Venom split weekend with a win and a loss
The Jr. Tier II lacrosse team had a come-from-behind victory in their home opener against the Red Deer Renegades last Friday, with a score of 13-12. Cody Betterton scored with one minute remaining for the tie, and then again 50 seconds later for the win. Betterton contributed more than half of the Venom’s goals, with seven in the game.
“He played the lights out that night. He was the leader on the team,” Coach Hal Morris said. Betterton also had two assists in the win, and finished the weekend tied for the team lead in points with 17, alongside Hal Morris’ son, Brady.
Saturday’s game against the Lethbridge Barracudas was much tougher for the Venom, as Lethbridge went to the provincial finals last year, and only lost six players from their roster. Brady Morris led the way with a hat trick, but Strathmore still fell 16-6.
“Unfortunately we were missing lots of key players. We were dealing with lots of tired and injured players since we played the night before,” Hal Morris said.
Austin Allen and Lucas Bobbitt both took the net, impressing their coach, as they “faced a lot of shots from a very skilled team.”
Though the Venom need to improve in motion offense and more discipline on the defensive end, coach Morris still “expects to finish near the top or top third of our division this year, if not the top.”
The Strathmore Venom sit 2-2 on the season, with their next game May 10 at 8 p.m. against the Lacoka Locos.
Tour of Alberta cycling route announced
The Tour of Alberta, a 900 km bicycle race throughout Alberta, announced the trails that 15 professional teams of eight riders will follow, with participants from over 20 nations around the world. It’s the first year of the tour, and the first race of its type to be held in Canada.
Edmontonian Alex Stieda, the first North American to wear the yellow jersey in Tour de France, helped created the proposal for the race to the Rural Alberta Development Fund.
The riders will journey from the start in Edmonton on Sept. 3, through the prairies and steep Rocky Mountains, to finish in Calgary on Sept. 8.
The prologue of the event begins at Winston Churchill Square, where cyclists will battle for the Tour of Alberta’s leader jersey by running individual time trials of 7.3 km. Top speeds are expected to reach 80 km/hour.
The real journey begins the next day, Sept. 4, as cyclists make their way from Strathcona County to Camrose – a distance of 158km. The following day takes the riders to Devon (or “Bike Town Alberta”).
On Sept. 6, the racers will leave Strathmore for Drumheller. They’ll hustle up the 817 Highway into the Canadian Badlands, after beginning their day on 2 Avenue, between 3 Street and Lakeside Boulevard.
“It’ll bring a lot of attention to Strathmore and we have the opportunity to showcase who we are and what to offer here,” said Tracy Simpson, recreational events and communication coordinator for the Town. “It’ll bring the community together as well, with lots of volunteers need, over 200. Sports and recreation is a great way to unite your community. It’ll set us up for bigger and better things in the future.”
The longest distance the riders will have to face is on Sept. 7, as they pedal from Black Diamond to the Canmore Nordic Centre about 200 km away (with 50 km uphill). The ensuing day, the teams will finish in downtown Calgary at Centre Street and 4 Avenue, passing along Memorial Drive and the Bow River.
Giro D’Italia Champion Ryder Hesjedal is confirmed to be racing with his Garmin-Sharp team; they currently sit at fifth in the world. Hesjedal was the first Canadian to ever capture the Giro race last year.
Modeled after professional races such as the Tour de France, the tour will be sanctioned under Union Cycliste Internationale rules. The route is designed to be safe for cyclists, spectators and motorists.
The tour will be broadcast on Sportsnet in Canada, but will be followed internationally as well.
Strathmore area players part of Allan Cup championship team
Four Strathmore area players were part of the Bentley Generals hockey team that won the 2013 Allan Cup on April 20: Brett Thurston, Jeremy Colliton, Keenan Desmet, and Kyle Sheen.
The 2013 edition of the historic tournament was played in Bentley, with the championship game being televised live on TSN.
The Generals won the Allan Cup final 3-0 over the Clarenville Caribous, including a goal and an assist by Desmet. During the provincial playoffs, Colliton had nine points with three goals and six assists, Desmet had three goals and two assists, Thurston had four assists, and Sheen had two assists. In the Allan Cup tournament, Desmet was third on the team with four points, while Colliton scored a goal.
