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Ottawa Sports Pages Your Not-for-Profit Voice for Local Sport



Apr. 21 ’21

Let’s Go Girls

Newly-hired Ottawa Blackjacks pro basketball coach Fabienne Perrin-Blizzard is one of the trailblazers featured in our Women’s Inclusion in Sport Series.


The Ontario government’s OHL scholarship fund contribution, with no equivalent funding to women’s sports, shows “biases are baked into our institutions.”



Ottawa paddler Maddy Schmidt secured her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, while her cousins shot into contention for Winter Olympics ski cross berths.

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‘Basketball is basketball’ for glass ceiling-shattering coach Fabienne Perrin-Blizzard By Charlie Pinkerton Back before she was on the sidelines, playing with the boys was as simple as that, and now, in coaching, it’s no different for Fabienne PerrinBlizzard. But in the larger scheme of things in Ottawa’s hoops community, as well as the wider pro sports scene

in the city, Perrin-Blizzard’s hiring by the Ottawa Blackjacks has a greater importance – it’s one that represents a local glass ceiling-breaking, alike that of San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon’s to the NBA. You won’t catch her framing it that way, though, perhaps because for the humble and decorated PerrinBlizzard, she’s always overcome


This Ottawa Sports Pages edition features Part 4 of our Inclusion in Sport Series, focused on women. See p. 3 for the Series intro. implicit barriers. “At the end of the day, I am a double-minority – being a female and

Black – so my mum kind of put that in my head early on. I’ve always been different, or the only one like me, so I was used to it,” she said. Perrin-Blizzard was born in Brooklyn and raised in Sorel-Tracy, a small city in Quebec located along the St. Lawrence north of Montreal.

BLIZZARD continues on p.8


– WOMEN’S INCLUSION IN SPORT SERIES – INCLUSION IN SPORT SERIES – TOPIC #4: WOMEN Welcome to the 4th instalment in our special Inclusion in Sport Series. Female athletes and coaches face hurdles to participating in sport, barriers to success and a breadth of issues specific to their gender, which – if ever – rarely cross the minds of their male counterparts. In this edition, we applaud women for their perseverance and contributions in rinks, arenas and on fields and sidelines, with the understanding that their experience in sport is far from being an equitable one. These are among the reasons why this edition is dedicated to and focussed on women in sport. We hope you pick up some of the others as you breeze through our pages. This will be the final segment of the Series focussed on a specific inclusion topic, but we promise to continue to cover these stories within future editions. Thank you for allowing us to find new value in this work. We always welcome your comments and ideas at Editor@OttawaSportsPages.ca.

—Charlie Pinkerton & Dan Plouffe


Erica Wiebe’s fight is about more than what happens on the mat By Hritika Jimmy Returning to the Olympics this summer, Erica Wiebe will be pursuing another gold medal, while also after more, this time. Since the 2016 Rio Summer Games, when she made her explosive arrival on wrestling’s greatest stage, Wiebe’s become known as more than an athlete. The defending Olympic champion is a student, consultant, volunteer, speaker, LGBTQ+ ally and someone who’s stature as an advocate for progressive social change is challenging even her standing as a gold medallist. “I believe sport has the power to heal, to inspire, to empower and to unite,” Wiebe recently told the Sports Pages. Specifically, the 31-year-old Stittsvillian has become a champion of empowering young girls and helping them push past barriers that have historically been in women’s way — which, as she knows well, there’s no shortage of in sport. “The history of women’s sport is a history lesson in resilience,” Wiebe said in a promotional video published by the Olympics Youtube channel in August 2020. “We’ve had to fight for everything

Defending Olympic gold medallist Erica Wiebe

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that we have, and we have to continue to fight,” Wiebe added. Even since winning Olympic gold five years ago, Wiebe still gets told that she doesn’t have the “look” of a wrestler. Those attitudes, as Wiebe explains in the Olympics video, are reinforced to girls from a young age. “When young girls are getting into the sport of wrestling, they have been told their whole lives that they can’t play rough; they can’t be tough; they can’t be a little bit creative with their bodies and that’s a big challenge to overcome,” she said. Wiebe’s own wrestling journey

began in Grade 9, when she took it up after attending an open tryout at Sacred Heart High School. While it was uncommon for girls her age to wrestle then, it was simply another athletic undertaking for Wiebe, who at the time was just another member of a family who had an untiring appetite for sport. “As the youngest, Erica got dragged along from a young age to help out at her sister’s competitions, who was a rhythmic gymnast, because the whole family was volunteering at events,” Paula Preston, Wiebe’s mother, said. Preston was the second-ever recipient of the Ottawa Sports Awards’ Spirit of Sport Award. It was given to her in 2016 in recognition of the two-plus decades she’s spent as a fixture in the Ottawa sports scene. The benefit of having a super-star volunteer as a mum isn’t lost on Wiebe either. “My mum was always there,” Wiebe said. “From finding a wrestling club for me, to volunteering to be the draw master, to driving me around Ontario to tournaments.” Preston, admittedly, was never going to be an elite coach for her daughter, so she always contributed in ways she knew how.

“I could help at the organizational and operational levels,” Preston said. “I could see how the sport actually worked and helped in those areas.” Preston described her sports-parenting as being rooted in providing opportunity for her daughter, without exerting pressure on her. “We cannot tell her what to do on the field or the mat, but we could get her there,” Preston said, adding that “we helped her develop an independent and strong personality and we let her go.” That foundation is the backbone of Wiebe’s success, she said. Wiebe’s own evolution off the mat suggests a few things may have rubbed off on her as well. In Tokyo this summer, Wiebe will try to join a class with trampolinist Rosie MacLennan, who is currently the only Canadian to win individual gold medals in back-to-back Summer Olympics. But with the influence she’s building outside of competition, and the push she’s promised to continue to make for “the next generation (to) have even better opportunities than (she) did,” she’s got the chance to have even longer lasting impacts off the mat as well.

Sport is key to our community’s health. It brings us together. It provides a place to learn and grow. It keeps us engaged.

EVERYONE should be able to experience sport. Proud to serve as Ottawa Sport Commissioner. I am here to help. MATHIEUFLEURY.CA | 613 580-2482 @MATHIEUFLEURY | MATHIEU.FLEURY@OTTAWA.CA



Ottawa schools’ women-in-charge highlight the benefits By Hritika Jimmy

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

Therien – more than a martial arts studio! Absolutely in love with the sport, a young Jiu-Jitsu fighter saw the potential in opening up a gym – to share his passion with the rest of the community. More than 50 years later – 53 to be exact – John Therien finds himself celebrating his long-term love affair with the sport. “You do it because you love to,” he said. “You follow your destiny.” For those years – Therien moved from fighter to trainer. And this, this is where he shone. He trained world champions. Multiple. If you tried to count how many he shared with City of Ottawa the love of the sport with, helped grow and Sport Commissioner open their own gyms or become promoters of Mathieu Fleury the sport themselves – your head would spin. And you would get lost in an international world of colleagues, friends and family who all learned one way or another under this man. “I knew I wouldn’t be a world champion, so I trained them,” he said. Born in Vanier, Therien learned the sport at the local community centre. He achieved his black belt in 1968 at 19, opening his school a few years later.

Over the years, Therien has been showered with accolades and awards – but here is where one stands out for this man. Therien said he felt honoured to be inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on March 29, and that it truly shows all his hard work has paid off. Initially meant to take place last May, the event turned virtual, as many have these days. Although Therien loves a good celebration, with people, laughter and hugs, he said it remained a very proud moment nonetheless. He added he is looking forward to the day he can take his grandchildren to see his name on the Hall of Fame wall at City Hall. “It’s more important to me to show them that if you work hard, look what you can achieve,” Therien said. “I can’t be the best at everything, but I can be the best at some things – and this is one.” A proud Papi, Therien said now he finds it is his grandchildren, and the young men and women he instructs (most four times younger than him) who inspire him to keep going, keep training and keep motivating. “It’s been a hell of a ride, but I am not done,” he underlined. A long-time community supporter for his home neighbourhood and his City, Therien said he does not let his age – or something like a pandemic – stop him from promoting his sport, which has expanded to include kickboxing over the years. Therien will host a 24-hour Martial Arts event online in May, including coaches and fighters from around the world. With 96 classes, Therien said it would be a message to let everyone know these schools are here, and they are fighting to survive the pandemic. “This is to raise hope in Martial Arts,” he noted. “To let everyone know: you are not alone, stay alive, and we are coming back.”

Do you know a local sports figure we should feature in the Unsung Hometown Heroes column? Let us know! Contact:

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

With the importance of representation becoming more apparent, the nation’s capital is ahead of the curve when it comes to its college’s and universities’ top-level sport leadership. The head of each of the athletic departments at Ottawa’s major post-secondary institutions, Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College, is a woman, which Gee-Gees athletic director Sue Hylland points out as being counter to the “historical and systemic” dominance of sport “at all levels by men.” “Having a female leader as the director of an athletics department shows great support and belief in equity and equality for women at the university level,” she re-

cently told the Sports Pages. Hylland has been involved in sport for 38 years, having served with the Canadian Olympic Committee for almost two decades and with Canadian Women & Sport and as CEO of the Canada Games Council. She was picked to lead uOttawa’s athletics department in June 2016. Hylland and her counterparts at Carleton, Jennifer Brenning, and Algonquin, Martha Peak, “represent what is possible” for young women, said Peak, who’s worked in sport at Algonquin for more than 20 years. “When a young girl sees a woman in this type of role it opens up her mind to all possibilities — to aim higher and be ambitious because anything is possible,” Peak added.

Having a woman in a position of authority can help students and players in a variety of ways. Brenning, who’s led Carleton’s athletics department for more than a decade, noted that female leaders tend to bring a different perspective than men. “This is healthy for any organization,” Brenning said. “(Women see) issues and problems from different perspectives and develop solutions with these different considerations in mind.” Hylland added about the difference in men’s and women’s strengths as leaders, that women can be more “nurturing.” “I want athletes to leave our schools with the best possible experience in their chosen sport,” she said. “It starts with caring about

them as young people and wanting them to succeed during and after their university experience.” Brenning says what she offers is a leadership style that relies on a consultative and collaborative approach, something that can be counterintuitive in the competition-focused sporting world. With women in charge, Ottawa’s biggest universities are exploring further ways that they can strengthen diversity in their athletic departments. Carleton has created a varsity council sub-committee to find ways to promote female athletes and coaches, while uOttawa believes that equity, diversity, and inclusion will be a “key pillar” of varsity athletics’ next strategic plan, according to Hylland.

Female sport leaders seek to draw more women to top spots By Kieran Heffernan When Own the Podium CEO Anne Merklinger first started out in sports management, there were very few women involved, let alone in senior positions. Now, she can rattle off a whole list of female presidents and CEOs: Lorraine Lafrenière from the Coaching Association of Canada, Karen O’Neill from the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Leanna Caron from Skate Canada, and Kathe-rine Henderson from Curling Canada. Before entering this field, Merklinger was a successful swimmer and curler, having won a silver medal in the 200 metre breaststroke at the 1977 Summer Universiade and a bronze medal at the 1990 World Curling Championships. Following her athletic career, she was part of an athlete internship program that allowed female athletes who had competed internationally to have a six-month placement with a CEO in sports industry. She worked with Canada Artistic Swimming (then called Sychro Canada). “That program doesn’t exist anymore, but that was really just the early days of a very strategic program to attract women into the field of sport management,” Merklinger said. She credits a conscious effort, not just in the sports industry, but across Canadian society, with increasing the number of women in leadership positions. “Our senior leaders in all industries have been very intentional around trying to provide more opportunities for women to be successful,” Merklinger said. Another important factor may be the success of female Canadian athletes

over the past few quadrennium. “Over recent Games — both winter (and) summer, Olympic and Paralympic — we’ve actually had more women on the podium than men,” Merklinger underlined. “And so all of those women serve to be role models and inspire the next generation of both male and female leaders, but in particular female leaders.” Sue Holloway has also noticed an increase in women and girls participating on the athlete side of things. Holloway is a retired cross-country skier and canoeist, and was the first woman and first Canadian to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in the same year. She now coaches skiing at Nakkertok. “When I was a little girl, which was a long, long time ago, and I did judo, which I loved, there was just two of us,” Holloway recalled. “There was me and Tina Takahashi in our club (Takahashi won Canada’s first ever gold medal in international Judo and now owns a martial arts studio in Ottawa). And there wasn’t the opportunity for competition like there was for the boys. “So, I had to fight my brother one time in a competition. That was not fun,” Holloway added. Still though, women’s sport still has problems with visibility and funding. Holloway pointed to the “March Madness debacle,” when a number of inequities between the NCAA’s women’s and men’s basketball tournaments were pointed out, including differences in COVID-19 testing, food, training facilities, and branding. “(March Madness) really highlighted

Sue Holloway

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the fact that even though things have changed, they’re still very much not equal,” she said. Some organizations have recently made commitments for more gender equality in their sports, such as Curling Canada, which achieved pay equity for the 2021 Scotties and Brier tournaments. Another issue Holloway noted is the fact that, although Canadians in general aren’t active enough, it is even worse for women and girls. There’s also a certain culture around fitness that she believes can be negative for women.

