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Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2019
Home for the Holidays, and other sporting news
by Randy Pascal

'Tis the season of hustle and bustle, and folks running a million and one directions, all at once.

With that in mind, far be it for me and my column not to be reflective of the current environment of the week. In the spirit of Christmas chaos, we bring you an assortment of local sports tidbits, spanning a wide spectrum of Sudbury and area athletic endeavours.

The Mélisa Kingsley memorial sweater retirement at the Gerry McCrory Sports Complex on Saturday not only provided a wonderful opportunity for the local hockey community, some 700-800 strong, to show their support for the family, but also created a natural holiday gathering venue for various teammates now strewn across the U-Sport ranks.

Tayler Murphy (York), Kailey Lapensee (Ottawa), Danika Ranger (Nipissing), Carly Olivier (Laurentian), Stephanie Pascal (Queen's), Meagan McGaughey (Ottawa), Taylor McGaughey (Ottawa) and Karli Shell (Guelph) were among the hundred or so female hockey players in attendance at the ceremony.

With the top six teams in the OUA women's hockey standings separated by exactly one point (Ryerson with 25; Nipissing, Guelph, Waterloo, Western, Queen's – all at 24), veteran Karli Shell understands the need to step up on a team that has advanced to nationals twice already during her tenure with the Gryphons.

“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable this year being a fourth year player,” stated the Human Kinetics major. “I've been doing a leadership academy that the coach nominated me to do. I began last year and have kind of developed some leadership skills. I'm usually a shy girl, so I'm learning to speak up more.”

For the most part, Shell has always let her play on the ice do the talking, even if it's something of a different game that she now plays at the university level. “You're not going to get three goals a game, so it's hard, at times, to adjust to that and not get frustrated,” she said. “I've kind of shifted my focus. I'm a centreman, so I want to win every faceoff.”

“Faceoffs are key – and I'm more of a playmaker now.” Sitting fourth on her team in assists, Shell has been through the post-season ringer before, garnering an appreciation for exactly what it will take to emerge as one of the two teams from Ontario who will advance to the U-Sport Championships in March.

“Every team in the OUA is good,” she said. “Most of it comes down to hard work. We have a very talented team, we know we have a talented team, but you can't win games just on talent. You've got to do the dirty work.”

Of course, it's not just on the ice where local female post-secondary have excelled, or will be excelling. The recent announcement of the commitment of Arielle Douillette to the Laurentian Voyageurs women's basketball program brings to three (that we are aware of) the number of local high-schoolers that are moving on to the next level next year.

Coming off multiple appearances at OFSAA with the Macdonald-Cartier Panthères, not to mention a city championship last month, Douillette joins fellow ESMC products Ariane Saumure (Western) and Clara Yanchuk (Sault College) in confirming their intentions for the fall of 2019, with others expected to join this grouping over the course of the next few months.

As for those who are already there, it was nice to get a chance to catch up, albeit briefly, with Queen's Gaels' guard (and Lo-Ellen Park graduate) Mariane Alarie at a recent Sudbury Five outing. Now in her fifth and final year with the team, Alarie is leading a relatively young crew in every way imaginable.

She is second only to Leashja Grant of Lakehead in scoring across the entire OUA, averaging 20.8 points per game, an impressive total built largely on the strength of an outstanding performance from beyond the arc. With a record of 7-3, Queen's is right in the thick of a close race atop the OUA East, just back of Ottawa and Ryerson (both at 9-1) and Carleton at 8-2.

Also absolutely deserving of a huge shout-out are the local para nordic tandem of Collin Cameron and Kyle Barber, just back in town after enjoying a highly successful visit to Finland just over a week ago. Cameron would register the second World Cup victory of his career, finishing just ahead of Taras Rad (Ukraine) and American Daniel Cnossen in the sprints.

Training along with Barber under the tutelage of local coach Patti Kitler, Cameron would register his first World Cup almost two years ago in Pyeonchang, the same venue where he produced a memorable Paralympic resumé, capturing three medals in February of 2018. A native of Stirling (ON), Barber moved to Sudbury just over a year ago, to train with Kitler and Cameron.

The recent races in Vuokatti represented the third World Cup experience for the 27 year-old who was born with a form of Symbrachydactyly and first started down this recent path by launching himself into the ParaTough program. After picking up points in only one of five races in his previous two appearances, Barber would break through in no less than four of five races this time around.

Finally, one can sympathize with the Sudbury Major Peewee “AAA” Wolves if they feel trapped in a really bad episode of Bill Murray's classic film, Groundhog Day. Hosting the North Bay Trappers this past weekend for the traditional three game series, the Wolves would drop all three encounters by the identical score of 4-2.

Perhaps more frustrating for coach Rob Dmytruk and company is the fact that in both the first and final contests, the homeside actually held a lead at some point in period three. That said, the squad is showing increased competitiveness with every passing game, with the rookie bench boss demonstrating patience and a calm and positive demeanour in working with the youngsters.

It should be noted that North Bay currently sits first in league standings with a record of 15-1-3, while Sudbury is looking to challenge Timmins for third place, sporting a mark of 1-13-2, five points back of the North Stars. Scoring for the Wolves over the weekend were Mateo Signoretti, Lucas Antonioni, Alek Duguay, Ira Paibomsai and David Knapman, with a pair.

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