Sports 2016: the year in review
Thursday, Dec 29, 2016 06:00 am
Brad Jacobs and his Soo rink of Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden took home $71,000 at the third consecutive Pinty’s All-Star Curling Skins Game in Banff.
The final came down to an open hit in the eighth end for $47,000 after Fry made a critical triple takeout in the end.
Jennifer Jones’ rink won $54,000 after defeating Vegreville’s Val Sweeting in the Sunday final. Jones shared the win with Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwan.
Organizers pulled the plug on the Ironman Banff Triathlon, citing unpredictable weather and the loss of Banff Avenue as a finish line as the driving factors in the decision. The Ironman race had been a staple for five years.
Alex Harvey had a pair of top-10 finishes, but the Canadian cross-country ski team was “extremely disappointed” with its performance in the Tour de Ski. Ivan Babikov finished 30th overall, while Devon Kershaw was 34th.
Nyah Bay and Lisa Duplessis won gold at the East Kootenay Skate Competition in Invermere.
Brady Leman fell a hair short of a ski cross world cup win at Nakiska, when a slight bobble on the last roller cost him the gold medal. Jean Frederic Chapuis and Armin Niederer managed to blow past him. Canmore’s Kris Mahler qualified 15th, and ended the day in 21st.
Marielle Thompson of Whistler cruised to the third win of her career at Nakiska, as she handily defeated Sweden’s Anna Holmlund for gold.
Canmore’s Jane Gray skated to an 11th-place finish at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Halifax. Gray vowed to return in 2017, where she’s expects even better results.
Biathlon Canada named its starting lineup for the Canmore World Cup biathlon stop. Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Macx Davies, Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Rosanna Crawford, Julia Ransom, Sarah Beaudry, Megan Tandy and Zina Kocher were chosen to represent the home team.
The Canmore Eagles clinched an AJHL playoff spot in their 20th season.
Dan Roycroft wins the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet, clocking a time of 4:59.04 on the 71 kilometre course.
Canmore opened its doors to the world with the arrival of the BMW IBU World Cup biathlon races, which kicked off on Feb. 4.
“Hopefully we can inspire some future Olympians out there in the crowd to come out and watch us. I think that will be the main goal,” said biathlete Rosanna Crawford.
The week-long event attracted more than 22,000 spectators to the Canmore Nordic Centre, as athletes from 22 nations competed in the event. Canada’s young guns led the way for the home country, as Julia Ransom cracked the top 20 in the sprint, Macx Davies had a 25th place finish, and Canada’s mixed relay team of Crawford, Beaudry, Davies and Green were sixth.
Local ski cross racers all landed on podiums in their prospective races, as Tristan Tafel, Kris Mahler and Zach Belczyk all posted top results on the FIS and NorAm circuits.
The BHA Bears took a swipe at the Strathmore Wheatland Kings in HJHL action, with a 4-2 victory before the two teams were slated to meet in the first round of the playoffs. This was the second year in a row the Bears reached the playoffs. The Wheatland Kings finished off the Bears in two games.
Canmore’s Ryan Gooch cleaned up at the Alberta Winter Games in Medicine Hat to lead the Bow Valley contingent. In an event plagued by a lack of snow, Gooch and Colin Mills were the story of the games, while local cross-country skiers utterly dominated their meet. In biathlon, athletes had to run instead of ski due to a lack of snow. Bow Valley athletes also medalled in gymnastics, speed skating, hockey and figure skating.
Cross Country Canada hosted a remote altitude camp at Mount Engadine Lodge in preparation for Ski Tour Canada, which launched March 1 in Gatineau, Que. Seventeen of 26 athletes selected by Canada to compete in the tour live or train in Canmore.
BHA’s Ryan Barrow, 18, committed to play for NCAA Dartmoth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Canmore Eagles clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the AJHL playoffs with an 8-5 win over the Olds Grizzlys. They faced the Drumheller Dragons in the first round of the playoffs, defeating them three games to one.
Alex Fricker was named youth bouldering national champion in Etobicoke, Ont., where he flashed three of four problems to secure the win.
