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SP9N18

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

Charles Nwoye moved around a lot growing up – Nigeria, Edmonton, Calgary, Strathmore, Lethbridge and now Vancouver – but he has found a home in the defensive core with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds football team.
The craziest part about Nwyoe’s journey is, he never strapped on pads before 2015.
Nwoye attended Holy Cross Collegiate (HCC) where he played on the basketball team as a shooting guard, and on the track team competing in the 100-metre and the high jump.
One day, he was attending his brother’s track meet just outside McMahon Stadium when a former player for then University of Calgary head coach Blake Nill (who joined the UBC Thunderbirds in 2015) introduced himself and connected him with Nill.
“A former player of mine began talking with (Charles) and noticed he had all the makings of a football player – size, strength and an athlete – so he put me in contact with him. Once I began talking with him, one thing led to another and now he is out here with us,” said Nill.
Not only did Nwoye land on his feet, he landed in one of the top Canadian Interuniversity Sport football programs in the country.
In his first year with the Thunderbirds, Nwoye was in the process of learning the most complicated team sport, but dressed for the 51st Vanier Cup, one in which the Thunderbirds shaved the Université de Montréal Carabins 26-23 at Telus Stadium.
“I got a lot more playing time than I was expecting. I didn’t think that I was going to dress for the Vanier Cup, but I did and it was an amazing experience,” said the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Nwoye, who rotates between playing on the defensive line as a linebacker and on the special teams.
The Thunderbirds went 3-6 this season but made it all the way back to the Canada West Final Hardy Cup against the U of C Dinos. The Dinos trimmed the T-Birds in a nail biter, 46-43, advancing to the U Sports Mitchell Bowl – a national semifinal for the Vanier – Nov. 19 at McMahon.
The Thunderbirds defeated the University of Regina Rams 40-34 the week prior at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.
“It would have been real nice to win that one, but playing on this team has given me a great opportunity to see a lot of Canada,” said Nwoye.
Nwoye moved to Edmonton from Nigeria when he was in Grade 5. From there, his father took a job in Calgary and moved his family to Strathmore. Nwoye rarely travelled outside the Calgary area and never stepped foot in Vancouver until heading away to university.
UBC was his second post-secondary campus. Nwoye graduated from HCC at 16 years of age and completed two years of study at the University of Lethbridge. Now 20, he is working towards a degree in economics and can see staying out west when he is done.
His stats won’t jump off the page – he recorded one tackle his first year and six more this past season – but he is coming along just the way the T-Birds coaching staff envisioned it would.
“If the player has the willingness to step outside their comfort level and try football, then this is a good spot for it. Players have to have the desire to get better if they want to play on this team, and Charles definitely has that,” said Nill. “He definitely has a lot of work to do if he wants to expand his role, but he is an outstanding young man from a great family, and if he keeps improving at the rate he is and where we thought he would be, he will get better.”
Now a football junkie, Nwoye watches the New England Patriots of the NFL and some of his former teammates who play in the CFL whenever he gets the opportunity.
He has also planted the football bug in his younger brother Alex.
Alex is a wide receiver for the Strathmore Community Football Association senior Badgers and a Grade 10 student at HCC.
“We stay pretty close and share stories. I think he beat up on a team by 120 points a few weeks ago,” said Charles. “I realize that he has the potential in him too, so I want him to get the playing time in and the experience so he is more prepared when he gets to this next level.”
“Charles came home one day and was really enthusiastic about the sport,” said Alex. “He brought me out to the field and had me running routes, playing catch and it grew on me.”
While it was love at first snap for Charles, he might have a little bit of work to do on Alex, as Alex is focused on the upcoming basketball season and will be a shooting guard for the Hawks. But you never know where sports can take you, just ask Charles.
“I think about it all the time. It’s so surreal, looking back two years; I would have never thought I would be playing for arguably the best program in Canada,” said Charles.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I want to make the most out of it.”

SP1N11

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

The Strathmore Wheatland Kings have suffered another snag in their schedule as they try to correct a mini four-game slide.
The Blackfalds Wranglers whacked the Kings 6-1 Nov. 1 and the High River Flyers clipped the Kings 4-3 Nov. 4.
“I’m not too sure what has happened. We are playing good, I really think it is a couple bounces that haven’t gone our way,” said Kings forward Cole Busslinger.
Three of the four losses on this current streak have been of the one-goal variety including an exaggerated shootout loss to the Ponoka Stampeders (3-11-1) Oct. 23.
“We have the skill to compete with any team, we just have to stay out of penalty trouble and we should be fine,” said Kings netminder Pierre Wiederhold.
The Kings (4-8-3) penalty kill has been near flawless on the road. They lead the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) with an 84.62 penalty kill percentage away from the Strathmore Family Centre. But when they are forced to send a player to the box, they take away from possible time that they could be unleashing their crash-the-net offence into the other zone.
The Kings killed all five Flyer power plays, but ran out of time in the third period to mount a comeback.
Alternate captain Cole Busslinger brought the Kings within one with 11:40 remaining in the third from d-man Hayden Vanderploeg, but they couldn’t push another across.
“I thought we controlled the pace in the final 10 minutes. There might have been a few chances where we just missed the net, where is if we bear down a little more, maybe we could have made things happen. High River also capitalized on all their good chances, and that is something we are missing out on right now,” said Busslinger, who is fourth on the team with six goals and 12 points.
The Kings also carry the top-ranked power play in the HJHL, operating at a 32.35 per cent clip.
The efficient power play unit of Kristian Ayoungman, Brooker Pretty Youngman and Matt Thomson connected to opening the scoring in the first. It was Ayoungman’s 10th goal of the season.
Brenden Moore added a goal another power play marker in the second from Nolan Lightning and Ayoungman.
Brady Hoover was given a breather, so rookie Pierre Wiederhold got the call between the pipes.
The Okotoks native played for his hometown midget AA Oilers last season. This was his third start and his first action since Oct. 23.
“I just prepare the same way I always do; work hard in practice to get ready for the weekend. Brady has done a great job in net all year, but I need to be ready for any situation. I make sure I eat right and mentally focus in case I get called upon,” said Wiederhold, who made 35 stops.
The Kings were trounced 8-1 by the Wranglers (8-5-0) on one of three Tuesday night tilts this season.
The Wranglers were relentless, scoring two goals each frame. Thomson pushed an unassisted goal across at the 19:35 mark of the second.
There is some low hanging fruit approaching the Kings as they aim to shake this schneid.
The Three Hills Thrashers (5-9-1) host the Kings Nov. 11 at Centennial Arena. The Kings return home Nov. 12 to host the Stettler Lightning (6-7-1) 8:15 p.m. at the Strathmore Family Centre.

