Th e H e a r t b e a t o f t he O t t a w a S p o r t s C om m un i t y
SENS STARS WIN WORLD GOLD
Sp o rt s O t t a wa . c om
Dynamics change for defending champs, but Team Homan focused on going 2-for-2 in Ontario Scotties career
WHO WILL FOLLOW GROVES?
Retired speed skater Kristina Groves’ five-year reign as Ottawa Sports Awards female athlete of the year will end Jan. 25.
OTTAWA’S NEXT OLYMPIAN?
J a nu a r y 2 01 2
Eyeing the repeat
By Jonathan Russell
Cydney Roesler and Morgan Richardson knocked off USA 3-0 to win gold with Team Canada at the U18 hockey worlds.
Vo l . 4
On the heels of a 2011 provincial title and fourth-place finish nationally, Team Homan is hoping that lessons learned during their debut season out of the junior ranks will translate into more wins in the New Year. The Jan. 6-8 Regional Playdown in Gananoque was the Ottawa Curling Club rink’s first major test of championship season en route to the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, to be held in Red Deer, Alta. from Feb. 18-26. They passed. Barely. Team Homan certainly didn’t take the easy way forward to the Ontario championships. After a defeat to eventual regional champion Cathy Auld in the Aside semi-finals, Team Homan faced three consecutive do-or-die scenarios, staring down elimination each time and emerging as the second qualifier with a B-side final victory over fellow Ottawa Curling Club member Jenn Hanna. “It was a grind, but we hung in there as a team,” Team Homan lead Lisa Weagle posted to Twitter after the victory. “So proud of the girls.”
TOUGH ROAD TO REPEAT
Canadian artistic gymnastics team member Talia Chiarelli is in London competing at the final 2012 Olympic qualifier.
Team Homan faced the exact same scenario with required back-to-back-toback wins at last year’s regionals. They’ll hope the most recent clutch performance serves as a good omen in advance of the Jan. 23-29 provincials in Kenora. In 2011, skip Rachel Homan, second Alison Kreviazuk, third Emma Miskew and Weagle made up the youngest rink to ever represent Ontario at the Scotties. And then in Charlottetown, PEI they became the youngest team to reach the
No longer the surprising young hotshots, skip RACHEL HOMAN and her Ottawa Curling Club rink enter the 2012 provincial women’s championships as the team to beat.
playoff round at the Canadian championships – all in their first season competing on the senior women’s circuit. But that’s not enough to keep the Team Homan curlers satisfied. “Ontario is always represented very well at the Scotties and we didn’t want to disappoint Ontario,” recalls 22-year-old Homan, who graduated from the Uni-
versity of Ottawa’s human kinetics program in June and now works at Goodlife. “But obviously you always want to represent your province as best as you can; once you win you really want to go for it, but it didn’t quite work out, and we weren’t really the most experienced team there but we learned a lot. “We did really well our first time
PHOTOS: DAN PLOUFFE
around. It wasn’t the finish we wanted, but it definitely inspired us to try even harder next year.” After previous back-to-back titles, Team Homan finished second in this season’s Shorty Jenkins Classic in Brockville.
HOMAN continued on p. 6
A DREAM CAPITAL CUP FINAL
Second ALISON KREVIAZUK Third EMMA MISKEW
It was the matchup both teams craved as the Nepean Raiders met their Finnish billets for a Bell Capital Cup championship.
for all your local s ports news .
Lead LISA WEAGLE
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE – JANUARY EDITION
Who will carry the torch next?
New top female athlete to be honoured at 2011 Ottawa Sports Awards
Doc Hockey Corner Explosive training gives jump --By Dr. Shayne Baylis, Doc Hockey How much can you bench? How much can you squat? What is your VO2 max? It is often the answers to these questions that we might associate to overall strength and power. But these are often misconceptions that absolute strength correlates fluently to power and performance on the ice. We now know that these types of exercises actually hinder an athlete's reaction time and acceleration abilities. An athlete who trains in quick spurts such as jumping and sprints often have the quickest first steps. And it is the ability of players to accelerate and create a distance from opponents that becomes the most significant attribute in being effective on the ice and in any acceleration-specific sport.
"The highest reactive ability was demonstrated by jumpers and the lowest by middle distance runners..." —Y.V. Verkhoshansky, Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport.
There isn't too many times in a hockey game where a player reaches top speed for an extended period of time, and thus acceleration becomes the cornerstone skill for speed and performance. In my past experience with strength training programs, I thought I had done all possible types of hockey training. And yet I was never the fastest skater or the strongest player on my skates, no matter how hard I trained. However, when I was introduced to Steve Helmicki and Primordial Strength Systems, I found a new intervention that prepared my body
By Dan Plouffe The Ottawa Sports Awards Dinner honouring the capital’s best in amateur sports for 2011 on Wednesday, Jan. 25 will feature a radical change. It’s not a major switch in format to the 59th-annual edition of the event that welcomes over 400 guests to Algonquin College, but for the first time since 2005, retired speed skater Kristina Groves will not be the city’s female athlete of the year. “It certainly will be a bit strange not to hear her name at the end of the evening,” says Ottawa Sports Awards chair Doug Scorrar. “Not that there weren’t other great female athletic performances in past years, but Kristina was just such a consistently dominant force on the world stage that it was almost always a slam dunk decision for our committee. “However, we are very pleased to see so many strong, young candidates emerge for this year’s award, and show that Ottawa’s female athletes are ready to follow in Kristina’s footsteps and continue to be a source of pride for our city.” There are a large number of candidates who own top-notch resumes for female athlete of the year. In just their first year out of the junior ranks, Rachel Homan led her Ottawa Curling Club rink to a title at the highly competitive Ontario
women’s championships and went on to place fourth at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Ottawa Rowing Club member Kate Goodfellow helped Canada to an under-23 world championship, setting a new world record time for the category in the women’s eight event. The University of Ottawa student was also a U23 pairs national champion and a CIS silver medalist. Christina Julien emerged as a starting striker alongside Christine Sinclair for the national women’s soccer team at the Pan Am Games, scoring two goals during Canada’s gold medal run in Guadalajara. Julien was also a member of the Canadian World Cup team and played for the WLeague finalist Ottawa Fury during its undefeated W-League regular season. And Ottawa Lions hammer thrower Sultana Frizell also enjoyed success on the international stage, winning a silver medal at the Pan Am Games against five of the world’s top20 ranked athletes. There are also some strong candidates for male athlete of the year, with bobsleigh world championships medalist Cody Sorensen, CIS outstanding athlete and Carleton Ravens national basketball champion Tyson Hinz, and Peter Garrett – an archery world champion in the 3D division – all in the running for the honour. “We look forward to celebrating
See SportsOttawa.com later this month for full coverage of the 2011 Ottawa Sports Awards banquet.