LEADERS continues p.5



Better efforts needed to reverse shrinking percentage of women coaching college and university sports

Ottawa TFC Telegram

By Colin Orsak Presented with the percentage of Canadian college and university coaches who are women — 26 per cent — GeeGees’ Jen Boyd was taken aback, and for an unfortunate reason. “I’m surprised it’s that high,” she recently told the Sports Pages in an interview. The 26 per cent figure comes from a 2020 report from Canadian Women & Sport, which also notes that only three per cent of head coaches of men’s teams are women. On top of the overall discrepancy, the total percentage of women who are college and university coaches in Canada is declining. Boyd, who is the head coach of the University of Ottawa’s women’s rugby team and with five national U Sports medals to her name is one of the most successful coaches to ever walk the sideline in Canadian university sport, believes the lack of women in her field is troubling. It also could have a damaging effect on women’s sports, she said. Key to what makes it important to have women in coaching, Boyd said, is variance. “In the mosaic of teaching and learning — of all the different tools that we have — different perspectives are the greatest tool,” Boyd said. Dani Sinclair is the only female head coach of a varsity team at Carleton University. In coaching women, as she does with the Ravens women’s basketball team, female coaches can offer “a different type of connection” than their male counterparts. “I know I can relate as a female who used to play at the university level,” said Sinclair, who was a member of McMaster University and University of Victoria basketball teams. “I can relate to these athletes because I used to be in their shoes. I think (women coaching women) is a huge benefit.” The Canadian Women & Sport’s report from last year, called the Rally Report, also points out that the participation rates for girls in their late teen years and adult women is falling. In 1992, half of women aged 16 to 63 were involved in organized sports. By 2010, 35 per cent of women of the same age group

Since being hired as head coach of uOttawa’s women’s rugby team in 2013, Jen Boyd has won five national medals, which has included bringing the Gee-Gees their first Molinex Trophy victory.

Coach profile: ‘Inspirational’ Jordan Lundin

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played organized sports. Just 18 per cent of women in that age range were involved in sport last year. Aside from the obvious point that having fewer girls and women involved in sport translates to fewer women having the opportunity to get involved in coaching positions, women also face barriers that men typically don’t in pursuing careers in coaching. This was evident to Sinclair when she wanted to start a family of her own. “If you want to have a family it’s really hard to do that,” Sinclair said in an interview. “There aren’t support systems in place at most universities that are going to help a coach do their job at the best of their ability, and also have a family.” “I was able to coach and have three kids because I had such a strong personal support system, but not everybody has that,” she added. Having a supportive husband has been crucial to former Gee-Gees’ women’s basketball coach and Ottawa Blackjacks assistant Fabienne Perrin-Blizzard’s coaching career, she told the Sports Pages. Her husband went so far as to become certified as a basketball coach himself, so that if she ever had to take care of their children — like, for example, to take them out of town to their own tournaments — that he could fill in for her at certain levels that she coached at. Tawnya Guindon, an assistant for Carleton’s women’s hockey team, began her coaching career two seasons ago, and having witnessed men mistreat women in sports, highlighted it as a deterrent against women becoming coaches.

“If you’re a young woman trying to start your coaching career it makes it difficult when there are fathers (of athletes) who think that they are better and more knowledgeable than you are,” Guindon said. While it represents just a start, the U Sports Female Apprenticeship Coach Program is one system attempting to address the shortage of women coaches in post-secondary competition in Canada. The program was launched last year and has helped Guindon and others access resources like direct training and consultation with more experienced coaches. Programs like this are a step in the right direction, with Sinclair stressing the importance of having strong mentors while in the early goings of learning to coach. “My belief is to be excellent, in any profession, mentorship is huge,” Sinclair said. “I know that I am in the position that I am in because of the people I was able to learn from and it gave me belief that being a female coach and being a female coach as a mother is possible.” To Boyd, the most important change is a simple one. “Hire more women — period,” Boyd said. “And hire more women of colour — period.” Above all else, Boyd stressed that what sports needs is more diversity, which itself will help reverse the troubling trends of shrinking women’s participation as athletes and coaches. “You cannot be what you cannot see,” Boyd said. “I live by that as an educator, as a coach, and as a woman.” With files from Charlie Pinkerton.

LEADERS: ‘Prepare women to take on leadership roles,’ Holloway says continued from p.4 “I’m not necessarily sure it’s healthy for women and good for women, because a lot of it is based on being lean and svelte and all that sort of thing, which does lead to some

pretty negative body image issues,” she said. Holloway said she thinks the ongoing push to have more women in management positions needs to continue as well. “A lot of people are against affirmative action,”

she said. “But it’s important that you don’t just try and let it happen by chance. You have to plan for it and create the opportunities and prepare women to take on leadership roles.” According to Merklinger, women who are

currently in those positions are keen to make sure that happens. “We have a very tight network where we support one another and we mentor the next generation of female sport management leaders,” she said.

She’s a role model for them, and a spirited player and coach who expects hard work from them, but you can tell from the ever-present sparkle in their eyes, and the frequent smiles and laughs, that Jordan Lundin has made a special connection with her young aspiring soccer stars. “A lot of it is just finding ways to inspire them – every kid’s different, so you’ve got to interact with them a little bit differently,” says Lundin, who leads Ottawa TFC’s U8-U10 competitive/academy girls. “But the biggest piece is making an environment that everyone wants to come to, where everyone’s having fun and gets to see their friends, just creating a really positive atmosphere.” Lundin “got the best of both worlds” by playing for both of Ottawa TFC’s root clubs in her youth – with Cumberland until the under-14 level and then with FC Capital United. An early memory that sticks out was attending The Robbie Soccer Tournament, a renowned charity competition that supports Cystic Fibrosis research. Her team bonded while preparing for the event and fundraising. “It was a really, really cool experience at such a young age,” reflects Lundin, whose Cobras team also won the tournament. “At 12 years old, I’d never thought about donating to charity, or recognized the greater good that can come from sport. It kind of opened all our eyes.” Life lessons continued with Cap U, culminating in a groundbreaking U17 provincial division championship. The 2013 Canada Summer Games bronze medallist for Team Ontario went on to study exercise, sport and health education at Radford University in Virginia, and again won a conference title as a senior in 2018. Lundin returned home after her NCAA career, and now plays for Ottawa TFC’s women’s premiere squad. “We’ve kind of started to pull back some of those players that I played with my whole life,” notes the Cairine Wilson Secondary School grad. “We’re still in touch all the time, and that’s really special.”

COACHES CREATE CONNECTED CULTURE Lundin got into coaching early, around age 12, and “grew a passion for it, obviously, but I wasn’t totally into coaching until I started to get the leadership side of it – recognizing how much of an impact you can make on the athlete’s life,” explains the Ottawa TFC U14 girls OPDL team coach. “It’s always my goal for them to look up to me and find any way to sprinkle some inspiration for them.” Lundin says the culture at Ottawa TFC is unmatched. Having many past club players now involved in coaching helps to spread that enriching atmosphere, to make connections between different age groups, and to spark a sense of unity among all levels, she adds. “The coaches and staff, we’re all very self-motivated people,” Lundin underlines. “And in turn, we’ve managed to make it a very motivating environment for our teams too, which is really, really cool.” Alongside her coaching roles, Lundin works for Ottawa TFC as Executive Assistant, handling many aspects of administration. After spending countless hours on the pitch throughout her young life, Lundin says finding a career in soccer is a great next chapter. “I think what makes me love soccer so much is that it’s such an emotional experience,” notes the 25-year-old. “Every time you step on the field, you kind of get a swirl of those emotions all in one go. It’s kind of an indescribable feeling. I’m also just so grateful for all the friendships that I’ve been able to make, and all of the mentors I’ve been able to have, because of the sport. I certainly would not be the same person I am today if I didn’t have soccer in my life.”




Why Hockey Players Should Play Lacrosse

Anyone serious about hockey should be playing lacrosse.

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


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

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


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

• • • • • • • • •

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

• • • • • • •

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


It’s FUN!



The attitudes and ideas about solving unbalanced coverage By Charlie Pinkerton By the final season of her Carleton University basketball career, Heather Lindsay was used to the little-to-no coverage that her Ravens team received from the mainstream media. Then one of the program’s most important wins in history was ignored, which set her off. The morning after the 2018 Capital Hoops Classic, an outing that saw the Ravens fend off their cross-town rival uOttawa Gee-Gees to keep their historic undefeated season alive, Lindsay and her father picked up a local newspaper, the Ottawa Sun, while out for a celebratory breakfast. They flipped to the sports section to see what had been written about her game, which was one-half of what’s annually among the three biggest spectacles in all of U Sports. What they found sent Lindsay into a fury. “They didn’t even mention it,” Lindsay recalls. “They didn’t mention the score. It was like the game had never happened. I was shocked.” Her immediate reaction was to take to Twitter. “It’s a shame the local media ignored reporting on the women’s game last (night) which also featured 2 of the best teams in the country,” Lindsay wrote. “A whole page spread in the paper on the men’s game & nothing about the women. It’s a setback for women’s sports @ottawasuncom.” The tweet racked up hundreds of likes and dozens of retweets, but the lack of fallout also epitomized the ongoing bias that women’s sports face in the media. Ottawa Magazine took note of Lindsay’s point, publishing an article about it seven months later. Outside of that article, local media largely ignored the issue. (For disclosure’s sake, the Sports Pages wrote a lengthy feature about the 2017-18 Ravens women’s basketball team after they won the national title. We did not report on Lindsay’s callout.) While playing professionally in Germany the next year, Lindsay took to Twitter again on International Women’s Day, to re-emphasize her point. This time, it was over a momentous Gee-Gees victory that was ignored by the city’s newspapers. “Today I was shocked to hear that after the uOttawa women’s basketball team won a hard fought game in the national quarter finals against a resilient Regina Cougars, the Ottawa newspapers did not so much as bother to publish their score,” Lindsay posted on Twitter on March 8, 2019. “After the nationals last year, there were many media sources that reached out to apol-

Heather Lindsay, Carleton University’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball.

university of saskatchewan/arthur ward

ogize about their lack of coverage and promised that it was a misstep and that things would get better. It has only been a year since this occurred and it seems as though very little has changed.” The coverage discrepancy pointed out by Lindsay is backed by alarming data as well: In 2014, only 4 per cent of Canada’s 4 leading sports broadcast networks’ airtime was devoted to women’s sports, according to an analysis of their schedules that was published in the Canadian Women & Sport’s (CWS) Rally Report in June 2020. The Sports Pages analyzed coverage by the Ottawa Citizen and found that in February 2020 (the final publishing month pre-pandemic) that less than 9 per cent of the Citizen’s sports stories were on women’s sport, and there wasn’t one sports section cover story about a female athlete. Our own reporting represents an exception: 62 per cent of the stories in our February 2020 edition were about women. Roughly two-thirds of the covers in our newspaper’s history have focussed on female athletes. However, our coverage is not due to any explicit mandate but rather is a product of two main factors: we prioritize amateur sport over the pros and happen to report on a city that’s recently produced more elite-level female athletes than those who are male. What’s less conclusive is how many Canadians align with Lindsay’s thinking: Just slightly more than half of adult women (54 per cent) want there to be more women’s sports content on TV and online, while slightly less than half of adult men (45 per cent) think there should be more, according to CWS’s June report. But the younger generation is more likely to share her frustration. Of girls aged 13-18, 61 per cent wished there were more women’s sports on TV and online. “I think the mindset is shifting to women understanding that they have a right to coverage that people want to watch or read about,” Lindsay said. Asked what she believes could be solutions, Lindsay said “it’s hard to

come up with just one” because of how much progress is needed. Media organizations having more women in positions of power would help, and commitments by CBC Sports, Canada’s public broadcaster, to produce gender-balanced coverage across all their platforms are welcome as well, she added. Former Nepean Wildcat Lindsay Eastwood, who played her first professional hockey season with the Toronto Six of the National Women’s Hockey League this year, has a more optimistic outlook on women’s sports coverage in the media. “I think we’re moving in the right direction,” she said, referencing reporting on women’s sports history-making moments, like when Sarah Thomas became the first woman to referee a Super Bowl this year. Eastwood also pointed out that nowadays women can use social media to promote themselves and generate their own attention. “If you can build your own brand then you’re going to draw more eyeballs to yourself and your team,” Eastwood said. She’s also hopeful that if some media organizations build up their women’s coverage, then the result could be a snowball effect. But simply showing more isn’t good enough, Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, the CEO of Canadian Women & Sport, says. Timing of coverage, on what platform it’s shown, the quality of the coverage and the assurance that sexualized or other harmful depictions of female athletes aren’t incorporated are all also important, she said. Sandmeyer-Graves also believes that sports media organizations hiring more women to decision-making positions would go a long way in the pursuit of more equitable, and better, coverage. “Bet on women,” Sandmeyer-Graves said. “Identify some properties that you think have potential and invest in them… Men’s sports don’t turn a profit right away, and neither do women’s sports, but somehow women’s sports get held to a different standard.” With files from Dan Plouffe.