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

As a result of an 8-0 start, the CFR Chemicals Bisons have developed a bit of a target on their back.
“Teams are giving us their best effort now,” said Bisons head coach Sandy Henry. “They see the standings and they are trying to dethrone us. They are coming at us with great efforts each night and we need to work on matching that.”
The Bisons travelled to Sherwood Park for the Alberta Minor Hockey League showcase extravaganza. Teams from around the league played at Sherwood Park Arena as it provided a chance for scouts from Junior A, the Western Hockey League and United States colleges to take a look at the talent.
For their efforts, the Bisons returned home with three points. They edged the Knights of Columbus Pats 4-3 Nov. 5, and skated to a 2-2 tie after the time change Nov. 6 with the Fort Saskatchewan Boston Pizza Rangers.
It was the Bisons (10-0-2) first glance at the two Dodge division teams.
“We didn’t really have any video to go off of,” said Henry. “For the most part, we just try and stick to our game plan when we play new teams and try to force them to adjust to what we are doing.”
The extra hour of sleep didn’t seem to boost the Bisons. They jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first on goals from Lethbridge Hurricanes ninth-round pick Jackson Salt and captain Brett Trentham.
The Rangers (2-8-2) seized momentum in the second period when the Bisons handcuffed themselves with six penalties.
“They definitely took advantage with all the time on the power play. We weren’t terrible, but I just feel like we let an opportunity slip away,” said Henry.
Goaltender Hunter Young sustained a concussion earlier last week and was a scratch. Henry stated he is still going through the concussion protocol and there is no timetable for his return. While he still travelled with the team, the Bisons called up Ty Tarvyd from the Wheatland midget AA Chiefs to back up Ben Laidlaw. Laidlaw recorded 54 saves on 60 shots over the course of the two games.
Henry and his coaching staff weren’t surprised by the strong effort put forth by the Pats (4-7-1).
“We talked before the game and we knew they were a big skilled team on paper with a few identifiable names,” said Henry. “They have probably under-achieved this season, but they played with a great structure and made things difficult for us.”
Most notably, Kirby Dach was selected second overall by the Saskatoon Blades during the 2016 WHL bantam draft.
Tarun Fizer netted his sixth and the winner from Brandon Machado and Trentham with 9:22 remaining in the third.
“We didn’t have the greatest start, we had a poor warm up and they came out hard on us,” said Henry. “I thought we controlled the third and we had a couple great scoring chances to really put them away late but we couldn’t capitalize.”
Other Bisons goals came from Landon Melzer, Payton Krebs and Machado with assists to Liam Belcourt, Zach Huber, Fizer (2) and Salt.
The Bisons drop the puck at the Strathmore Family Centre at 8 p.m. on Remembrance Day when the Grande Peace Ernie’s Sports Storm (4-6-2) come to town. The following night (Nov. 12), the Bisons host the Lloydminster Bandit Energy Bobcats (3-8-1) for an AMHL league championship rematch. Game time is set for 5:15 p.m.
The Bisons dusted the Bobcats 6-2 earlier this season in Lloydminster.
With the end presumably closer than the beginning, Schiffner has been asked about how long he plans to keep competing.
“I don’t think about it too much. I realize that I’m on borrowed time. But for me, it comes down to three things: if I’m having fun competing and not embarrassing myself, if I’m still healthy enough to compete and if I can still make money in it, then I’ll keep competing,” said Schiffner. “Who knows, I might come back from Edmonton and think it’s time to quit, or I might come back from an event in two years and think it’s time then.”
“But for now, I’m just gonna keep putting my hand in the rope and see what happens.”