the accomplishments of all our amateur athletes in 2011 with the local sports community,” Scorrar adds. “We are always so pleased to honour people who devote tremendous amounts of energy to their sports, often for very little recognition.” The Ottawa Sports Awards banquet honours the top athletes in over 60 individual sports, along with teams that have won provincial championships or higher, and also presents major awards to athletes, teams and coaches of the year. Along with the club of the year honour – which will be shared by the Ottawa Fury soccer club and the Ottawa Lions track-and-field club – the recipients of the Sports Awards lifetime honours have been unveiled in advance of the Dinner. John Leroux (volunteer or administrator), Jim Ward (technical official), Don Lyon (coach) and Carolyn Waldo (media) will all be recognized for lifetime achievements, while retiring Ottawa District Hockey Association executive director Rick Sennott will receive the Mayor’s Cup for outstanding contribution to sport in Ottawa for his 52 years of dedication to the greater community through volunteerism and his career work.
to be repetitively explosive, quick and strong at a time I needed it the most – trying out for the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL. My opportunity for try-outs came when I was finishing up my degree at Chiropractic College, and I was worried about what I was up against, not having been in competitive hockey for a couple of years and practicing against guys who have been continually training all year round. To my surprise, and due to the Primordial Strength Systems training program, my legs had consistent energy and jump in them. Every time I can remember battling with players on the boards or in direct contact, I was the one knocking them over. This provided a confidence I was not used to having and it gave me a presence that emanated throughout my game. This thrilling and personal experience led me to pursue certification in Primordial Strength Systems and help those willing to work hard in their sport reach their goals to be the best they can be. When you’re thinking about a training regime, consider how it transfers to the ice and if your preparation will enhance your performance. Remember, it is not the player who can skate around the rink the fastest but the player that wins the 10foot race that will create separation and space from other players and become the most successful. Visit dochockey.ca for more information.
@doc_hockey doc hockey
Spotlight on girlsʼ hockey for a day Like participants at Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest, U22 national team member Isabel Ménard grew up playing for local clubs such as the Ottawa Senators and Louis-Riel Rebelles. FILE PHOTO
Organizers couldn't have picked a better day for the eighth-annual Scotiabank Girls Hockeyfest on Saturday, Jan. 7. While over 200 novice, atom and peeweeaged minor hockey players took to the Scotiabank Place ice for sessions led by the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens varsity teams, four local players provided a source of inspiration for the youngsters as they wore the maple leaf overseas on the same day. Ottawa Senators women's hockey stars Morgan Richardson and Cydney Roesler helped Canada win a gold medal over the U.S. in the final of the under-18 women's world championships, while Sens grads Jamie Lee Rattray and Isabel Ménard played for the U22 development team in Germany. Rattray was an offensive leader for Canada throughout the event that featured top national teams from Finland, Germany,
Switzerland, Russia and Sweden, scoring three goals and three assists in five games. Ménard also contributed three points as Canada went 3-2 with overtime and shootout losses to Finland and Sweden to finish third at the Meco Cup. Meanwhile, back home, it was mostly about smiles and spills as Olympic gold medalist Sami Jo Small put the up-and-coming generation through drills at the free all-day event. Now a goaltender for the Toronto Furies, Small is a co-founder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League. The major piece missing in local women's hockey development, Ottawa no longer has a franchise in an elite women's hockey league since the Senators were folded by the CWHL in 2009 after consecutive seasons where they won just one of every six games. Visit SportsOttawa.com to read an archive story on the Ottawa Senators CWHL franchise folding.
The Force Academy Zone
Sarah and Steven Clarke will make the nationals debut in Moncton for the Gloucester Skating Club’s ice dance program headed by retired Grand Prix medalists Allie HannMcCurdy and Michael Coreno.
OSU teams stack up vs. best at ESPN Disney College Showcase
PHOTO: DAN PLOUFFE
By Dan Plouffe Their goal was simply to qualify for the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. But thanks to their silver medal performance at last month’s Skate Canada Challenge in Regina, novice ice dancers Samantha Glavine and Jeff Hough of the Minto Skating Club suddenly find themselves as one of Ottawa’s top medal threats for the Jan. 1622 nationals in Moncton, N. B. “Last year, everyone was just so strong in novice. I didn’t think we were as good as the other people,” admits Glavine, a 14-year-old Mother Theresa High School student. “I was definitely surprised.” Hough, who also qualified for nationals on his own in the freeskate event, recounts how coach Darryl VanLuven took them back to skating basics to help build greater speed and launch them towards the new heights they’ve achieved. While the top-notch result at Challenge was unexpected for the pair who only moved up into their category from pre-novice this season, it’s now changed their outlook towards nationals. “It gives us more confidence,” Glavine explains. “I want to win,” Hough adds bluntly, noting they were less than a point behind the first-place score with their total of 89.90 at Challenge, which featured a nationwide field. “We can make that up,” Glavine continues. While Hough and Glavine view a single point as peanuts, Elizabeth Comeau of the Gloucester Skating Club was thanking her lucky stars for the .16 points that allowed her to claim the final nationals qualification position in the junior women’s category. “I knew I was lucky, but I just want to get to nationals now and show everybody what I’ve got,” recounts Comeau, who wasn’t really expecting to make it to Challenge, let alone nationals, since she’s nursed a foot injury all season long. “It’s my first year of junior, so I’m just happy to have gotten this far.” Despite her good fortune, Comeau couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for Minto’s Anna McCorriston, who wound up on the wrong side of the equation just one place back in 19th. Lisa Nasu-Yu, who represents Minto while training in Toronto, advanced in novice women, but Minto’s Zoe Gong also missed the nationals cut by a narrow margin. “It’s a little heartbreaking that they were so close and didn’t make it through,” notes VanLuven. “But I think both of them came back learning from their mistakes. They’ve already setup their goals on how they’re going to attack next season.”
