Ottawa Sportspage

Page 1

The Heartbeat of the Ottawa Sports Community

Vol. 2, #8

May 2013

OPDL revolution


P. 11

Ottawa will welcome the best gymnasts from across the country, including several of its own, May 17-25 at Carleton U.


P. 7

Three returning Ontario Youth Soccer League teams from Ottawa smell the possibility of a division title this year.


photos: dan plouffe

West Ottawa (top right) and Ottawa South United (centre) plan to apply for inclusion in the new Ontario Player Development League, while (from top left) the Ottawa Royals, Nepean, Ottawa Fury, Capital United and Cumberland are undecided, and Gloucester, Nepean City and the Ottawa Internationals likely won’t apply.

Club mergers, tiered hierarchy & more expensive player fees all possible with new top provincial league By Dan Plouffe

P. 8

Two 2012 national silver medalist teams will be back for more on the heels of good performances at volleyball provincials.


P. 2

The national capital will host three OFSAA tournaments this spring – boys’ field lacrosse and two boys’ rugby categories.

The Ontario Soccer Association’s new Ontario Player Development League is coming next summer, and its arrival could drive the creation of a vastly altered soccer landscape in Ottawa and across the province. The current Ontario Youth Soccer League and its traditional promotion/ relegation structure will be phased out by the OPDL, starting with the under-13 level in 2014, in an attempt to further align with the Canadian Soccer Association’s Long-Term Player Development plan. Clubs must meet stringent standards for facilities, coaching, administration and organizational stability in order to be considered for entry into the league. Players from the U13-U17 and U23 levels will compete in 28 games on Saturdays between April and November.

The OPDL recently released its “Request For Proposals” for clubs to apply for one of the 24 (maximum) available OPDL licences before the end of July. Licenced clubs will enter boys’ and girls’ teams at each available level for two seasons, and then a new round of applications will occur. West Ottawa and Ottawa South United have declared their intentions to apply for inclusion, the Ottawa Fury are watching closely and strongly considering an application, while the Cumberland United Cobras, Nepean Hotspurs, Ottawa Royals and FC Capital United are currently on the fence. The Gloucester Hornets are unlikely to apply this time around, while the Ottawa Internationals and Nepean City Storm won’t. A May 9 OPDL consultation meeting in Ottawa is of great interest to all. The region’s two largest clubs are enthusiastic about the prospect of

participating in the OPDL. “We have a large player pool that deserves the best opportunities,” explains West Ottawa CEO Bjorn Oseick. “We’re also committed to LongTerm Player Development all through our programs from the youngest levels and the high-performance and adult levels. Being involved in the top of the pyramid of player development just makes sense in that context.” With its history of producing high-level players, there was no doubt OSU would apply, says club GM Jim Lianos. “This is no surprise to us, we’ve been working at this for a long time,” notes Lianos, who nonetheless voices concerns over the probability that the highest level of soccer will become considerably more expensive. “Our intent was always to have an academy that rivals what they have in Europe. The difference in the UK is that the

first team pays for the academy, and here, unfortunately you still rely on the parents.” Finances were a major motivator for the Fury to eye the OPDL, says owner John Pugh. “We are used to playing in the (largely U.S.-based) Super-Y League where there are significant travel costs,” underlines Pugh, adding that the Fury are looking into many leagues for their youth teams. “We’re looking very closely at (the OPDL). We want to do what’s best for our players. I think that becomes even more important as we move forward to being an NASL/fully-professional club.” Perhaps the most intriguing development stemming from the OPDL’s creation is the discussion of possible collaborations between clubs, inviting the possibility of future mergers OPDL continues on p.5



OFSAA boys’ rugby shaping up to be classic

a championship title on their home turf. “We’ve gotten off to a decent start, but it really is a long way to go for any team at this point,” he notes.

By Sarah Jean Maher The National Capital Secondary Schools Athletic Association will host the 2013 OFSAA boys’ rugby championships and this year they’re trying something that hasn’t been done too often – they’re holding two OFSAAs in one. Both the A/AA and AAA/AAAA divisions will compete from June 5-7 at Twin Elm Rugby Park. That means lots of work on the organizational side, notes championships convenor Rick Mellor. “We have to work in conjunction with the referees, book hotel accommodation and banquet for 800-1000 people, as well as get the sponsorship we need,” highlights Mellor, also one of two NCSSAA coordinators. But hosting two OFSAA championships isn’t exactly new for the NCSSAA. “We’ve done it before with the girls (in 2012) and now we’re going to be trying it out with the boys,” Mellor adds. “We have some great fields out there that we love being able to put to good use.”

CHASE ON FOR HOME OFSAA BERTHS For local schools, it means the chance to play for a provincial championship title on their home turf. Two NCSSAA teams will represent the capital in both the A/AA division for schools with smaller populations and the AAA/AAAA. With the regular season kicking off the last

TEAM CANADA MEN COMING TO TOWN TOO Nepean beat Earl of March 36-7 in their season opener.

week of April, it is expected that past champions and powerhouses will rise to the top once again this year. The Ashbury Colts are always the team to beat in A/AA, having won the past two city titles and four of the past five. Hillcrest has also emerged as a powerhouse, opening their season with 45-0 and 56-10 victories. The Earl of March Lions are two-time defending champions as well, but with many players now graduated, the ‘AAA/AAAA’ race is wide open. The Nepean Knights sent a strong message that they want in thanks to a sound 36-7 road victory over Earl. “I think St. Peter and Nepean are the top contenders at this point,” says coach Cameron Baird, whose Colonel by Cougars topped the

The Barrhaven Scottish RFC is one of the biggest rugby clubs in the city and is looking for more great members. We offer programs for kids as young as 4 years old to those who are young at heart. Our structured system allows players to integrate and develop at all levels, with some of our members representing the club provincially, nationally, and internationally. Join us at one of our registration days. For more info, contact Kathleen at or visit:

photo: dan plouffe

east division standings last year. Glebe has established itself as a historical power as well, and though the OFSAA teams won’t be determined until the end of the month, head coach Paul Britton says he wouldn’t mind

This year’s OFSAA championships will also feature a special twist. Twin Elm will be hosting an international rugby match between Canada and Fiji on June 5. Mellor expects every OFSAA team will be in attendance. “Many haven’t gotten the chance to see Fiji play so it’s bound to be an exciting game,” Mellor notes. Baird believes the match will strengthen the players’ desire to get into the game. “International rugby is the best rugby,” he adds. “If our players get a chance to see them play, it will definitely help their enthusiasm for the game.”

Tigers lead quest for local OFSAA lacrosse berths By Josh Bell Field lacrosse is only in its fifth year of operation as an official NCSSAA sport, but the national capital high school sports association will play host to the OFSAA provincial festival for the second time in that span. The top ‘A/AA’-sized schools from across Ontario will be in town for the June 4-5 event, and that will include two entries from Ottawa. A number of teams are in the running to take those spots to represent the capital, but there’s no doubt the St. Matthew Tigers are the team to beat locally. The Tigers are the defending champions and have been a consistent dominant force in the NCSSAA for the past few seasons. For fourthyear player Lyman Beatty, St. Matt’s success largely has to do with teamwork. “It’s really just the way we blend together,” explains Beatty, whose squad is off to a 4-1 start. “We are able to work off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and come together as a team.” Another strong contender are the John McCrae Bulldogs, who were responsible for that lone loss in St. Matthew’s record. “There are probably four or five teams that are all in the hunt,” says Bulldogs coach Paul Leck. “It’s good, it’s going to be a fun year.” With tight competition expected, ball possession and patience will be two keys in

The St. Matthew Tigers are leading contenders for an OFSAA field lacrosse berth, with challenges expected from John McCrae, St. Mark & St. Francis-Xavier.

big matches, Leck believes. “They are all pretty good, skilled players in the league,” he adds. “It will be the team that plays together and gets everyone on the same page.” In the hunt along with the Tigers and Bulldogs are the St. Mark Lions and St. Francis-Xavier Coyotes. St. FX coach Brady Ready is in his first season as the coach and recognizes the difficulty ahead of him. “To win is pretty tough,” he signals, “but hopefully with some hard work and gritty performances we can pull it off.”