SP3N11

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

Nolan Sauve has put Strathmore on the map in world-class weight lifting.
Sauve recently returned from Mooresville, Ind., where he placed eighth out of 18 during the Giants Live 90K Worlds Strongest Man competition held Oct. 22 at the Core Fitness Club.
“Given the fact he only had three week’s notice to get ready, I thought he did an incredible job,” said owner of Core Fitness Club Aaron Molin, who also referees official World Strongest Man events.
“I felt like I could have done a little bit better if I had more time to train. I was a little beat up coming off nationals and three weeks isn’t a long enough turnaround time,” said Sauve.
Sauve, a Gleichen product, captured the Alberta Strong Man competition at the end of August in Fort McMurray and won the national Strong Man competition in Regina Sept. 22, which earned him a spot in Indiana.
“We were very excited to have Canada’s strongest man down here, it was very important to us for him to make the trip,” said Molin. “I heard of him on the Internet and saw some of his previous competitions. He is a great lifter and a great guy.”
Some guys dedicate their lives to the sport; Sauve just finished his third season of competitions. He became hooked on the sport after watching some shows and YouTube videos of lifters like Zydrunas Savickas and Vytautas Lalas.
“I am a little surprised at how far it’s taken me. I’ve had the right opportunities, did (well) at them, I’ve been injury free and now it’s rolling,” said Sauve.
Without a coach, dietitian or trainer, Sauve is self-made. Training in his own gym on his farm, Sauve probably has enough equipment to put local gyms out of business if he wanted to. That’s what happens when you bench press 350-400 pounds and squat in the 500s.
“I’ve just been collecting equipment and building my own stuff over the years,” he said.
Sauve isn’t completely alone; he still has the support of his friends, the community, his parents and his girlfriend of five years, Rachel Tunke.
“He lives and breathes weightlifting. He probably works out six to seven times a week and for two to three hours each day,” said Tunke, who studied kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge. “When we travel for a vacation or to visit my family, he is always checking to find the nearest gym that can satisfy his needs.”
Hotel gyms and local YMCAs might not particularly meet Sauve’s needs, but he manages.
“His work ethic is very impressive. He has always worked out, but he takes this very seriously. His dedication and determination is amazing,” said Tunke.
Sauve was hovering around sixth place entering the final discipline, the atlas stones, but couldn’t manage to place the 240-pound stones onto the 66-inch high platform.
The competition was a one-day event. There was a weigh-in the morning, and then the grunting began at noon and carried on for the next six hours.
“It wasn’t too bad, we had about a half-hour break between events, depending on how you placed in the previous event,” said Sauve.
Points were handed out in each category, ranging from one to 18, with 18 points awarded for first place. The person with the most accumulated points at the end was crowned the winner.
Lifting nearly 5,300 pounds over the duration, Sauve earned 14.5 points for the max deadlift (lifting 700-pound Hummer tires), 14 points in the load medley (carrying two 250-pound kegs and two 250-pound sandbags), nine points in the press medley (shoulder pressing a 200-pound keg, 174 pound dumbbell and 285 pound axel), eight points in the carry and drag (carry a 800-pound yoke and drag a 700-pound chain), nine points in the power stairs (carry 275, 300 and 325 pound block up six steps) and zero points in the atlas stones.
“The yoke and chain drag were the most tiring events, but the hardest ones were the power steps and atlas stones because I’m so short,” said Sauve, who stands 5-foot-9.
Sauve, 25, was the only Canadian representative and finished eighth with 54.5 points. Terry Rady of the United States placed first with 101. Sauve missed the podium by 24.5 points. The successful showing in Moorseville earned Sauve a trip to next year’s nationals, which has yet to be determined when or where, as he eyes another trip back to Worlds.
“Hopefully next time he has a little bit more time to prepare and then I think we will see what he can really do. He has the potential to definitely make a run at this thing,” said Molin.

SP4N11

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

It was the moment kids go to bed hoping to dream about: tie game in overtime with a chance to win the league championship.
For Austin McInnis, that dream became reality Nov. 5 at a surprisingly warm Crowther Memorial Junior High School (CMJHS) field.
The Strathmore Community Football Association (SCFA) peewee Badgers downed the Red Deer Hornets 12-6 in front of a lively crowd to capture the Central Alberta Peewee Football Association league title.
For the SCFA organization, it was their first league title in any of the three age groups since 2002, when the bantam team was crowned Tier I champions.
Tied 6-6 after the fourth quarter, the Hornets won the coin toss and elected to take the ball.
Backed up because of penalties, the Hornets faced third and what seemed like a mile. That’s when Hornets quarterback Matthew LaBonte connected with wide out Ryan Raymont on a 38-yard pass down towards the Badgers goal line.
“Our D made a few mistakes today, but we bent and didn’t break,” said Badgers head coach Doug Thiessen. “They were lights out all year for us just like they were today.”
The Hornets were looking at first and goal when they were swarmed by the Badgers defensive line, backing them up with eight and 12-yard sacks. Trying to salvage their situation, the Hornets tried to kick the ball through the end zone for the rouge, but that was also blocked.
The Badgers took over on downs back at the 35. Any score would clinch them the championship.
“We called a run play that was only supposed to pick up five, maybe 10 yards so we could kick the ball for the win,” said Thiessen.
McInnis took the handoff to the left, bounced off a tackle in the A gap and was gone 35 yards to pay dirt and the league championship.
“It feels really good to score a big touchdown like that,” said McInnis, who was beaming after the game. It was his third touchdown of the season. “The play was an R1F1 handoff through the line and I was able to deke my way through to the opening.”
It was a sentimental touchdown as well for McInnis. Earlier in the season, teammate Sean Grill broke his leg at practice one night. While he was in the hospital, a pair of Calgary Stampeders visited him. Afterwards, Thiessen bought him a pair of Stamps gloves. Grill gave them to McInnis prior to the game and told him to wear them and to score a touchdown for him.
As soon as McInnis crossed the goal line and the referees signaled touchdown, the entire Badgers roster and coaching staff poured onto the field while the Hornets fell to their knees in shock and heartbreak.
“The boys played great today. Both teams played well; there was nothing more I could have asked from them. They played their hearts out,” said Hornets head coach Tracy Collins-Decker. “It’s hard for them when they lose a game like that so quickly.”
Parents rushed the field to take photos, Thiessen was given an ice bath from his team, and league commissioner Carl Seafoot presented the trophy to the captains.
“That was one of the toughest games we played all year. I think my team deserved to win this one,” said McInnis.
The Peewee Badgers will host the Bonnyville Renegades on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. at CMJHS for the Tier III provincial championship.

 

Senior Badgers miss out
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated rematch between the senior Badgers and the Innisfail Cyclones was a let down.
The Cyclones cauterized the Badgers 67-6 to win their third-straight Mountain View Football Conference title Nov. 5 in Innisfail.
There was some controversy heading into the finals; the Badgers thought they should have hosted the championship, but an end-of-season rule change saw the game transfer to Innisfail.
But for the Badgers, it didn’t matter if the game was in Strathmore, Innisfail or on the moon, they simply didn’t have their A game.
“Everything went wrong,” said Badgers head coach Sean Seafoot. “We saved our worst game of the season for the end.”
Starting with 19 players on the bench, the Badgers limped into the fourth quarter still scoreless while injuries shrank their bench to 11 guys.
“It’s a tough way to end, but it was a really fun season, I loved coaching these guys, we have most of the roster coming back next year to take another run at it,” said Seafoot, whose players returned to CMJHS just in time to see peewee McInnis’s winning touchdown. “I think the players all had a great time this year and that’s what really matters.”

