The year in sports 2017


January: Reed Godfrey had the race of his career, finishing third at the U.S. National Ski Championship in Park City, Utah, qualifying him for a spot at world junior championships.

Canmore’s Len Valjas joined forces with Alex Harvey to win gold in the team sprint at a world cup stop in Toblach, Italy. “It was unreal. This race wasn’t even in the plan when we went over the season at the beginning of the year. We only had two wax techs and a wax box. We went total master blaster style,” Valjas said.

A week later, Canada shocked the world when Canada won bronze in the men’s 4×7.5 km relay in Sweden. Harvey, Valjas, Devon Kershaw and Knute Johnsgaard teamed up to win Canada’s first four-person relay medal since 1987.

Biathlete Nathan Smith pulls out of world cup races with a mysterious virus which costs him the rest of his season.

February 2017

The BHA Bears secured a playoff spot with a win over Cochrane in the Heritage Junior Hockey League. They subsequently removed three players and a former captain from the program.

Alberta’s Kevin Koe defeated defending champion Brad Jacobs to win the 2017 Pinty’s Skin’s game in Banff, earning $57,000 to win the tournament. Jennifer Jones defeated Val Sweeting in the women’s final, winning $41,000 in the process.

Para-Nordic biathlete Mark Arendz earned the first world championship of his career, winning gold in Finsterau, Germany, while crushing the field by 25 seconds. Brian McKeever also won two gold medals in cross-country events.

Canmore hosts Canadian biathlon nationals after Prince George is forced to cancel the event due to low snow levels.

The BHA Bears were swept from the playoffs by the Cochrane Generals. Dominik Vollenweider made 40 saves in the losing effort, while Max Lozeman, Alex Skinner and Therann Kincross scored for Banff.

March 2017

Megan Bankes shot clean in the 12.5 km individual race to win gold at the world junior championships in Slovakia. It was her second medal of the year.

The Stoney Nakoda ski team made its race debut at the Kananaskis Ski Marathon. The all-Stoney team is an offshoot of the Spirit North program which offers free ski lessons to aboriginal youth.

The Canmore Eagles finish a stellar season led by top scorers Logan Ferguson, Matt Forchuk and Adam Tisdale to square off against the Olds Grizzlys in the first round. The Grizzlys upset the Eagles in three games straight, despite getting outshot and outplayed each game.

Speed skater Connor Howe helped power Canada to a bronze medal at world championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Cross-Country Ski Nationals rolled into Canmore, with Devon Kershaw and Emily Nishikawa emerging as early winners.

April 2017

Zach Belczyk wins silver at the world junior ski cross championship.

The Our Lady of the Snows handball team won gold in a preparation tournament ahead of provincials.

Jacob Baggott, Erika Lepper and Tatsuo Okuma won gold medals at gymnastics provincials.

Martha Pietrasik of Banff was named to Les Supremes, a national synchronized skating team out of Montreal.

Swimmer Sam Pauch-Nolin qualified for Swim Canada’s junior nationals in butterfly with an incredible performance in the 200 at Canadian Western Championships.

May 2017

OLS handball team captain Caleb Pittman told his team they would win a provincial championship, then followed through with the school’s first Tier 2 provincial title. OLS defeated Bonnyville’s Notre Dame Wildcats 19-13 in the final.

Banff’s famed skier Tatum Monod fell off an Alaskan cliff, tearing her ACL, MCL and meniscus to end her season while shooting a film with Stellar Media.

A group of backcountry skiers recreated the historic Great Divide Traverse on the 50th anniversary of its original completion. Darren Farley, Lynnea Baker, Elliot Brooks and Alex Heathcott finished the route on May 2. The traverse runs from Jasper to the Great Divide Lodge outside of Field, B.C. Chic Scott, Charlie Locke, Don Gardner and Neil Liske originally completed the feat.

Kayaker David Ford earned a spot on the Canadian national whitewater paddling team at age 50. Ford has been a fixture on the team since the 1980s. He later retired after world championships in France.

June 2017

Banff’s Ryan Smyth was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Captain Canada and the former Oilers captain became the first Canadian hockey player to win a gold medal at the Olympics, world junior championships, world cup and Spengler cup.

The Canmore Collegiate High School parade of soccer banners came to an end as the boys team finished fifth at zones. CCHS had won five banners in a row prior to the defeat.

Banff Community High School boys rugby team won its zone tournament, defeating Strathcona-Tweedsmuir 23-19 in the final at the Calgary Rugby Union.

Canmore’s Roddy Ward is named high performance director of Biathlon Canada.