“It was our goal to win, and we were very excited to win,” Colliton said. “Anything less would have been a disappointment.”
“Winning the Allan Cup brought back memories of winning the Memorial Cup in 2002 with the Kootenay Ice,” said Sheen. “It’s not something that happens very often, and to win any hockey championship is a great feeling.”
“When we won the cup, it was a surreal moment because, coming from a family of hockey players, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to win any professional championship,” Desmet said. “And to do it in a prestigious tournament was a great opportunity.”
Colliton, who is from Blackie and a former UFA Bison, played junior hockey with the Prince Albert Raiders and was a former second round pick of the New York Islanders. He also was a member of three World Junior Hockey Championship Teams during his junior career. After finishing with the Raiders, he spent time in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and has also played 57 games with the Islanders. In between his stints in the NHL/AHL system, he spent the 2009-2010 season in the Swedish Elite League playing for Rögle BK. He felt that it was a great experience to play in a tournament with such a long history.
His journey to the Generals was an interesting one. He was dealing with injury issues, which prevented him from playing pro hockey during this past season. The general manager of the Generals asked him if he was interested in playing. After talking it over with Thurston, Colliton agreed to make the trip to Bentley.
“I was comfortable (in Bentley) because there were already some players on the team that were from Strathmore, and I had played with and against some of the other players during my career,” he said.
Desmet, who is from Strathmore, played minor hockey in Strathmore and with the UFA Bisons before moving on to the AJHL. After a season with the Olds Grizzlys, he went to the BCHL to play for the Victoria Grizzlies and Salmon Arm Silverbacks before going to the US to attend the University of Alabama-Huntsville and play hockey there. He won an NCAA (CHA) championship with Alabama-Huntsville in 2009-2010. During the 2011-2012 season, he went to a French league team called Evry. He also was happy about being able to play in the Allan Cup.
“It was a great experience because of the history of the cup and the (Generals),” he said of playing in the tournament. “It was also a privilege to play in it.”
He got onto the team through conversations with his brother, who played alongside Thurston with the Generals last year, and Thurston himself. Both of them suggested that Desmet join the Generals.
“I had never played professionally (in North America) before, so after talking with my brother and Brett, I gave the GM of the Generals a call, and I went up there,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
Sheen, who lives in Chestermere, played minor hockey in Strathmore, and then went on to play for the Kootenay Ice and Kamloops Blazers. He continued his career in the United Hockey League before going on to Mount Royal University (when it was known as Mount Royal College).
After a year at Mount Royal, he went back to the US to play in the SPHL and Central Hockey League. He was happy that he even got a chance to play after falling ill the week prior.
“I was excited to be in the line-up for the weekend games after having the flu for a few days,” said Sheen. “It was tough not to be playing earlier in the week because of it.”
Sheen’s journey to play for the Generals was also an interesting story. He was supposed to play for the Lloydminster Oil Kings last year, but it fell through. After talking with Thurston, Sheen texted someone from the Generals, tried out for them, and was on the team.
Thurston, who is also from Strathmore, played minor hockey in Strathmore before joining the AAA Bantam Team Extreme in Airdrie. After bantam, he played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, and then went on to attend the University of Calgary and play with the Dinos. After he finished school, he went to the US to play professional hockey, starting with the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League for a couple of seasons, where he won a league championship in 2006-2007. After spending two seasons in the ECHL, he returned to the Eagles for two more seasons. He played on the Generals last season, and decided to return to the team this year, which allowed for the other Strathmore players to join him in Bentley.
Sheen mentioned how happy he was to finally win a championship alongside Thurston. “Winning this championship with him was great,” Sheen said. “After only getting silver medals together in minor hockey, to finally get gold together means something.”
Strathmore area referee awarded
At the Hockey Alberta Central Zone’s annual awards ceremony on April 19, Strathmore area referee Justin Geeraert received both a pin recognizing his ten years of service in the zone, and the Al Peterson Memorial Award for Most Improved Official.