 

Bantam Badgers miss in consolation play
The bantam Badgers played in the consolation final in Rocky Mountain House against the Rebels and were clipped 41-36.
The Badgers were playing catch up after trailing 5-0 after the first quarter. Riley Southern registered three touchdowns, Luke Henry and Brandon Middlemiss chipped in a touchdown each, but it wasn’t enough to pass the Rebels.

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

The Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks football team certainly won’t be entering the playoffs with any sort of momentum.
Playing their final regular season game of their inaugural campaign, the Hawks were torched by the number two ranked Rimbey Spartans 30-0 in Rimbey.
Like the Hawks experienced earlier in the season, when teams get up by more than 30, they stop keeping track of the score.
“They slaughtered us. It was probably around 100-0,” said Hawks head coach Michael Annicchiarico.
Despite the lopsided loss, the Hawks are searching for positives as they prepare for their B side semifinals.
“We took it as a learning experience,” said Annicchiarico. “I think our guys were a little intimidated during the warm up and it showed. They are a fantastic team with great coaching and that is a program we are striving to be like going forward
“Fortunately, it wasn’t our last game of the season. We are looking forward to getting back out onto the field.”
The Hawks (3-5) finished sixth in the south division, which means they will take on the fifth-place Assumption School Crusaders (3-5) Nov. 12 at Jackson Field.
“Just like us, Assumption is a first-year program. They had a slow start but have won three straight to end their season,” said Annicchiarico. “We have a little bit of film to go off of, but we are all just excited for this game.
The Hawks took off Nov. 11 on the six-hour bus ride and will stay overnight with the game Saturday.
The Redwater Renegades (3-5) and Caroline Cougars (4-4) face off in the other semifinal.

SP6N11

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

The Wheatland Warriors turned in their first weekend sweep of the South Central Alberta Hockey League season, thanks in large part to strong goaltending and an offensive outburst.
The local double-A bantam team skated to a 7-4 win over the Foothills Bisons (1-11-0) Nov. 4 at Blackie Arena, followed by a 6-3 icing of the Okotoks Oilers Nov. 6 at the Strathmore Family Centre. The Warriors (5-7-2) have won three out of their last four games.
“We’re heading in the right direction now,” said Warriors head coach Cody Brown. “Guys have bought into our system and we are getting some positive results.”
It was an especially nice win for the Warriors, who were 0-2 against the Oilers (6-3-2) this season.
The Warriors didn’t truly hit their groove until halfway through the second period against the Oilers, when they started piling on shots from all over the ice.
Zach Nicholls was Johnny-on-the-spot in the first when he picked off an Oilers pass right by the net and chipped it in.
Warriors captain Kage Yellowfly took a pass from Kobe Gosling in the corner, calmly slid the puck between the defender’s feet to the left of the net and unleashed a backhand top shelf to put the Warriors up 2-1 after two periods.
Yellowfly sits second on the team with seven goals and 13 points in 14 games.
“Adam Kirkpatrick and I have been putting in hard working shifts and it’s paying off. He’s nice to play with,” said Yellowfly.
Yellowfly opened the scoring in the third on a two-on-one rush when he elected to keep the puck, firing a laser over the blocker of Logan Heffron: 3-1 Warriors.
“Kage is a great team player, he brings a good, consistent work ethic to each shift and the guys thrive off of that,” said Brown.
Trey Gillis and Austin Kuryk found their way to the back of the net in the third, with Kuryk registering an empty net goal to ice it with 1:12 renaming.
“That’s the thing we have been struggling with this season; getting pucks on net. Any shot is a good shot for us right now,” said Brown.
Logan Grant started both games over the weekend and turned away 50 of 57 shots.
“We need him to be strong in net. He is one of the returning guys on this roster so we are expecting him to take charge and be steady in the crease,” said Brown.
“The guys are playing great in front of me and doing a great job clearing pucks,” said Grant. “It feels really good to pick up a pair of wins. Now we know we can play like this and we need to carry it into the second half of the season.”
The Warriors are in tough this weekend as they face a pair of division leaders. First, they’ll host the south conference-leading Cranbrook CPC Hornets (7-4-2) Nov. 12, 5 p.m. at Hussar Arena. The Warriors hit the road Nov. 13 to take on the north conference-leading West Central Trilliant Real Estate Group Tigers (9-1-2) at the Rocky Arena Complex.

 

Chiefs beat Hounds
The Wheatland Chiefs (9-1-1) avenged their early season loss to the Medicine Hat Hounds (7-3-2) in a battle for first place in the South conference and gave themselves a little bit of breathing room as well.
The local double-A midget team dropped a one-goal game to the Hounds three weeks ago in Medicine Hat, but blew the doors off them in the rematch, leaving with an 8-2 victory Nov. 6 at Kinplex I Arena.
The Chiefs opened the game with a six-goal explosion in the first period, much of it coming from players not on their top line.
Kelton Travis started it with a solo effort 6:31 into the first, followed by an avalanche of goals from Scott Desserre, Wacy Sandum, captain Ryan Bell, and a pair from Kale Clouston.
With the game basically over, Travis added his second snipe and Bell registered his second goal in the third.
A.J. Kusu, Brady Skiffington, Ryan Longmuir, Clouston and Sandum each recorded a pair of assists. Zachary Suntjens, Lucas Muenchrath and Riley Romashenko supplied one assist each.
Riley Stovka started in net with Ty Tarvyd getting called up to play with the CFR Chemicals Bisons. He carried a blank slate into the third and finished with 19 saves for his third win.
The Chiefs doubled up the Foothills Bisons 4-2 Nov. 5 at Tom Hornecker Recreation Centre. They led 2-1 after the first frame on goals from Muenchrath and Sandum, and added a pair of second period goals from Chayse Hnatowich and Sandum’s second to ice the Bisons. Isaac Benoit and Skiffington supplied a pair of assists each.
Tarvyd was barely tested, making 13 saves for his sixth win.
The Cranbrook Dynamiters (0-10-0) visit Hussar Arena Nov. 11, puck drop 7:30 p.m. The last time these two teams faced off, the Chiefs blasted the Dynamiters 8-0 in the second game of the year. Nov. 20, the Chiefs are on the road in Red Deer to take on the Elks (3-5-3) at Kinsmen Twin Arenas.