OFSAA HELPS SPORT RISE With OFSAA only a few weeks away, many are looking forward to the event as a stepping stone to the continued growth of local field lacrosse. NCSSAA league convenor Al Smith is enthused to have Ottawa hosting the event again, after a successful 2011 ‘AAA/ AAAA’ OFSAA. “It’s great to have it here;

photo: dan plouffe

it is part of our development plan for high school lacrosse,” underlines Smith, a co-founder of the Ottawa Nemesis field lacrosse club. “If we could have an OFSAA here every two or three years it’s great. It develops the players. We can have two teams in the tournament because we’re hosting it rather than having to travel with only one team. It also helps because we can develop referees because they get a chance to ref at a provincial level. It’s a win/win for us.” Stacey Simpson, St. Mark coach and the OFSAA tournament convenor, learned two years ago that no one had yet stepped up to host the event. “I volunteered to host it because obviously I love this city and lacrosse is a growing sport in the city,” says Simpson, who also coaches for the Nemesis. “I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to have some exposure to the sport and try and get more kids out. I’m pretty keen on the idea.”


Ottawa riders rise in cycling world By Josh Bell

The roads travelled have been very different for two Ottawa cyclists, but their paths have now met on the Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team. Alex Cataford and Mike Woods are two of 13 members on the prominent Canadian cycling team that races across North America and further, including the May 17-20 Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau. Cataford got into cycling because of his mom and uncle, who both rode. They bought him his first bike when he was 12 and he would ride around the streets in Kanata. From there he joined the Almonte Bicycle Club, and then the Ottawa Bicycle Club. “From there I started racing,” the 19-year-old explains. “One thing led to another.” Woods, on the other hand, started out as a high-performance runner – a national champ numerous times. But due to overtraining, he broke his foot several times, ending his competitive running career. Woods doesn’t hold on to the past though. “In retrospect now I don’t regret it, it was a great learning experience for me,” indicates the 26-year-old former University of Michigan Wol-

Alex Cataford (left) and Mike Woods of Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team.

photo: dan plouffe

verine. “It’s made me a much better running coach and it’s brought me to cycling, which I really enjoy.” His cycling approach is different. “I’ve limited my training almost too much in fear of injury,” highlights Woods, whose running times as a junior still hold up in several record books. “With running, I just overdid it and that cost me physically as well as emotionally. I felt drained all the time; I wasn’t maximizing my potential because I was overtraining. This year I’m training much harder,

but the difference now is that I know where that line is to overtraining and I know not to cross it.”

HARROWING DOMINICAN RIDE The pair have been quite successful in their cycling careers so far. Cataford is a six-time junior national champion, and he won the junior Pan American title in 2011. Woods’ career has been short so far, but a big highlight was winning the General Classification and King of the Mountain categories at Tour of the Catskills near Albany, NY. It hasn’t all been all smooth sailing though. At the end of February, the two participated in the Vuelta Independencia Nacional, a race in the Dominican Republic. Both riders were seriously injured during the eight-stage tour. Cataford hit his head during a crash, and doesn’t recall much of what happened. “I had to be taken away in an ambulance,” he describes. “I couldn’t finish the race unfort u n a t e l y,


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Doc Hockey Corner

All you need to know on protein --By Dr. Shayne Baylis, Doc Hockey If I say muscle, strength and repair, what do you think of? Do you think Heman, The Hulk, Thor? Well, from your body’s perspective, it means protein, and it is your job to supply the right amounts and quality. Protein builds muscles, creating strength, and repairs muscle after injury and workouts. As athletes, we are in constant need for repair of muscles, tendons and ligaments, so don’t hold out – give your body what it needs in order to do its job and be healthy. Let’s talk about the right amounts of protein. Often athletes are consuming too much protein to begin with. Our target is to get a wide range of amino acids in the adequate amounts. The general non-athlete requires 12-15% protein out of total calories, which is usually about 2,000. That gives you approximately 240-300 calories a day (60-75 grams total, since each gram of protein equals around 4 calories). Athletes have a bigger need for protein because they have greater lean muscle mass, greater need for tissue repair, and because protein is burned during activity. This doubles the protein requirements for athletes to 1.2-1.7 grams/kg. For example, a 165-pound (75 kg) athlete needs 120 grams (480 calories) per day. This makes up a small portion of an athlete’s required calories per day. Carbohydrates (at a rate of 30 cal/ kg of body weight out of 2,250 calories per day), and especially complex carbohydrates, are much more important. When you burn protein for energy, two undesirable things occur: you waste valuable protein by breaking it down for energy, and you increase the excretion of water with the by-product of urea, which puts you at risk of dehydration. Secondly, a high protein diet also increases the excretion of calcium in the urine and could be especially troublesome for females trying to build bone density for

Athlete type Endurance (16km) Strength

Adequate protein is required to repair muscles, tendons and ligaments, but too much can also be detrimental to athletes. the future. In addition, we need to consume a sufficient amount of food that focuses on carbohydrates but contains small amounts of dairy, meats and legumes. Plants can be incomplete proteins, so be careful to get all your essential amino acids when consuming these products for your daily protein.

EXCESS PROTEIN CAN TURN TO FAT Studies have generally found that the body’s maximal rate of protein utilization for non-energy use is 1.5g/kg of body weight. Excess protein is either burned for energy (then nitrogen waste must be removed from the body) or is stored as fat. Often the misunderstood thought process is that we need an abundant amount of protein to allow new muscle growth during training. However, only 8-10 grams of protein can be absorbed in an hour, and you only have 1.5 hours for your body to absorb protein before it is stored as fat, used as energy or excreted. The maximum amount of protein to consume per sitting would then be 15 grams. Protein is needed, but do not think it is the overwhelming item that should be in your meal regimen. It will not be the game-changing resource to bulk up your young athlete to the next Hulk. Take adequate protein based on the above steps and you are on your way to the perfect protein balance. PREVENTION - PERFORMANCE - RECOVERY

@doc_hockey doc hockey Visit or call 613-371-4774.

Tot Energy (cal/day) 3800

Protein Protein g/kg/day g/day 1.2-1.4 84-98

Protein % of cal/day 9-10





--table generated by Dr. Dan Benardot

and I had to get stitches and x-rays, so I was flown home. It might have been my worst crash to date. My bike was just garbage after.” Woods needed help from his teammates to get his racing shirt on after a crash of his own. “Relative to him I was pretty unscathed and I still broke my elbow,” recounts Woods, who does a masterful job of relaying his experiences on his blog. The two are now fully healed and with the cycling season underway, they will be very busy. On top of training around 20 hours a week, Cataford is currently at Queen’s University studying engineering physics, while Woods coaches runners and works at The

Cyclery on Bank St., down the street from Cataford’s home. The pair are unsure whether Garneau will assign them to race in Gatineau, but would certainly love the opportunity to compete in a major international event at home. “My main focus right now is to be a full-on professional and race over in Europe,” Cataford signals. Woods also wants to ride in Europe, and Garneau may be the perfect place for them to achieve their goal, he notes. “Riding for Garneau is certainly a part of the natural progression,” he adds. “Being a part of a professional team that has connections to bigger professional teams in Europe, it’s a good stepping stone.”




World Cup medalist rowers look towards Rio 2016 By Michael Lapointe

A year after the Canadian women’s eight rowing team brought home the silver medal at the London Olympics last summer, Ottawa natives Sarah Black and Kate Goodfellow are working hard to make the group headed for Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The women grab lunch every day at a local diner in London, Ont. after the first of three daily training sessions on the water. It’s a grueling schedule, with hours comparable to those of a full-time job. “Forty hours of training a week is not for everybody, and it’s definitely not something you can just dive into with no experience,” Goodfellow says. “We’ve built up to this to the point where it is a lifestyle.” So far the two are looking good this year as they helped the women’s eight take home the bronze medal at the Samsung Rowing World Cup in Australia in late March. “There were some encouraging results (at the World Cup) but it also shows us we have a lot more work to do this season,

Kate Goodfellow (left) and Sarah Black.

with even more needed heading into 2016,” Goodfellow highlights. Black and Goodfellow both began their careers in Ottawa, but never competed together until 2011. Black started at Elmwood School when she was in Grade 9 following some encouragement from her mother to try something a little off the radar. “It is kind of an obscure sport that unless you know it and seek it out, you don’t really stumble into like basketball or soccer,” Black notes. A few years later, she re-

photo: michael lapointe

gistered with the Ottawa Rowing Club and things continued to take off from there. She made the first cut for the Olympic selection camp for London last summer, and ended up training with them in the months leading up to the Games. Black says the experience “set me up to know what to expect for this next cycle, which really was my goal in the first place.” Goodfellow’s start came even later when she joined the novice team in her first year at the University of Ottawa five years ago. She took to the sport

quickly, and had the distinction of being named the Ottawa Sports Awards female athlete of the year in 2012 after helping Canada’s women’s eight win the under-23 world championship gold medal. The upcoming Olympics provide a particularly good opportunity for young athletes to get to the next level, Goodfellow indicates. “There are only a couple of girls that were around in the last Olympic cycle,” she explains. “A lot of girls from the last quadrennial team retired so it’s a big turnover year.” The squad at this point is largely made up of rowers from the under-23 championship team, the Olympic development team, and a couple of athletes that have been in the Olympic program for some time. But because the Olympic team won’t be named until the last minute in June 2016, “at this point it’s anyone’s guess what will happen,” Black notes. The next big event for the women are Rowing Canada’s spring trials in early May and then the World Cup team selection camp later this summer.