“Both awards are big accomplishments in my career so far,” Geeraert said. “It’s pretty cool to get recognized for them, and (I was happy when I received both the pin and award). And my parents were impressed when I got recognized for these accomplishments.”
“(His father and I) are very proud of him that he achieved these accomplishments,” his mother, Kim, said. “Not every referee gets an award, so him winning the Peterson Award is great.”
The Peterson Award has been active since 2009. According to the Central Zone’s website, it is awarded to the official that “has progressed the most through their attendance at clinics/seminars and their on-ice efforts.”
Geeraert started refereeing at the age of 13 because he wanted to get into it, and felt that it would be a great experience. He also wanted to help out the kids in some way, and since he knew the rules of hockey, he felt that this was the best way to do that.
Geeraert mentioned that his most memorable moment from his career so far was getting to referee during the Junior B Provincials last year.
“Just getting selected to it was pretty cool,” he said. “Also, being able to work the bronze medal game was also a pretty cool experience for me.”
When he looked back on the past ten years since the start of his career, Geeraert talked about other moments that stood out.
“Working the Hockey Alberta South Final last year was a great experience,” said Geeraert. “I had a lot of fun doing that. Also, getting invited to and attending the Hockey Alberta Referee Development Camp last summer was something that was a really cool experience for me.”
He’s already been hired to work as a linesman for the Alberta Junior Hockey League next season, with the hope that the Western Hockey League is not too far behind.
“Justin’s goal is to be in the WHL with his friend Clayton Hall, who won the Peterson Award in 2010,” Kim said. “Winning the Peterson Award is just another step towards that goal for him.”
Alberta Cup a success
The 2013 Edition of the Alberta Cup, held last weekend for the first time in the Town of Strathmore, was a resounding success.
“It was fantastic,” said out going Strathmore Minor Hockey Association President Wayne Hansen. “The attendance was big, as the arena was filled every day from eight in the morning to 10 at night. This was an event that the town hadn’t seen before, and it went flawlessly.”
Hansen wanted to thank all of the people that helped out in making the event a success.
“There are so many people I would like to thank,” he said. “The 150 volunteers that helped, the staff at the Strathmore Family Centre that worked hard to keep the arena clean every day. They all just did a great job. I also want to thank the corporate sponsors and the community for all of their support.”
The players that participated, as well as their parents, also enjoyed themselves at the event. From the Twitter comments to the praise that was heaped on the town and the community, it seemed that no one had anything negative to say about their experience.
“This event showed that in Strathmore and Alberta, when there’s hockey, people will come to watch and support it,” Hansen said.
There were a few lessons that the Alberta Cup committee learned, though there were no negative things that occurred.
“One lesson that we learned was that, when you host an event of this size, you need to make adjustments on the fly,” Hansen said. “But anything that did come up, we dealt with right away, so we didn’t have any problems.”
Hansen also mentioned that the restaurants in town were packed during the event.
The town will also host the 2014 edition of the event. While there have been preliminary talks with Hockey Alberta, the Alberta Cup committee will take some time off to rest. Towards the end of May, the Alberta Cup committee will sit down with Hockey Alberta to start talking about preparations for the 2014 Alberta Cup.
Alberta Cup wraps up
The 2013 Alberta Cup has come and gone, leaving with it a lasting impression on many of the youth who were lucky enough, and talented enough, to be chosen to take part in the four-day event.
Kody McDonald from Lethbridge played right wing for team South. He has been working hard over the years to consistently improve on his skills, something he felt showed at the Alberta Cup tryouts.
“I’m pretty excited I can’t wait to play a few of the guys that we’ve played through the year and just looking forward to the great competition,” said McDonald.
Parker Aucoin, from Calgary, played left wing on the Calgary North team. He said the fact that he is a goal scorer and is an offensive player is reasons why he thinks he was picked for the team.
“I’m extremely excited, it’s been a privilege to play against these guys all year and I’m very excited to get to play against them all again,” said Aucoin.