Brian McKeever won the annual Cookie Race in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, which returned after a one-year hiatus. He later went on to win double gold at IPC finals in Finland.
Ski Tour Canada rolled into the Canmore Nordic Centre, attracting the best cross-country skiers on the world cup. Len Valjas and Dahria Beatty had strong days in the sprint, as both landed in the top 15, while Alex Harvey led the way for Canada, finishing fifth overall.
“To place top five like that on a stage tour – a long stage tour – is my best result by far,” Harvey said.
On the biggest stage in biathlon, in the biggest race of the season, the Canadian team of Christian Gow, Nathan Smith, Scott Gow and Brendan Green won bronze in front of 60,000 shocked Norwegian fans.
“I’ve been training my whole career to share in a moment like this. Words cannot describe it,” Green said.
The Brooks Bandits swept the Canmore Eagles in four straight games in the second round of the AJHL playoffs. Canmore fell 8-0, 4-0, 6-2, and 5-0 to the powerhouse Bandits.
Canmore’s Kris Mahler wins bronze at the world junior ski cross championships in Val Thorens, France.
Three-time Olympian Zina Kocher announced her retirement from biathlon. Cross Country Canada head coach Justin Wadsworth also announces he is leaving the national team program.
The Bruno Engler Veterans Race closes for good after 50 years of ski racing in the Canadian Rockies.
Cross-country skier Kevin Sandau and ski cross racer Louis-Pierre Helie announce their retirement from their sports.
Canmore’s Sara Poidevin won the Queen of the Mountain jersey in the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California. Poidevin, 19, beat many of the top racers in North America to take the win on the big climb.
Fresh off scoring his first world cup points, Erik Read helped capture an NCAA title for the University of Denver.
L.P. Helie defeated James Crawford and Tristan Tafel to win the men’s Bozo Cup, while Cath Wood defeated Emily Shilletto and Wendy Lumby for the women’s title.
Canmore’s Holly Phillips received an invitation to train with Rugby Canada for a two-week training camp in England.
Cassea Schols leaves the BHA women’s program, while Olympian Scott Perras retires from biathlon and picks up a coaching job with the Alberta World Cup Academy.
The Banff Men’s Rugby Club opened its 2016 season with a 29-17 loss to defending provincial championship Calgary Rams. Brad Brewer was named new head coach of the Banff crew.
The Banff Community High School Girls Rugby team won the first two games of their season, thanks to strong play by Ashah Payson and Anita Dimento. The BCHS boys team was struck by food poisoning and lost their first game 41-5 to Cochrane.
David Ford prepared for one more shot at the Olympic games. The 49-year-old has already been to five Olympic games, battled cancer and raised a two-year-old son with wife Kelly Vanderbeek. He finished fifth at trials in Pemberton after making a mistake that resulted in a 50-second penalty on course.
Six Canmore Indoor Climbing Society athletes reached the podium at provincials in Edmonton, including gold medal winners Hunter McLaughlin, Alexa Vanier and Becca Frangos.
Local hockey players Wil and Finn McLaughlin are named to the prestigious Team Brick hockey team. The program has produced several NHLers over the years.
Alpine Canada drops Olympic bronze medallist Jan Hudec from its roster, launching a battle between the two sides. Hudec had been a member of the national team program for 17 years. He later joined ‘S Team’ and skis for the Czech Republic.
The national team includes local racers Kris Mahler and Tristan Tafel (ski cross) and technical racers Trevor Philp and Erik Read. Huston Philp and Jeffrey Read are named to Canada’s development team.
The U15 Girls Rocky Mountain Volleyball team captured its first provincial banner, winning a Division 3 title. The team was led by Annika Belireau and Mikaela Holthuis.
Sara Poidevin earned the second Queen of the Mountain jersey of her season, taking the title on the 2016 Amgen Tour of California stage near Lake Tahoe, California.
Sara and Becca Frangos were one-two at the 2016 National Difficulty Championships at Elevation Place. The gold was the first national title for Sara.
The BCHS girls rugby team lost 40-10 to Springbank in zone finals, but still advanced to provincials in Lethbridge. The girls manage a fourth-place at provincials.
