The conclusion of the winter sport campaigns carries with it, quite frequently, the compulsory year-end banquet / award presentations, that chance to fete team and club accomplishments.
In some cases, at this time of year, it’s far more about club rewards than awards.
That, as you might have guessed, is the theme for this column, catching up with a few different groups and individuals who have reason to celebrate.
Few have more reason to be sharing group hugs and high fives than the good folks involved with the Adanac Ski Club – some 50,000 good reasons or so, to be precise.
Earlier today, Mackenzie Investments announced that both the Adanac Ski Hill and Kimberley Alpine Resort (B.C.) would receive $50K each, co-winners of the 2022 Top Peaks Challenge which ran from January through to March.
The funds heading to Sudbury are earmarked towards the construction of a new shack at the bottom of the hill that would greatly facilitate the work of race officials as well as offering valuable storage space and easing the congestion in the Vale Chalet.
“This is not only going to benefit the Adanac Ski Club and their membership, it’s going to help the whole Sudbury ski community,” noted Robbie Coe, Adanac team captain in this effort to rally local support behind the initiative. “We hold all of the races for the school boards, as well, and as we know, the hill itself is owned by the city – it’s on city property.”
“We as a community are donating the fundraising to get this work done.”
With Angèle Carrière Prosperi and a volunteer group spearheading the task of spreading the word through any means possible, the Adanac Ski Club crew rolled up their sleeves and went to work. “Our theme was “All Hands on Deck”,” noted Coe. “We reached out to the inaugural winner and runner-up, focusing on learning how to get ourselves on the radar.”
“It wasn’t just about the amount of votes, which was impressive enough for being one of the smallest clubs in the country – but it really helped that the city was viewed as being unified in backing this initiative,” he added. “Angèle was able to reach a variety of demographics by using a variety of platforms: Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
With the necessary fundraising now completed, Coe noted that once permits are received, the plan is to quickly put shovels into the ground in the hopes of having the new building completed by the time the 2022-2023 ski season rolls around.
Also giving thanks for financial support, ironically also in the amount of $50K, was the Copper Cliff Curling Club and president Tim Lloyd, the beneficiaries of Ontario Trillium Foundation funding under the Resilient Communities stream.
“The funds were used to help offset operating costs, helping pay for our icemaker, wages and start-up costs in order to maintain a quality ice surface,” said Lloyd, welcoming local MPP Jamie West to the year-end banquet last Friday. “This help was instrumental in allowing us to get through this past season.”
“Government support has been great these past few years,” added Lloyd, whose club was able to install a new plant thanks to a previous OTF grant.
While Lloyd and his board are keenly aware of the finer details of the club’s operation, West was offering more of a big picture observation regarding the importance of the funding. “This is where people come together to have fun with their friends, with their families,” said West, with the hustle and bustle of the pre-supper conversation creating just such an environment in the background.
“Having this money helps groups like this continue to go on from generation to generation.”
There was not a lot of drama to the Athletes of the Year presentation at the 2022 (Collège Boréal) Vipères Gala – having a pair of athletes accomplish something never before done in school history tends to make for obvious choices – but the Rookies of the Year, thankfully, were able to shine a little spotlight on a feeder school system less than an hour away.
Both Stéphane Philion and Jayme Landry are products of the Franco-Cité Patriotes volleyball system, a program that has featured a number of future OCAA starters, at one position in particular, most notably. “It must be a little bit of a Sturgeon (Falls) thing, having setter hands at Franco-Cité,” said Landry, alluding to her cross-town idol and perennial all-star, Isabelle Rivest, at Cambrian College.
“I love being setter because I get to be involved in almost every point. I get to put a good ball up for my teammates and get to see them hit a ball and get so excited.”
The 19 year-old first year setter with the Vipères benefits from a volleyball background that included OVA club team play in her hometown, as well as North Bay and Sudbury. “Seeing so many different coaches, there’s so many different coaching tactics,” said Landry. “You get all types of experiences of the coaches, so we get to see different drills, different things that we can use to help our game.”
That is a virtual necessity given that almost every year, Boréal volleyball has to overcome a starting point of being typically the most under-sized team in the league. “We were a very short team so I had to make sure that I placed my sets in positions where the girls could hit around the blockers,” said Landry.
“We’re playing against girls that are 6’3”, 6’4” – and I think we had girls hitting out of the left side that are 5’4”.”
Twenty years old but also in his first year at Boréal, Philion understands exactly where Landry is coming from, having made the move from setter to left side while in high-school. “It wasn’t all about smashing the ball as hard as you could, trying to hit the floor here,” he said. “It was a lot more technical shots, tipping and stuff.”
“That’s how I adjusted to bigger teams, bigger players.”
More than anything, Philion was thankful for the scope of volleyball knowledge that he garnered at Franco-Cité. “Just learning the sport, in general, the base of the movements really helped me here,” he said. “And I think being a setter helped me with my passing, just because you’re touching the ball all of the time.”
And finally, there will be some hardware distributed this coming Sunday at the McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff, site of the 2022 U13 AA OHF (Ontario Hockey Federation) Championships.
Joining the hometown Copper Cliff Reds at the event are the Soo Jr Greyhounds (NOHA), Aurora Tigers (OMHA), Mississauga Beast (GTHL) and the London Jr Knights (Alliance). The Reds open play with a pair of games on Friday, battling the Greyhounds at 2:30 p.m. and then taking on the Jr Knights at 7:00 p.m.