“I’m excited for the experience but I’m excited for the on-ice experience but I am also excited for the off-ice experience and just hanging with the team in the room and everything like that.”
Both boys represented their teams at the April 24 press conference, and both hope to play professionally one day.
McDonald’s team, the South, team played their final game of the weekend against Northwest. Northwest scored early in the game and maintained the one point lead until the final minute of the third period when South scored. The game went from overtime into a shootout, and South walked away the C champions after scoring in the shootout.
Calgary North played against defending champion Northeast in the A championship. Calgary North quickly took the lead, but in the end the Northeast remained the reigning champs with a final score of 6-3.
The Alberta Cup will return to Strathmore next year for the 2014 edition of the games.
2013 Alberta Cup to be held this weekend
After months of anticipation and preparation, the 2013 Alberta Cup is going to be held this weekend, April 25-28. This is the first time that the event will be held in the Town of Strathmore.
“We’re excited,” said Strathmore Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) outgoing President Wayne Hansen. “After eight months of preparation, from the time of the bid to now, it is great to see the (Alberta Cup) now here. We’re really happy to see and showcase the top bantam players in Alberta here in Strathmore.”
There are eight teams participating in the event, each representing a different zone in the province, and all games are to be held at the Strathmore Family Centre. Representatives from Hockey Alberta arrived on Tuesday, while players arrived on Wednesday. The competition starts on April 25 with six games, and there will be six more on Friday, with four games each on Saturday and Sunday.
Hansen said that the preparations for the event went really well.
“We did have some struggles meeting operational things like hotels because we’re not like the big cities, which have a larger number of rooms available,” he said. “However, the hotels here have really stepped up, and we appreciate that. Otherwise, we’re pretty much good to go, and we’re ready for the event.”
Hansen hopes that everyone at the event has a good time.
“We hope that the kids work hard, and that we have a fair competition where everyone has fun and enjoys themselves,” he said. “We’d also love for the town to come out to the games because of the support we’ve had for minor hockey here.”
There are a couple of subtle improvements being done by the SMHA compared to previous hosts of the event. One of those things is to have a hospitality room for the parents that will allow them to eat while watching the games on the television screens in the room. Another thing that will be done is that a caterer has been arranged for the players to allow for the local businesses to have room for the tourists that are coming into town for the event.
The SMHA is still accepting volunteers for the event, up to the last minute. If anyone would like to volunteer, Hansen said they can approach the SMHA for more information.
Wrestling returns to Strathmore
The Strathmore Elks are bringing wrestling back to the community on May 11 when the Canadian National Wrestling Alliance (CNWA) returns. The event will see the Strathmore Curling Rink once again transformed into a wrestling ring as CNWA stars Bambi Hall, Kenny Doll, Massive Damage, Bobby Sharp and Kat Von Heez prepare for their matches.
Sharp is excited for his return to Strathmore and his match against the five time former NWA World champion, Pearce, who has been featured in recent weeks on Spike TV’s Impact Wrestling program, stated a CNWA press release.
The co-feature on the card will see a ladies tag team match as the current CNWA women’s champion, 20-year-old Bambi Hall of Vancouver partners with Winnipeg’s Kat Von Heez to do battle with the villainous duo of Raven Lake and Riea Von Slasher.
“It’s a family orientated show and there’s no alcohol our anything like that,” said Don Perepelkin, Secretary Treasurer for the Elks club.
“(It’s) just something for a fun family night out, and also it will help us raise money that we can use to go back towards the community for various projects.”
Tickets have gone down in price. Last year they were selling for $20 each, but this year that price has been dropped to $10 to entice more people to come out and make a night of it and fill the rink.
There will be a 50/50 draw and a silent auction table and Perepelkin said the money raised by the items on the silent auction table will be going towards a Relay for Life sponsorship.
“We hope to raise some money off of it, if we just break even and everyone has a good time that’s great but we also do catering and also bartending for weddings and other functions people might have,” said Perepelkin.
The Elks raise money through activities such as catering; they then distribute that money back into the community to different groups and organizations who are in need of a helping hand.