BIG STAGE LOOMS FOR BEN GUTHRIE
In his second season competing at the senior men’s level, Benjamin Guthrie qualified to take part in the main event with a 12th-place finish at Challenge, earning the right to compete alongside Patrick Chan for the first time since age eight when they were both at the same invitational. “You see the boards and all the signs and the judges and the cameras, and you think some day I want to be out there,” says Guthrie, who moved to Ottawa from the northern Ontario community of Marathon over five years to pursue figure skating. “And now that that’s happening, I’m really excited just to be there, really.” Guthrie doesn’t feel much pressure heading onto the big stage since his expectations aren’t terribly high for his senior nationals debut, although the long-term goal remains to some day move up into the top five or six. “I would definitely like to be in that top area to get an international assignment,” highlights Guthrie, who was able to book the whole ice to himself for cheap when he went home during the holidays. “I really like to travel, so that would be awesome.”
Traveling on Dec. 24 or 25 would not be near the top of many people’s Christmas wish list, unless one has been invited and accepted to participate in one North America’s most prestigious youth soccer showcases; The ESPN – DISNEY College Showcase in sunny Orlando, Florida. Four, Ottawa South United (OSU) boys’ teams and one OSU girls’ team (one week later) packed their soccer gear and jetted to Florida as part of the only Canadian youth soccer club to be accepted in this ESPN - Disney Showcase event this year. The OSU Force players who attended the Dec. 26-30 Disney College Showcase went to the event with a purpose. “It’s pretty much a business trip for us. We don’t go down there for a vacation and we sort of make sure that they know that,” says Russell Shaw, who coached three of the five teams at the tournament. “That’s the time of year that most of the university scouts can come and see the players,” Shaw explains. “The tournament starts on the 27th and we want to have a couple days to get adjusted to the weather and train.” It’s a hurdle most of OSU’s Sunbelt opponents don’t face – readjusting to natural grass and a warm climate.But despite the additional challenge, the OSU teams all performed well at the competition. The youngest group of OSU players, born in 1997, started with a big 5-0 victory over a Texas Lonestars team “and basically shocked everybody,” Shaw recounts. Despite two key injuries, the oldest group of OSU ’94s managed a tie and a win to move forward into the bronze medal match where they had “no legs left in the second half” and fell 4-2 to the Chicago Fire in the tournament’s top academy division. The OSU ’96
ON THE ROAD AGAIN FOR OUT-OF-TOWNERS Guthrie is one of many skaters headed to nationals who have converged on Ottawa from smaller communities. Hailing from Maitland, Ont. and competing under the Nepean Skating Club banner, 15-year-old Alaine Chartrand broke through to land on the senior women’s podium at Challenge, while junior skater Jennifer Pettem also travels most days to Ottawa from the same town near Prescott to train with Gloucester. “They grow up a lot faster,” notes Gloucester director of skating Darlene Joseph. “They do learn to manage their time and their energy a lot better. “They may have to sit in the car for two or three hours, but when they get on the ice, they just go. They don’t have the luxury off all that ice sometimes, so it gives them a bit more of a killer instinct.” With junior ice dancers Sarah and Steven Clarke also headed to Moncton, the quintet of Gloucester skaters is the largest number of athletes the club has sent to the big show in quite a few years. “We’re very excited about that,” Joseph smiles. “The kids have worked really hard, and the coaches and the club has worked really hard to continue to develop competitive skaters, and I think now we’re starting to see the results of all that hard work.” Visit SportsOttawa.com for coverage of the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.
girls, ’95 boys and ’96 boys also participated and altogether made the club proud. “Years ago we were trying just to compete at the introductory showcase level and now we’re showing that we can compete at the highest academy showcase level,” stated OSU President, Bill Michalopulos, whose club is the only one from Canada to be consistently invited to participate in this specific event that requires high performance standards in order to enter. Disney holds many soccer tournaments throughout the year open to all who want to play soccer but the December Showcase and the November Junior Showcase are all “business”. They are unique by the fact that there is a strict qualification process in order to be considered as a participant and they rely heavily on targeted premium soccer club/academy invitations thus only attracting the very best soccer academies and soccer clubs that the continent has to offer. In addition, they are the only ones that attract professional scouts and university scouts not only from North America but Europe as well. “That’s the biggest value,” says Jim Lianos, OSU’s General Manager, noting that some of the OSU players received verbal offers, while others have built relationships with scouts from previous showcase events at Disney and the Dallas Cup. OSU sent seven Force Academy graduates to U.S. soccer schools on athletic scholarships last year, and six more to Canadian university teams. “It’s not everything, but the December, Disney Showcase helps big-time” to get recruited south of the border, Michalopulos adds. “It helps with OSU’s recognition as one of North America’s top youth soccer clubs and helps grow our ever expanding university/college network in order to facilitate our OSU players to earn scholarships and build their soccer resume." Lianos expects plenty of more offers this month and into February when OSU holds a College Combine ID Camp ( www.forceacademy.ca/COLLEGECOMBINE.php ) on February 16-17 at the Coliseum Dome here in Ottawa and again this coming summer, in partnership with Nike and the Dallas Texans ( www.collegesoccershowcase.ca ) during the inaugural Showcase of Champions to be held in Ottawa on August 3-6, 2012.
Getting the new year boot
After emerging as a top wrestling club in the city, province and country, Tsunami Academy was forced to close down on St-Laurent Blvd. in the face of a major rent increase. Owners Derek and Claire Kossatz scoured the area for another available space, but could not find an acceptable place to move. "It’s such a shame. When everything started to click and it looked like there was a future, it all comes down to money, and that’s sad," Claire says, noting that an affordable family-oriented martial arts and wrestling club was especially needed in the part of town their club was located. "Everything we tried, we had our hopes up high, and it just wasn’t working and then the next day is hopeless. "That’s obviously very difficult for us." For the time being – and potentially longterm – Tsunami reached an agreement with the
Takahashi Dojo to operate a wrestling program out of its Melrose Ave. facilities in Hintonburg. "It’s a great opportunity for them and us. They are #1 in the region for judo and we are certainly #1 in Eastern Ontario for wrestling," Derek says. "It’s a good fit, and it could possibly be great for both of us, but it’s a scary prospect because we essentially have to move across town and start over." Read this full story online at SportsOttawa.com .