The CCHS boys’ soccer team wrapped up a perfect season in the Foothills Soccer League with a 5-0 win over Foothills Composite. The Crusaders went on to defend their zone banner for the second year in a row, and capture their fifth banner in eight seasons on a penalty kick by German exchange student Henrik Rathjan. Coach Gary Anderson called it the most exciting moment in his athletic career.
Nathan Smith was named 2015 Alberta Male Athlete of the Year at a ceremony in Red Deer, June 3.
Cycling Canada announced the Canmore Nordic Centre will host Canadian Mountain Bike Nationals in 2017 and 2018. The event will attract top riders such as Olympians Catherine Pendrel and Emily Baty.
Ivy Tupper became the first Canmore Illusions Gymnastics Club athlete to earn a gold medal at Canadian National Championships. Tupper helped Team Alberta win gold in the overall, upsetting favourites Ontario and Quebec.
Our Lady of the Snows recognized its first championship level team – the senior girls volleyball squad – which won zones.
Canmore Mayor John Borrowman announced he’s willing to work with Calgary to bring the 2026 Winter Olympics to the area. Canmore would be the probable choice to host biathlon and cross-country ski events.
More than 2,000 participants took part in the Banff Marathon weekend, where they ran 10 km, 21 km and 42 km distances. Brendan Lunty set a new course record with a time of 2:35:19, breaking his own mark set in 2014. Annie Starzynski was the fastest female (3:31:28).
Ivan Babikov announces his retirement from cross-country skiing, and assumes coaching duties with the national team.
Bow Valley Riptides sent seven swimmers to long course championships. Anthony Brito, Domenic Griesser, Jeremy Neilson, Marin Williams, Kiana Worobey, Avery Spence and Neo Gleason all earned a shot at the provincial championships.
Former NHLer Mikko Makela is named coach of the BHA women’s program.
Logan Sadesky starred in the U17 Alberta Cup mountain bike race as part of the Canmore Mountain Bike Festival at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Sara Poidevin’s dream cycling season continued with a fourth-place finish in the Delta UCI 1.2 Road Race as part of BC Superweek. Poidevin finished the 103 km course in 2:40.21. She later went on to capture her first white jersey at the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon.
Canmore cyclist Jon Firth was victorious at the sixth annual GranFondo Highwood Pass.
Anthony Brito, Marin Williams and Neo Gleason all shone at the Alberta Long Course swimming championships in Calgary.
Local athletes won 32 medals at the Alberta Summer Games in Leduc, powered by the Bow Valley Kayak Club. Lucas Hornyansky and Cole Oruski were tops on the water. In the pool, Tanner Douce, Domenic Griesser, Riley Toohey, Kiana Worobey and Avy Lamb all medalled. On the mountain bike, Sophie Macdonald and Sabine Comeau were strong.
Canmore’s Frank Charest and Calgary’s Kara Lilly were the top soloists at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Heavy rain and thick mud forced many riders to withdraw from the event through the night in one of the wettest races in the event’s 24-year history.
Local Olympians offered mixed reaction ranging from frustration to understanding after the International Olympic Committee ruled against a ban for Russian athletes following the release of the McLaren Report, which uncovered rampant state-sponsored doping.
Daya Sepandj and Maya Fish won national titles at the Canadian Orienteering Championships, which were held over four days in the Bow Valley.
Jeff Taylor and Team SloVo crushed ChumpCar Canada’s 12-hour race on the Castrol Raceway in Nisku, Alta. The 1984 Volvo 240 made 471 trips around the 2.5 km course, driven by Taylor and five others on the day.
Cyclist Sean Parker smashed the field with a dominant performance in the Tour de Bowness Cat 5 crit race. This was the third time Parker landed on a podium this season.
Climber Alex Megos conquered Canada’s first 5.15 climb. The event kicked off the second annual Canmore Climbing Fest, as Megos challenged most of the area’s hardest routes.
Christopher Glanznig, Eva Poidevin and Robin Pollard all won provincial titles at the Fluffy Bunny cross-country provincial championships in West Bragg Creek.