Perepelkin said he has also been in discussion with Brentwood Elementary School about having wrestler Tattooed Terminator Massive Damage speak to some of the students.
“It’s the fight for life youth empowerment program and he’ll be going to the school on the Thursday before (if the school okays it) the wrestler comes here and talks to them about positive life choices and staying clear of drugs and alcohol and bullying,” said Perepelkin.
There will be a total of six matches at the May 11 wrestling event and 100 per cent of the proceeds will be staying in Strathmore to support the Elks Club. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or can be reserved by sending an email to
. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the bell rings at 7:30 p.m.
Kings recognize their best
The Wheatland Kings officially concluded the 2012-2013 season when they hosted their annual awards banquet April 13 at the Strathmore Golf Club.
The local junior-B club honoured team members, their coaching staff and numerous volunteers for their hard work this past season.
Goaltender Richie Hubbell was named the Strathmore Times Player of the Year and the team’s Most Valuable Player. Often facing a barrage of shots, Hubbell played in 24 of the 38 games in the regular season and maintained one of the best save percentages in the league at .915. The third-year netminder won the Strathmore Times Player of the Year by accumulating the most nods during the three-star selection after every game.
Andrew Bergmann was not only recognized as the team’s leading scorer, but after notching 43 goals and 47 assists in just 35 games, he was the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s top point-producer. Bergmann also claimed the team’s Most Outstanding Forward
Austin Fisher was named the Most Improved Player, by showing a consistent progression during the course of the season. Not only did he show improvement in his skills, but in attitude, desire and confidence.
Chris Reed was selected as the team’s Most Sportsmanlike Player, not necessarily for having the least penalty minutes, but as a player who exhibits true sportsmanship and is a great teammate.
Chris Williams was named the Most Dedicated Player as someone who is hard working, positive both on and off the ice and has the respect of his teammates.
Evan Elaschuk was named the Outstanding Defenseman, by playing with poise, confidence and competitiveness. He was the team’s ‘go to’ defenseman, providing speed, strength and experience.
Sam Lonnberg was named the Unsung Hero for giving a consistent effort shift-in, shift-out. He was one of the King’s best defensive forwards and penalty killers, while providing 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 32 games.
Justin Kostiuk was selected as the Rookie of the Year, providing an offensive spark and registering 25 points in 30 games this past season.
Team captain Brandon Neufeld was presented the Players Choice Award for being ‘the best teammate and exhibits the qualities of always working hard, always positive, dedicated, persistent, provides leadership and never gives up.’
According to Kings head coach Doug Murphy, there is a common trait among all the award winners.
“Overall, they’re the guys that are dedicated, committed and hard-working,” said Murphy. “It’s the guys that are there, willing to come and play the game hard every night … they don’t accept losing or playing (poorly).”
Competitive season underway for Silhouettes
Strathmore Silhouettes Head Coach
The competitive season for the Strathmore Silhouettes is well under way, and it is proving to be a very successful year.
Six of the Silhouettes, aged 9-17, attended the Southern Zones Championships in Red Deer April 5-6, where they all qualified to carry on to Provincials, which is being held in Edmonton April 19-21.
To qualify to compete at Provincials the athlete must place in the top twelve of their level’s age group. Those top 12 then go on to compete against the top twelve athletes from Northern Zones.
All six Silhouettes did just that.
Kate Barrett (age 9) placed fourth, Geena Schramm (age 12) placed eighth, Delaney Carless (age 13) placed first, Kassie Greig (age 14) placed third, Jordann Mackay (age 16) placed eighth, and Shelby Stephens (age 17) placed fourth.
I am very excited and proud of the girls this year. This is the highest number of athletes that Strathmore has seen make it to Provincials in a very long time, as long as I can remember, and I have been a part of gymnastics here for about 14 years.
Not only the most, but the youngest (Kate Barrett - Provincial 2 Argo) and the highest level we have ever gotten to (Jordann Mackay - Provincial 3 Open).
After Provincials the season will finish off with three more competitions in Okotoks, Canmore and Calgary, where all 12 of the Silhouettes will be
Keeping up with Miss Strathmore Stampede
Miss Strathmore Stampede
The Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team is set up outside the Strathmore Ag arena during the Strathmore Stampede each August where they provide care to the rodeo competitors before, during and after their events.