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE – JANUARY EDITION
Local figure skaters hunt for national podium
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE – JANUARY EDITION
Rising soccer star catches eye of Toronto FC By Jonathan Russell Midfielder Daniel Carson has what few 10-yearold footballers possess: an unwavering commitment to the sport and the skill to back it up. And Toronto F.C. knows it. The Major League Soccer (MLS) club called Carson Christmas Eve to say he made the first cut for a position in its under-13 academy. “It was like a good Christmas present, early,” smiles Carson, the youngest player of 40 from across Ontario to be invited to the TFC trials. Carson is from Portland, Ont. – a town 30 kilometres outside Smiths Falls with a population of 251 where “everyone can kick a ball” to one another, he adds. Despite his youth, Carson already has a history of rising within The Beautiful Game, having received a scholarship from the Ottawa Fury Academy at age seven. Fury coach Frank Lofranco was also a scout for Toronto F.C. at the time, unbeknownst to the young Carson, who helped the club to a second-place finish in its Level 5 league. Last spring, Carson and the Fury traveled to England to train with Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, and met the pros. (However, Carson’s favourite player is midfielder Frank Lampard of Chelsea, Tottenham’s cross-London rival.) Last winter, Carson attended the Parmar Sports Training Futuro Soccer Academy, where he was originally matched up against players three years older, although he’s worked with the U11s since October. Sanjeev Parmar, Futuro founder and head trainer, decided to give Carson another shot, this time against players nearer his age.
Visit SportsOttawa.com for comments from Tim Berns, who visited Parmar’s holiday camps to scout for Dutch club De Graafscap’s Academy.
PHOTO: DAN PLOUFFE
At age 10, Daniel Carson is just one more step away from earning a position with Toronto FC’s U13 Academy.
It worked: Carson has been training with the U11s at Futuro since October. “He’s a really good student of the game,” says Parmar, who recently established an affiliation with the Ottawa Royals Soccer Club to have a greater impact on players’ development day-to-day. “He’s always interested in learning and he’s always interested in making sure he does what you ask of him.” Carson’s training with Futuro was coupled with trips to Toronto for the first round of tryouts with the MLS club. Carson remained poised while competing for spots against players as old as 13. He’s used to it, he explains. And having that experience in England helped him adjust to the “over-maximum” intensity in Toronto.
“The level in England is higher, so in Toronto, I knew what to expect,” Carson adds, crediting his Futuro training for further developing his focus and skill. “This academy is really shaping me up. (...) It’s helped me as a technical player.” Carson is the first student of the Futuro Soccer Academy to try out for Toronto F.C. But in its eight years of operating locally, Parmar Sports Training has already helped propel players to national teams and even Europe, including former Lycée Claudel student Miki Cantave, who is currently with F.C. Nantes’ academy in France, Parmar highlights.
“It’s really, really exciting,” Parmar says of Carson, “because the whole mission for our program, for the Academy, is to produce professional, international and national-level players or to attend university. This is the first one in our Academy who’s had the experience to go to TFC, and we’re fully supportive – that’s our whole goal.” Carson’s work ethic is--- a big reason he stands out, Parmar adds. “The average player comes to training and trains and then goes home. But these guys don’t, they’re thinking about it on the car ride home, they’re eating for the game, thinking about the food they eat,” says the holder of a Canadian Soccer Association A license who is enrolled to get an Argentinian Pro A license. “Daniel is definitely one of those kids. “He loves it, he eats it. You just see it when you’re coaching him, you see it in his eyes – he’s hungry to learn. He hates losing, in anything, in any battle, he hates being number two.” And Carson, who will head back to Toronto for final tryouts on Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, is a dedicated student who also understands the importance of the mental side of the game. “If you’re asked to go for something big, don’t let your head go like this,” Carson notes, expanding his hands from his head to mimic a swelling ego. “You try to be as humble as possible.”
Julien jacked up for Olympic qualifier
She thinks about the possibility constantly, and Christina Julien will have the chance to make her Olympic dream a reality when she competes for one of two available London 2012 berths at the Jan. 19-29 CONCACAF regional Olympic qualifier at B.C. Place. “Every day when I’m training, that’s the one picture in my mind and my one goal,” says Julien, an Ottawa Fury W-League player. “Hopefully we can qualify and start thinking completely about the Olympics.” At Julien’s last competition with national team, the 23-year-old striker played every important minute alongside Christine Sinclair during Canada’s gold medal win at the Pan Am Games. Canada needs to reach the final of the eight-team tournament that features fellow Group A competitors Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti, along with USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Dominican Republic. Check SportsOttawa.com for updates.
Richardson & Roesler on top of world for Canada “We had such great energy. We had beat the U.S. before, so we knew what we were expecting and we came out flying and put it away early.”
By Ian Ewing For Cydney Roesler, it was redemption for last year’s defeat. For Morgan Richardson, it was a taste of glory in her first major tournament representing Canada. And for the pair of Ottawa Senators Provincial Women’s Hockey League defenders, Canada’s 3-0 triumph over the U.S. in the Saturday, Jan. 7 final of the IIHF under-18 women’s world hockey championships was a memory the best friends will share forever. “It’s a pretty incredible feeling. There’s no words for it,” Richardson reflected in a phone interview from Zlin, Czech Republic not long after the gold medal win. “I think it’s just been a dream since I was a little girl and since I put on those skates. And to actually be here is pretty incredible.” After dropping a 5-2 contest to the Americans in last year’s U18 worlds final, the victory was that much sweeter for Roesler. “It was incredible,” described the Grade 12 South Carleton High School student. “I was on the other end last year, and it was a hard experience. But to come back this year and win it, it’s an amazing feeling and I’ll cherish it forever.” Outscoring opponents by a combined
CZECHS CRAZY FOR THE CANUCKS
Ottawa Senators PWHL defenders Cydney Roesler (left) and Morgan Richardson were key players in Team Canada’s U18 world title.
33-1 en route to the final, Canada finished the round robin undefeated and then beat Sweden 7-0 in their semifinal to set up a rematch with the United States for gold. Team USA had won three of the four U18 tournaments prior to this year, including the win over Canada last year. After killing off four penalties during a fast-paced second period, and three more early in the third, Roesler scored on
a man advantage to put Canada up 3-0. “It just gave us a bit of breathing space that we wanted,” said Roesler, who tied for the team goal-scoring lead with four, and also had an assist through Canada’s five games. “Everyone worked really hard there, and we just got a power play off a great play, and we were really happy with that. And so was I!” Filling a defensive role much like her
father Luke did during his NHL career, Richardson still contributed on the offensive end during the Dec. 31-Jan. 7 competition with a goal and an assist. Although this was her first international experience, the Ashbury College student said nerves weren’t a problem. “We had such great leadership on this team that there really isn’t nerves, it’s more excitement,” Richardson explained.
