley retired from competition it took a little nudging to re-alize he had a little something left in the tank. The two-time Paralympian left track at 35 years old in 2015, recalling that he felt happy with his decision before friends persuaded him to take his shot at a local triathlon during the next summer. In short summary, the race went poorly by the former Ottawa Lions runner’s standards. “Go figure; I was just like, okay – I’m pretty sure I could do better at that if I actually put a little bit of effort into pre-

paring properly instead of just doing it, so I started to train a little bit on my own,” he reflected while speaking to the Sportspage. With his competitive nature kicked in, he began his training. By the fall, Dunkerley had caught the attention of Triathlon Canada and was invited to Victoria, B.C. to perform in a series of tests to determine if he would be a good fit for the national paratriathlon team. The ensuing summer, Dunkerley was training in Victoria full-time and competing across the globe for med-al-worthy finishes in World Cup events. Dunkerley got off to a hot start in his first two years of International Triathlon Union (ITU) events. In 2017 and 2018,

he finished on the podium in four out of his first seven races. It wasn’t until last year that Dunkerley’s revived commitment to sport and the “triathlon bug” he says he caught, was seriously tested. Dunkerley competes in the category of paratriathlon for totally blind visually impaired athletes, known as B1. He’s required to run, swim and bike with a guide, and as Dunkerley notes, his competition is of an extremely high level. “Our category is super competitive, so you have one or two bad outings and it can really set you back,” he said. Throughout all of 2019, Dunkerley and his guide James Cook were unable to land a podium finish, only placing as high as 5th in an ITU event just once. Dunkerley lost the federal funding he had received as he no longer held standing one of the world’s best athletes in his sport. “There’s no room for error at all,” he said. The loss of funding meant that Dunkerley had to move back to Ottawa near the end of last year. Cook remains in Victoria, but Dunkerley says the distance hasn’t been too troublesome to their training towards their goal of reaching this summer’s Paralympics. Dunkerley mostly bikes indoors, as he says he would anyways because of the weather in B.C.; he runs with friends he’s made through the Running Room; swims at Brewer Pool; and he and Cook talk to compare training a couple times a week. They’ve relied on crowdfunding through a GoFundMe page to help them get off the ground this season. Their

Jon Dunkerley

file photo

first race takes place Feb. 29 in Australia. The qualification process for the Paralympics will be somewhat complicated for Dunkerley, since it takes into account athletes’ performance from the previous year, but he says ascending to a top 10 ranking should solidify his spot at the Games. He’s currently the 14th ranked parat-riathlete in his category. Reaching his goal begins in Australia, where there’s five athletes ranked higher than him who he’ll race against. Finishing ahead of as many of those ranked above him will be crucial in each of Dunkerley’s races this season. He’ll compete in three events in the next five weeks that he says “will go a long way” in determining if he has a shot at making the Paralympics come what will be an ever-important ITU World Paratriathlon Series race in Montreal in June. Overall for him and his guide, it’s simple, Dunkerley said: “We just need to race well, period.”


– ELITE –

21

GILLES: ‘Good indication as to where Canada’ soccer is going continued from p.5 “If you don’t get chosen for a starting line up or a squad or a camp, it stings a little bit,” she said in an interview during the Olympic qualifiers. “But as a player you obviously have to use that as motivation and as incentive to keep pushing. “I think it’s also a good indication as to where Canada is going and how far it’s come as a group, as a team.” As Gilles says, having to play her way up the depth chart is a sign that Canadian soccer is trending in the right direction. The last international match Gilles played in with Team Canada was its last game of 2019, a 3-0 win over New Zealand. She told the Sportspage that she knew there was plenty of time to further endear herself in the eyes of the national team’s coaches, a prediction that came to fruition perhaps sooner than even she had thought. On Feb. 25, Canada Soccer announced that Gilles would be one of 22 players for Tournoi de France in early March, which “will help Canada to launch its preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” according to the national soccer body. Joining Team Canada will mean taking her first break from the Bordeaux team she’s helped lead into uncharted territory this season. Gilles says she’s seen her

Vanessa Gilles photo:

canada soccer

team’s shift in competitiveness reflected throughout the city – even hearing it in the voices of the fans who come out in growing numbers to watch the women’s side. She’s mentioned in the past how big women’s soccer is in France, how it’s one of the few women’s leagues in the world that gets regular TV time. In Bordeaux’s rise this year, the attendance at games and even practices has gone up noticeably. Against Lyon – the best women’s team in the world according to many – fan support reached a new peak. “We sold out our stadium, and actually before even the players (arrived) to the stadium there was a huge line-up just to get tickets,” recalled Gilles. “I felt like the whole city was invested into that game.” “I really do feel like the city is buying into women’s football, which is a really cool thing to be able to be a part of.”