‘Frightening’ lack of attention to women in Ontario government sport relief funding Ontario’s OHL scholarship subsidy and cancelling of women’s hockey championships while men’s go forward show the ‘biases baked into our institutions’ By Dan Plouffe Not long after her first steps came Hillary Sterling’s first strides on skates, on her family’s backyard rink in Richmond, and not much later, her goal became to play hockey in the Olympics for Team Canada. “It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was young,” signals the 18-year-old daughter of a hockey-playing dad and figure-skating mom. “I’ve been working so hard for it.” Last spring, the Nepean Wildcats Provincial Women’s Hockey League forward took a big first step in her quest when she was invited to a national team camp in preparation for the 2021 under-18 women’s world championship. “I was so thankful, and

Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod.

photo: twitter

proud of myself as well,” recalls Sterling, a Sacred Heart Catholic High School senior and future St. Lawrence University NCAA player. The in-person camp wound up turning virtual due to COVID, and the worlds planned for January in Sweden were ultimately scrapped as well. The tournament cancellation was announced alongside the news that the men’s U20 worlds would go forward in a bubble environment. That prompted fellow Team Canada U18 women’s hopeful Jade Maisonneuve of Ottawa to call out hockey’s “institutional sexism.” Sterling was crushed as well, and questions why the event couldn’t have been postponed instead of cancelled, noting that the men’s U18 worlds are set to take place April 26-May 6 in Texas. “It is hard to understand how one can happen and not the other,” says Sterling, who’d never previously thought much about sexism in hockey, or felt discriminated against. “You don’t realize it until you’re in the situation where

your chance to represent your country and put on the jersey is taken from you, and then seeing other boys my age will be getting that opportunity,” she adds. “It’s just devastating.”

SPORT BUILT ‘FOR BOYS & MEN, BY MEN’ The official name of the U18 male tournament is the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship. Adding the word “men” was perhaps unnecessary since there was no women’s event, though the senior-level men’s and women’s tournaments are similarly respectively called the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. “That male bias, that gender bias, is so alive in sport,” notes Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, the CEO of Canadian Women & Sport. “Sport has been built, historically, for boys and men, by men.” One of the main tasks for Sandmeyer-Graves’ organization is pointing out instances of inequality. CWS did that recently when the Ontario government announced a $15.3 million COVID relief sport funding package that included a $2.35 million contribution to the Ontario Hockey

PEEK INTO PWHL BIZ The Ontario government provided approximately $138,000 to help each of the 17 Ontario-based OHL junior men’s hockey clubs meet their scholarship commitments to players. The Nepean Wildcats – one of 20 PWHL junior women’s clubs that did not receive similar funding – have a total annual budget of roughly $110,000 across its three Program of Excellence teams (U15, U18 and PWHL). Some pay is provided to non-parent coaches, staff, physical conditioning trainers, and goalie or skating specialists. “The Provincial Women’s Hockey League is kind of this well-kept secret,” signals Wildcats general manager Bruce MacDonald, “but we produce some of the best players in the world.” MacDonald says the PWHL is somewhat comparable to the OHL on the girls’ side. “Yeah, we are a junior league, but we don’t have owners – we are funded by the parents,” he counters, noting the family of a PWHL player would pay about $5,000/year in registration fees, plus more for travel, hotels, meals and tournaments during a nearly 80-game season. “We don’t have the money behind us to grow as much as we want to grow, but in terms of the quality and the dedication,

2019-2020 Nepean Wildcats PWHL leading scorer Hillary Sterling.

these girls train as hard as anybody.” Players who make a provincial or national team could access Quest For Gold athlete funding, while post-secondary education scholarships are the big carrot dangling for many PWHL players, MacDonald notes. Most who go to play NCAA hockey have all of their costs covered. Support from Canadian university programs can vary. Many receive athletic and academic scholarships worth 25-50% of their costs, while a top player going to a top Canadian program could get 100%. “Really, they play for the love of the game, and that’s strictly what they’re playing for in a lot of cases – they know there’s not a lot of money at the end of this,” details MacDonald, underlining what an enormous help investments from men’s leagues or government could provide to kickstart professional women’s hockey. “I hope in the next 5-10 years that something happens,” he adds. “I think if there was something for them to strive for, you’d get even more people involved.” —Dan Plouffe

system, within governments, within the sport partners, in terms of taking those unconscious biases and making them very, very conscious, so that we can make decisions that account for all genders and treat them fairly.”


photo provided

League’s post-secondary education scholarship fund. CWS issued a statement that said in part: “Financial support for sport to recover from COVID-19 is needed and welcomed; however, the allocation of funds to men’s sport without offering the same to women’s sport is unfair.”

GENDER INEQUITIES CRITICIZED IN SPORT RELIEF FUNDING The funding provided to the OHL was roughly twothirds of the amount provided to a combined 63 provincial sport organizations to help with their administration costs and to support their member clubs ($3.6 million). “Is there significant power and influence that resides in the men’s game, and then the leadership of the men’s game, particularly relative to the women’s side? For sure. Leagues like the OHL are

long-established leagues with histories of receiving funding from different entities. They have a lot of relationships, and, frankly, expectations associated with that,” Sandmeyer-Graves highlights. “There’s a long tradition of men benefiting disproportionately from funding through sports. “And I think in this day and age, we really need to be challenging that, particularly, given what we see in the broader context of how significantly women have been impacted by COVID, and how at-risk the gains towards equity are as a result of the pandemic.” Sandmeyer-Graves adds that inequitable actions are often the product of unconscious bias. “We have so many biases baked into our institutions, and the way we look at the world,” she explains. “We need to level up as a sport

While announcing the support for sport funding on March 17, Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod noted she was proudly wearing a Nepean Wildcats jacket (her daughter plays with the association). Given that the scholarship funds would only go to male hockey players, Nepean PWHL general manager Bruce MacDonald feels that wearing Wildcats swag “sent a bit of a mixed message.” “It’s nice, but, you know, what about the girls? Why shouldn’t they have the opportunity for that money?” he says. “It’s frightening, actually.” MacDonald applauds the OHL for giving its players scholarships and encouraging them to pursue their educations, but he notes that some university-bound Wildcats will wind up paying for 75% of their post-secondary costs since scholarships often only cover a portion. “I don’t understand it, but it’s what they do, and it’s totally unfair,” adds MacDonald, who’s been involved in women’s hockey for most of two decades.

FUNDING cont’s on p.8


– WOMEN’S INCLUSION IN SPORT SERIES – PERRIN-BLIZZARD: Blackjacks hire will inspire BIPOC kids to dream of high-level coaching, says Merrick Palmer continued from Cover It was Perrin-Blizzard’s basketball journey that brought her to the nation’s capital to play for the University of Ottawa. During the summers of her uOttawa days, she’d often spend time at the court at St. Luke’s Park on Frank Street, a downtown hotspot for highlevel pickup ball, where playing with men was simply a given. “I’d be there for 3:30 ball and I’d be there playing because I just wanted to get better,” Perrin-Blizzard said. She’d go on to become a Gee-Gees hall-of-famer, following a playing and coaching career that spanned from 1989-1999. She finished her career as the school’s second all-time leading scorer, and was twice been named its most outstanding female athlete. Her coaching tenure lasted from 1994-1999, the final season of which she served as head coach. Over the next two decades she’d coach just about every level of basketball, including both men’s and women’s teams. She’s been involved with junior national teams,

has led Ontario teams to three national titles and co-founded, and continues to coach Capital Courts Academy, a developmental program for elite-level high school aged girls. What exactly makes her such a successful coach varies depending on who you ask, but generally a common theme is noted: PerrinBlizzard has an uncanny ability to connect with her players. Tyra Blizzard, Perrin-Blizzard’s daughter, who was coached by her mother growing up before her own U Sports career, praised her mother’s adaptability as a coach. “She’s always paying attention to her athletes and what they need,” said Tyra, who recently embarked on a professional playing career in Morocco. “She’s always learning from her athletes, which I find extremely admirable.” Capital Courts alumna Merissah Russell, now of the University of Louisville Cardinals, said her “basketball mum,” as she calls PerrinBlizzard, has a knack for earning players’ respect. “She knows what she’s doing (and) she knows what

FIVE WAYS SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS CAN SUPPORT FEMALE COACHES Despite the well-documented benefits of gender equity and the positive influence of women leaders and role models in sport, women continue to be underrepresented in coaching across levels and disciplines. Canadian Women & Sport identified five steps sport organizations can take to help recruit, support, and advance women in coaching:

Team Canada Olympic hopeful Merissah Russell says her “basketball mum” Fabienne PerrinBlizzard earns instant respect from players she coaches. she’s talking about, so everybody that she’s coached respects her and listens to her,” Russell said while reflecting on her time coached by PerrinBlizzard, which included training with a Gloucester Cumberland Wolverines Grade 9 boys’ team while she was only in Grade 7. Merrick Palmer, the founder of the Capital Courts Training Centre and director of the academy program, described Perrin-Blizzard’s effectiveness as being rooted in her compassion. “The energy that she has is not just support for her players but more the care

1. Create an organizational culture that values women. You can do this by challenging “blame the woman” narratives and being explicit, intentional, and unapologetic in communicating your values of inclusion. This includes valuing and providing equitable support and resources for women’s teams and women in coaching. “Blame the woman” narratives around coaching include: women don’t apply, they don’t like sports as much as men, they lack the knowledge and experience to coach, wo-

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she has for them as people,” Palmer said. “(She) gets down to the players’ level and finds out how each and every one of them is motivated. That’s at the core of making sure that everyone is giving their best.” Palmer added: “I’m not surprised Blackjacks did their research and found the best candidate.” Perrin-Blizzard’s recruitment to the Blackjacks began with a call from team president Michael Cvitkovic. “He basically was going through my resume without me having submitted it,” she said. After several interviews,

a deal was done, and PerrinBlizzard was announced as the team’s assistant coach in February. The fact that she would be the only female coach of a professional sports team in Ottawa never came up during the hiring process, so it was only after she was announced as a new coach that it dawned on her, Perrin-Blizzard said. “Basketball is basketball,” Perrin-Blizzard said. “To me, it’s an international language and it’s about being competent in what you’re doing.” For Perrin-Blizzard, whose non-basketball career for almost three decades has been

men with kids aren’t committed and have less time, and women only get the job because they are women. 2. Support and accommodate parent coaches. Encourage coaches of any gender to bring their family into their role as coach as much as they can. Implement family friend policies around travel and support, including subsidized childcare. 3. Build and reach out to diverse networks and develop a succession list of talented women to fill coaching roles. Involve women

working as a project manager in the traditionally male-dominated IT field, coaching the Blackjacks is hardly a break from what she’s accustomed to. But between her and those she’s close to, they share a recognition that the step she’s taken has the potential to have a broader impact. “Being able to represent women at this point and understanding that a lot of these young ladies can actually reach for this is a priority,” PerrinBlizzard said. “This is huge,” Palmer said. “All these girls who’ve been exposed to her, who she’s been trying to motivate, can now look at her and see that she’s practising what she preaches: that if you keep working hard, good things will come to you.” It’s doubly important being that Perrin-Blizzard is a Black woman, Palmer added. “Now young BIPOC (Ottawa) kids can say, ‘there’s a chance for me too to maybe coach one day at a high level, or even a men’s team,’” Palmer said. “She’s a walking, talking example of persistence and professionalism.”

coaches & leaders in the recruiting and hiring process and commit to building a diverse candidate pool. 4. Offer, develop, and pay for all-women or women focused development opportunities, including mentorship programs for women coaches. 5. Make a commitment to hiring and promoting women coaches by setting clear targets for the percentage of women coaching at every level, and a timeline to achieve those goals. —Source: Canadian Women & Sport

FUNDING: ‘Frustrating as a woman to have to constantly fight for the things that male counterparts get automatically’ continued from p.7 “Why one gender over another? I don’t understand that. It’s taxpayer money going to one sector of the population. It’s not right.”