This team of practitioners are volunteers and require sponsors to fund the operations and materials used. On March 30 I attended and volunteered my time at the inaugural Twisted Tea Ski Louise Stampede Canadian Cowboy Ski Race in Lake Louise, where the proceeds raised from this event go directly to the sport medicine team. If you had a rodeo card you were eligible to enter the race – there were over 50 cowboys and cowgirls decked out in their rodeo chaps and cowboy hats on the hill on either skis or a snowboard.
In the first part of the competition, three competitors were in each heat until there was a top male and female of the day winners. There were certainly some entertaining runs with bull fighter, Brett Monea being recognized for having the worst wreck on the hill.
I got to spend the day with two lovely royalty ladies – Miss Rodeo Canada, Gillian Shields, and Miss Rodeo Hanna, Nichole Martin (who was snowboarding in the race as well). The three of us even had some time to go tubing down the hill, which I hear may become an event next year – we had a blast.
The last race of the day involved all of the competitors racing at once which was definitely a true “stampede” coming down the hill. The Stampede Race winner who took it all and received a beautiful buckle made by Becker Buckle (Becker made the Miss Strathmore Stampede crown), was saddle bronc rider Riley Harvie. After the races, there was a silent auction, dinner and cabaret to finish off the day. I enjoyed the day and was glad to be able to help out – I even had two interviews with Hurricane Smith of Country 105 FM as they were broadcasting live for the day.
The following weekend K&K Livestock Co. had their 20th Anniversary sale. Even though the weather didn’t want to cooperate, there was still a great turn out and I enjoyed some shopping myself, as well as a tasty BBQ lunch. I would like to thank K&K for their support, as they are one of the sponsors of the Miss Strathmore Stampede program.
Next on the schedule was the First Annual Calgary Roughstock Rumble. It was a great event, and I had a fantastic night. Bareback, Saddle Bronc, and Bull Riding all started with 15 competitors. The Top 5 from each event made it to the short-go where first place in each event took home $10,000. Our very own Scott Schiffner won on the second night!
This past weekend the Calgary Stampede had their Aggie Days where I helped out at the Scholastic Book Corner directing traffic and signing autographs, participated in roping plastic steer heads, played with the goats, and got on a saddle bronc horse – a demo of course.
On the Saturday evening , I was a special guest along with Miss Rodeo Canada, and the Airdrie Royalty, at the Miss Rodeo Sundre Fashion Show, Dinner and Auction. I helped with reception, selling tickets, drawing names for door prizes and being a judge for the King Contestants. It is important to support other Rodeo Royalty throughout the province, and help with their fundraising efforts for their programs, it was a fun evening.
With fundraising in mind, the Miss Strathmore Stampede program is looking for sponsors to continue to build and support the program. I would like to thank the current program sponsors for their support - CalAlta AutoGlass, Eamor’s Custom Saddlery, Irvine Tack and Trailer, K&K Livestock Co., Phoenix Signs & Graphics, Women of the Wild West and Wrangler. Planning for the 2013 Miss Strathmore Stampede pageant is underway and applications will be available soon (stay tuned with Strathmore StampedeRoyalty on Facebook).
If you are interested in sponsoring this worthwhile program, or if you are a young lady interested in applying for Miss Strathmore Stampede 2013, you can reach me at
or (403) 586-8878 for further information.
Bisons give recognition
The UFA Bisons officially capped off the 2012-2013 season by hosting their annual awards banquet on April 11 at the Indus Recreational Centre.
With all five teams under the Foothills AAA Hockey Association umbrella, the Bisons celebrated the season along with the two triple-A bantam teams, the Airdrie Xtreme and the Okotoks Oilers, and the two M15 triple-A midget teams from Chestermere and Airdrie/Cochrane.
Despite a season of ups and downs, Bisons head coach Jeremy Friesen said the campaign was a success.