 

Braves drop two
The Wheatland Braves (1-10-1) couldn’t build any momentum following their first win of the season and dropped a pair of weekend bouts.
The local double-A peewee team fell 8-5 to the Red Deer Motors (5-2-3) Nov. 6 at Kinsmen Twin Arenas.
Nolan Mahussier buried two goals; Tyler Fairbairn registered a goal and an assist with remaining goals coming from Tate Yule and Philip Raycroft.
The Braves were dumped 4-2 by the West Central Tigers (5-4-1) Nov. 5 at the Rocky Arena Complex.
Cyle Clayton and Mahussier found the back of the net on passes from Adam Moore and Cole Whelan.
Matthew Dovichak started both games on the weekend and stopped 16 Tigers shots.
A pair of road games this weekend for the Braves as they travel to the Kinsmen Twin Arenas Nov. 12 to tangle with the Red Deer Parkland Transmission (5-3-2) and then battle the Central Alberta Selects (1-5-3) Nov. 13 at the Can Pak Arena 2.

SP7N11

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

The Strathmore High School Spartan boys captured the title during their annual volleyball tournament, rolling through the competition undefeated.
The Spartans faced off with the Eagle Butte High School Talons in the championship game and downed them in three sets, 2-1 (25-19, 16-25, 15-11).
“It was exciting for the guys to experience this level of success at home,” said Spartans head coach Cole Hintz. “It was a really competitive draw this year, so going undefeated was a really good result for us and a great confidence boost heading into zones.”
The Spartans slipped by the Senator Gershaw School Gators in the semis 2-0 (25-18, 25-18).
“We really started to stabilize our passing, which allowed us to get some good match ups attacking out of the middle,” said Hintz. “We also started to improve our intensity and grittiness on defense. We’ve been struggling with how we deal with frustration all year, so this weekend was a big step forward in how we move on mentally and put ourselves in a position to play free.”
The Spartans barreled through the round robin with wins over Canmore Collegiate High School Crusaders 2-1 (25-15, 21-25, 16-14), Three Hills Royals 2-1 (23-25, 25-14, 15-7) and the Talons 2-0 (27-26, 25-19).
Next up for the boys will be the zone tournament Nov. 18 and 19 in Brooks.

 

Spartan girls come up short
The Spartans girls couldn’t capture the magic of playing a tournament on home court. The Medicine Hat High School Mohawks swept the Spartans in straight sets during the quarterfinals.
“We have a tendency to get off to a slow start giving our opponents a three-to-seven point head start before we settle our nerves and find the self confidence to compete with the top teams,” said Spartans head coach Randy Moncks.
The Spartans finished the round robin second in their pool with wins over the Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks 2-1 (21-25, 25-17, 15-5), Crescent Height High School Vikings 2-1 (16-25, 26-24, 15-10) and Highwood High School Mustangs 2-0 (25-16, 25-11).
“If we can control those unforced errors more effectively, I believe we will be able to compete against the top four teams at zones,” said Moncks.
Zones run Nov. 18 and 19 at Bert Church High School in Airdrie. Until then, Moncks will be working his girls hard on passing and defensive strategies.
“My goal this year at zones is to make playoffs and hopefully play our best volleyball of the season and upset one of the top teams (Springbank, Bert Church or Brooks) and make a run for a medal at zones,” said Moncks.

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

The Strathmore High School Spartans football team got an injection of positive news as they prepare for their quarterfinal provincial matchup.
Seven players were named to the Rangeland Football Conference all-star team and their coach was named coach of the year.
“It’s a pretty cool award, but really, it says more about our players,” said Spartans’ head coach Travis Gorski. “It shows how much these kids have grown and developed. As coaches, we correct them and give them advice; they took the criticism and played to the best of their abilities.”
Presenting the trophy to Gorski was his former coach Quinn Skelton, who now coaches the Medicine Hat High School Mohawks.
“He was influential to me and it was nice to see him recognize the growth of this program over the past three years,” said Gorski, who played under Skelton from 2003-05.
Senior quarterback Isaac Wegner turned in a fabulous season for the Spartans and just missed out on the Most Valuable Player award by one vote, losing to Crescent Heights High School Vikings slotback Adrian Glauser. But for his efforts, Wegner was named to the RFL all-star team along with six of his teammates.
Joining Wegner were fellow seniors Garrett Gatto (defensive tackle) and Isaiah Simwamu (wide receiver). Middle linebacker Aubrey Laveck, offensive tackle Garrett Kopp, halfback Mason Phillips and defensive end/halfback Chris Rebeyka were also named to the all-star team.
Meanwhile, the Spartans are back at work in what appears to be a very difficult opening round match to provincials.
They take on number one seed Cochrane High School Cobras (7-0) Nov. 12 in Cochrane.
“We had a light week of practices last week and we plan on cranking it up this week as we put together a game plan,” said Gorski. “Cochrane has had a strong program for a long time and we are expecting a good game.”