MEN’S PRIORITY ENTRENCHED MacDonald wonders how much impact the “squeaky wheel” had on the OHL receiving support. Illustrating the foothold the OHL owns within the sports landscape, the vast majority of media questions following MacLeod’s wide-ranging announcement were related to the OHL, and when the government would approve/help fund a restart (the season was ultimately called off on April 20 with the province under

a stay-at-home order). The Ottawa Sports Pages exchanged emails over 3 weeks with MacLeod’s office to coordinate an interview, however did not receive replies to emails or voicemails in the 5 days before this story’s publication. Also included in Ontario’s sport relief funding package was an increase in Quest For Gold provincial carding for Ontario athletes competing at the national level, as well as $3 million for SPORT4ONTARIO to ensure families can return to safe sports programming. “From the very organic level, the grassroots level, like at a Nepean Wildcats level, the work that they’re going to be doing will help regain and restore trust and confidence in sport post-COVID,” MacLeod said during

the announcement, while the funding to provincial sport bodies “allows us to retain the structure and the bones of all those different organizations.”

WOMEN’S SPORT NEEDS EXTRA FUNDING DUE TO HISTORICAL INEQUITY There have been encouraging pledges made by governments and sporting bodies across Canada to support the advancement of women’s sport, Sandmeyer-Graves notes, but it can be emotionally draining for CWS to see inequitable actions persist. “It is frustrating as a woman to have to constantly fight for the things that male counterparts get kind of automatically,” she signals. “It is an exhausting exercise to be con-

stantly engaging in that.” But Sandmeyer-Graves also feels compassion and empathy for sport leaders because efforts are being made, and there is “so much to undo, and remake, in order to get us to a more equitable place.” A promising sign for the future of women’s sport came in 2019 when provincial ministers endorsed a vision “for all women and girls to be equitably represented, recognized, and served across all aspects of Canadian sport.” The federal government’s target to achieve gender equity in sport at every level is 2035. “Particularly within governments – and I would love to see this extend to corporate as well – we have to bring that equity lens,” SandmeyerGraves underlines. “Equity requires

us to start to address that historical gap or those historical disadvantages, which means that the women’s side possibly needs even more than the men’s side, to ensure that women and girls benefit equitably from sport, and from government investment in sport.” When CWS highlights inequities, it’s usually done “in the spirit of supporting everybody to grow.” “It’s not about calling out to tear down, it’s about calling people forward, so that we can build better together,” Sandmeyer-Graves indicates. “Sometimes there’s a need to point out inequity so that people can better understand what it looks like, how it shows up, and to challenge it, so that we can either rethink those decisions, or make a better decision next time.”


About the

The CAMPS Project vision

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

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

Ottawa Community Sport Media Team

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

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

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

recLINK/OCH Foundation

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

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

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

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

OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH CLUB | onec.ca/day-camps | 613-746-8540 CAMP DATES: July 5 - September 3, 2021 AGES: 7-17 LOCATION: 501/504 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway

        THE OTTAWA NEW EDINBURGH CLUB Ottawa’s Waterfront Sports Centre

Find fun and friendship while building skills at ONEC’s unique


Experience ONEC’s Unique Summer Day Camps! Kids ages 7 to 17 can build skills while enjoying fun and friendship at Ottawa New Edinburgh Club’s summer day camps, located just east of downtown on the Ottawa River. Tennis, sailing and rowing will be offered in 2021 from July 5 through September 3 in one- or two-week sessions taught by certified instructors. Camps run weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with optional drop-off and pick-up times a half-hour earlier or later. Lunches are provided on Fridays, and all campers will receive an ONEC Summer Day Camp T-shirt. It doesn’t matter if participants are trying a sport for the first time or if they have previous experience. On the first day, their abilities are assessed, and campers are then divided into groups that match their skills.


One and Two Week Sessions; Full and Half Day for Ages 7 to 17; Certified Instructors; Extended Drop-off and Pick-up Times 10% DISCOUNT FOR PAID BOOKINGS RECEIVED BY MAY 31 Note: Full refund (less credit card fees) if camps are cancelled by ONEC (including COVID-related cancellations)

Details and Online Registration at onec.ca/day-camps or phone 613.746.8540 Follow us:




ONEC’s Tennis Camps (for ages 7 to 17 years) are a great way to get kids interested in tennis or build on the skills they already possess. Participants learn stroke basics, game strategy, footwork and sportsmanship. Fun, structured, off-court activities are also organized.


Sailing (for ages 9 to 17 years) is one of ONEC’s most popular programs. Campers are introduced to its many different elements, including seamanship and safety. ONEC’s Sailing Camp uses the CANSail progressive certification from levels 1 to 4. CANSail 1 may take a week or more; CANSail 2 takes two to three weeks; CANSail 3 and 4 each take four to six weeks. The camp operates in one- to four-week fullday modules; there are a limited number of spaces.


Rowing Camps (for ages 11 to 17 years) take place on the Ottawa River. Learn to Scull (LTS) teaches basic skills of stroke technique and, as necessary, boat handling, water safety and balance. Instruction follows Row Canada’s Journey 1-2-3 program, and Journey 1 and 2 certification may also be attained. Journey 1 takes about two weeks of half-days, while Journey 2 normally takes an additional two weeks of half-days.


Book early and save! ONEC Summer Day Camps offer great value and are HST-exempt. Early booking discounts of 10% are offered for reservations paid by May 31, 2021. Note: Full refunds (less credit card fees) will be given if camps are cancelled by ONEC (including for COVID-related reasons).


Whichever sport is chosen, campers will come away with so much more than learning their sport – they will also gain life skills and team spirit while making new friends and having fun! For full details and online registration go to onec.ca/day-camps, or phone 613-746-8540. And check out memberships for adults of all skill levels at onec.ca.

OTTAWA SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS GUIDE TUMBLERS GYMNASTICS CENTRE CAMP DATES: Weekly June 28 through Sept. 3 AGES: 3-12 COST: $265/week (or $65/day) Half Days: $150/wk ($35/day) LOCATION: 330 Vantage Dr. in Orleans WEB SITE: Tumblers.ca


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

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


The camps run for 10 weeks total. Half days are available for the youngest campers aged 3-5, while single-day rates are possible for parents who may need child care on a particular day. “For us, it’s really about being there for the community and meeting their needs,” indicates Lemay, who leads the not-for-profit group that’s served the community for over 30 years. Pre- and post-camp care is included with registration, with drop-off as early as 8 a.m. and pick-up as late as 5:30 p.m. for the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. scheduled activities. Oftentimes, convincing the campers that it’s time to go home can prove challenging. “If the parents come early, it’s like, ‘Aww, c’mon, it’s not finished yet!’” Lemay smiles. “They love it. They’re never ready to leave.”



R S.C A IS IT T U M B L E V R O 4 3 3 .4 1 3 .8 3 4 DAY ! C A L L 6 O T R E T IS G E R D MORE! N L F D AY O P T IO FULL AND HA


E S, C R A F T S A


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For WACKY CREATIONS week, participants explore the wonders of gravity, balance and science through gymnastics, while making their own lava lamps and slime. Other themes include CHEER AND TUMBLE, WHAT A ZOO and CIRQUE DU TUMBLERS. Appropriate for beginners and seasoned gymnasts alike, children enjoy seeing the familiar faces of experienced Tumblers camp staff, who have all been trained by High Five – a leading organization in ensuring quality standards for children’s recreation and sport. Numerous staff have been present for many of the 15+ seasons Tumblers summer camps have been in operation, and they’ve also become experienced in implementing COVID-safe practices over the past year.








RIDEAU SPORTS CENTRE RideauSportsCentre.com

CAMP DATES: June 28-Sept. 3 AGES: 4-17 COST: $175-$305/week Location: 1 Donald St. (at Adàwe Footbridge on the Rideau River)



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Get children back to sports, socializing & having fun safely at Rideau Sports Centre’s 4-acre ‘Downtown Playground’

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In the history of 100+ years of sports at 1 bridge on the Rideau River includes Tennis and Donald Street, 2020 was certainly a different Multi-Sport Domes, an Outdoor Pool (Camps and challenging one, but the Rideau Sports include daily swims, weather permitting), a Dek | Centre is perhaps more eager than ever to get Hockey facility, and lots of greenspace. back to delivering fantastic Summer Camp exWith programming for Ages 4-17, families periences and memories in 2021. can choose a dedicated Tennis, Basketball, | | | Though full-day Summer Camps were Soccer or Ball Hockey Camp – or enjoy a vari| | a pandemic victim last season, high-quality ety in the Multi-Sport Camps. A lunch plan for Children’s Programming has continued the week is available from The Bridge Public successfully at RSC (whenever public health House, RSC’s renowned onsite restaurant. | conditions permitted), with ZERO COVID cases “We really strive to be as accommodating as throughout. possible to parents’ needs,” notes Bridgland, “That’s definitely given us the reaffirmation who hired a seasoned Program and Camp Swim that we can deliver as safe an environment as Manager to kickstart RSC’s programs in 2017. Outdoors possible these days,” signals Nicki Bridgland, “Our Camp staff’s energy level and their experiCEO and Founder of the Rideau Sports Centre. ence working with children is phenomenal. I feel Every Day! “Certainly the excitement from all the children so proud of the team we’ve built.” Weather Permitting participating was as high as ever, and that was That enthusiasm was clearly shared by nu| true for their parents and our staff too.” merous participants who jumped at the chance While following all COVID-related protocols to register for Summer Camps in the springand capping each Camp group at no more than time, with many programs filling up quickly. “We’re very grateful for the community’s TENNIS | SOCCER | BASKETBALL | BALL HOCKEY | MULTI-SPORT 20, RSC will resume its Summer Camps this year, and continue building on momentum from support and the trust they’ve given us during its first 2 seasons. these tough times,” underlines Bridgland. “2020 RSC’s Camp offerings proved popular from was a challenging year for everyone. There is the start as soon as the beautiful 4-acre “Down- no doubt children are eager to get back to playtown Playground” was opened to the public ing games and socializing with their friends, and under RSC leadership (after many years as a we can’t wait to give them that opportunity.” members-only club). For more information, call 613.749.6126 or The spectacular site next to the Adàwe Footvisit www.rideausportscentre.com. Call us at 613-749-6126 or visit rideausportscentre.com




CAMP AGES/DATES/LOCATIONS: U9-U12: July 12-16 & Aug. 9-13 @ Millennium Sports Park July 19-23 & Aug. 16-20 @ Gloucester High School


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

•U13-U18 High Performance •U9-U12 Academy/ Competitive/Open Soccer Camps •Goalkeeper Training

U13-U18 High Performance: July 5-9 @ Millennium U9-U12 Goalkeeper Training: July 12-16 @ Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS Aug. 9-13 @ Millennium

COST: $175/week WEB SITE: OttawaTFC.com

Unity | Growth | Work Ethic | Excellence

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

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OTTAWA LIONS TRACK & FIELD CLUB CAMP DATES: Weekly from July 5-August 27 AGES/COST: Age 7-11: $170/week (1/2 Days) Age 12-14: $185/week (1/2 Days) 2 wks: $310 (7-11) & $325 (12-14) LOCATION: Terry Fox Athletic Facility PHONE: 613-247-4886 E-MAIL: info@ottawalions.com

To all our 2021 CAMPS Project partners:


Become a CAMPS Project partner today! 613-261-5838 • execdir@ottawasportspages.ca The organizations below have generously provided free registrations for local kids from low-income families. See OttawaSportsCAMPS.ca for more details on each of them.































































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What powers a woman’s life in sport By Charlotte van Walraven In Grade 3, my teacher asked if anyone wanted to join the school’s cross-country running team. I had never been in a real race, but I remembered watching my mother finish her first marathon a few years before. I knew that if she could run in a race then I could, too. Putting up my hand to volunteer for that first race changed the course of my life. Up until then, I had been an active child in an active family who skated on the Rideau Canal, hiked in Gatineau Park, cycled along the Ottawa River Parkway, and played soccer at local parks. I floated cluelessly through the course that day, and crossed the finish line in a mass of other equally inexperienced girls. As I walked back to my school’s miniature tarp village set up near the finish line, it dawned on me that not only could I sign up for cross-country the following year, but I wanted to. I was hooked. Since that first race, sport has been an essential and irreplaceable part of my life. Elementary school races turned to middle school races, which led to high school and club competitions, and a career as a university varsity athlete. It was hard. There were plenty of injuries and disappointments and times when I felt frustrated and lonely. But I never once considered quitting, partly because the

The Rebelles Wrap • La Rubrique Rebelle

Daily phys ed at school lifts Gr. 7-8 Louis-Riel students during COVID

photo: ken parker The Ottawa Athletic Club Racing Team in January 2020. sweetness of one victory is non-negotiable.” The social aspect of a could erase the bitterness of many defeats, and partly running was one of the main because I could not imagine reasons I went in search of a team to train with, and a life without sports. Once I finished school, my teammates feel the there was no predeter- same way. We run faster mined next step in sport, together. We have more yet I wasn’t ready to give it fun together. And, most of up. As it turns out, I am far all, we love our coach. Ken Parker, is a relentfrom alone in my desire to pursue competitive sport less supporter of Ottawa’s as an adult. I discovered women runners. All of my this when I found the Ot- teammates consider Ken tawa Athletic Club Racing as one of the reasons they Team (OACRT), which is enjoy training with OACRT now my team full of wom- — his patience, his deden with successful careers, ication and enthusiasm, loving families, academic and all his stories from the aspirations, as well as a de- decades spent contributing sire to stay healthy and fit, to the Ottawa running community and advocating for and run fast while doing it. There’s my teammate female athlete opportunity Lynda Gingras, who start- and visibility. From my first hesied running completely on a whim to combat poor blood tant steps in the Grade 3 circulation. Now training is cross country race to my how she takes care of her- more veteran speed work as a well-coached and supself. There’s Judy Andrew ported adult runner, I am Peel, a fitness coach her- grateful to the teachers, self, who can remember the volunteers, the sideline when running for women cheerers, the teammates, and the coaches who have barely existed in Canada. Plus Susan Ibach, who help me remain committed runs with OACRT because to life-long sport. there’s always someone to To read an extendchase. ed version of this stoAnd Jill Murray, a busy ry on the OACRT, visit mother. But to her, “running OttawaSportsPages.ca.