“I’m proud – it’s like being father-proud,” said Friesen. “When you look at everything we’ve had to go through as a group and the way that they battled, competed and stuck together … it was fantastic. It would have been quite easy for this team to get side-tracked and off the rails when you look at some of the stuff we had to deal with – some of it was public and some of it was not – (but) it’s really impressive and speaks volumes about our team maturity and commitment level.”
Friesen was particularly proud of his team for earning a home-playoff berth after a disastrous 3-7 start to the season, and for earning a win in the second round playoff series to Red Deer, who ended up winning the league title. According to Friesen, Red Deer never lost a single game in the second round in the past handful of seasons until the Bisons defeated them on home ice at the Strathmore Family Centre.
However, on this particular night, he was happy to honour his players at the annual awards dinner.
Forward Matt Forchuk was honoured as the Bison’s leading scorer, while Mackenzie Bauer was named the Rookie of the Year. Jake Dube was named the Best Defenseman and also the winner of the Ron Ebbesson Memorial Scholarship.
The coaching staff had a great debate on who should be named the Most Improved Player and eventually decided on co-winners, as both Kurt Fraser and Mark Nerland will have their names engraved on the trophy.
Mark McLeod was presented the Neil Glionna Award for Dedication, Perseverance & Sportsmanship, while the team named goaltender Richard Palmer the Most Valuable Player.
According to Friesen, all the award winners have two things in common, which is dedication and commitment to their team.
“They’re all very respectful, they’re leaders … they may not be the most vocal players, but they bought in to what we were trying to do as a team,” said the coach. “They never put themselves ahead of anybody else and they were really consistent, dedicated, good human beings all year long.
“That’s part of our mission statement as a coaching staff of what we wanted to do – we want to develop these guys on an off the ice and encourage them that mistakes are okay. It’s how you respond from them, learn from them and push past those things … every single one of our award winners did that more than once this year.”
Bisons look to blossom in Strathmore
In an effort to take their hockey program to the next level, the UFA Bisons have joined forces with the Strathmore High School (SHS).
The local triple-A midget team has partnered with SHS to operate a school-based hockey team beginning this fall.
The team program will run in conjunction with the school and will be supervised on and off ice by an accredited teacher, Dan McDonald. Team practices will occur during the school day and each player will be eligible to receive school and educational credits for the ‘Hockey’ option.
All players will attend Strathmore High School; however, some exceptions will be considered as long as the exempted player will be able to attend all practices and team functions. Player billets will be coordinated and supervised through the team.
“This basically came to fruition because we have a bunch of really good hockey people on our board, who are strictly 100 per cent interested in developing hockey players,” said Bisons General Manager Wayne Hansen. “It takes our organization to the next level. We’re great now at developing players to go play junior, this just allows us to go to the next step and you know what, it allows us the opportunity to maybe even win a national championship. The way we are now, we never had that chance.
“Things really came to a head with our loss to Red Deer this year … we honestly felt that we didn’t get beat by a better team, we were probably as good if not better as a team, but we got beat by a better association. One that practices more than we do, one that from top to bottom through their pyramid - from their midget program, to their M15 program to their triple-A bantam program – is all one cohesive unit.
“That’s what beat us.”
The Foothills AAA Hockey Association is the governing body for the development of elite hockey teams in this area and is responsible for the administration of the UFA Bisons.
According to Rick Valette, President of the Foothills AAA Hockey Association, there were many factors going into the partnership.
“The UFA Bisons are in a unique situation in Alberta midget AAA hockey,” said Valette in a release. “Our draw zone is the area surrounding Calgary which includes Banff to the west, Nanton to the south, Drumheller to the east and Carstairs to the north.
“Our players have to travel long distances to practice, often when roads are not ideal. We have noted that players are worn out from the travel, and often the first place that shows up is in their schoolwork. We have to consider what’s best for our players from a safety and educational perspective, while we continue to develop them as elite hockey players.
“We strongly believe this is the right thing for our players in order to continue to focus on their education, while pursuing their hockey goals. We consider this to be the future direction for minor hockey, especially for teams in the elite development stream.”