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

While last year’s playoffs might not have ended the way many of the CFR Chemicals Bisons players would have liked, several of the graduating class have moved on and are experiencing success at the junior level.
The goaltending tandem that split time between the pipes last year have conditioned their puck stopping ways this past month.
Ryan Simpson was recently named Heritage Junior Hockey League goaltender of the month for the Cochrane Generals in October.
“It feels really good. I’ve got great teammates in front of me that have made my job a lot easier,” said Simpson.
Sitting 9-0, he is the only unbeaten goalie with a 0.916 save percentage and owns the third best goals-against average, 2.29 for the first place Generals (16-2).
“He attended a few Junior A camps; he was a little unfortunate that he didn’t get a better look, but we were lucky enough to have him come here and push our other veteran in net,” said Generals first year head coach Dan Gendur.
The Airdrie product credits the Bisons for working on stabilizing his mind during the game, not getting too high or too low, for his early success.
“I’m adjusting really well here. They welcomed me with open arms and it’s a good fit. Hopefully this is a stepping stone towards a more consistent game,” said Simpson.
Last year, Simpson went 9-5-1 with a 0.917 GAA and 2.28 save percentage for the Herd.
Sharing the crease with him last year was Hunter Virostek, who has now landed with the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).
After 11 appearances, Virostek sits 6-5 with a lovely 3.00 GAA and a 0.899 save percentage. He went 10-6-3 with a 2.37 GAA and 0.921 save percentage last season.
Last season’s captain for the Bisons, Kyle Gordon, has also landed on his feet in the AJHL. In 19 games he has racked up three goals and 12 points for the Okotoks Oilers.
Staying in the AJHL, Zach Cox is off to a good start with the Drayton Valley Thunder. In 18 games, the left defenseman has three goals and a pair of assists.
Liam Izyk, now playing for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the AJHL, has three goals and eight points in 19 games. He scored the overtime winner against the Grand Prairie Storm Nov. 3 at the Casman Centre. Tanner Foster has yet to register a point in 16 games for the Whitecourt Wolverines.
The 12-5-1-0 Medicine Hat Tigers are off to a great start in the Western Hockey League and are just sitting on the outside of the Top 10. Airdrie product and centreman Gary Haden has one goal in eight games.
Forward Matt Davies sits second in Kimberley Dynamiters (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) rookie scoring with seven goals and 11 points in 12 games.
Defensemen Cooper Krauss has a pair of assists in 16 games for the Columbia Valley Rockies, Matt Halkovic has a goal in 16 games for the Sicamous Eagles and Liam Rycroft has recorded one assist in eight games for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.

SP1N4

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

Expansion seasons are always difficult to predict no matter the sport.
The Holy Cross Collegiate (HCC) Hawks clinched a berth into the B division playoffs for the Alberta 6 Man Football League following their 54-32 dusting of the Provost Panthers (0-8) Oct. 28 at a damp Holy Cross Collegiate field.
“We are very excited about our performance today and now the opportunity to head to the playoffs,” said Hawks head coach Michael Annicchiarico.
HCC (3-4) held a pep rally the afternoon leading up to the clinching game that featured face painting and a performance by the HCC drumline.
“Today was a lot of fun, a lot of excitement got built up and it’s nice to end our home season on a winning note,” said Annicchiarico.
The Hawks went 3-1 on home turf this season and carried a plus-30 point differential.
Annicchiarico’s squad is turning things around at the right time. The Hawks went through a stretch from mid-September to mid-October where they were outplayed on three straight road games.
Now, enjoying the fruits of a pair of back-to-back home wins, the Hawks are flying high with the playoffs on the horizon.
“We had a chunk of our schedule early in October that we knew was going to be tough, and it was. I got to give these guys a lot of credit for being able to see the big picture through all of that,” said Annicchiarico.
The Hawks have been heavily reliant on running back Jayden Hendricks all season, but received a more balanced approach with multiple players finding their way into the end zone for the first time.
“It’s extremely important to reward these guys,” said Annicchiarico. “Jayden has been a touchdown machine for us this year and we are going to need him to continue that moving forward, but we had to get some guys experience on offence.”
With one regular season game remaining, the Hawks don’t know for certain their playoff opponent.
The regular season finale sees the Hawks travelling to take on the Rimbey Senior High School Spartans Nov. 3. The Spartans (5-1) sit in second in the South Division.

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

One of Canada’s greatest bull riders looks to brand his name deeper into the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) record books.
Scott Schiffner captured the CFR championship in 2001 and 2012. Another win in Edmonton Nov. 9-13 at the Northlands Coliseum would elevate him to a class with six other cowboys.
“Winning the CFR means you are the best that year, and that’s what I set out for,” said Schiffner.
A third title would move him into a three-way tie for third all-time with Rob Bell and Greg Schlosser.
Fitting, seeing that it will be Schiffner’s 16th trip to the CFR, the most appearances in its history.
“It’s just one of them things, I’ve always wanted to do it. I’m proud of what I do, withstanding the test of time,” said Schiffner. “You always want to win these events.”
Now 36, Schiffner approaches the CFR a little different than he used to in his twenties.
“Just like any athlete, when you get older, you have to work harder,” he said. “My metabolism isn’t what it used to be like; I have to work on being fit and limber, not big and strong. My life is also a lot different now with having a family and a ranch. That has helped me out because I don’t think about bull riding as much, it’s more of a second nature now.”
Schiffner has been paying attention to more than just his diet lately. Just over two weeks ago, he was bucked off a bull in Saskatoon and landed solidly on his left shoulder, separating it in the process.
“I’ve been visiting my sports med doctors in Calgary and Red Deer, trying to get better,” said Schiffner. “If I didn’t think I was able to compete at the highest level, I wouldn’t go.”
With the end presumably closer than the beginning, Schiffner has been asked about how long he plans to keep competing.
“I don’t think about it too much. I realize that I’m on borrowed time. But for me, it comes down to three things: if I’m having fun competing and not embarrassing myself, if I’m still healthy enough to compete and if I can still make money in it, then I’ll keep competing,” said Schiffner. “Who knows, I might come back from Edmonton and think it’s time to quit, or I might come back from an event in two years and think it’s time then.”
“But for now, I’m just gonna keep putting my hand in the rope and see what happens.”