If you ask Sherry Polomark how to stickhandle through a pandemic, her answer will be: more stickhandling. Home to a popular Exploratory Sports program at the Grade 7-8 level, LouisRiel high school was resolute in finding a way to continue safely offering physical education during COVID. Daily phys ed classes for all intermediate students is a cornerstone philosophy at Louis-Riel, to teach students the fundamentals of an active, healthy lifestyle, and enabling them to participate in sports and physical activities with confidence. So, Polomark went to the drawing board to figure out how to deliver each activity in a manner that’s as safe and engaging as possible. In hockey, that means a greater focus on practicing individual skills (like stickhandling), and playing 3-on-3 with no body contact. In basketball, it means playing games where it’s easy to stay apart, like 21, horse, and mirror, or doing relay obstacle races. Prioritizing individual skill development has been a guiding philosophy for educators. “Every sport kind of has its own restrictions, but we’ve worked hard to come up with adaptations,” notes Polomark, the Exploratory Sports program leader. “Physical activity during school hours is so important during COVID times, especially because there aren’t a lot of opportunities for sports and social interaction outside of school right now. Being active definitely

gives them a lift, for both physical and mental health.” Safety protocols are now a regular part of the routine. Students wash their hands before gym, then clean their individually-assigned equipment. Masks always stay on. Having the giant Dome LR (currently closed to the public) on-site at school is a great tool to promote physical distancing as well. Outdoor activities have been common. Students made use of nearby community greenspaces such as Green’s Creek for walking and training. They played tennis on 6 outdoor community courts. Workshops on yoga, indoor curling and golf went forward, at school this year instead of off-site. And students also benefitted from weekly physical conditioning sessions with the school’s specialized strength coach. There have been many more creative activities to keep the fun alive at Louis-Riel. The winter carnival – featuring toboggan races and musical chairs outdoors over the intended March Break week – was a hit. A unique team challenge boosted camaraderie and morale: which Grade 7-8 class (with help from their teachers and students’ families) would be first to collectively run the distance from B.C. to Newfoundland? “It’s hard to know for sure right now, but I think most of these kids are going to come out of this better having lived through it,” indicates Polomark, a teacher of nearly 20 years at Louis-Riel – her own alma mater. “Life’s always going to throw you lots of challenges, but it’s how you react that’s most important. “Is your glass half empty or half full? I think that’s a really important life lesson they’re learning.”

L’éducation physique à chaque jour pour aider les élèves de 7e et 8e

Si vous demandez à Sherry Polomark comment passer à travers une pandémie, sa réponse sera : plus d’activité physique ! Accueillant le populaire programme Sports-Exploratoires pour les élèves de 7e et 8e année, l’école secondaire publique Louis-Riel était résolue à trouver une façon de continuer d’offrir l’éducation physique de manière sécuritaire pendant la crise de la Covid-19. Les cours quotidiens d’éducation physique pour tous les élèves intermédiaires sont une philosophie fondamentale à Louis-Riel dans le but d’enseigner aux élèves les principes de base d’un mode de vie saine et active en plus de leur permettre de participer à des activités physiques en toute confiance. Mme. Polomark est alors retourné à la case de départ pour déterminer une façon de livrer chaque activité d’une manière aussi sécuritaire et engageante que possible. Le développement des habiletés individuelles de l’athlète a été une priorité cette année ainsi que la prise de décision lors des éducatifs. « Chaque sport à ses propres restrictions, mais nous avons travaillé dur pour trouver des adaptations », note Mme. Polomark, la responsable du programme Sports-Exploratoires. « Nous pensons que l’activité physique pendant les heures d’école est encore plus importante

Sherry Polomark

pendant la COVID, parce qu’il n’y a pas beaucoup d’occasions de sports et d’interactions sociales en dehors de l’école en ce moment. Être actif leur donne définitivement un coup de pouce, tant pour la santé physique que mentale. » Les protocoles de sécurité font désormais partie intégrante de la routine. Les élèves se lavent les mains avant et après les cours d’éducation physique. Leur équipement individuel doit être nettoyé. Les masques sont toujours portés. Le fait d’avoir le géant Dôme LR (actuellement fermé au public) sur place à l’école est également un excellent outil pour favoriser la distanciation sociale. Les élèves ont utilisé les espaces verts de la communauté pour marcher et faire des entraînements au Ruisseau Green. Également, les élèves ont pu profiter du tennis sur 6 terrains publiques. Des ateliers comme le yoga, le curling

intérieur et le golf ont quand même eu lieu, mais à l’école. À travers le programme, les élèves ont bénéficié de cours de conditionnement physique hebdomadaire avec l’entraîneur spécialisé de musculation. Il y a eu de nombreuses activités créatives pour garder le plaisir vivant à Louis-Riel. Le carnaval d’hiver – avec des courses de luge et des chaises musicales en plein air pendant la semaine qui était supposé être le congé de mars – a été un grand succès. La camaraderie et le moral ont été stimulés par un défi d’équipe unique : quelle classe parmi les 7e et 8e années serait le premier à parcourir collectivement la distance de la Colombie-Britannique à Terre-Neuve ? Les enseignants et les familles des élèves ont été encouragés à participer eux aussi. « Il est difficile de savoir avec certitude pour le moment, mais je pense que la plupart de ces enfants vont mieux s’en sortir après l’avoir vécu », indique Mme. Polomark. « La vie vous lancera toujours beaucoup de défis, mais c’est la façon dont vous réagissez qui est la plus importante. « Votre verre est-il à moitié vide ou à moitié plein ? Je pense que c’est une leçon de vie très importante qu’ils apprennent. »



– WOMEN’S INCLUSION IN SPORT SERIES – Addressing the injury management deficit in Ottawa women’s sports scene By Brendan Shykora Recent years have shed glimmers of awareness on the gender disparities in sports injury management training, and two former Ottawa soccer players can vouch for the gaps that exist in resources available to men and women when it comes to keeping their bodies intact through the high-performance grind. Alexis O’Bryan and Taryn Forrester, both 26, played on the same competitive youth soccer team in their pre-teen years. From there, the two had different experiences in overcoming injuries throughout their high-level sporting days, which led them to different branches of the sports rehabilitation field after university. O’Bryan has spent the last five years at Ottawa’s Capital Strength Training Systems, a high-performance gym that runs a catalogue of strength training sessions with sports teams and the general public, including all-girls sessions like O’Bryan’s popular women’s-only boot camp. She says she was fortunate that playing top-level high school volleyball left her with only minor knee and ankle sprains. In the gym she often encounters young girls dealing with more traumatic injuries — girls whose parents or coaches, in many cases, have been putting all their athletic eggs in one basket, with the misguided aim of reaching the highest levels through exclusive training. “Overspecialization at a young age is kind of a big thing,” O’Bryan told the Sports Pages. “We

get these 13 to 14 year-old kids who play hockey and that’s the only sport they’ve ever played.” Whereas gymnastics has more robust injury management practices — perhaps by necessity due to the high-impact and repetitive nature of the sport — O’Bryan sees more girls with traumatic injuries in team contact sports like soccer and hockey. Instead of trying to create superstar hockey or soccer or volleyball players, O’Bryan looks to build a well-rounded athlete. In its sixth year, the gym has been successful whenever COVID-19 hasn’t disrupted operations. On local sports teams, O’Bryan sees a shortage of well-informed injury management for girls — training programs that consider the physiological differences that young girls need to know about when they’re growing up playing co-ed sports or in gym class, wondering why the boys can do certain things their bodies can’t. “Training for females should really revolve around her menstrual cycle, and knowing when are the proper times to focus more on strength gains versus more active recovery,” O’Bryan said, offering an example. In the younger age groups especially, these essential understandings are lacking, O’Bryan says. It could be the strangely politicized tendency to obfuscate the innate differences between men and women, out of some perception that acknowledging these differences is a disservice to women. Where sports are concerned at least, O’Bryan says the differenc-

es are extremely important. To counter this, she and her gym mesh themselves into the season schedules of young athletes in a range of sports, particularly volleyball and hockey on the women’s side. As O’Bryan says, it’s an attempt to bridge the distance between the gym’s women’s injury management training and the coaching staffs that oversee most of the players’ training time. When it comes to preventing and managing injuries for women, O’Bryan says the biggest need right now is improved education for both athletes and coaches. There are misconceptions floating around sporting organizations and in mainstream media about how women should be spending their training time, especially at higher levels of sport. One common but misguided idea is that lifting weights at the gym is a “guy’s thing,” and women will get too bulky if they go to the gym other than to use the elliptical. “I hear that a tonne,” O’Bryan said. “It’s very difficult for women to put on muscle mass, so you’d have to literally want to become bulky for it to happen.” On top of discouraging women from building up diverse muscle groups in the gym, O’Bryan believes the misconception can lead sporting organizations to give fewer resources to the women’s side. The pandemic has made some of these inequities more visible. A recent example that caught media attention took place in women’s NCAA basketball. Earlier this year, Oregon Ducks basketball player Se-

dona Prince took to social media to reveal the workout provisions that had been provided to the women’s side, posting side-by-side images of a fully loaded men’s gym and a measly dumbbell rack in the women’s training area. “Three weeks in a bubble and no access to (dumbbells heavier than 30 pounds) until the Sweet 16?” she tweeted March 18. The failure to properly account for the differences in male and female physiology is often what leads to injuries down the road. O’Bryan says women are much more prone to having knee and lower back issues, for instance, “because our hips are wider, which means (we) tend to have more of the knockknee stance.” Her former youth soccer teammate, Forrester, knows that firsthand, having suffered both knee and lower-back injuries in her early days of long-distance running and competitive soccer — injuries she’s still managing to this day. Forrester now works as a registered sports massage therapist at Ottawa’s Vitality physio centre. She found interest in the field as competitive soccer became (and remains) her primary sport. “I would say for every five youth who come into (our centre for rehab), three to four are going to be girls,” she told the Sports Pages. She suffered from Osgood– Schlatter disease, an inflammation of knee ligaments, which has taught her “how much sports affects the body, and how if you don’t take care of yourself there’s repercussions.” Forrester says she knows there

are high-level athletic streams for girls in Ottawa; the issue is more a shortage of well-supported opportunities than the sheer number of opportunities available, particularly where injury management is concerned. “The guys are always put above, I find; they’re given all the resources, their professional teams are stacked with all the therapists and sports psychologists and everything they need, and I think that kind of lacks on the girl’s end.” That’s in line with seminal studies like Harvard scholar Robert H. Schmerling’s The gender gap in sports injuries in 2015, which found women are significantly more prone to most common types of sports injuries than men. It’s hard to get a complete picture of the top-down effects that mismanaged injury prevention can have on a city or region’s sporting environment. Forrester may well have been good enough to play in a professional league, were one available to her in Ottawa during her peak playing years. Many other female athletes, too, may have been good fits for an Ottawa-based professional sports franchise, had their bodies not been over-spent by coaches, gyms and sporting organizations — all of which have only recently begun reckoning with head-trauma on the men’s side, with arguably less attention paid to gender or age distinctions that could be useful for non-male athletes. “Maybe that’s why there are no pro sports girl’s teams here,” Forrester said, leaving the question open-ended.