Despite just wrapping up the 2012-2013 season with their annual awards dinner last week, plans for next season are already taking place. One of the biggest challenges in the next four months is finding billets for the players to stay with during the upcoming hockey season.
“We (as a school and the Bisons) are both interested in the kid’s education,” said SHS Associate Principal Doug Raycroft. “Of course with our school, we want all the students to be well-rounded – so athletics, education and community citizenship are important to us – and of course, that is a huge part of the Bisons organization as well.”
Dishing out their hardware
The Wheatland Athletics Association honoured their three teams at the annual awards banquet April 5 at the Strathmore Civic Centre.
The peewee Braves, bantam Warriors and midget Chiefs teams presented their top scorer, top defenceman, rookie-of-the-year, most improved, most sportsmanlike and team MVP for this past season.
“I think we’re getting to a spot where the program is doing a good job perpetuating itself,” said WAA President Sandy Henry. “As a board, I don’t know if we can take any credit for that, but I know that we have good, solid coaching at every level. That has helped bring the players in.
“I don’t know how I could be happier this year – all of our teams were successful.”
The Braves won the SCAHL Championship, sweeping the Okotoks Oilers three games to none, while the Warriors made it all the way to the championship final at the bantam level. The midget Chiefs pushed the eventual champions, Sylvan Lake, to the brink early in the post season.
Lucas Muenchrath of the Braves and Liam Rycroft of the Warriors were presented the Craig Kletzel Memorial Award.
Meanwhile, three members of the Wheatland Braves took home SCAHL Awards, as Joel Krahenbil was named Most Sportsmanlike, Cole Clayton was selected the Top Defenceman and Ty Tarvyd was named Top Goalie.
The WAA also presented Colin Grant and Bryce Eidsness with the “Members of Distinction” award.
Here is a list of the award winners for each team.
Top Scorer – Isaac Benoit
Top Defenceman – Cole Clayton
Rookie of the Year – Kenny Holt-Stewart
Most Improved – Zach Suntjens
Mosts Sportsmanlike – Joel Krahenbil
Most Valuable Player – Ryan Ries
Top Scorer – Sarah Lecavalier and Chris Rebeyka
Top Defenceman – Brad Hendricks
Rookie of the Year – Ryan Bell
Most Improved – Regan Kinley
Mosts Sportsmanlike – Matt Quigley
Most Valuable Player – Kody Hammond
Top Scorer – Coltyn Herman
Top Defenceman – Brayden Biccum
Rookie of the Year – Tyler Sharuga
Most Improved – Brandon Russell
Mosts Sportsmanlike – Kristian Ayoungman
Exemplary Player Award – Jake Smith and
Strathmore Minor Baseball gets ready for 2013 season
With spring continuing to roll in, with warmer temperatures and the subsequent melting snow, the minor baseball teams of Strathmore are gearing up for the 2013 season.
This year, the season will begin during the first week of May, with the different teams within minor baseball playing at different times. Registration so far has gone well, and it is hoped that there will be at least 20 teams across the various levels, with at least 12 kids per team.
“I’m really excited for the start of the season,” said Daren Kennett, Strathmore and District Minor Ball President. “I like the green grass, and I enjoy being out on the baseball diamond.”
Up to now, only the AAA Bantam team for 16-19 year olds has been going through preseason training for the 2013 season. That team has been playing in various tournaments across North America since December. For other players, there have been baseball clinics held during the winter, as well as the winter ball camp that started in March.
Kennett does have some hopes for this season.
“We had good teams last year,” he said. “Every team is different, and their expectations vary depending on what they are looking to accomplish (this year). However, we hope to get lots of kids to play the game, and that they enjoy the sport.
“The first, and most important, thing is that the kids get good exercise. Another key for the kids is that they have fun, learn a new sport, and develop their skills.”
Kennett also mentioned that Strathmore and District Minor Ball is looking to get more people involved via the boards, volunteering, and any other capacity in which they can help.
There is still space available for those parents within the area who are still trying to get their kids registered to play on a baseball team this season. To register your kids, please go to www.strathmorebaseball.com, and follow the instructions listed on the home page.