The atmosphere created by the Czech fans also stood in for Richardson. “They were incredibly supportive of us. When we played at the other rink [during the round robin] we had over 2000 fans, and they were all rooting for us,” Richardson recounted. “When we got here it was packed again, and they were chanting “Canada!” the whole time.” The way Team Canada bonded was a major highlight for Roesler. “We’ll always remember this team,” she said. “We have friendships now that will last forever, and with this gold medal, it brings us all closer. I think that’s a very unique opportunity we have now.” Both players have now chosen their university hockey destinations for next year – Roesler will play for the Quinnipiac Bobcats in Connecticut and Richardson will dress for the Cornell Big Red, although she’d like to again sport Canada’s red in the future once again. “Hopefully I can just keep working, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to wear this jersey again,” Richardson stated. “It’s such an honour.”
Chiarelli can vault Canada to London Olympics By Emily Panetta
Talia Chiarelli in not your average 16-year-old, and being on the cusp of an Olympic appearance is only the start. Drive, discipline, and being wise beyond her
years, are all required traits for the Canadian women’s artistic gymnastics team member who is in London, England for a Wednesday, Jan. 11 meet that will determine the final four qualifying teams for the 2012 Olympic Games. “I’m really excited. I really just want to make it as a team,” Chiarelli said during the national team’s selection camp in Gatineau days prior to leaving for the competition. Achieving an Olympic berth would be a crowning moment in what has already been a tremendously successful gymnastics career. This past year, Chiarelli placed sixth all-around at the 2011 Canadian Championships in Charlottetown, PEI, then traveling to Tokyo, Japan with Team Canada and then winning a team silver medal at October’s Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. “It was really fun because it was all different sports,” Chiarelli said of the Pan Am Games. “Going to closing ceremonies, there were so many people watching and you got to meet a lot of new people.”
PHOTOS: DAN PLOUFFE
Chiarelli’s love for sports started at an early age, when she was involved in a variety of different activities. While also excelling at soccer, Chiarelli admits she had a natural advantage when it came to gymnastics. “My mom [Alicia Brancato – daughter of former Ottawa Roughriders coach George Brancato] used to be a gymnast so it was kind of in the family,” she explained. Chiarelli joined the Nepean Corona club when she was really little – participating in “mommy and me classes” as a toddler – and continued with the club until the age of 11, when her family relocated to
Boston when her father, Peter, became general manager of the NHL Bruins.
REACHING FOR ELITE While gymnastics was always a major part of her childhood, it was in 2009 at the U.S. nationals that Chiarelli realized just how badly she wanted to reach the next level of competition. “That was the first really big meet I went to,” she recalled. “And it made me want to do it more because everyone there was so good.” But moving onto the international stage has been no walk in the park. Chiarelli endures four-hour training sessions, six days a week. “I’ve had to sacrifice a little bit of my social life,” Chiarelli noted. “I try to see my friends as much as possible, but there’s always something that I can’t go to because I have gym or I’m away.” One thing Chiarelli won’t sacrifice is her education. In fact, the only aspect Chiarelli doesn’t enjoy about elite gymnastics is missing school. “We went to Japan and Mexico in the fall and cumulatively, I was missing a month of school,” she remembered. “So it’s been really hard to catch up, doing the work that I missed in October, and the work that’s being assigned right now.” The big piece of work in front of her at the moment, however, is securing one of the four Olympic positions also available to Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Korea and Belarus at the single-day qualifier in London. David Brubaker, Chiarelli’s Sarnia-based coach
who trains her when she’s in Canada, believes Chiarelli’s performance on vault will be an integral part of Canada’s success. “Vault is one of those events where, if you do a higher difficulty, you can drastically help increase the team’s total,” he noted. “[Chiarelli’s] vault – euchan quo double twist – has a very high start value.” Knowing the team is relying on her for a strong performance, Chiarelli isn’t rattled by the pressure. She says she doesn’t typically get nervous when she’s called up to compete, but maintaining focus is key. “I just kind of stand at the end of the runway and stare at the vault,” explained Chiarelli, who hopes to compete in college gymnastics down the road, although there’s no question about her main goal at the moment. “It will be great to be able to say I was part of a team that helped qualify a team for the Olympics.”
5 OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE – JANUARY EDITION
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE â€“ JANUARY EDITION
EDITORIAL 'DQ3ORXIIH SPORTSOTTAWA.COM DECEMBER STARS OF THE WEEK WHO WAS NAMED OTTAWAâ€™S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR IN ___? :KRZDVQDPHG2WWDZD VDWKOHWHRIWKH\HD :KRZDVQDPHG2WWDZD VDWKOHWHRIWKH\HDULQ
Name: Lindsay Eastwood Sport: Hockey Club: Nepean Jr. Wildcats School: All Saints CHS Grade: 9 About: A 14-year-old rookie playing in the under-21 Provincial Women's Hockey League, Lindsay Eastwood was the second leading scorer for her Nepean Wildcats with two goals and six assists in 17 games.
Name: Vincent De Haitre Sport: Speed skating & cycling Club: Gloucester Concordes/OBC School: ESC BĂŠatrice-Desloges Age: 17 About: A speed skating medalist at the Canada Winter Games and a junior national track cycling medalist, Vincent De Haitre was the top finisher out of the region's competitors at the Canadian junior short-track speed skating championships. Name: Cydney Roesler Sport: Hockey Club: Ottawa Senators PWHL School: South Carleton HS Grade: 12 About: A silver medalist with Team Canada at last year's U18 womenâ€™s worlds, Cydney Roesler added gold to her collection this year. The Ottawa Senators defender is also tied for the lead in scoring with her PWHL club team.