Jason Dunkerley and Colleen Hayes well along on recovery road from kidney transplant By Anne Duggan

Love was most definitely in the air at this year’s Alive to Strive race on April 27 at Mooney’s Bay. Having her husband’s kidney, along with his heart, is the ultimate in romance according to Colleen Hayes, who was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2008 and was one half of the event’s pair of celebrity participants. “It is definitely the biggest selfless act for a spouse to do,” Hayes says of her husband Jason Dunkerley’s early-March donation of a kidney. “He has paid off all anniversary and birthday gifts, that’s for sure.” For Hayes, the transplant has already become another another landmark in their relationship road. “It was our 10-year anniversary a day after the surgery,” she notes. A well-known local Paralympic athlete, Dunkerley has represented Canada on the track at four Paralympic Games. Last summer, he and guide runner Josh Karanja won bronze at the London Paralympic Games in the T11 1,500 metres and silver in the 5,000 for athletes with visual impairments. The couple’s ability to walk the 5 km course in an event that raised $17,000 to help people living with chronic kidney disease live a healthy and active life demonstrates the quick recovery they’ve had following the transplant. “It’s going really well,” Dunkerley notes. “Our doctors fully prepared us and we were strong and healthy. For me, it almost feels like it didn’t happen.” Still, the 35-year-old admits to a twinge of self-pity at the race start when runners swept past him. “Sure it was tough,” he signals.

ALIVE TO STRIVE continues on p.10



OPDL: Local clubs talking about possible collaboration for OPDL entry continued from Cover similar to what OSU and West Ottawa have done. “Most clubs are, at least one way or another, looking to explore what those options are,” signals Cumberland United head coach Pavel Cancura, “whether it’s applying on their own or maybe cooperating with someone else to do so.” That’s a positive development, says FC Capital United head coach Raz El-Asmar. “We’ve never seen so many people talking to each other in the past year to 18 months,” he indicates. “Clubs that never really associated with one another are now looking at negotiations or ways to work together. I think that’s all good.” Capital United is “not saying no and we’re not saying yes” on whether they’ll apply, but low numbers in their grassroots age 8-12 program is problematic, El-Asmar details. “If it’s not this round, it’ll definitely be the next one coming in two years,” he adds. Taking a “really, really close look” at what’s in the best interest of all clubs in Ottawa is key, maintains Ottawa Royals president Bernie Etzinger. “Is it about the entire team or is it about the 2-5 players who need to play at that level and making sure they have the right spot?” he asks. Royals teams have not entered the OYSL in recent years, but players have moved on to other OYSL clubs, and with the rise of the club’s young

Parmar Futuro Academy program, “we’re looking at all our options,” Etzinger adds. Collaborating to enter teams “would be an excellent idea,” says Nepean Hotspurs head coach Boris Bajagic. “Clubs are sometimes entrenched into their positions and won’t see beyond that,” he indicates. “That can be a major problem – that they are selfcentred and not player-centred.” That’s one issue the OPDL is battling to eliminate. “I won’t say it’s a conscious decision in our approach, but if clubs come together, that’s great,” says OSA chief technical officer Alex Chiet. “If a club or group of clubs are coming together, they may not be ready now, but they may be in two years, which is fine as well.” That may wind up being the path the Hotspurs take. “We are OK either way,” states Bajagic, a member of the OSA technical advisory council charged with implementing LTPD, which included developing the OPDL. “There are a few major things that have to be resolved in OPDL. The logistics is the most difficult part.” A unanimous worry for local clubs is the amount of travel that may be involved, which could skyrocket costs that are estimated to be around $4,000-$4,500 per player already. “The travel is something we’re very mindful of for the east,” Chiet remarks. “It depends on the layout of where the clubs are. If we get a sig-

nificant number of clubs from the east, travel could be much better than it’s ever been. We just don’t know right now. “But I’d be lying if I said there won’t be travel. In Ontario, I think that’s a reality we have to accept.”

TRAVEL THE MAJOR WORRY OPDL games will take place at centralized sites for each age level, which could be beneficial if a location like Kingston or Belleville is selected so that both Toronto and Ottawa teams wouldn’t need to stay overnight. But it could be a major burden if clubs rotate through hosting games since the majority of teams are likely to be from the GTA. Gloucester Hornets head coach Mike Lanos expects it will mean “massive travel” for Ottawa teams, which is a big part of the reason his club isn’t likely to apply at the moment. “There’s a lot of great stuff about it, there really is, but there’s issues,” says Lanos, pointing to increased costs to start. “There’s one reason I’m involved in this game, and that’s because it’s all my dad could afford to put us in.” The biggest reason the Hornets are probably out this time around is that only the U13 division will operate in the first year. “I’m not a big fan of these kids jumping in at 13,” emphasizes Lanos, who believes the league’s non-reentry rule will be harmful to young players too. To play in the OPDL’s U13

level, the commitment to yearround training would begin the previous August when players are 11 and 12, he highlights. “We still have a lot of multi-sport kids,” Lanos adds. “I think you’re going to burn the crap out of a whole bunch of 13-year-old kids going nine months a year and playing so many games.” The Ottawa Internationals and Nepean City Storm are looking to support other OPDL clubs, officials from those clubs say. How many Ottawa clubs will wind up applying and how many will be accepted remains a question. Most speculate that 2-3 clubs will get the green light, and if it’s any more, it would mean less competitive teams. There is generally rather remarkable widespread support for the premise behind the league that promises drastic change – any complaints about abandoning the promotion/relegation system seem to have passed – and the OPDL has forced some hard conversations about clubs’ futures. “The reality is we’re looking at a tiered system for clubs,” offers El-Asmar, whose Capital United club, despite recent success, faces the looming possibility of missing out on the chance to play at the top level due to its small size. “Definitely there’ll be some impact probably on every club out there, including us,” he adds. “But that impact should be looked at as a positive impact for player development.”

OSU Force Academy Zone

OSU’s Kris Twardek signs with Pro Club in England (From left) OSU Club Head Coach Paul Harris, Millwall FC-bound player Kris Twardek,

Kris Tw a r d e k has struck the biggest goal in his career yet. The Ottawa South United (OSU) striker is no stranger to filling the net locally, and now he’s set to try his luck in England as a member of Championship side Millwall FC’s youth academy based in London. “It’s like the start to a dream come true,” reflected the Grade 10 Arnprior District High School student, who was introduced to OSU from the South Carleton Soccer Club when he was nine, in order to get the possible soccer training available in Ottawa. “I’ve always wanted to play soccer in a professional environment and this was an opportunity to do it. I’m thrilled.” Twardek went for a “nerve-racking” one-week try-out with Millwall back in November. Building on his experience from previous trials with Everton FC, the OSU player of eight years made an impression in a hurry, scoring “more than I’m used to when I go overseas” during game action with the club. Millwall, who recently reached the FA Cup semis against Wiggin FC, told Twardek they were interested in him before he left, details were ironed out through his family and OSU over the winter, and he’s now set to officially spend the next two years in southeast London once he arrives in June. Twardek, who will stay in a billet home with another teammate, had a peek at what his training schedule will look like and immediately felt energized. “It’s basically soccer all the time. That’s all you can ask for, really,” smiled Twardek, who’s headed to one of London’s dozen-plus pro clubs. “The atmosphere for soccer there, you couldn’t even compare it, I would say, to the hockey here. It means everything, for everybody.”