Finding creative ways to broaden traditionally male-dominated sports to girls can show dividends By Fabrice Samedy They can throw, they can run, they can swing for the fences, and bigger picture, female baseball players are breaking down barriers and making sure girls have their space in a sport traditionally dominated by the boys. “When I tell people I play baseball, they’re like, ‘Oh, you mean softball?’” Ottawa-brewed player Jenna Flannigan reflected in the lead-up to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, where she won a silver medal with Team Canada. “I have to explain it’s like they do in MLB, it’s 90 feet (between bases) and all that. And they’ll say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize girls played baseball.’”

Jenna Flannigan photo provided

Dana Bookman was well aware of studies that showed sport participants achieve better grades at school, study at university, and develop into future leaders. The problem she saw was that these opportunities needed to be created

for girls, while boys were born with them. When Bookman’s daughter – the only girl playing alongside 400 boys in her age group – was on the verge of quitting baseball, she wound up founding Canadian Girls Baseball in 2016. “When girls play with boys, they are likely to sit in the outfield and not really try,” Bookman observed. “But when girls play with girls, their whole demeanour changes. They try really hard, they cheer each other on, they get involved in the game.” Though girls are allowed to play with boys on most, if not all, baseball teams in Canada, the environment doesn’t always lead to the best expe-

riences for the girls, Bookman noted. “Nobody wants to fail, but boys and girls play differently, so a girl is going to be more comfortable failing in front of people who look like her, and who are her peers, than she is in front of people that intimidate her or play differently than her,” she highlighted. Canadian Girls Baseball began with 44 girls playing in the GTA, but within 5 years, that number has grown to 1,500 nationwide, including its Ottawa site. The organization promotes inclusivity by making subsidies available to players from low-income families, and hires female coaches (who are players themselves) to

help promote the idea that “if you can see it, you can be it.” ‘Girls can doDO theTHE same ‘GIRLS CAN SAME THINGS thing boys can do’ AS BOYS’ Baseball Girls Canada is not alone in offering programming tailored to females in sports that have long been dominated by males. Many local groups have established a strong foothold, such as Jill Perry developing some of Canada’s top female boxers out of the Beaver Boxing Club, and the Gloucester and Nepean lacrosse associations producing champion teams and national-level players. Before the pandemic hit, the Cumberland Panthers were set to launch what were believed to be the first all-girls community tackle football

teams in Canada. The Panthers have long offered opportunities for girls to play touch football, cheerlead, and play flag or tackle football alongside the boys (and those streams remain available), but “I think (the girls’ tackle program) will be a much more open and inclusive environment for women and young girls to participate and play this sport,” explained JeanCharles Plante, a Panthers offensive line coach and former university player. Part of the philosophy behind establishing the girls’ tackle teams, Plante added, was simply because “girls can do the same thing boys can do, and we want to encourage that.”



In search of women’s pro sports prospects in Ottawa, a look back at the Fury’s days By Brendan Shykora Dom Oliveri and Jasmine Phillips both agree: it would be nice to have a pro women’s sports presence in Ottawa again. The former head coach of the now defunct semi-pro Ottawa Fury Women’s soccer team, and his former goalkeeper, currently find themselves reunited on the Carleton Ravens coaching staff. “I went from playing for him to coaching with him,” she told the Sports Pages in April 2021, adding they’ve been battling COVID-19 more often than actual soccer teams these days. Phillips began coaching at Carleton two years ago — well, two or three years. “The whole pandemic has thrown off time,” she laughed. At any rate, she’s enjoying working with Oliveri again, the man who coached the Fury to the USL W-League championship title in 2012, the year Phillips was a Central Conference all-star and finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year. Phillips wasn’t with the team at the time, but the 2014 offseason was a parade of bad news for Oliveri’s club.

GLORY DAYS CUT SHORT The Ottawa Fury Women dissolved on the heels of an undefeated season. They finished 110-1 to thoroughly dominate their W-League division and allowed a mere three goals against the entire season. They’d limped into that offseason having been beaten in heart-

breaking fashion in the semi-finals. A free-kick scenario went the way of the Washington Spirit Reserves, and months later the fate of the Fury came down to a ‘business decision’— as Phillips herself discussed on the airwaves of CBC Radio’s All in a Day not long after the event. The team folded roughly half a year before the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Of course, there’s always the next big event on the calendar to point toward in protest of a foreclosure, but this was a big one: The World Cup was hosted in Ottawa that year — the first Canadian city to have the honour. “It was a long time ago now, but I believe that originally we’d gotten the go-ahead from the OSEG (Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group) board to run the team,” Oliveri told the Sports Pages. “And then I think at a subsequent board meeting the decision was made to not run the team.” Kadeisha Buchanan was on the final Ottawa Fury roster. She went on to make the 2015 World Cup roster. The same goes for fellow Canadians Shelina Zadorsky, Ashley Lawrence, Bryanna McCarthy and Christabel Oduro. Those and plenty more of today’s professional soccer players — including Ottawa’s Vanessa Gilles — are filling spots on Canada’s national team roster while playing overseas. The Canadian women have earned bronze medals in each of the two most recent Olympic Games: London 2012, placing behind the U.S. and Japan; and Rio

2016, behind Germany and Sweden. While never reaching the top, they’ve reached the podium more often than any team in the world since 2012. One question looms large upon this consideration: Canada (and Ottawa) produces some of the best female soccer players in the world. Why can’t they play at home? Since the Fury Women were shut down near the end of 2014, Ottawa has lost its professional women’s hockey team when the CWHL shuttered in 2019. And the dearth of professional leagues for women is now Canada-wide; there are no women’s professional sporting leagues in the country. As Oliveri explains, a dearth of local professional leagues can stymie a country’s efforts to bring together championship winning teams at the international level. “The thing that the W-League did was it gave an opportunity to players who maybe weren’t as established as professional players,” he said. “An opportunity to play at a really high level and show what they could do, and maybe potentially earn pro contracts based on that.” Oliveri was the one to call Phillips and break the news that the club had shut down. “I was pretty surprised because there was so much support in the community for it and they were doing so many great things, and having a lot of success,” she said. Phillips hasn’t heard of any prospects of a pro women’s team around Ottawa for some time, and she’s not holding her breath in the

short-term; it takes time to build something like the Fury. “I think you have to start small,” she said. “What the women’s Fury had going was really great because we had high-level players from all over the world, so it was as close to a pro environment as you could be.” Solutions aren’t easy to come by in terms of resurrecting the local pro environment in all its complexity, but Phillips is sure of one thing: there’s a demand for it out there, waiting for its return. “It’s definitely marketable, there’s definitely people who are interested,” she said. To illustrate the point, she offered an anecdote of a time when she was randomly approached by a girl at a local restaurant. “This girl said ‘oh, you’re Jasmine Phillips, right? … I used to watch you all the time when I was a kid … I got your autograph!’” On top of what she sees as a coach, that encounter affirmed to her that girls are ready to dive into the pro game if the opportunity is there for the taking. “It’s very hard to find on television, but still they have a dream.” Stephen O’Kane had a good vantage point of the women’s Fury team in its last days of glory, having been head coach of the men’s side at the time. He now has a good vantage point of the state of professional women’s soccer as a whole, having launched the Ottawa-based Soccer Snobs podcast. Relatively new in just their second season on air, O’Kane and his

City’s Girls n’ Women & Sport promises post-COVID comeback By Hritika Jimmy Once the pandemic is over, the City of Ottawa hopes to bring its once widespread Girls n’ Women and Sport program roaring out of a hiatus. The program that city council launched in 1985 had helped draw more than 4,000 girls and women to participate in sport by 2009, according to a report by Canadian Women & Sport from that year. Jean Ollsen, who has helped facilitate the program for three years, explained that it was born out of a necessity to get more young women playing and competing. “Girls were being un-

derserved in sport,” she said. “For every 5 boys participating in sport in the city, there were only 2 females.” Since launching, Ollsen said the program has created new opportunities for girls and women of all ages and abilities. It’s also created new avenues in recent years, to help women discover novel sports, like spike ball. Girls n’ Women and Sport works partly by partnering with different sports organizations, allowing them to share ways how to attract new female participants. It takes various unique approaches to engage women who might not usually play sports,

with one example being an impromptu mother-daughter volleyball program that grew out of a weekly program for young girls. “Many of the moms were sitting on the side watching (and) one of our instructors asked if one of the moms wanted to participate and she happily joined in,” Kelly Bean, the program’s manager, recalled of the 2019 sessions. “Each week after that, a few more moms would bring their running shoes and would participate with their daughters.” The pandemic has necessitated the program’s shutdown, including its entire slate of scheduled

leagues and weekly sessions. Once pandemic restrictions are lifted, and COVID-safe practices like mask-wearing and physical-distancing, are a thing of the past, then the city’s program will return, Ollsen said. “I think the future looks great for Girls n’ Women and Sport after the restrictions are lifted,” Bean added. “I think that need for socialization after a prolonged period of social distancing will make organized sports more popular than ever. “It will be a great time to get young girls and women involved in sport again.”

podcast co-hosts have spoken with local professional talents like Gilles, a Team Canada full-back who has been impressing with Bordeaux in the French League. On March 9, they spoke with Toronto Star sports reporter Laura Armstrong, to discuss whether there is a plan for Canadian MLS teams to start women’s teams, following a path recently trod by the big European teams — a step up from the extant National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S. “I think (we’ve) seen the infrastructure that’s been put in place in countries like England and Spain and the Netherland, and the game is really growing in Europe and even in Mexico,” Armstrong told the hosts. “And we don’t have a league, and that’s imperative.” O’Kane has heard this echoed by many of his guests who are in or adjacent to high-level women’s Canadian soccer. He agrees that building pro women’s teams within the established infrastructure of the MLS is the best way forward. More locally, O’Kane thinks the best thing that could happen in the short term would be for Athletico Ottawa to fund an elite soccer program for girls. “The team is bankrolled by Athletico Madrid in Spain, which is a massive club with loads of money,” he said. “I would be very hopeful … they say they’re here to stay and to grow in the community, I would really love to see if they started a women’s team here.”



Paddling through 2-foot snow dump part of Maddy Schmidt’s ‘adventure’ to Olympic berth By Dan Plouffe A lot has changed for Maddy Schmidt since her earliest paddling strokes at the Ottawa River Canoe Club, but on the morning she clinched her ticket to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the 25-year-old was brought right back to the days when “we were just kids playing all the time out there on the water in our canoes.” Fast-forward from the time when her Olympic dream was born to March 12 when Schmidt’s “very cohesive team” just needed to win one more K-4 (four-person kayak) 500-metre race to earn their nomination to the Canadian Olympic team. “We just wanted to go out and have fun,” recounts Schmidt, in similar fashion to her 8-year-old self. The playlist developed alongside mates Alanna Bray-Lougheed, Andréanne Langlois and Michelle Russell – featuring classic pumpup jams like Lose Yourself by Eminem and Roar by Katy Perry – was key to keeping the mood light in the lead-up to the big moment. Picture “four 20-something-year-old girls singing really badly in a van,” details Schmidt, who “couldn’t stop smiling the whole week (of trials) because I think we knew what we were capable of.” There was another element that brought Schmidt back to her early days on the Ottawa River near Dunrobin. Usually Canada’s preseason team selections take place in the southern U.S., but with COVID border closures/ quarantine requirements, the

“To see it all unfold, I mean, it just shows that hard work does pay off and dreams do come true.”

After narrowly missing a K-2 Rio 2016 Olympic berth, Michelle Russell and Ottawa’s Madeline Schmidt (right) earned a K-4 ticket to Tokyo.


file photo

races had to be held on Canadian water in winter. “I definitely have a weird love for adverse conditions,” signals Schmidt. “The Ottawa River – that body of water can get so bumpy, so when it gets bumpy on any lake, I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, this is home.’”

WINTER PADDLING Schmidt and fellow Canadian Olympic hopefuls trained throughout the winter in a Canoe-Kayak Canada-organized bubble on Shawnigan Lake, B.C. before moving over to Burnaby for the trials. “There was obviously a little bit more on the line with Olympic qualification, but (the environment) felt so similar,” indicates Schmidt, noting it was the same group of paddlers and coaches together as every day for months. With no spectators or cheering, the moment when her crew crossed the finish line with a comfortable 2.5-second win to secure

their Olympic berth “felt fairly anticlimactic.” “I have always visualized or tried to imagine what it would be like to cross the line and qualify for the Olympics,” Schmidt reflects. “And I always pictured crossing the line and like being overwhelmed with joy and excitement and then just going to hug my family – my mom and dad and brother – and having them there to see me, and kind of feel the joy with me, because obviously they’ve been with me from start to finish through this whole journey. “And I feel like when I crossed the line, it was a moment of a little bit of disbelief, like, ‘we just did this – this is what we’ve been working on for so long,’ but there was not a big emotional reaction. The excitement of it definitely was lacking.” Schmidt puts a positive spin on it though: it was easy to reorient her energy to the bigger races ahead since “we

Canadian canoe-kayak Olympic hopefuls trained through the winter in B.C. this year.

photo: @maddycschmidt instagram

want to do some damage at the Olympics.”