'RZQ 'RZQ $FURVV$FURVV $FURVV 'RZQ /LQGDBBBBBB3LVWRO6KRRWLQJ +RUVWBBBBBB6NL +RUVWBBBBBB6NL /LQGDBBBBBB3LVWRO6KRRWLQJ +RUVWBBBBBB6NL /LQGDBBBBBB3LVWRO6KRRWLQJ 6HDPXVBBBBBB+RFNH\ -XPSLQJ -XPSLQJ 6HDPXVBBBBBB+RFNH\ -XPSLQJ 3KLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO 6HDPXVBBBBBB+RFNH\ -HIIBBBBBB)UHHVW\OH Name: Eli Ankou 3KLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO -HIIBBBBBB)UHHVW\OH 3KLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO -HIIBBBBBB)UHHVW\OH (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB)LJXUH (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB)LJXUH 6NLLQJ 6NLLQJ Sport: Football (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB)LJXUH 1HLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO 6NDWLQJ 6NDWLQJ 6NLLQJ 1HLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO Club: Gridiron Academy 6NDWLQJ %REE\BBBBBB+RFNH\ *OHQUR\BBBBBB7UDFN *OHQUR\BBBBBB7UDFN 1HLOBBBBBB)RRWEDOO %REE\BBBBBB+RFNH\ School: Red Lion Christian Academy 'RXJBBBBBB+RFNH\ )LHOG *OHQUR\BBBBBB7UDFN %REE\BBBBBB+RFNH\ )LHOG 'RXJBBBBBB+RFNH\ Grade: 12 ,DQBBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ 6KLUOH\BBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ 'RXJBBBBBB+RFNH\ 6KLUOH\BBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ ,DQBBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ )LHOG About: A former St. Peter Knight, %UDGBBBBBB)RRWEDOO $OBBBBBB5XJE\ $OBBBBBB5XJE\ ,DQBBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ %UDGBBBBBB)RRWEDOO 6KLUOH\BBBBBB(TXHVWULDQ Eli Ankou moved to Delaware to chase &RUH\BBBBBB+RFNH\ (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB5RZLQJ (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB5RZLQJ %UDGBBBBBB)RRWEDOO &RUH\BBBBBB+RFNH\ $OBBBBBB5XJE\ his football dream, which netted him a ,DQBBBBBB&DQRH.D\DN $O\QBBBBBB+RFNH\ ,DQBBBBBB&DQRH.D\DN &RUH\BBBBBB+RFNH\ $O\QBBBBBB+RFNH\ (OL]DEHWKBBBBBB5RZLQJ scholarship to UCLA. The defensive line- :KLWHZDWHU $QQHBBBBBB6NLLQJ :KLWHZDWHU $QQHBBBBBB6NLLQJ 6XHBBBBBB3DGGOLQJ -HIIBBBBBB)RRWEDOO man will also participate in a USA,DQBBBBBB&DQRH.D\DN vs the -HIIBBBBBB)RRWEDOO $O\QBBBBBB+RFNH\ 6XHBBBBBB3DGGOLQJ :KLWHZDWHU -RKQBBBBBB&XUOLQJ 0HODQLHBBBBBB 0HODQLHBBBBBB $QQHBBBBBB6NLLQJ -RKQBBBBBB&XUOLQJ World game this February in Austin, TX. -HIIBBBBBB)RRWEDOO +DUU\BBBBBB)RRWEDOO *\PQDVWLFV *\PQDVWLFV 6XHBBBBBB3DGGOLQJ +DUU\BBBBBB)RRWEDOO 0HODQLHBBBBBB -RKQBBBBBB&XUOLQJ :RUGV :RUGV 2VYDOGRBBBBBB%DVNHWEDOO .ULVWLQDBBBBBB6SHHGVNDWLQJ .ULVWLQDBBBBBB6SHHGVNDWLQJ +DUU\BBBBBB)RRWEDOO 2VYDOGRBBBBBB%DVNHWEDOO HOMAN: Pressure from within to perform*\PQDVWLFV 5HQQBBBBBB&DQRHLQJ 5HQQBBBBBB&DQRHLQJ :RUGV start; weâ€™re hoping that we can start &UDLJBBBBBB&XUOLQJ &UDLJBBBBBB&XUOLQJ continued from front .ULVWLQDBBBBBB6SHHGVNDWLQJ 2VYDOGRBBBBBB%DVNHWEDOO CLICK THE â€œSPORTSPAGEâ€? BUTTON %ULDQBBBBBB+RFNH\ picking it up,â€? notes 23-year-old Krevi- %ULDQBBBBBB+RFNH\ 5HQQBBBBBB&DQRHLQJ &KULVBBBBBB)RRWEDOO ON SPORTSOTTAWA.COM TO FIND &KULVBBBBBB)RRWEDOO azuk. â€œWeâ€™re working on a lot of differThey were also semi-finalists at the &UDLJBBBBBB&XUOLQJ -DVRQBBBBBB3DUDO\PSLF -DVRQBBBBBB3DUDO\PSLF CROSSWORD ANSWER KEYS ent things, and hopefully we can bring it Red Deer Curling Classic, earned a 2-4 %ULDQBBBBBB+RFNH\ 'LVWDQFH5XQQLQJ 'LVWDQFH5XQQLQJ at a time â€“ record in the Canada Cup of Curling in all together and â€“ one step &KULVBBBBBB)RRWEDOO Miskew, 22, points out that the season like, and it kind of drives you more,â€? the Cranbrook, B.C., and took the Ontario make it through regionals, provincials -DVRQBBBBBB3DUDO\PSLF began more slowly for the team, who Carleton University industrial design stuand Scotties.â€? Zone Playdown B-side behind Hanna. 'LVWDQFH5XQQLQJ
As each of curlers agrees, the pressure is more palpable this season following such a stellar first year on the senior circuit. â€œWeâ€™ve had a little bit of a shaky
Team Homan got help from national-level coaches in the fall, Kreviazuk highlights, and have continued working with sports psychologist Nathalie Duran Bush. Team Homan fans had more reasons to celebrate the arrival of 2012 than seeing them take another shot at the national title, they also got to check out the photos of Emma Miskew in this year's Women of Curling calendar. A fundraiser for the Canadian Spinal Research Organization, the calendar is available for $29.95 online at womenofcurlingcalendar.com and at the Hogline Curlers Proshop.
competed in fewer events as a group compared to the start of the 2010-2011 season: Miskew and Weagle competed in fewer events, while Homan and Kreviazuk won an Ontario mixed curling title and went to nationals along with Mark Homan (Rachelâ€™s brother) and Brian Fleischhaker. â€œLast year we did too much and we were a little bit burnt out, and this year weâ€™re doing a little less, and we feel good, but weâ€™re practicing tones; weâ€™re trying to practice to make up for the events that weâ€™re not going to,â€? Miskew explains. â€œItâ€™s nothing out of the ordinary, weâ€™re just working really hard. â€œYou just have to make sure your body and your mind are both ready to go.â€? Working hard, also, to combat setting expectations that are too high. â€œWeâ€™re trying not to put pressure on ourselves, but you get a taste of what itâ€™s
dent adds. â€œI think itâ€™s more motivation than anything; weâ€™re trying to make it more motivation than pressure, and I think that is everyoneâ€™s thinking.â€? Although observers â€“ and opponents â€“ may expect more from Team Homan now as defending champions instead of the new kids on the block, Weagle agrees that itâ€™s the drive from within that motivates them to push for higher goals. â€œI think we always want to be the best, and we work towards that; I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s any extra pressure, I think weâ€™re all competitive people,â€? Weagle says. â€œCompeting at that level just makes us want to step up our level of play that much more in all areas, from shot-making and sweeping to mental toughness. â€œWe made the playoffs, and that was good, but I think if we go back weâ€™d like to do better.â€?
