The SCC (Sudbury Canoe Club) Ice Dragons might have been the only local competitive team racing at the Great White North Dragon Boat Challenge in Toronto last weekend, but they did so with absolute fervour and pride.
A pair of qualifying races on Saturday at Marilyn Bell Park landed the Dragons right in the mix with the provincial elite, posting times of 2:03.71 and 2:05.07 in back to back 500-metre events. Placing 7th in a field of 108 participating teams, the Sudbury reps found themselves in the "A" Division, contesting A-Consolation Premier bragging rights on Sunday.
Starting their second day of competition with a lightning quick 200-metre final, the Ice Dragons placed first in a time of 50.53 seconds, earning a spot on the podium. The day, however, was only beginning.
A time of 2:06.54 in their 500-metre semi-final served notice that the northern paddlers were more than willing to leave it all out on the water. With the title of Premier Mixed A-Division Consolation champions on the line, the Ice Dragons edged the second place finisher by just 0.11 seconds, crossing the line in 2:06.94 to claim top spot.
The Sudbury Canoe Club claims to fame were not limited to the races, as team members Laurel Duguay, Eric Kim and Ali Weslake demonstrated their strength in the post-competition push-up challenge, with Weslake taking home the grand prize of a new Chinook paddle.
Paddlers who donned the SCC Ice Dragons colours with pride included Alex Espinosa, Brent Byers, Derek Butler, Eric Kim, Ali Weslake, Sarah Bulanda, Brenda Loubert, Lawrence Duguay, Rick Ranger, Dave Barrett, Julie Vakareskov, Dave Arnold, Tim Howard, Ginette Cyr, Dave Larsen, Ian McIvor, Rob Gregoris, Laurel Duguay, Chantal MacDonald, Alexie Laverdiere Ranger, Sarah (honourary drummer), Melanie Cartier.