‘PROUD’ OF MODEL PLAYER OSU club head coach Paul Harris says it’s Twardek’s personality and mental edge that really makes him the full package, on top of tactical awareness, physique and the technical prowess that makes the standout dribbler an “exciting” player. “We’re delighted for Kris,” Harris signaled. “To get a player from Ottawa, Canada – not a well-known

& OSU Club President Bill Michalopulos.

football environment – to a professional environment in England is obviously something we’re really, really proud of and will firmly put OSU on the map as a development club overseas.” Bill Michalopulos, OSU Club President, added that “Kris’s achievement personifies all the hard work and exclusive networks that OSU has generated over OSU’s relatively short time in existence as a soccer club in order to provide the very best opportunities possible for OSU players on a global level” and that “all of 6,500-player-strong OSU is proud of this milestone.” Jim Lianos, the Club General Manager stated that “Kris’s hard work and positive attitude for continuous improvement gave him the edge required to be seen and promoted by OSU at such high levels. It could not happen to a nicer kid.” Twardek will become the first OSU product to sign with a pro academy overseas, on the heels of two other OSU players recently joining Major League Soccer clubs in Toronto and Montreal. “We think that maybe we’ve got the players at a young age who now have this role model and will later be able to go on to this level,” noted Harris, the former Everton FC youth academy coach, who also trained such players as Manchester City’s Jack Radwell and England’s U21 Ross Barkley.

GOODBYE TO ‘BEST FRIENDS’ The downside of joining Millwall, Twardek indicated, is that he’ll be leaving the club that’s provided him with so many opportunities, such as competing at the Gothia Cup in Sweden with OSU’s affiliate club from Dallas, winning the Robbie International Soccer Tournament and the Disney College Showcase with OSU, and finishing second in the Ontario Youth Soccer League this past summer. “It’s been a journey with the Force 97’s team and OSU. It doesn’t really stop here, but I mean, I’m leaving,” Twardek sighed. “The whole team is like my best friends. We’ve had lots of success together and we’ve had bad times together too. The team and OSU is like a family and we’re all brothers. “But I want to make a career out of soccer and this is a good opportunity to make that happen.”



Canada’s FISU soccer teams littered with local talent By Charlie Crabb Ottawa soccer is on the rise. This July, four Ottawa-born players and another four from the Carleton Ravens will compete for Canada at the world’s second largest sporting event, the FISU Summer Universiade. Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced in April that Pilar Khoury, Julia Francki, Jonathan Viscosi and Robbie Murphy will make the trip to Kazan, Russia for the competition that draws student-athletes together from around the world every two years. Steve Johnson, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees head coach and an assistant for Canada’s women’s team, says the tournament will be unlike anything else the players have participated in before. “It’s a wonderful experience,” he describes. Johnson previously served on Canada’s coaching staff for the Universiade in 2001, 2005 and 2007. In 2005, he managed the women’s team to a fifth-place finish in Izmir, Turkey. Johnson hopes Khoury and Francki, both Gee-Gees, will benefit from the experience the same way their teammate Gillian Baggott did in 2011. “Two years ago, Gillian went to Shenzhen, China where the University Games were held,” Johnson notes. “I personally feel it was the best experience she’s ever had in soccer. It helped her develop into the player she was last year. She finished [this year] as CIS player of the year.” Khoury, who was an Ontario first-team allstar in her second CIS season, was surprised to crack the Canadian lineup.

Julia Francki of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (left) is one of four Ottawa natives who will play for Canada at the World University Games, along with Pilar Khoury, Jonathan Viscosi and Robbie Murphy.

“To be honest my expectation wasn’t to make the team,” says the former Gloucester Hornets star. “I’m only 18, so just learning from all the fourth-year, fifth-year players and watching the way they take it all in and then trying to do the same, will be a key factor for me.” Goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi is graduating from the University of Buffalo this spring. He has big ambitions for the tournament. “Once I’m in Europe I actually plan on staying in Europe,” underlines Viscosi, a former Ottawa South United player. “I hope to take advantage of the exposure that will come from it. There will be a lot of people watching and it

Coach’s corner Sean Fleming, the coach of Canada’s U-17 men’s soccer team that recently qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, led sessions for local coaches at a well-attended conference organized by the Nepean Hotspurs April 26-28 at the Ben Franklin Superdome. Fleming conducted practices similar to the type of training players will experience in the new Ontario Player Development League next year. photo: dan plouffe


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goes well with my plans to stay in Europe and play professionally. I’m going to a few tryouts and hopefully I find a team there for the 2013 season.”

Francki says that the number of Ottawa natives going to the event speaks well for local youth soccer programs. “Even just my Ottawa U team alone is primarily soccer players from Ottawa,” the former Cumberland Cobra highlights. “Ottawa does have a very strong youth program, and you can see that from just our soccer team.” Both Khoury and Viscosi voiced their frustration on how players from Ottawa are often overlooked in favour of athletes from larger cities when forming provincial and national teams. It’s a trend they hope will change with their participation at the games. “We definitely have a really solid program [in Ottawa],” says Khoury. “I think people kind of underestimate it sometimes. It’s definitely something great for us to show and to be able to say we were able to bring four players up to the FISU level, which is a very high level, is definitely a positive we need to take from here.” Four Carleton Ravens will also be making the trip to the Universiade – Rachel Bedek, Veronica Mazella and Briana DeSouza are on the women’s roster, while Ravens captain Joey Kewin will compete for the Canadian men.

Dorion wins gold at sledge worlds By Megan Buchanan

Ottawa’s Marc Dorion and the Canadian sledge hockey team are back on top of the world, one year outside the Sochi Paralympic Games. The Canadian sledge hockey team returned home with gold medals after completing a perfect 5-0 tournament at the 2013 world championships in Goyang, South Korea. Canada downed the twotime defending champions from the U.S. in the April 20 final thanks to a fluke goal by Graeme Murray. “We went 5-0, but quite a few countries can compete for medals now,” says Dorion, who scored a goal and an assist in Canada’s 5-0 semi-final win over the Czech Republic. The victory was a positive sign as the Canadians strive towards their larger goal at the 2014 Games in Sochi, where they’ll be after redemption following a disappointing fourth-place finish at the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver. But the team will need to look out for a new emerging power in the sledge hockey world, Dorion highlights. Canada won a hard-fought 4-3 match against the future Paralympic-host Russians in Goyang. “Russia is gearing up for Sochi, working hard, they brought back bronze,” notes the 2006 Paralympic gold medalist. “We have to watch

Marc Dorion

photo: dan plouffe

for them in the future, this is the first world championships they were competing for.” Dorion will be into summer training shortly, which he does under the guidance of 2008 Paralympic adaptive rower Peter Morel, who runs his TopShape Fitness Studio in Westboro. But he did get to bask in the glow of his gold medal victory when he visited the Sledge Hockey of Eastern Ontario’s annual tournament the weekend after Team Canada’s win in Korea. Dorion shook off jetlag and wound up back on the ice for a game at Ray Friel Arena, although the competition level wasn’t quite the same. The 25-year-old University of Ottawa grad toyed around with several city councillors and Mayor Jim Watson, most of whom played sledge hockey

for the first time. In the real action, the Ottawa Sledgehammers went undefeated at the SHEO event to win the intermediate division, prevailing 3-1 over Durham in the final. The Orleans Barbarians earned silver in the second-tier intermediate division behind North Bay, and the Ottawa Valley Lasers took bronze in the junior category. The sledge hockey scene is alive and well in Ottawa, Dorion indicates. “Great sledge hockey programs. Good junior programs, good senior programs, the sport is growing in Ottawa,” signals the Bourget, Ont. native. “This is of great importance for players starting off the sport, everyone should be able to have access to the resources that point people in the right direction.”

JUNIOR LEAGUES Off to the races for OYSL clubs


West Ottawa Soccer Scoop

Warriors find new summer home fields, enter into partnership with Twin Elm Rugby Park

The OSU Force U15 girls are one of three local squads returning to the OYSL this season with reasonable prospects of division titles. Eight Ottawa teams will also make their Level 1 debut, including squads from Capital United, Gloucester, West Ottawa, Cumberland and Nepean. Visit to read the full version of this story, which includes more details on the newcomers to the league.