902 Pinecrest Rd. Ottawa, Ont. K2B 6B3 Dan Plouffe Editor 613-261-5838 Editor@SportsOttawa.com Larry Ring Director of Business Development 613-293-1730 Larry@SportsOttawa.com The Ottawa Sportspage is printed the first Tuesday of every month by Ottawa Sports Media, the locallyowned and operated publishers of SportsOttawa.com and the Ottawa Sportspage.
EliĘźs excellent U.S. football adventure leads to UCLA By Dan Plouffe
Barely four years removed from never having played an organized football game, itâ€™s been a wild ride to a totally different world for Ottawa native Eli Ankou, whoâ€™s next stop will be a USA vs the World game for top high school prospects in Austin, TX. â€œI was generally a big kid, but I never really put the thought into playing football,â€? explains Ankou, who played soccer prior to joining the Cumberland Panthers Peewee team in 2008. â€œThe whole sport of football was just something I fell in love with.â€? Ankou continued to evolve as a player with the Panthers and the St. Peter Knights, while the now-6â€™ 3â€?, 245-lb. defensive lineman became a physical specimen with the help of Vic Tedondo, a Panthers coach who runs Gridiron Academy, a training group. On top of working out primarily at the Louis-Riel Dome, Tedondo also places an emphasis on attending combines and university camps in the U.S. to offer Canadian players an opportunity to receive athletic scholarships south of the border. Ankou took the NCAA recruitment journey a step further even by leaving St. Peter and enrolling at Red Lion Christian Academy in Delaware to face better competition. â€œI figured thatâ€™s one of the best options I have now to get to where I want to be and to develop as a player,â€? explains Ankou, who nevertheless praises Ottawa football for its top-notch coaching in particular.
PHOTO: DAN PLOUFFE
Home for the holidays, down time was scarce for 245-lb. D-Lineman Eli Ankou, who trains at the Louis-Riel Dome.
Itâ€™s also a completely different lifestyle in the land where â€œeverything revolves more around sports.â€? â€œHere, a high school game, we have about 200 people on the sidelines standing,â€? Ankou describes. â€œThere was a game we had in Ohio where there were 25,000 fans. There were fireworks going off after every touchdown. It was really different.â€? Ankou originally had reservations about leaving home, but once he met his hosts, any fears evaporated.
â€œItâ€™s pretty cool to go down to the United States and have a second family there,â€? notes the Grade 12 high school senior. â€œThe family Iâ€™m living with there is really great.â€?
THE BIG MANâ€™S BIG OFFER Around March break last year, Tedondo told Ankou that UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) football coach Rick Neuheisel wanted to speak
to him. What he wasnâ€™t expecting to get from the phone call was an offer for a full athletic scholarship. â€œRight there, my heart stopped,â€? Ankou recounts. â€œIt was like, â€˜Is this really happening?â€™â€? Tedondo knew UCLA had their eye on his athlete from a â€œbig-man challengeâ€? held at Rutgers University, but even he was caught a little off-guard by the offer coming so soon. â€œI was shocked, but I also knew it was coming,â€? says Tedondo, identifying Ankou as a source of inspiration for the 50 younger Gridiron Academy prospects along with other success stories such as Scott Mitchell and Trent Corney. â€œBecause of them, they believe in the dream.â€? Although his trip south has produced many rewards, Ankou looks forward to taking on the U.S. as a member of the World team for the International Bowl contest on Feb. 2 in Austin. â€œI think itâ€™s going to be a really great experience getting to know players from around the world,â€? highlights Ankou, who will team up with two other Ottawa natives, plus players from Austria, Samoa and Australia. â€œCompeting against the USA will be a big game and itâ€™ll be very exciting.â€? Also playing in the International Bowl are University of Virginia-bound former Ottawa Sooner Ryan Doull and Kadeem Vaillancourt, a Concordia Stingers rookie who previously played for the St. Mark Lions, Gloucester South Raiders, Panthers and Sooners.
UNIVERSITIES Own The Podium helps create high-performance swim & triathlon centre Matt Vierula (left) is one of very few current high-performance triathletes who has stayed in Ottawa their through university years.
RESULTS THAT MATTER
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By Anne Duggan Infrastructure upgrades, increased coaching services and frequent training camps are a few of the key benefits local athletes will see thanks to the newly established regional high-performance training centre for swimmers and triathletes at the University of Ottawa. The centreâ€™s partners â€“ including the Own The Podium program, the University of Ottawa, Swim Ontario and the Greater
Ottawa Kingfish swim club â€“ say the initiative will provide a world-class training facility for athletes in those sports. â€œFrom a very fundamental perspective, to be good in a 50-metre pool you have to train in one,â€? says GO Kingfish board member Brian Parkin, explaining that the full U of O pool will be available more frequently to swimmers. This includes time at training camps, of which there are four planned for the next five months. The pool will also receive infrastructure upgrades such as replacing the 20-year-old ropes that divide swimming lanes. Bytown Storm triathlon team founder Greg Kealey notes that local triathletes will also benefit from the training centre because of Own the Podium's desire to partner complementary sports together. His team has eight athletes who will spend regular training hours at the University of Ottawa pool and its other facilities, and the club has also recently added 2000 Olympian Sharon Donnelly to its staff. â€œSome of our best athletes will now be training with some of the best swimmers in the region and hopefully we all get better,â€? Kealey
Bell High School student Samantha Klus (left) is one of eight Bytown Storm triathletes who is training at the University of Ottawaâ€™s new regional high-performance training centre for swimming and triathlon.
says, explaining the advantage for the athletes. Kealey believes the regional training centre is especially key for university-aged athletes. Firstly, U of O is a place where Francophone athletes can study in their mother tongue. It also provides a viable option for athletes from the region to remain at home for their university years and still have a high-performance training environment.