Jean-Phillippe Thibodeau took top spot in the Xterra Canmore triathlon at the Canmore Nordic Centre. The Quebec native clocked a time of 2:22:18, while Cal Zaryski of Calgary was second. Annie Bergen of Kewlona was fastest woman on course, followed by Annett Kamenz.
For the fourth time in five years, animal activity delayed, but didn’t cancel, the Banff GranFondo, which again attracted 1,500 riders to the park.
The Canmore Coho swim club won 12 medals at provincials, led by a four-medal performance by Isaac Wilson.
The Pump & Tap topped the Bow Valley Soccer League with a clutch 2-0 win over Earls at the Banff Rec Grounds.
The Canmore Nordic Centre revamped its bike skills park, thanks to the design work of park architect Gavin Conner.
The Canmore Eagles training camp opened with Andrew Milne emphasizing offence for the upcoming year. By the halfway mark of the season, the Eagles have the top two scorers in the AJHL.
Paddler Cole Oruski medaled at Canoe/Kayak Nationals in the K1 division and K2 mixed division.
Brothers Andreas and Mateo Massitti wrapped up the Canadian Enduro Mountain season with great results. Along with Jack Menzies, they were named to the Canadian national mountain bike enduro team.
Canmore’s Graham Schefuele, Jane Gray and Lucie Laferriere came up big at the Canmore Skate Invitational, each winning a medal, and aiming for big things this season.
Calgary lawyer Duncan Marsden won the Melissa’s Road Race half marathon, going tape to tape with a time of 1:13:12. Andrea Glover won the women’s race in 1:26:47.
Ultrarunner Adam Campbell breaks his pelvis and four vertebrae after a nasty fall in the Roger’s Pass area, resulting in a difficult rescue in the high country.
Jacob Puzey and Duncan Marsden cross the line together to win the Grizzly Ultra at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Amy Puzey won the women’s solo race.
Canmore Collegiate High School came within a mere 19 points of winning its first provincial cross-country running banner, and finished second among 3A schools at the final meet of the season.
The Canmore Wolverines qualified for the high school football playoffs with a 22-7 win over the Drumheller Titans to conclude the regular season.
Jess Cockney smashed the Frozen Thunder qualifier by four seconds, earning a spot on the world cup team. Bob Thompson also earned a start with a sprint win at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Canmore Judo Club was honoured as the best in Alberta at a ceremony at the Canmore Rec Centre. Erin Morgan was also honoured as top Alberta athlete by Judo Alberta.
The Canmore Wolverines fell 14-6 to the Bow Valley Bobcats, exiting the first round on the playoffs with an upset loss.
Sarah Beaudry and Megan Tandy won the final two spots on Biathlon Canada’s world cup team after trials races at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Banff’s Amber Wanless won her age group and a trip to Iron Man World Championships in Mexico.
Warm weather and a lack of snow forced FIS to cancel the Lake Louise Men’s world cup downhill race for the first time in 29 years. The women’s world cup gets the green light.
Ski cross phenom Tristan Tafel calls it a career, ending his conquest to reach the Olympics.
River surfers begin their push to build manmade waves in Banff and Canmore, following upgrades to the “The Mountain” at Canoe Meadows, Kananaskis.
Cross Country Canada executive director Pierre Lafontaine leaves his post to join Cycling Canada in Ottawa. Shane Pearsall is hired to take his place.
Canada’s Val Grenier leads the women’s team into the Lake Louise world cup downhill and super-G. Grenier, 20, recorded three top 30 results over the weekend.
Logan Ferguson, Ryan Barrow and Logan Milliken were invited to the Team Canada West Junior A training camp in Leduc. The top junior A players in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan are invited to the camp.
Erik Read posts the first top-10 world cup result of his career with a ninth-place finish in Val D’Isere, France. He followed that up with an eighth-place result the following weekend.
IPC World Cup star Mark Arendz won three medals in Finland to kick off his season.
Several Bow Valley athletes recorded personal best results on their respective World Cup circuits, as Dahria Beatty, Kris Mahler, Julia Ransom and Erik Read continued to impress overseas with less than 400 days until the 2018 Winter Olympics.