By Dan Plouffe Last year, the Ottawa South United Force became the first-ever local club to win an Ontario Youth Soccer League east division title. Now this year the Force under-15 girls have their sights set on being the first Ottawa squad to win a conference title and play in the east vs. west championship final. The Force got stuck in a baffling saga at the end of their 2012 campaign. They were forced by the league to replay a match they’d won early in their season since the referee timed 40-minute halves instead of the proper 45. They wound up tying that contest – which took place on the same day where they would have then played the west conference champions from Burlington had they won – to finish second behind Woodbridge. An appeal restored OSU’s original victory and their east division title, but that didn’t happen until after Woodbridge went on to defeat Burlington and then the Quebec champions in a later showdown. The players say that “in our hearts” they always knew they were champions last year, although it’s unquestionably a motivator for the group this season. “Especially since we got pushed out of our spot, we didn’t get to play Burlington in the final, and I really want to beat them this year,” highlights OSU striker Anna Munro. “As long as we’re working hard and playing well, (a championship) is always possible.” The Force are aware that they’ve now got a target on their backs that Ottawa clubs don’t usually carry due to their 2012 showing. “People are going to come after us hard,” says Alexis Martel-Lamothe, who’s gotten to know their competition well as members of Team Ontario along with Munro. “Our objective is to compete with those teams and keep up.” The Force U15 girls are one of 11 local Chelsea, Arsenal & Fulham, oh my!

See to read a story on the West Ottawa Warriors U12 boys’ England trip.

teams set to begin OYSL play on the May 11 weekend. Eight of those squads will be making the step up from regional play to the OYSL, while two other runners-up last year are hungry to challenge for the top. The OSU Force U16 boys finished just one point away from an east division crown last year in U15, earning a record of 12-24, which included a loss in their final game against champion Woodbridge. OSU will be without two big weapons – strikers Kris Twardek (headed to Millwall FC in England) and ‘Zoom’ Langua, now with Toronto FC’s youth academy. Neither were needed for much of last campaign, however, since Twardek missed most of his year with a broken ankle and Langua was a call-up from a younger squad. With a back end anchored by Sanchit Gupta and Charles Andrascik – who returns after spending his spring training with FC Sion in Switzerland – and top OYSL scorer Yousef Aldaqqaq leading the offence, the Force will again be a formidable side.

CAPITAL UNITED GIRLS EYE TOP SPOT At 11 points, the gap between first and second place was quite a bit larger for the Capital United girls last year in U16 action, but they’re hopeful that a trio of players who will be returning for their second campaign at the U17 level will help them bridge the gap this time around. Miranda Smith, Jordan Lundin and Kendra Ridley all helped the older Cap U squad to third place in the OYSL east in 2012. “We’re blessed with a lot of talented players,” notes Capital United coach Raz El-Asmar, who also has U16 provincial team member Adrienne Li at his disposal. “We have a strong core. We have more than three or four decent players.” El-Asmar believes a division crown is possible if all the pieces come together and the team can steer clear of injuries. “We need to win against the top teams,” he says. “And stay consistent. Sometimes you may get a game where the opponent is not that strong, but they’re focused to beat you.” The other local entries include the West Ottawa Warriors (U14 & U15 girls), the OSU Force (U14 girls), the Nepean Hotspurs (U16 girls), FC Capital United (U14 boys), the Gloucester Hornets (U14 & U17 boys) and the Cumberland United Cobras (U15 boys). See for more details.

Twin E l m Rugby P a r k (TERP) and the W e s t Ottawa Soccer Club (WOSC) announced that they have entered into a partnership that will see the WOSC Warriors become a key user group at the TERP facility at 4075 Twin Elm Road in Richmond. This partnership marks the historic coming together of the premier privately-held recreational complex in the region with the largest community soccer club in Ottawa. Steeped in rich rugby heritage, TERP has also been home to other outdoor sports including soccer for a number of years. The partnership with West Ottawa Soccer Club will take that multi-sport engagement to the next level and firmly make the venue a key hub of field sport activity in Ottawa for many years to come. “Having TERP become the new home to WOSC is terrific news for our entire Club Community,” noted WOSC Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Osieck. “It will open up a wide array of opportunities including hosting recreational tournaments and sessions for our vibrant youth recreational divisions,

while also providing our adult teams with a great environment, where quality on-field and enjoyable off-field experiences are a given.”

TOP FACILITY IN REGION “Partnering with a trailblazing organization like WOSC and its large and diverse stakeholder base is an excellent way for our TERP community to honor the legacy of hard athletic endeavour at the facility,” said John Doubt, President of TERP. “WOSC brings the same warrior spirit and value system to the table that has made our four member Rugby Clubs successful for decades. By the same token this newly formed collaborative venture will go a long way to preserve the excellence and sustainability of this storied landmark facility.” TERP features five full-sized fields, 12 changing rooms, shower facilities,

two lounges, a deck, a bar, parking for 250 vehicles, a canteen kitchen, and grandstand seating for up to 2,700 spectators around the full-enclosed Field #1 Championship pitch, which also includes an electronic scoreboard. “With the advent of the new Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) in 2014, WOSC is delighted to be able to point to TERP as the foremost hosting facility in Ottawa as its home base for potential OPDL use,” WOSC President Brian Mason highlighted. “It is crucial for a Club our size with an express commitment to be the leading player development organization in our region, and beyond, to have the facilities to support that. We feel privileged to be a cornerstone user group of this facility and will aim to add many quality sporting events to its long and impressive track record.”

WOSC announces exciting new changes to its technical leadership team The West Ottawa Soccer Club has inked an agreement with former Canadian international soccer star and Ottawa native Kristina Kiss to become WOSC Club Head Coach, starting in June 2013. Kiss assumed the role of acting Technical Director for the Club in June of 2012. Prior to that, she had been working for the organization as one of three Club Lead Coaches. “To continue to be part of the WOSC family means a lot to me, as West Ottawa is where I call home, both professionally and personally,” Kiss said. “We have made great strides in both our representative and recreational programs over the last 18 months and I am focused on helping to lead WOSC to success in all aspects of our soccer development programs.” The two-time member of Canada’s FIFA Women’s World Cup teams also welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with a new Technical Director, a position WOSC will be filling shortly. “When I was a competitive player, I thrived on learning new skills and techniques,” noted Kiss, who earned 75 caps for her country. “Now as the Club’s Head Coach, I want to continue to develop so that I can bring this learning to the other players and coaches I will be working with.” Kiss’s hiring marks another phase in the Club’s leadership evolution in consideration of the diverse technical

Past Team Canada player Kristina Kiss will be WOSC’s new Club Head Coach. requirements of an organization that has been a consistent leader in the implementation of the Canadian Soc-

cer Association’s Long Term Player Development (LTPD) framework. “The West Ottawa Soccer Club has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last two years,” indicated Brian Mason, WOSC President. “While our growth and success to-date clearly has to be attributed to the team work of many great contributors along the way, we owe a debt of gratitude to Kristina Kiss for taking on the challenging and diverse portfolio of Club TD this past year. Kristina has worked skillfully and tirelessly to enhance our programs at all levels.” WOSC CEO Bjorn Osieck directed a structural review of the organization shortly after his arrival in late 2012, which led to the creation of a professional Head Coach position. “I have been very impressed by Kristina’s enormous dedication to the Club and her uncanny ability to manage the technical requirements over the past year,” stated Osieck. “Having a hometown heroine and one of the most widely recognized female coaching leaders in Canada on our senior team is a great testament to our vision of being one of the foremost player development organizations in Canada.” The search for a new Technical Director has begun and will close on May 17th. More information on the position and recruitment process is available at


Gymnastics building blocks for Tumblers Tots It starts with a calm, quiet gym. But it’s not long before the bright, welcoming atmosphere is taken over by excited yelps and laughter from young children getting their first taste of gymnastics exercise. They’re moving quickly through colourful, kinder-sized equipment stations, bouncing on trampolines, crawling through tunnels, walking on balance beams and conquering blocks by climbing up and over them. And the foam pit is always a favourite. It finishes with a high-five and a stamp that matches each week’s fun theme. It’s all part of Tumblers Gymnastics Centre’s daytime program, offered for tots as young as 12 months, up to 5 and 6 years old. “Kids have a lot of energy at that age, and they need to burn it somewhere,” highlights Amanda Green, the daytime program coordinator. “The classes are action-packed from beginning to end. They don’t sit very often, except to explain a circuit for a minute or so. Then they’re going, going, going the whole time. “They’re definitely getting their energy out, and they’re learning a lot too.” For the youngest participants, parents assist their children in making movements and helping them to discover their bodies. They’ll later progress onto traditional gymnastics apparatuses such as bars, balance beam, trampoline and floor, which are all modified for smaller bodies.