CAPITAL KICKERS Twenty-year-old Theo Bair made

his international debut early in 2020. Five minutes after subbing into his first ever match for Team Canada, Bair netted a 76th-minute goal against Barbados. Canada beat Barbados by a score of 4-1 in the friendly held in Irvine, Calif. on Jan. 7. Bair substituted for Canada in the 90th minute against Iceland in a 1-0 loss just over a week later in another friendly in Irvine. Bair played for the Ottawa Royals, Capital United FC and West Ottawa prior to joining the Whitecaps FC residency program. Bair and fellow Ottawa-raised pro player Kris Twardek were also named to the Canadian under-23 team that will try as a longshot to qualify for the Olympics on the men’s side. The obligations to his professional team of KAA Gent kept Canadian national star Jonathan David (who also calls Ottawa his home town) from participating in the camp that’s ahead of the qualifying tournament in Mexico starting in late March. Ottawa’s Kayza Massey, 19, held Guatemala scoreless for a tie in a match on Feb. 24 to help Canada remain unbeaten and advance to the knockout round in the Concacaf women’s under-20 championship. Massey’s local soccer roots go back to her days with the Ottawa Gloucester Dragons, when she was only four.

2019 MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

Ivanie Blondin

Kristina Groves Female Athlete of the Year Award

Martin Dagenais

Jen Boyd

Tim Nedow

Male Athlete of the Year

uOttawa Gee-Gees Basketball

Male Coach of the Year Female Coach of the Year

Female Team of the Year

Ottawa Jr. Senators CCHL Hockey Team Male Team of the Year

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


– COMMUNITY CLUBS –

22

Nakkertok skier proving himself at elite level By Colin Orsak

The Rebelles Wrap • La Rubrique Rebelle

Louis-Riel & Cumberland Panthers team up for new football program Louis-Riel high school and the Cumberland Panthers football club are joining forces to offer the first program of its kind in Ottawa, featuring year-round football skills development training integrated alongside scholastic studies. While high school and community club football have historically conflicted with one another, the allegiance between the innovative organizations flips that clash on its head. There won’t be a tackle football team at Louis-Riel – no contact, no helmet, no shoulder pads during on-field sessions either – to ensure a focus squarely on out-of-competition preparation. “Players will have the chance to work on their football skills during the offseason, so that when it starts, they’ll be sharp,” notes Jean-Charles Plante, LouisRiel’s head of football operations. “It’s all about allowing them to play and learn as much as they can. We just want to promote football and fuel the kids’ passion.” Plante, a former Carleton Raven and Mount Allison team captain/dean’s list student-athlete, is one of many Panthers coaches who will work regularly with the Louis-Riel players. Ottawa Sooners CJFL head coach Wayne Jacobs brings 20+ years of coaching experience across all levels to his role as lead program

director. University coaches will also visit regularly. “We’re really excited to launch this initiative,” says Louis-Riel Sports-Study program coordinator Ken Levesque. “We felt that year-round training in one place has been lacking in local football, and the Cumberland Panthers are such a renowned organization with top-quality coaches, so we’re really enthusiastic about this forward-thinking partnership.” Louis-Riel football is open to all. Skill level or position doesn’t matter, the program seeks to draw players who want to get better. The Panthers will provide coaching, but players from any NCAFA territory or beyond are welcome to train in the school’s program. Female players can train to compete for Louis-Riel’s school touch football team, to play in the region’s first all-girls tackle football league (run by Cumberland), or for their NCAFA squad. Grade 7 and 8 students will have morning sessions, while Grade 9-12s have a football class every day during school – either on-field, or training for strength, speed, agility and nutrition. “I think this is really going to elevate the level of football in Ottawa,” highlights Plante. “At Cumberland, we’re always big on promoting the educational opportunities that are possible through football, so it’s a great fit to work with such a strong academic and sports school like Louis-Riel.” Louis-Riel football kicks off in September 2020.