Sharon McLeay
Times Contributor

 

Colder weather has residents thinking about outdoor activities, and the Speargrass Community Association wants to put up a temporary outdoor skating rink for their residents’ enjoyment.
The group submitted a proposal that was heard at the Oct. 18 Wheatland County council meeting. Details can be seen online under the agenda attachments.
They set out a 32 by 52 foot rink that would be flooded with water that is trucked in and supplied by the community association.
However, the staff listed liability and public safety concerns with the proposal. The proposed locations for the rink are bordered by roadways on all sides, and concerns about parking with vehicle damage from over-shot pucks were considered.
“I would sooner see it put in a spot that is permanent and not affected by any road plans,” said Coun. Don Vander Velde.
It was suggested that the association approach Speargrass Golf Course; however, the owner of the golf course also had concerns regarding liability. Council suggested if the rink were placed in one of the suggested locations, an encroachment agreement would be needed and set only for the present year.
“Community amenities such as skating rinks provide fun family activity opportunities; however, safety is always a factor to take into consideration,” stated Dave Churchill, general manager of Wheatland County transportation and infrastructure.
Council declined approval at this time, turning it back to staff to try to find a more appropriate site where the rink could be located.

SP4N4

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

Quarterback Reid Jensen turned in a performance straight from Madden NFL 17 to lift the Strathmore Community Football Association senior Badgers to the Mountain View Football Conference championship game.
The Badgers battered the Didsbury Dragons 63-0 Oct. 29 at Crowther Memorial Junior High School (CMJHS) field.
“Reid has really excelled in the open field this year,” said Badgers head coach Sean Seafoot. “We have a lot of plays where we move the pocket and if the contain gets broken to one side, our plan is to throw or usually pick up a five-yard run. He was able to pick up a lot more than five yards.”
Jensen had all the moves working; the hesitation, cut backs, spin moves, juke-steps, slithering out of tackles, completely reversing to the other side of the field and most importantly, the getaway speed.
“We had a lot of great blocking down the field today. Guys had their heads up, the o-line and receivers did a great job blocking for me,” said the 15-year-old Jensen, who finished with five rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns and a successful two-point convert.
Jensen connected with one of his favourite targets, Alex Nwoye, for a pair of receiving touchdowns, totalling 27 yards.
“Alex is really quick and he has played really well for us this year considering it is his first year playing football,” said Seafoot. “His older brother, Charles, won the Vanier Cup for UBC last season and that really sparked his interest in the sport.”
With a forfeited game last week and a bye in week 8, this marked the Badgers first game in three weeks and it showed early.
The Badgers surrendered an opening drive TD and only led 12-8 after the first quarter. They also had five touchdowns called back because of penalties.
“The bye weeks added up against us I think. We had a bunch of hiccups in the first quarter. There were too many mistakes. I guess it kept guys on their toes a little bit, but we don’t want to see that again,” said Seafoot.
Because of a last minute rule change, the MVFC championship game will be played in Innisfail, Nov. 5, against the Cyclones. The two teams finished the season tied at 5-0-1. The Cyclones and Badgers teamed up for the most thrilling game of the season, which saw the Badgers rally down 16 with 2:26 left to tie the game thanks to a pair of two-point converts and an onside kick recovery.

 

Peewee Badgers blank Rebels
The peewee Badgers stymied teams all season and carried their steel curtain defence into the playoffs, as they blanked the Rocky Mountain House Rebels 37-0 Oct. 29 at CMJHS field.
The Badgers only yielded three touchdowns all season and recorded two shutouts.
“Our D plays contain to shutdown the running plays to the outside, so our linemen can go up the middle. There, you’ve taken away two of their options. Teams will then try and pass on us and we are comfortable playing in coverage and shut them down there too,” said Badgers head coach Doug Thiessen. “Our defence is our super strength.”
With their defence on lock, the Badgers offence looked more evolved than it did in week 1. Quarterback Brady Johansen was dialed in with his number one target Noel Langlois. Langlois hauled in four passes for 41 yards and one touchdown.
“We had almost 90 yards of passing in the first half; you just don’t see that in peewee much,” said Thiessen.
Running through the season undefeated (5-0), Thiessen was still apprehensive minutes before kickoff.
“I’m absolutely thrilled. It was my biggest fear all week, coming into today undefeated and coming out flat. But, they came out aggressive today and came out to win right from the start,” said Thiessen, who has been part of a coaching staff to carry an undefeated team into the playoffs four previous times and failed to advance to provincials.
The Badgers earned the right for the provincial title to run through CMJHS field, granted they keep on winning. Next, the Badgers host the Red Deer Hornets Nov. 5 (3 p.m.) in the CPWFL finals. The Badgers dusted the Hornets 28-6 back on Week 3.

 

Bantam Badgers shut out
The bantam Badgers were shut out in their playoff opener, 34-0 to Lacombe. Now, they will head to Rocky Mountain House to take on the Rebels for third place. The Rebels downed the Badgers 52-32 back on Week 3.