On his 70th birthday, Ernst Satzgaber summited five mountains in one day, topping Grotto, Lady MacDonald, East End of Rundle, Ha Ling and Miner’s peak.

Canmore’s Frank Charest wins the Golden 24 Hour solo race, while Leighton Poidevin, Matt Duggan, Heath McCroy, Ian Murray and Brian Cooke set a new course record in the team event.

The Bow Valley launches its own Sports Hall of Fame.

Will Pollard and Connor Howe were the top youth Rundle Mountain Cycling Club riders at the 2017 Mountain Stage Race in Canmore.

Sara Poidevin earned the first national cycling title of her career, winning the Canadian U23 time trial championship in Ottawa.

The Bow Valley Blues won a league title in a nailbiter, keeping their 17-game undefeated streak intact with a 7-5 win over the Foothills Nationals.

July 2017

The Plaid Goat Mountain Bike festival kicks off in Canmore, attracting vendors and mountain bike enthusiasts from across the province.

Banff’s Kai Iguchi proved to be Banff’s best golfer, and earned a trip to nationals.

Lea McCroy followed her father’s footsteps to compete at the world mountain running championship.

Despite a Stage 4 colorectal cancer diagnosis, Ryan Correy wins the 24 Hours of Adrenalin solo title. Correy was rushed to hospital 72 hours after his win. The bikepacking expert spent years as an ultra-endurance athlete, and is currently receiving treatment in Canmore and Calgary.

A dispute between organizers and the Canmore Nordic Centre threatens to end the 24 Hours of Adrenalin race after 21 years.

Nine months after nearly losing his life during a fall and fearing he would never walk again, Adam Campbell finished the 100-mile Hardrock 100 Ultra marathon.

Jack Menzies and Eva Poidevin led the RMCC contingent at the 2017 Mountain Bike Nationals at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

August 2017

A Glen Sather golf tournament, which drew many former Oilers including Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Ryan Smyth and Grant Fuhr, raised $425,000 for the community.

A dispute between the Banff Rugby Club and Calgary Rugby Union over import players threatened the club’s existence. The league banned Banff from the playoffs due to its use of extra import players of Div. 3 play.

Sara Poidevin swept the Colorado Classic, taking the sprint, queen of the mountain, overall and U23 jerseys in a dominant display of cycling prowess.

The sports community paid tribute to Richard Boruta in a heartfelt ceremony at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Boruta died tragically in a climbing accident on the Middle Sister.

Sept. 2017

A very young Canmore Eagles team kicked off the 2017/18 season, losing much of its core leadership group.

Melissa’s Road Race announces it will close shop after 38 years, leaving the Banff Marathon as the lone road race in the tourist town. Duncan Marsden won the final race over Benard Onsare in the men’s half marathon category.

October 2017

The Canadian ski museum honoured builder Ruedi Setz, who was integral in building trails and running biathlon races for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Three -time Olympic biathlete Zina Kocher announced she is coming out of retirement to attempt to earn a spot on Canada’s cross-country ski team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The Canmore Wolverines playoff run kicked off with a game against Olds.

November 2017

Julien Locke and Dahria Beatty won the season opening races at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Norquay narrowly edged Nakiska as the first ski hill to open for the season, firing up the lift on Nov. 3.

George Reed ran for 244 yards as the Canmore Wolverines crushed the Drumheller Titans to win the Big Sky High School Football Championship on Nov. 3

Megan Bankes pushed her Canadian counterparts to snag the final world cup starting spot on the national team, joining Julia Ransom, Emma Lunder, Rosanna Crawford, Nathan Smith, Scott Gow, Christian Gow and Brendan Green.

Jan Hudec returned to action after another off-season of surgery to race the downhill in Lake Louise.

The CCHS senior girls volleyball team won bronze at the South Central Zone Championship.

Kjetll Jansrud of Norway won the super-G at the men’s Lake Louise World Cup stop. Beat Feuz won the downhill race. The event also saw several racers pay tribute to late skier David Poisson.

Canmore curler John Morris chases an Olympic berth at the Roar of the Rings bonspiel in Ottawa.

December 2017

Mikaela Shiffrin wins the first world cup downhill race of the year under unorthodox conditions, as a power outage knocked out lifts at Lake Louise. Snow cats were used to tow racers to the start gate. Heavy favourite Lindsay Vonn crashed on the first day of racing. Cornelia Huetter won the downhill on that day.

Emily Young won four medals, while Mark Arendz and Brittany Hudak added one medal each as Canmore hosted the 2017 World Para-Nordic World Cup races at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Biathlon Canada announces it will boycott all races in Russia amid the ongoing anti-doping scandal enveloping the nation.


About Author

Rocky Mountain Outlook