BUILDING A FOUNDATION THROUGH FUN The abilities acquired from gymnastics – an activity that Sport Canada says all children should take part in – provide an excellent introduction to physical literacy for young athletes. “It provides a good base with those gross motor skills – those large muscle movements,” Green notes. “It’s all used in other sports, so it’s

a great foundation. Starting them young is definitely good, so that they develop those skills at a younger age.” The programs also provide an opportunity for children to socialize with others and to experience a bit of a structured setting, while learning lessons like taking turns and being patient. “We’re trying to teach them life skills as well,” Green explains. “They definitely enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. During the day, I’m out in the lobby talking to parents, and they’re very appreciative of the classes, and the energy that the coaches bring to the classes. The kids really feed off the coaches’ energy.” A lot of the Tumblers staff are current or former gymnasts, while others are simply great with children. Green first became a Tumblers gymnast at age 3 – before the club moved to its current 17,000 sq. ft. facility on Vantage Drive in Orleans – and started coaching when she was in high school. She’s revelled in watching many young participants develop at Tumblers Gymnastics Centre over the years. “Seeing them from the very start and how they progress is really tremendous,” Green smiles. “A lot of them stay here for a number of years. I enjoy watching them go through the program, and grow through the program.” See for more information.


Mavs match 2012 national silver at OVAs

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By Nick Faris The Maverick Mustangs 18-and-under boys scored the city’s best result at the Ontario volleyball championships, winning a silver medal in Waterloo on the last weekend of April. Having entered the 18U championships as the fourth seed, the Mavericks pulled off two consecutive playoff upsets to advance to the provincial final. Their semi-final victory came against the top-ranked Mississauga Pakmen – a team the Mavericks hadn’t beaten in four years, noted head coach François St-Denis. “We got some pretty significant wins,” StDenis said. “Unfortunately, I think we ran out of fuel getting to the finals, but it was a great run nonetheless.” The Mavericks finished 5-1 in round-robin play, dropping just two total sets through the tournament’s first round. The third-seeded LVC Fire Heat of London won the championship game in a two-set sweep, after outlasting the Mavericks in three sets earlier in the weekend. Mavericks setter Eric Funston and right side hitter Nicolas Pirnat were both named to the tournament all-star team, with Pirnat earning the individual honour for the second straight year. St-Denis tabbed his team’s depth as the key to the silver medal push. No sequence exemplified the Mavericks’ resilience better than the late moments of their semi-final win, after Funston was forced from the game with a calf cramp. “I played our second setter, and he did phenomenal,” St-Denis said. “A lot of these little things made a significant difference. I thought our depth showed more than the other teams.” Eight of St-Denis’ 12 players have already committed to playing volleyball at the university

or collegiate level next year. Before moving on, they’ll compete at the national championships in Edmonton from May 10-12. After claiming a national silver medal in 2012, St-Denis said his team is seeking a return to the podium. “Historically, it’s been tougher at provincials than nationals,” he said. “At nationals, the teams we play, we haven’t seen all that much – and it often pays off for us because we’re usually a bit of a better ball-control team than some of those other teams.” Shaky ball control prevented another Ottawa team from claiming a provincial medal. The Ottawa Fusion Red 17U boys finished fourth at their April 19-21 Ontario championships. After narrowly topping the LVC Fire in the quarterfinals – prevailing 19-17 in the third and deciding set – the Fusion were hamstrung by unforced errors in the semis, falling 25-21, 26-24 to the Mississauga Pakmen. “We missed 20 serves and lost by a combined score of six points,” said Fusion head coach Colin Walker, whose team fell to Guelph in three sets playing for bronze. “If we had put half of those serves and converted half of them into points, we would have won the match.” Like St-Denis’ Mavericks 18U squad, the Fusion will return to nationals as the defending Canadian silver medalists. They’ll strive for a steadier performance in Edmonton. “Last year we put everything together at the right time,” Walker said. “This year, getting to the quarterfinals is definitely our goal. From there, medalling would be our next goal.” The Mavericks Outlaws and Trailblazers both reached the quarter-finals in the 16U girls’ event, while Maverick teams also made the quarters in 15U boys, 14U boys and 17U girls.

Competitiveness shines in Wolverines win By Brendan McConnell

The Gloucester Wolverines Major Midget girls’ team were crowned Division 2 champions at their Ontario Cup on April 28, earning Ottawa’s best result to date at the basketball provincial championships, which run from March to May for various levels. After steamrolling the competition through their first three games, the U16 Wolverines went on to edge out the first seeded St. Catherines CYO 42-37 on the final Sunday – a win that validated the hard work and dedication the 14- to 16-year-old girls had

been putting in all season. “It’s a dream for a coach to have kids who are as competitive as they were,” says Wolverines coach Fabienne Blizzard. The group’s competitive nature was most noticeable when they were down by one

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point in the final at halftime. “A couple of them basically made the comment that this is not going to happen,” recounts Blizzard. “And then they said we’ve got to change this right now. I didn’t even

BBALL cont. on p.10




Jim McKenny, Heather Gifford-Seaman, Charmaine Hooper, Tom Foley and Mike Chambers will join the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame at a May 9 induction ceremony at City Hall. McKenny is a former Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota North Stars NHL player, Gifford-Seamen was a national women’s water polo team goalie, three-time FIFA Women’s World Cup player Hooper was a pioneer in helping the Canadian women’s soccer team emerge on the global stage, media personality Foley was the first host of CFRA’s Sports at Six show, and Chambers is a former Rideau Canoe Club commodore who went on to lead the Canadian Olympic Committee as president.


National capital athletes brought home a remarkable five sets of medals at the May 2-4 OFSAA badminton championships in Pain Court, Ont., near Chatham. Merivale’s Jesse Jie & Joletta Cheung were provincial high school champions in mixed doubles, while Earl of March’s Jenny Yu & Jennifer Kwok won silver in girls’ doubles and Lisgar’s Alex Chao & Andrew Liu took bronze in boys’ doubles. Longfields-Davidson Heights’ Sashini Senarath, also a provincial-level soccer player for Ottawa South United, earned silver in girls’ singles, while St. Paul’s Danielle Cantal took antique-bronze for fourth place in the same division. Check for more details.


Ottawa’s Adam Simac has been named to the Canadian men’s volleyball team’s 22-man roster for the 2013 World League competition, which begins May 31 in Quebec City. The 29-year-old won a Turkish pro league title earlier this year along with national team coach Glenn Hoag. Canada will host Turkey May 15 and 16 at its Gatineau sports centre home. Ottawa native Jérémie Lortie will vie for a place on Canada’s ‘B’ team at a May 9-13 camp in Gatineau. The recent university national champ with the Laval Rouge et Or has a chance to compete in the Pan Am Cup and the FISU World University Games.


Ottawa-raised curler John Morris has decided to leave the team that he won Olympic gold with in 2010 just a season before the Sochi Olympics. Morris, who now lives in Alberta, announced recently that he’s parted ways with Kevin Martin’s rink, citing poor results, such as missing the playoff round at this year’s Brier, and lack of competitive drive.


Carp’s Joanna Brown made her World Triathlon Series Olympic distance debut on April 19 in San Diego and put in a solid race against the world’s best, finishing 18th in a time of 2:02:39. “I didn’t realize how big this was for me until I got to the start line today,” the 20-year-old former junior and U23 worlds bronze medalist said in a Triathlon Canada media release. “I just completed my first WTS Olympic distance race and it was a lot of fun. I had little expectations. I just wanted to come here and show my training by having one of the fastest run times.”


The Ottawa Swans Australian Football Club has earned the right to host the 2013 Canadian women’s championships, which will take place Oct. 11 to 13. “Hosting an event of this size, with teams represented from across Canada, is going to be fantastic for the development of the sport in the Ottawa region,” Swans club president Chris MacLean said in a news release. “Australian Rules Football has come a long way in the Ottawa region since our club’s inception in 2006 and we hope this event encourages more men and women to learn this amazing game.” The Swans are based out of the Rideau Carleton Raceway. Several women’s players, who began play locally in 2012, are members of the national team, the Northern Lights.


Two local players participated in the Ontario University Athletics all-star showcase on May 5 at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Pitcher Alex Martinborough competed for the league-champion University of Toronto Blues, while rookie Waterloo catcher Kevin Martin was part of the OUA all-star squad, who won the game 7-1.