SP5N4

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

There’s an old saying: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Which could be true, unless what happens in Vegas is winning a finals rodeo.
That is exactly what Destiny Stevens is setting out to try to accomplish Nov. 8-12 at the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas.
Stevens punched her ticket to her second straight INFR following a strong season in the Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association (IRCA) and Northern Alberta Native Cowboys Association (NANCA).
She finished the season in first in the breakaway in the NANCA and IRCA. That alone earned her a trip to Vegas, but for extra measure, she went on to capture the IRCA title for barrel racing. She didn’t finish the season with the lead in the barrels, but turned in a second, fourth and first place placing during the IRCA Finals, propelling her to Vegas for a second, and unexpected event.
“Breakaway is my favourite event. It’s more my style to rope than to run barrels,” said Stevens.
The INFR pulls from 11 different regions, with the season leader and finals winner for each discipline and region making the trip down to Vegas. There is also room for 11 extra cowboys and cowgirls in the event.
Despite the two titles, Stevens remains humble in preparation for the INFR.
“I was pretty excited. It was nice to win both events this year,” said Stevens.
As a prize, she won a pair of saddles and belt buckles to go along with a small chunk of cash.
“She is downplaying her success,” said her mother, Crystal. “It is unheard of to win two year-end titles. We are very proud of her and all that she has accomplished this season.”
Destiny and her family made the trip to Vegas last year and finished seventh in the breakaway.
She was satisfied with last year’s results, but bringing home the hardware this year would be “pretty cool.”
Destiny, a Grade 11 student at Holy Cross Collegiate, has been roping for five years now, as her family has a strong background in rodeo.
Her brother Hayze took part in the INFR last year in breakaway, but didn’t qualify this year. He competed in team roping and tie down roping this season, but didn’t qualify for the INFR.
Her father, Jim, participated in the IRCA and NANCA finals this year in steer wrestling. Jim entered the INFR for steer wrestling last year as well.
“I might razz them a little bit on our trip down, but that’s about it,” said Destiny.
“She has made it plenty clear to her father that he will be her groomer down there,” said Crystal, who manages her family’s rodeo lifestyle.
The Stevens family will make the three-day drive down to Vegas together, along with Destiny’s two horses, Tom Tom and Becca.
Destiny rides Tom Tom during breakaway events; he is three years old and is a chestnut brown. At 19 years old, Destiny prefers Becca for barrel races.
“I ride Becca in the barrels because she is older, more experienced and has a better feel for the competition than Tom Tom would,” said Destiny.
The Stevens family isn’t strangers to long road trips. At one point this summer, Destiny and her father travelled up to Saddle Lake, Alta. (180 km northeast of Edmonton) down to Bragg Creek and then back up to Saddle Lake over the span of two days, just to attend competitions. That’s nearly 2,000 kilometres.
Having rodeo blood can only get you so far. Destiny is extremely dedicated to her craft and puts in long days perfecting her skill.
Destiny and her brother take a half-hour bus ride each morning for school. Once school lets out, she will train at Lausen Indoor Arena twice a week. There, she rides horses for two hours and, if weather permits, she will practice roping outside. If not, she practices roping on a wooden calf.
“She just has so much talent,” said the owner of Lausen Indoor Arena, Lorne Lausen. “I would have been shocked if she didn’t qualify for Vegas.”
Lausen grew up with Destiny’s father and has known her since she was a toddler.
“She is incredibly dedicated, she practices lots, listens to advice and constantly wants to get better,” said Lausen.
He is so confident in Destiny and Hayze’s abilities, he has started bringing them out to his clinics and uses them as instructors.
When Destiny isn’t riding around at Lausen’s, she’s probably out at her family’s ranch, practicing her roping skills on another dummy until the sun goes down.
Las Vegas is in the forefront of Destiny’s mind these days, but she would love to compete in the Strathmore Stampede or even the Calgary Stampede when she is older.

Tyler Lowey
Times Reporter

 

A flurry of second period power play goals for the Red Deer Vipers inevitably sunk the Strathmore Wheatland Kings 6-5 Oct. 29 at Collicutt Arena.
“It definitely doesn’t help playing shorthanded like that,” said Kings captain Kennan Ogle. “It doesn’t make it easy, it’s a mental toll, we lose focus and argue with the refs instead of focusing on putting the puck in the back of the net.”
The Vipers clocked the Kings 5-1 back on Oct. 7 in a spirited Heritage Junior Hockey League affair at the Strathmore Family Centre.
“It was a pretty similar game as to when we played them the first time,” said Kings assistant coach Braden Desmet. “We come out with a great first period and then just lackadaisical in the second.”
Ogle’s line mate Kody Hammond was sent off for a four-minute spearing minor at the 9:30 mark of the second period. A Hayden Vanderploeg slashing penalty 18 seconds later sent the Vipers to a five-on-three advantage. They cashed in three times within 1:10, jumping ahead 6-2.
“They capitalized on their power play chances and we didn’t,” said Desmet.
The Kings went 0-for-6 on the man advantage.
Ogle’s line began to redeem themselves in the third, as Ogle scored a natural hat trick to bring his team within one. His last hat trick came two years ago, as a member of the Kings against the High River Flyers.
“The hat trick helps boost the confidence a little bit,” said Ogle. “They’re always welcome.”
Brooker Pretty Youngman extended his point-streak to 11 games with a goal, and Matt Thomson sniped one in the first. Both players picked up separate fighting majors in the third. Cole Busslinger and Hammond registered three assists each.
Kings netminder Brady Hoover was tested again, facing 38 shots. He sits second in the HJHL for shots faced, with 399.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Kings as they hosted the Blackfalds Wranglers (6-5) Nov. 1 at the Strathmore Family Centre (result not available as of press time).
The Wranglers edged the Kings 4-3 in a shootout back on Oct. 9.
Games against the northern division are where the Kings can pick up a few key points in hopes to move up in the southern standings.
“We need to come ready to play,” said Desmet. “Picking up points against northern teams will help us get back on track.”
The Kings are on the road when they take on the Flyers (5-10) Nov. 4 at the Bob Snodgrass Recreation Complex. The next home game for the Kings goes Nov. 12 against the Stettler Lightning (6-6-1) at the Strathmore Family Centre. Puck drop is set for 8:15 p.m.