BOOST FOR NEXT GENERATION Samantha Klus, 16, is one of the Storm triathletes training at the new centre. Triathletes in Klusâ€™ junior age category must swim 750 metres, cycle 15-20 kilometres, and run 5 km â€“ roughly half the Olympic distance. The Bell High School student swims five to six times a week for an hour and a half at a time. She has competed at the provincial and national level, and garnered a 10th place finish at last year's nationals. Moving up into the top-five is her objective for next season. â€œThis means I will need to focus on improving my speed at swimming and getting out of the water more quickly, and be able to run five kilometers in under 19 minutes,â€? enumerates the high school cross-country running competitor. With aspirations of competing for Canada internationally, Klus is hoping the new centre may provide that extra boost. â€œRight now we train at a whole bunch of places,â€? Klus explains. â€œIt will be nice to have just one place where we can do everything. And there will be a lot more people to train with, too.â€?
7 OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE â€“ JANUARY EDITION
OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE – JANUARY EDITION
Former GG, now Raven set for Capital Hoops finale By Braedon Clark
Fifth-year Ravens guard Willy Manigat (right) says switching for Ottawa U to Carleton was “probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”
When Willy Manigat steps onto the court for this year’s Capital Hoops Classic on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Scotiabank Place, he’ll be seeing familiar faces on both sidelines. That’s because Manigat is a rare breed – the athlete who has played basketball for both the Gee-Gees and the Ravens. The 5’ 11” guard spent two years at U of O before transferring to Carleton. While the move has led to success on the court, with Manigat being an important part of a national championship team last year, there’s no denying that some were upset by his decision to transfer to the incredibly successful program of a cross-town rival. “There were certain cases where I felt like I either lost friends or people were upset, but at the end of the day you have to do what’s best for yourself and your family and your future,” Manigat said by phone from Sudbury where the Ravens improved to 10-0 by demolishing Laurentian 98-51. Even though he had to sit out a sea-
son to satisfy Canadian Interuniversity Sport regulations, Manigat believes transferring was a very worthwhile move. “Coming to Carleton was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, if not the best thing, and I don’t regret that in any way, shape, or form,” the political science student noted.
RAVENS RANSACK RIVALS Having won seven of the past nine CIS titles, the Carleton men’s basketball program has established itself as the gold standard in Canada, and this year is no exception. With a perfect regular season record, the Ravens are off to another fast start, and they aren’t just winning, either – they are dominating, beating opponents by an average of 34.4 points. The man who leads this basketball juggernaut is four-time CIS coach of the year Dave Smart, who took the reins in 1999 and hasn’t looked back since, launching a reign of excellence in Canadian university basketball challenged only by Victoria’s seven straight national titles from 1980-86. Manigat believes that Smart’s tireless work ethic is the reason for the success. “The thing that separates Coach Smart from other coaches is his willingness to do whatever it takes to win,” Manigat explained. “His preparation, what he does to get us prepared, the at-
The real Classic?
If last year’s double-overtime thriller was any indication, fans may want to make sure to arrive in time for the 6 p.m. tip-off of Carleton the women’s Capital The women won Hoops matchup be- 71-63 in tween the Carleton double-OT last year. Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees if they want to catch a true classic. Rated in the topfour nationally all season, the Ravens (7-3 through 10 contests) have enjoyed the better place in the national rankings this year, although the Gee-Gees made the climb to the top of the OUA standings with eight consecutive victories after two defeats to start the year.
tention to detail is something he works hard at and makes him different.” Smart is also the personification of intensity on the sidelines. He doesn’t spend much time sitting down during a game and he almost always has a pained look on his face, as if he can’t believe how poorly his team is playing. A quick look to the scoreboard usually shows his charges holding an insurmountable lead, but it is this relentless drive for perfection that keeps his team motivated when they’re up by 40 or 50 points. When asked if it’s hard to remain focused when games get out of hand
With several new, veteran players entering the Gee-Gees’ fold – and the propensity of Andy Sparks teams to only get stronger around the new year and towards the playoffs – Carleton is sure to receive a good match from the team that’s now cracked the CIS top-10. early, Manigat almost laughed, as if the mere suggestion of slacking off was unthinkable. “If you’ve seen our coach and the way he approaches games, it’s hard for us to be that type of team that just gets ahead and loses our focus,” he noted.
LAST CAPITAL HOOPS HURRAH Now in his final year of eligibility, Manigat will be playing in his last Capital Hoops Classic this year, but he has bigger goals in mind than torching his former team. “We want to win another championship and defend our title.”
ʻStorybook endʼ to Raidersʼ Capital Cup By Dan Plouffe
It was a dream matchup for the Nepean Raiders Minor Peewee ‘AA’ team at the Bell Capital Cup as they wound up playing the Jokerit team from Finland they were hosting during the Dec. 28-Jan. 1 event. “Who coulda wrote it any better?” smiles Nepean parent Donnie Carle, whose wife and team manager, Dawn, organized the billeting arrangements. “Just to get to the finals is a huge experience in itself and then to play our billets, it’s a storybook end.” The Raiders families were so eager to host their Finnish counterparts that they had to hold a draw to determine which ones would get to host a young foreign pair. With mini-sticks, X-Box hockey and karaoke singing to keep them entertained, the bond was almost instant between the 11-year-olds from thousands of miles apart. Visit SportsOttawa.com for full Bell Capital Cup coverage. Find SportsOttawa.com on Facebook to see our photo galleries from the tournament.
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“They’ve had a blast,” Carle adds. “The first day when they slept over, our two billets had their own room, and the next day, they were all sleeping in the same room. They’re all saying that they’re best friends.” Mitchell Mercier and Aiden Arscott scored for Nepean, but Jokerit got the upper hand in a well-fought 4-2 final. “It was kind of weird. They were staying at our house and then all of a
sudden we get to the game and we have to be enemies with each other,” recounts Nepean captain James Fretschner. “But we were hoping we’d play against each other in the final. That was the biggest highlight.” The Minor Peewee ‘AAA’ Raiders won the biggest prize out of Ottawa clubs at the tournament that featured over 400 teams, including a record 15 from overseas.