5 Ottawa runners compete for Canada in front of Penn Relays crowd of 48,871 By Coe Spethmann

From the quiet confines of the Louis-Riel Dome and the Terry Fox Athletic Facility, the roar of a 45,000+ crowd was quite the contrast for five Ottawa Lions athletes who competed at the 119th Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 27. “Those moments are the ones you train for and dream about,” says 4x400-metre relay runner Gord Frenke, who watched clips from previous meets to fuel his excitement before taking to the track himself. “Prior to the competition, excitement was at an all time high. I never get nervous before big competitions or races because I know there is nowhere else I’d

rather be than on the track.” Frenke, Devin Biocchi, Michael Robertson, Alicia Brown and Melissa Bishop all competed for the Athletics Canada-selected team in the USA vs the World event. For Frenke, it was the first time competing with “Canada” written across his chest. “It really makes you want to run fast knowing how many other people are striving to be in your spot,” notes the 24-year-old Queen’s University grad. “Putting on the Team Canada gear, I feel obligated to do everything in my power to perform at my best.” Frenke’s 4x400 teammate Biocchi had a similar take on his Penn Relays experience.

“Prior to the race, I was excited, as well as a little star-struck,” highlights the 20-year-old Canterbury High School grad who competed in the same event as Olympic gold medalists. “It made me a little more nervous than usual.” Canada’s men’s 4x400 m relay wound up finishing eighth in a time of 3:07.99. “I ran the fastest split I have ever run in my life, in that race,” Biocchi highlights. “It’s early in the season, which goes to show I will be going much faster later on in the season in my own individual event as well as in relays.” Frenke also expects his performance to improve throughout the year

as the athletes target the Canadian championships June 20-23 in Moncton. “With current progress, I am aiming to run 46-low to 46-mid for nationals,” he explains. “My performance at Penn lines up at this point in the season.” Frenke is eyeing a spot on Canada’s Francophone Games team, while Biocchi would also like to again wear the maple leaf, for July’s FISU World University Games. Bishop helped Canada to its best result at the competition as her 4x800 m relay team placed fifth. Brown’s 4x400 m women were eighth, and Robertson’s distance medley team was seventh. London 2012 Olympian

Melissa Bishop

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Segun Makinde was an alternate for Canada’s 4x100 m men.



902 Pinecrest Rd. Ottawa, Ont. K2B 6B3


Editor: Dan Plouffe 613-261-5838

The Ottawa Sportspage is printed the first Tuesday of every month by Ottawa Sports Media, the locally-owned and operated publisher of the Ottawa Sportspage &

BBALL: Kanata to play in Div. 1 U16 boys’ Ontario Cup in Ottawa continued from p.8 have to say anything, that’s what they said.” The Wolverines went into the second half and built a 10-point cushion within the first five minutes – an edge that ensured when the clock struck zero, the girls struck gold. “It was an exciting season and I can’t be more proud of a bunch of girls,” adds Blizzard, noting that any player in her lineup could be a top scorer and if someone was struggling, the team would back them up. “It’s a team that really, really cares about each other. I don’t think I’ve seen a team just bond so well.” Another Gloucester team narrowly missed a Div. 2 gold medal, as the U14 girls had to settle for silver with a defeat in the final by a single basket.

NEXT LEVEL EYE DIV. 1 GOLD The Kanata Next Level U16 boys will become the first local team to

Team of the Month: Capital Wave 14-and-under Water Polo Team

Sport: Table Tennis

Team members: Thomas Dalkowski, Damek Khan-Bougie, Rachel Howes, Sean Legg, Maya Club: Geng Table Tennis Academy Kassam, Gregory Fritz-Nemeth, Stephanie Gao, Gabriel Cooper, Stephanie Sibbald, Jewelle School: John McCrae SS Crocker, Juliette Belanger, Madeline Hemstreet, Lara Dale, Valeria Rojas, Sarah Adsett, Kaitlyn Palmer, Aidan Kronberg, Sarah McGinnis, Emma McGinnis, coaches Celso Rojas & Lianna Fotia. Grade: 12 About: The Capital Wave U14 mixed water polo team won bronze medals at the April 12-14 provincial championships in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Wave outscored opponents by a combined 41-23 in two wins and a loss to kick off the tournament, then downed the crosstown Ottawa Titans 16-15 in their final round robin game to earn their place in the medal round. The Wave bested London 9-8 to win the club’s third medal in its inaugural season. The 16U girls won provincial silver and the senior women earned national silver.

About: The North American U18 table tennis champion in 2012, James Pintea has begun to excel at the senior level provincially and nationally this season. The Grade 12 John McCrae Secondary School student recently won bronze against the country’s best at the Canada Series Final, and again earned bronze at the Ontario championships.

To nominate Stars of the Month, go to and follow the link on the right-hand bar under the Stars of the Month feature. Courtesy of the Ottawa Sportspage and the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Athlete of the Month will receive a one-week Family Pass to the Y, while each member of the Team of the Month will receive one-visit passes.

compete in a Div. 1 championships when the Major Midget Ontario Cup comes to town May 10-12. A fierce passion for basketball is what’s allowed the Next Level to excel and enter the event as the fifth-ranked team in the province, says coach Dave Brady. “I’ve coached a lot of different programs before but with these guys you finish a two-hour practice, they shoot around for

another 15 minutes,” Brady highlights. “Then you drop them off at their places and they go to the gym and play more basketball.” Burlington, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo are the topseeded teams, but Kanata is gunning for the top playing at home. “We’re going in to win,” says Next Level shooting guard Harry Range. “We’ve played all these top teams. I think we have a good chance of beating them.”

ALIVE TO STRIVE: Race grows continued from p.6 His wife has another side to the story. “Well, he is going for a run with a friend after this!” she countered. The planned run is part of Dunkerley’s return to world-class speed and a bid for a spot at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France this July. “He is running every other day after six weeks of not running, only walking on a treadmill,” explains his brother and fellow Paralympic athlete Jon Dunkerley, who was also one of the 533 participants in the Alive to Strive event. “He realized how import-

Athlete of the Month: James Pintea

ant rest was and really wanted to follow instructions for the best recovery.” Dunkerley’s guide, Josh Karanja, says he is cautiously optimistic about the comeback. “We have until mid-June to

photo: dan plouffe

get a standard and we are already in May. It’s going to be tight,” says Karanja, who won the 10 km Alive to Strive race with a time of 32:06.9. “I think the 800 standard of 2:05 is doable. Jason went into (the surgery) very fit.”

City’s best-ever Telus Cup result for Jr. 67’s By Jonah Brunet Thanks to both dedicated, sophisticated coaching and the talent of many individual players, the Ottawa Jr. 67’s matched the best-ever Telus Cup result for a team from the nation’s capital April 22-28 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The Jr. 67’s silver-medal finish was tainted only by their decisive 5-0 loss against defending-champion Red Deer in the national midget championship’s goldmedal game, and only briefly. “For about an hour after the game they were pretty upset that they couldn’t win it all,” said Jr. 67’s head coach Travis Crickard. “But I think the next day on the bus ride home I could see that they were very pleased with what they had been able to do this season.” The gold medal game was broadcast live on TSN on April 28, which may have added some nerves, Crickard indicated. “We played 80 games this season, and for 79 games the boys executed everything that I asked of them, and it just so happened to be in our 80th game they did not,” the first-year Jr. 67’s head coach added. Simon Hofley was named the tournament’s top goaltender, while team captain Matt Hudson was tournament MVP. A national silver medal and two national individual awards makes a better end to the season than the Jr. 67’s experienced in 2012. The Telus Cup was a long

step away from finishing last in the central region. Hofley credits the team’s dramatic turnaround to Crickard. “Last year we were treated like a mediocre midget team, but this year our coach treated us like a major junior team,” said Hofley, who described the exhibition games, video sessions, team meetings and countless practices his coach used to shape the national medalist team. “His life was the team, and that was just amazing.” Crickard put into practice what he learned from his Master’s studies in sport psychology at the University of Ottawa. “I’ve had a lot of coaches in my past who the only form of communication they would have with me is when they were yelling at me. They would never sit down and talk to me,” Crickard explained. “The old-school mentality of coaches always yelling and putting down players, for me as a sport psychologist, I don’t feel that works.” It took 16 playoff wins for the Jr. 67’s to reach the championship final, which included a 4-1 upset victory over the LavalMontreal Rousseau Royal in the Telus Cup semi-finals. “For years to come they’re going to remember what they’ve been able to achieve this year,” Crickard added.


An overtime loss sunk the Nepean Raiders in the Fred Page Cup Jr. ‘A’ finals. has full coverage.