HEARTBREAKING 2016 OLYMPIC MISS Looking at the bright side is just what Schmidt did 5 years earlier when she came agonizingly close to earning a Rio 2016 Olympic berth, losing a head-to-head race for Canada’s lone K-2 entry alongside Russell. Schmidt was able to turn the page pretty quickly on the devastating moment and focus on the road ahead. “I’m somebody that just loves to train,” underlines the Dartmouth, N.S.-based athlete who represents the Rideau Canoe Club (where she moved to as a teenager). “Maybe it’s a little bit of masochistic tendencies. But I love to push myself and I love to work hard. “I think I just love the daily routine of getting up and and working out and getting stronger. And seeing the incremental progression day after day, and working really hard for something and getting that tunnel vision and the attention to detail in training. “It’s just what I’ve done for so much of my life that I’ve just fallen in love with the process of it. And being outside, having this opportunity to be outside on lakes all across the country. “It’s such a privilege.” When the Olympics got postponed from 2020, Schmidt again thought: “Great, another year to train and get better.”

Paddling in the freezing cold all winter in Canada? Just a great way to harden her resolve, she says. “It was such an adventure, honestly,” smiles Schmidt. “We’ve paddled through everything.” The Woodroffe High School grad remembers one day where a “polar vortex” came and dumped a couple feet of snow while they were out on the water. “There was a layer of slush that covered the whole lake because it came down so fast,” Schmidt recounts. “I mean, it was obviously really slow paddling through slush, but it was actually pretty cool to paddle through it. “And we got hit by a freak hailstorm one day, and the waves were coming up and hitting us in the face.”

‘HARD WORK PAYS OFF AND DREAMS DO COME TRUE’ Schmidt says “the mental toughness that we developed on Shawnigan Lake was incredible,” and the reward, of course, was worth the pain. “When I was a kid, I would dream about the Olympics. It’s something I would always say I wanted to do, and I’d say that I was gonna do it. And it was never a doubt – this is my goal, and I was very vocal about it,” signals the 2013 world junior bronze medallist. “I’m so grateful to be in this position, but I’m also not surprised. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of my whole life.

COVID has thrown a lot of uncertainty into the Tokyo canoe-kayak qualification picture, but there are several more local paddlers who still have hopes of punching their tickets to the Games. Set to represent Canada at World Cup events scheduled for May 14-16 in Hungary and May 21-23 in Russia are the Rideau Canoe Club’s Natalie Davison, Cascades’ Sophia Jensen, Rideau’s Gabe Ferron-Bouius, and Ottawa River’s Brianna Hennessy and Mike Trauner.

PADDLER’S COUSINS IN CONTENTION FOR WINTER OLYMPICS There are two more Schmidts who may well find their way to Olympic Games as well, albeit the winter version. Maddy’s cousins Jared and Hannah Schmidt both enjoyed breakthrough seasons on the international ski cross circuit and vaulted themselves into consideration for Canada’s Beijing 2022 team. “Seeing those two thrive in skiing is so neat, and such an inspiration too,” notes Maddy, whose first competitive paddling partner was Hannah. Maddy is also hoping her boyfriend will earn an Olympic berth for Australia (the couple maintain a video blog on their journey on Youtube). On the weekend Maddy qualified for the Olympics in Burnaby, Jared and Hannah were racing a World Cup in Russia. For the family back home, that meant watching Maddy on a paddling live stream and Jared/Hannah on a CBC Sports broadcast simultaneously. “What an amazing thing it is. Very blessed,” says L.A. Schmidt, founder of the Ottawa River Canoe Club where her children (Jared and Hannah) and niece Maddy all paddled as kids. See OttawaSportsPages.ca for more detailed coverage on the super Schmidts.

Martin Cleary’s HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay Safe Edition column appears online 5 days a week. At the bottom of this page are snippets of recent stories. For more like this, and to read the full versions of the columns, visit OttawaSportsPages.ca


Ottawa’s Jake Gaudet wins NCAA men’s hockey title in final game as UMass captain By Martin Cleary Jake Gaudet first stepped onto the University of Massachusetts campus as a hockey prospect wearing a leg cast. He’ll graduate later this year as a national champion with a leg up on his rivals. The captain of the once-lowly Minutemen was one of 10 players to score a point during their 5-0 victory over St. Cloud State University in the NCAA men’s division 1 hockey final, earning the school its first national title in that sport. Before the top-line Ottawa centre joined the Minutemen, the hockey team didn’t have a winning season in 10 years. But new head coach Greg Carvel, a former Ottawa Senators assistant coach, ushered in a culture of winning at the national level. On Saturday, Carvel accomplished his mission with a one-sided, shutout win at the Frozen Four tournament in Pittsburgh. Gaudet was

there for every step of the journey and capped his senior career with a fourth-goal assist. “It’s surreal,” Gaudet said in a telephone interview. “It’s a huge accomplishment that we’re all proud of. And to do it in my senior year, it’s awesome. It means a lot to me.” Behind the stellar goaltending of Matt Murray, the Minutemen opened the Frozen Four with a 3-2 overtime win in the Thursday semi-final over two-time defending champion Minnesota Duluth, which won its second straight title in 2019 over the Minutemen. UMass did it the hard way with few practices before the Frozen Four because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three players, including star goalie Filip Lindberg and top scorer Carson Gicewicz, missed the semis, but were cleared for the final. “We were brutal in the first two periods,” Gaudet said about the Minnesota Duluth game. “We did not practice a lot because of COVID and it took a couple of periods for us to get our legs. Sophomore forward Eric Faith of Carp also played in the semifinal

UMass Minutemen captain Jake Gaudet.

file photo

and recorded one shot on net. The former Brockville Braves skater didn’t play in the final, but was on the ice for the celebration. The semi-final win bolstered the Minutemen’s confidence against St. Cloud, which also was aiming for its first national hockey title. “We took our opportunity to win a national championship,” Gaudet added. “We’ve played on that stage and know what it’s like to lose.”

The Minutemen, who won seven consecutive playoff games in a pandemic-shortened 20-5-4 season, achieved their national title by rolling four lines, playing strong defence and being disciplined on the ice. When the final ended, Gaudet raced for the hockey scrum. He accepted the NCAA trophy and screamed as he brought it to his teammates. Gaudet even cut out a section from a goal net and wore it on his head under his champion’s hat. “It’s the best. It’s the last time I’ll wear my UMass jersey,” noted the Nepean High School grad. “We left on our terms with the national trophy. When I came here, the dream of coming home with a national title was too far fetched.” Once the on-ice celebration calmed, the players, coaches and team staff formed a large circle around centre ice. Carvel and Gaudet addressed the smiling faces and told them to be proud; you’ll never forget this moment. “We call that ‘linking up’ in our culture. We did it after our last home game of this year and after

The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame held its firstever virtual induction ceremony on March 29. The inductees were basketball’s Dave Smart, hockey’s Marina Zenk and Derek Holmes, sports medicine’s Dr. Don Johnson and physiotherapist Phil Ashcroft, and jiu jitsu’s John Therien.

The Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club is scheduled to host the first leg of a domestic Olympic qualification series when the May 2122 Athletics Canada Tokyo Qualifier Series comes to the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

A New Journey: Local athletes Adriano Padoin-Castillo (multi-sport to speed skating), Kylar Rathwell (gymnastics to freestyle ski aerials) and Griffin Grainger (volleyball to rowing) have found success in sport already but have now been recruited by national sport governing bodies to try new sports in which they may have Olympic potential. The initiative is connected to RBC Training Ground.

Three weeks after her daughter’s birth, Rachel Homan was back on the ice winning her 11th career Grand Slam of Curling title. The Ottawa Curling Club skip was also Scotties national women’s runner-up earlier while 8 months pregnant.

The projected opening will be in August for Algonquin College’s new Jack Doyle Athletics and Recreation Centre, a $50 million facility that will feature three gymnasiums, a walking and running track, personal fitness training, and more.

The University of Ottawa artistic swim team won five medals at the Canadian University Artistic Swimming League’s virtual nationals in March. Gee-Gees team president Isabelle MacLean, a varsity team gold medallist, was the meet manager.

every playoff win,” said Gaudet, who will wait a few days to see if pro hockey will be in his future or whether he’ll enter the business world. Inside PPG Paints Arena, the well-spaced 3,963 fans included a small Gaudet fan club. Sisters Olivia and Isabella flew into Pittsburgh for the game, and his girlfriend and all-conference lacrosse player Stephanie Croke drove from Amherst, MA. Isabella held a large No. 1 cardboard number, while Olivia was responsible for No. 8. Gaudet wore jersey No. 18. Gaudet was proud of his teammates, but especially proud of head coach Carvel, who took a chance on him when he only played half a Central Canada Hockey League season with Kemptville 73s in 2016-17 because of a broken ankle. “A lot of us came in recruited by coach Carvel,” Gaudet said in a USCHO interview. “He had a dream to bring it to a national level and building a culture of really good kids that work really hard and have high character. The rest has taken care of itself.”

Ottawa cyclist Mike Woods is going “carbon neutral” this season, which he hopes will be his contribution to tackling climate change. The 34-year-old is aiming to inspire family, friends, fellow riders and fans to follow in his footsteps.

Ottawa curler Craig Savill, 42, is battling cancer for a second time. The four-time world champ previously beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma five years ago, and has begun treatment.



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execdir@ottawasportspages.ca The Ottawa Sports Pages is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Capital City Dance CARHA Hockey Carleton Jr. Ravens Elmdale Lawn Bowling Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel Footy For All/Footy Sevens For Pivots Sake Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Gloucester Skating Club Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Ottawa Beavers-Banshees Rugby Ottawa City Soccer Club Ottawa Girls’ Hockey Association Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa New Edinburgh Club Ottawa River Canoe Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Sport Council Ottawa Table Tennis Club Ottawa TFC Soccer Club Ottawa Titans Water Polo Club RA Centre Rideau Canoe Club Rideau Sports Centre Royal City Soccer Club TMSI Sports Management TRYumph Gymnastics Academy Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA

Star Team: Nepean Wildcats Provincial Women’s Hockey League Team

About: They didn’t get to skate in any official games this season, but each graduating member of the Nepean Wildcats Provincial Women’s Hockey League team will nonetheless be moving on to play university or college hockey next season. Set to join NCAA teams are Hillary Sterling (St. Lawrence), Terryn Mozes (Syracuse), Annabella Lalande (St. Anselm), while Zoe McGee (Ontario Tech), Ellie Brown and Ashley Monds (both St. Francis-Xavier) will play for Canadian squads. Look for more details in the next edition of the Ottawa Sports Pages.

About: Riding as part of a fundraiser in midMarch, Ottawa’s Lucy Hempstead smashed the Guinness World Record for greatest distance covered by a woman on a stationary bike in 24 hours, riding 812 km to eclipse the previous mark of 680 km. “I knew the world record attempt was going to be a challenge, but I wasn’t expecting the incredible outpouring of support, not only for my ride, but for CRUSH COVID: Ride for Mind – raising over $400,000 for the Michael Garron Hospital and mental health resources,” Hempstead said in a news release. “Thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way and those who donated to this important cause. I’m so proud to have smashed this record!”

E-mail editor@sportsottawa.com to nominate your Stars! Courtesy of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Stars of the Month will receive free passes to the Y.