LR & Cumberland Panthers s’unissent pour un nouveau programme

L’école secondaire publique LouisRiel et le club de football Cumberland Panthers unissent leurs forces pour offrir le premier programme du genre à Ottawa. Il s’agit d’un programme hors-compétition tout le long de l’année scolaire de développement des habiletés de football, intégrée harmonieusement aux études. Alors que le football des écoles secondaires et des clubs communautaires ont été historiquement en conflit les uns avec les autres, l’allégeance entre les organisations transforme la situation. Il n’y aura pas d’équipe interscolaire de football contact à Louis-Riel – pas de contact, pas de plaquage, pas de casque, pas d’épaulettes pendant les sessions sur le terrain – pour se concentrer exclusivement sur une préparation optimale hors-compétition. « Les élèves auront la chance de travailler sur leurs habiletés de football durant l’intersaison, sorte que quand ça commence, ils vont être fort », explique Jean-Charles Plante, chef des opérations football à LouisRiel. « Tout le programme est mis en place pour permettre aux élèvesathlètes de jouer et apprendre autant que possible. Nous voulons tout simplement promouvoir le football et alimenter la passion des jeunes. » Plante est un ancien Raven de l’Université Carleton ainsi que le capitaine d’équipe et un membre de la liste des doyens de l’Université Mount Allison. Il est l’un des nombreux entraîneurs des Panthers qui travailleront régulièrement avec les joueurs de

Louis-Riel. L’entraîneur-chef des Ottawa Sooners de la CJFL, Wayne Jacobs, est le directeur principal du programme. Il possède plus de 20 ans d’expérience comme entraîneur à tous les niveaux. Des entraîneurs universitaires visiteront régulièrement aux entraînements. « Nous sommes ravis de lancer cette initiative », a déclaré Ken Levesque, coordonnateur du programme Sports-Études à Louis-Riel. « Nous pensions que l’entraînement le long de l’année à un seul site faisait défaut dans le football local, et les Cumberland Panthers sont une organisation de renommée ayant des entraîneurs de qualité supérieure. Nous sommes donc très enthousiastes face à ce partenariat avant-gardiste. » Le programme de football de Louis-Riel est ouvert à tous et toutes. Peu importe le niveau ou la position, le programme cherche à attirer des joueurs qui veulent s’améliorer. Les Panthers dirigent l’entraînement, mais les joueurs

de n’importe quel territoire de la NCAFA ou au-delà sont invités à se joindre au programme de l’école. Les athlètes féminines peuvent s’entraîner dans le programme, jouer avec l’équipe de touch-football de Louis-Riel ainsi que jouer dans la première ligue de football contact entièrement féminine de la région (dirigée par Cumberland), ou pour leur équipe NCAFA. Les élèves de 7e et 8e année auront des séances les matins, tandis que les élèves de la 9e à la 12e année auront un cours de football tous les jours à leur horaire – soit sur le terrain, soit des séances de musculation, vitesse, agilité et nutrition. « Je pense que cela va vraiment élever le niveau de football à Ottawa », souligne Plante. Le programme de football à Louis-Riel démarrera en septembre 2020.

www.louis-riel.cepeo.on.ca

Having broken into the senior World Cup circuit for the first time with Canada’s cross-country ski team, Ottawa’s Pierre Grall-Johnson is focussed on showing he deserves to compete against the world’s best in the sport. Grall-Johnson’s had impressive performances so far in this year’s North American Cup, picking up finishes that include places of 3rd, 11th, 12th, and 25th during early-season events in circuit races across Canada. He’s also picked up final places of 58th and 66th in singles races in his first World Cup events in the senior division. “My season is going really well, the first year of seniors (World Cups) is obviously intimidating… But I have no complaints about the season,” Grall-Johnson said. Grall-Johnson was born and raised in Ottawa and represents Gatineau’s Nakkertok ski club. Fellow Nakkertok skier Katherine Stewart-Jones has also represented Canada in World Cup races this season – her fifth year that she’s raced amongst the world’s best cross-country skiers. The

Pierre Grall-Johnson

photo: doug stephen

24-year-old Stewart-Jones held a 29th overall International Ski Federation ranking as of Feb. 23. Grall-Johnson said that while competing on the world stage has been leap above what he’s used to, it doesn’t mean he wants to change his mentality or training regimen. “A lot of people want to change their mentality but from what I’ve learned, it’s best to keep it consistent… The important part is that you’re on the circuit because you’ve proved that you are fast,” he said. As well as racing in individual sprint races this year, Grall-Johnson has also partici-

pated in the teamsprint at the Dresden World Cup in January, where his team placed 20th. He said he’s been slightly disappointed with his performance in individual World Cup races so far – having failed to achieve his goal of cracking a quarterfinal heat. But his best sprints are at World Cup events he’s yet to attend. The races where he’s anticipating he could have his strongest results are at World Cup stops in Quebec and Minnesota in March. “I’ve been doing my best in the sprints, that’s why I am here. I’m aiming to get top 12 (this year).”


23


Profile for Dan Plouffe

Ottawa Sportspage  

The Feb. 26, 2020 (Year 10, No. 1) edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

Ottawa Sportspage  

The Feb. 26, 2020 (Year 10, No. 1) edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

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