11 local gymnasts primed for nationals in Ottawa By Dan Plouffe

The Canadian gymnastics championships will be in town May 17-25 at Carleton University, and for 11 local athletes, that means the chance to compete along the country’s biggest stars in the sport. They don’t get any bigger than London 2012 Olympic trampoline gold medalist Rosie MacLennan, who was in town May 1 and visited young athletes at the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre. “It’s so much fun” visiting with aspiring gymnasts, says MacLennan. “I get to chat with them about what their hopes and dreams are, and share a bit about my past and my journey and my experiences, and encourage them to face challenges and learn from them.” That was precisely how Spring Action’s Steven Wade felt earlier this year at Elite Canada when he warmed up after Beijing Olympics silver medalist Jason Burnett. “Jason has the hardest routine in the world,” underlines Wade, a trampoline athlete of three years and will take part in his first nationals. “To be right beside the trampoline looking at him, I

London 2012 Olympic trampoline gold medalist Rosie McLennan visited the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre on May 1.

mean, that’s what I want to do when I’m older.” Wade attended a meet in Amsterdam earlier this year along with Spring Action teammate Jonathan Arsenault. “That was a crazy experience,” recounts Arsenault, who would like to post a nationals score

that would qualify him for world age group championships. “I didn’t know the gymnastics community was that big internationally.” Also competing in trampoline will be Ottawa residents Benjamin and Vincent Tyo, who train out of Unigym in Gatineau, one of four

clubs helping to organize the event.

ZAKUTNEY TOP LOCAL PODIUM PROSPECT Samuel Zakutney is the best bet for a medal out of hometown athletes. The National Capital club athlete won consecutive Argo and Tyro age group high-performance national titles, including last year when he bested older gymnasts. “They’re all out of the way now, which is kind of a relief,” says Zakutney. “It is stressful to be the one known all across Canada. It’s hard to expect to win on everything. It’s just a lot of pressure, but I try not to think about it.” A third title would equal the mark set by former National Capital gymnast Jaroslav Hojka, who now returns to nationals as an OGC senior high-performance competitor. Hojka took a two-and-a-half-year break from the sport due to broken bones in his wrist and back problems. “I’m definitely behind,” acknowledges Ontario silver medalist Hojka, suggesting he’s likely back at the same level as he was before the break, but hasn’t yet risen further.

GYMNASTICS NATS continues on p.12

Local athletes Lucinda Nowell, Tyler Glavind, Bruno Webster, Samuel Zakutney, Jaroslav Hojka, Taylor Jackle Spriggs, Vincent & Benjamin Tyo, Steven Wade, Jonathan Arsenault & Eric Gauthier are all nationals-bound.

East-end gymnasts excel at home meet By Dan Plouffe

It was home sweet home for east-end gymnasts at the April 26-28 Tumblers Classic in Orleans. Athletes from Les Sittelles and Tumblers combined to sweep the all-around gold medals in each of the five categories during the third of seven sessions, and had strong performances across the board throughout the weekend. “It’s really fun because everyone can see what I can do,” explains Stephanie Lalonde, who was “surprised” to win the Level 5, Age 12 competition. Three of Lalonde’s teammates from Les Sittelles were Julianne Rivet

also called to the top step of the podium one after another, as Vanessa Laporte (L6 A11-12), Janique Boulet (L5, A9) and Julianne Rivet (L5, A10-11) each topped their all-around standings. “I was super impressed with everybody,” says Laporte, adding the recipe to success wasn’t complicated. “It was just a lot of practice, I think.” Juliette Chapman took the all-around title in the national Aspire category as she and five Tumblers teammates leapfrogged one another for positioning on different apparatuses. “Gymnastics is a permanent competition with yourself, first of all, but when you have girls at the same level, they are pushing each other,” highlights Tumblers coach Alina Florea. “All of them are very competitive and they don’t like being behind, so

Juliette Chapman

they’ll work more and more to catch the others. It’s very good to have teammates like that.” Also winning all-around titles were Emma Dobson-Takoff from Ottawa Gymnastics Centre (L4, A11), Tumblers Caroline Poirier (L8, A11+) and Melissa Mojsej (Masters), and Julina Benjamin (L4, A10+), Emilie Lalonde (L5, A13-14), Mia Haché (L6, A9-10) and Gabrielle Bonneville (L4, A9) – all from Les Sittelles, who also hosted an invitational meet the following weekend at their club.



Locals load top rhythmic ranks By Dan Plouffe


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The cheers from the bleachers at Earl of March Secondary School were quite a bit louder when a hometown athlete took the stage at the second rhythmic gymnastics provincial championships qualifier, and that support helped lift seven local competitors onto the all-around podium at the April 20-21 event. “I really liked performing,” notes Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club’s Danica Goodchild, who placed second in the Level 6B, Age 16+ category. “Knowing that there’s more people watching us that we know gives us a little boost.” Brianna Lu (L4A, A10-12) and Megan Kawai (L6C, A16+) earned all-around bronze medals for the host Kanata club, while Jaimee Loh and Kristin Polegato of the Ottawa Rhythmic Gymnastics Club took bronze and gold respectively in L6A, A16+, and Ottawa’s Cleo Page and Sophia Yang won the L5B, A13-15 and Kristin Polegato

Megan Kawai of the Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club was one of seven athletes from Ottawa who occupied Level 6 spaces out of 16 in total at the second rhythmic gymnastics provincials qualifier in Kanata.

photo provided

L5A, A13-15 classes. “I was really happy. I wasn’t really expecting it,” says Polegato, who enters provincials as the topranked athlete in her class thanks to a trio of clean routines at a relatively stress-free competition down the road in Kanata. “It’s much easier to travel, but I don’t feel like I’m at a competition. I don’t stay in a hotel, I just stay at home.” The qualifier provided a rare opportunity for Ottawa athletes to compete locally since their sport is largely based in Toronto. “We can bring our whole club for support,” highlights Kanata club head coach Dasa Lelli, saluting volunteers, parents, friends and neighbours for displaying great community spirit at the competition. “We can bring our gymnasts who are just about to enter that kind of competition for observation, to get inspired, and to see how well-followed this sport actually is throughout Ontario.” Local athletes are making a

name for themselves provincially too. Of the 16 athletes competing in Level 6, the highest provincial category, seven hailed from the national capital. “We are so proud that we are able to keep those 16- and 17-year-olds in the gym four or five days a week,” Lelli adds. “They spend hours and hours with us, and they prefer doing that to anything else.” Many of the more experienced athletes help coach the next generation as well. It makes for a busy life, smiles Loh, who’s in an important Grade 12 school year at Cairine Wilson on top of coaching and training, and volleyball. “It’s a pretty jam-packed schedule,” acknowledges Loh, who was also a past OFSAA provincial high school track-and-field distance hurdles event finalist in her spare time. “But I like it. I’d rather do that than sit around and watch TV all day. It’s really fun.” The rhythmic gymnastics provincials are June 7-9 in Etobicoke.

GYMNASTICS NATS: Home nationals a hit, athletes say continued from p.11 “My #1 goal is to get back on Team Canada.” Two more gymnasts from the host OGC club will compete in the men’s event – Taylor Jackle Spriggs and Bruno Webster, a National Youth athlete. Like Hojka, who just finished his third year of commerce studies at Carleton, Spriggs will compete in the same gym where he writes university exams. “It’s going to be great because everyone I know is going to come out and watch,” signals the firstyear software engineering student who’s eyeing a place on the National Open all-around podium after placing fifth last year. “They’ll get to finally see what I’ve been doing with all this time that I’ve invested.” After becoming the first men’s nationals competitor from the Tumblers Gymnastics Centre last season, Eric Gauthier will return for a second taste of the Canadians this year. He’ll be joined by Tumblers teammate Tyler Glavind, also a member of another of the host clubs. Glavind faced long odds of reaching nationals when he separated his shoulder

in a high-bar mishap early in the season. “I was definitely a toss-up come provincials,” recalls Glavind, who earned the seventh and final Team Ontario spot by tiebreaker over teammate Justin Perry, who’d posted the exact same overall score. “I wasn’t too sure how it was going to turn out, but I was very, very happy with how it did. I was definitely on top of my game that day.” Perhaps the athlete who most treasures having nationals in Ottawa is Lucinda Nowell. The Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club member spends loads of time on the road, traveling to Montreal 2-3 times a week to train at Rythmik Quebec. Nowell placed seventh at the 2012 nationals, and was second at this year’s Eastern regionals, winning a gold medal in ribbon – her first since starting at the national level last season. “Last year was all new sort of, being at a higher level. Now I’m more used to it and it’s all coming together,” explains the Grade 11 Earl of March Secondary School student. “I can count on myself to have good performances now. It’s not iffy.”