Encouraging future for Canada men’s soccer after coming close to Olympics By Stephen Priel Theo Bair came within one step of winning an Olympics berth for Canada at the March 19-30 CONCACAF continental qualification tournament in Mexico, but the solid overall performance from the shortstaffed Canadian under-24 men’s soccer team has the Ottawa native dreaming big for himself and his country in the future. “It was a great experience,” recounts Bair, whose team went unbeaten in group play (2-0 win over El Salvador, 0-0 tie with Haiti and 1-1 draw with Honduras) before falling 2-0 to the host Mexicans in the semi-final contest where a Tokyo ticket was on the line. “I got to play against some really talented players,” signals the 21-yearold striker who appeared in all four Canadian games. “It was cool to see that Canada as a country is not very far from a team like Mexico. “We want to be the best team in CONCACAF and that was a step towards doing it.” Bair’s path towards his prominent place with Team

Canada began on local pitches with the Ottawa Royals, FC Capital United, and the West Ottawa Warriors. Hailing from a family of many former soccer players, Bair was spotted by the Vancouver Whitecaps at a local combine and eventually offered a position in the Major League Soccer club’s residential youth academy. Getting the chance to live and breathe soccer each day was already a dream come true for a teenage Bair. “The academy was the best time of our lives,” he reflects. “It was so much fun. You get to travel all over the place, travel the United States, play games all the time, score a bunch of goals, you’re with your

Team Canada and Vancouver Whitecaps MLS striker Theo Bair of Ottawa.

photo: canada soccer

best friends, you go to high school together – it was a great time.” The dreamlike feeling was that much greater when he made his debut for

the Whitecaps’ first team in a 2019 MLS match that Vancouver won 2-1 over FC Dallas. “It was a very great moment for me. My sister

was in the crowd, it felt surreal,” recounts the player who appeared 17 times in his rookie season. “My heart was blasting out of my chest, I was so nervous. But it was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my whole life.” There haven’t been any cheering sections lately, with COVID keeping fans out of stadiums. “They bring some kind of tension to you and I think tension is good because tension means that you feel like you have to perform,” indicates Bair. “Having the Whitecaps fans there is amazing – having the whole crowd chanting your name when you score or anything is an unreal feeling.”

SOCCER cont’s p.19


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– OTTAWA SPORTS PAGES SNAPSHOTS – OTTAWA ACES JOIN NEW NORTH AMERICAN RUGBY LEAGUE The two-year-old Ottawa Aces rugby club will be part of the new 14-squad North American Rugby League, which was introduced in March. The Aces and the Toronto Wolfpack will compete against 12 U.S. teams in the league that’s planning to start its inaugural season in June. Since the Aces’ founding in March 2019, the club has been working toward joining the Europe-based RFL League 1, but have bumped those plans to 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans for this year’s North American Rugby League season would see play take place in two groups, the Western Conference and Eastern Conference. The Aces will play in the latter in a bubble-style series of games. The Aces are also scheduled to play a Canada Cup competition against their implicit rivals from Toronto, sometime later this year.

OSU Force Academy Zone

OSU OSU Kick-Start Kick-Start boosts boosts soccer soccer access access

RACHEL HOMAN CAPTURES 11TH GRAND SLAM JUST WEEKS AFTER HAVING SECOND CHILD Rachel Homan curled well during her pregnancies of each of her two children, but may have bested those efforts this April by winning the Humpty’s Champions Cup, her 11th Grand Slam title, just weeks after giving birth to her daughter. The rink she skips, which curls out of the Ottawa Curling Club, outlasted the team of defending Champions Cup winner Silvana Tirinzoni by a score of 6-3. “When you’re out here and able to compete, (it) gives you more energy,” Homan told Sportsnet after the final. “It has been great, definitely tiring and lots of sleepless nights with a newborn, but we’re just so happy to be out here curling.” Fellow Ottawa curler John Morris recently won a bronze medal at the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship. He and partner Danielle Schmiemann, of Canmore, Alta., rebounded after losing their first draw at the March championships to win every game before ultimately falling short by scores of 7-6 in both of their chances to qualify for the gold medal contest.

OTTAWA’S MAKINDE APPOINTED TO ATHLETESCAN DIVERSITY COMMITTEE Segun Makinde, who was raised in Ottawa and competed with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, was recently appointed to AthletesCAN’s diversity and equity advisory committee. As part of the committee, it will be his role to offer guidance and recommendations to AthletesCAN, which represents Canada’s national team athletes, on current and future programming to advance their goals of widening sport access and improving diversity. “I want to use my experience and the experiences of others in the BIPOC community to help amplify marginalized athletes’ voices, push for adequate representation of BIPOC individuals, promote development and leadership opportunities for BIPOC athletes, create safe environments, and work with National Sport Organizations to eliminate any potential or perceived barriers within the Canadian sport system,” Makinde said in a press release.

JACQUES, BROWN TO RACE AT WORLD RELAYS WITH CHANCE OF QUALIFYING FOR OLYMPICS Ottawa Lions alumnae Farah Jacques and Alicia Brown were chosen in April to represent Canada at the 2021 World Athletics Relays Silesia21, to be held on May 1 and 2. The 2021 event will be the first global track event since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Athletics Canada. Both Jacques’ and Brown’s teams, the 4x100-metre women and 4x400-metre women, respectively, would qualify for the Olympic Games by advancing to their event’s finals. The appearance by Jacques, 31, at the Silesian event will be her third straight world championships appearance. Fellow Ottawans Glenroy Gilbert and Shyvonne Roxborough were also named as extended members of the team. Roxborough was named a non-travelling alternate, while Gilbert is Canada’s head coach.

WESLEY CLOVER PARKS TO HOST ONTARIO’S LARGEST EQUESTRIAN COMPETITION Nepean’s Wesley Clover Parks will be the site of this year’s Trillium Championships, the province’s biggest equestrian competition. The event is planned to be held from Sept. 1-5. The event that usually attracts thousands of spectators is likely to look a little different this year, amid the ongoing COVID crisis. “I really want to hit it out of the park with this championship,” Karen Sparks, executive director of Wesley Clover Parks, told the Ottawa Citizen. “We want to get (Wesley Clover Parks) into the rotation.”

OTTAWA AUTHOR PUBLISHES EQUESTRIAN GUIDE Ottawa author and sports performance coach John Haime recently published a book about confidence in the equestrian industry, something he said is “critical” to both achievement and enjoyment in sport. “The book is a pathway to both understanding, building and sustaining confidence,” Haime said ahead of its release. “While this book is written for equestrian athletes, it is transferable to all sport and performance.”

NEPEAN JR. WILDCATS ALUMNA MADDI WHEELER WINS NCAA HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP Forward Maddi Wheeler, who played four seasons with the Nepean Jr. Wildcats, won the NCAA women’s hockey championship with the Wisconsin Badgers in March. The title is the Badgers’ sixth, a record in the NCAA. Wheeler, who had a stint as captain of the Wildcats, scored two goals and recorded two assists for four total points in 20 games in her freshman season with the University of Wisconsin.

GOVERNMENTS CHIP IN TO EXPAND KANATA RECREATION CENTRE The federal and provincial governments announced in April that they would be providing a project to renovate and expand the Kanata Recreation Centre with a combined $3.2 million. The cash, which is on top of another $1.2 million that the City of Ottawa is putting toward the project, will help add new meeting and program rooms, update its interior, install an emergency exit stairwell to increase program capacity, upgrade the facility’s lobby and enlarge a nearby splash pad at Walter Baker Park. “The improvements being made to the Kanata Recreation Centre will be beneficial for our residents for generations to come,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a press release.

SOCCER: Ottawa players making impact on Canada’s national teams continued from p.18 COVID also kept Canada from bringing any Toronto FC players to Mexico due to an outbreak at that club. “I think COVID hit everyone pretty hard,” Bair adds. “My first season was a good one, my second season I didn’t play as much, and COVID definitely played a factor in that.” Bair believes that soccer in Canada is truly still in its infancy, and that Canada will only to continue to grow and develop into a nation to be feared in future CONCACAF men’s tournaments. And Ottawa players will likely play a big part in that, he adds. Ottawa South United product Kris Twardek, who plays pro in Poland, had been named to the Canada’s roster for the Olympic qualifier alongside Bair, but was unable to join the team “for medical reasons,” a Canada Soccer pre-tournament press release noted.

Vanessa Gilles.

photo: canada soccer

Gloucester Hornets/Ottawa Internationals-brewed phenom Jonathan David, a top scorer for Lille in French Ligue 1, was also eligible to compete in the U24 age group, but the 21-yearold had instead been tagged to compete for the Canadian senior men in overlapping World Cup qualification play (though an ankle injury kept him from

participating in the end). After recently training with Uganda’s under-20 men’s national team for the first time, Futuro Soccer Academy/ West Ottawa product Moses Kafeero could be part of that country’s 2024 Olympic qualification quest. On the women’s side, centre-back Vanessa Gilles has skyrocketed herself into consideration for Canada’s Olympic team thanks to recent standout performances in a 1-0 loss to world #1 USA, and clean sheet wins against Wales and England. The 24-year-old Louis-Riel high school grad only took up soccer in Grade 10. “There are so many good players in Ottawa but no one’s ever seen them because no one has cared to check,” states Bair. “Once Canadian players, Canadian fans, and Canada as a country take football as seriously as Mexico does – I think once Canada gets to that stage, there is no stopping us.”

OSU OSU Soccer Soccer is is proud proud to to announce announce the the launch launch of of the the Kick-Start Kick-Start Program, Program, dedesigned signed to to help help support support children children in in need need across across the the City City of of Ottawa Ottawa by by providing providing them them access access to to soccer soccer equipment. equipment. This This year year especially, especially, the the role role that that sport sport will will play play in in children’s children’s lives lives is is that that much much more more valuable, valuable, so so OSU OSU has has made made itit aa priority priority to to help help by by donating donating new new soccer soccer balls balls to to children children from from the the City City of of Ottawa Ottawa who who wish wish to to participate. participate. When When in-person in-person activities activities becomes becomes feasible feasible again, again, the the program program plans plans further further growth growth and and is is planning planning to to offer offer soccer soccer training training within within the the communities, communities, making making itit possible possible to to access access quality quality programming programming possible possible to to all all who who are are interested. interested. The The Kick-Start Kick-Start Program Program has has come come together together through through with with the the partnerpartnership ship of of three three community community leaders. leaders. Each Each partner partner will will support support the the proprogram gram in in the the following following ways: ways: Ottawa Ottawa Police Police Service Service will will personally personally deliver deliver the the soccer soccer equipment equipment to to families families across across Ottawa Ottawa using using their their neighbourhood neighbourhood teams. teams. The The Catholic Catholic Centre Centre for for Immigrants Immigrants will will help help promote promote the the program program to to families families and and community community groups groups they they are are in in contact contact with, with, to to ensure ensure all all children children have have the the chance chance to to participate. participate. Ottawa Ottawa South South United United will will be be donating donating all all equipment equipment through through an an exextension tension of of its its Help Help The The Kids Kids Play Play Fund. Fund. In In addition, addition, through through personal personal equipment equipment donations donations (i.e. (i.e. gently gently used used cleats cleats and and shin shin pads), pads), the the program program will will be be further further enhanced enhanced beyond beyond aa soccer soccer ball ball for for many many children. children.

OSU OSU COMMUNITY COMMUNITY SCHOOL SCHOOL PARTNER PARTNER PROGRAM PROGRAM OSU OSU is is supsupporting porting bringbringing ing back back sport sport for for all all children children in in our our comcommunity munity through through the the launch launch of of its its Community Community School School Partner Partner Program. Program. OSU OSU will will hold hold one-day one-day School School Soccer Soccer Festivals Festivals in in the the Spring Spring or or Fall Fall on on localocation tion at at partner partner schools, schools, providproviding ing accessible accessible soccer soccer programming programming to to all all students. students. Two Two scholarships scholarships per per school school will will also also be be provided provided for for children children to to join join OSU’s OSU’s recreational recreational program program in in the the summer summer who who may may not not be be able able to to otherwise. otherwise. The The scholarships scholarships are are made made possible possible thanks thanks to to the the generous generous donadonations tions received received to to OSU’s OSU’s Help Help the the Kids Kids Play Play Fund. Fund. Ready Ready to to Join? Join? Email Email contact@osu.ca. contact@osu.ca.

JEAN-ROBERT-GAUTHIER JEAN-ROBERT-GAUTHIER SPORTS-STUDY SPORTS-STUDY Since Since 2019, 2019, the the École École élémentaire élémentaire catholique catholique Jean-Robert-Gauthier, Jean-Robert-Gauthier, in in partnership partnership with with OSU OSU Soccer Soccer has has offered offered aa Sports-Study Sports-Study Soccer Soccer Program Program to to students students from from grades grades 33 to to 6. 6. The The program program encourages encourages student student learning learning and and development development as as well well as as their their sense sense of of discipline discipline by by following following aa flexible flexible schedule schedule that that comcombines bines education education and and training. training. For For more more info, info, visit visit ecolecatholique.ca/fr/Academie-De-Soccer_295 ecolecatholique.ca/fr/Academie-De-Soccer_295


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Ottawa Sports Pages  

Featuring the Ottawa Sports Pages' Women's Inclusion in Sport Series. Newspaper published April 21, 2021.

Ottawa Sports Pages  

Featuring the Ottawa Sports Pages' Women's Inclusion in Sport Series. Newspaper published April 21, 2021.


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