Bantam Winterhawks capture tourney win 

Sports briefs: Discover Sliding underway at WSC; Skiing program saved; Lake Louise FIS races scrapped

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Red wave The Whistler Winterhawks bantam team celebrates after winning a tournament in Squamish over the weekend.
  • Photo submitted
  • Red wave The Whistler Winterhawks bantam team celebrates after winning a tournament in Squamish over the weekend.

The Whistler Winterhawks bantam squad squashed the competition in Squamish — and elsewhere — over the Remembrance Day weekend.

In addition to posting a sterling 5-0 record while outscoring opponents 30-4 to capture the Squamish MHA Bantam A3 Remembrance Day Tournament, the Winterhawks also took care of business with a pair of regularly scheduled league games.

Head coach Cam McIvor was impressed with the stamina his charges displayed.

"We were able to sustain energy throughout the entire weekend and still play our brand of hockey," he said. "It's a total puck-possession, fast-paced style of hockey where we keep the puck out of the other team's hands. We typically outshoot every team that we play."

While Whistler cruised for much of the weekend, there were a few tense moments at the start of the championship game against the Seattle Jr. Admirals, though the game ended happily with a 5-2 win.

"The final game was a tougher game. The other team scored 20 seconds into the game to open it up, so we came from behind, took the lead and never looked back," McIvor said.

McIvor called his team a "special group" as they went 7-1 in placement play and moved up two flights to Flight 5 playing against teams in the second and third tiers. There still could be some greater heights to achieve.

"We are currently, if you take our placement, tournament play and league play, 17 wins and one loss," he said. "If we play really well and continue, we could potentially move up to an even higher division, but we take one game at a time."

Discover Sliding programs start up at WSC

If you've always wanted to try out a sliding sport, the Whistler Sliding Centre has a new program to help with just that.

The Discover Sliding initiative has gotten underway as the venue partnered up with B.C. Luge and the B.C. Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association to bring the concept to life. As part of the Discover program, first-timers to the sport receive instruction from professional coaches to get a safe first taste of the sports.

Discover Luge is offered to those aged eight to 17, though parents may sign up to take part alongside their children. The program is $50 at regular price or $40 for full-time B.C. residents.

Discover Skeleton is offered for anyone 14 and older, costing $100 at regular price or $75 for B.C. residents, and anyone 16 and up can participate in Discover Bobsleigh at a cost of $150 at regular price or $100 for B.C. residents.

Each program is offered at select dates and times. For more information, visit www.whistlersportlegacies.com/sportprograms.

Pemberton skier's program saved

Pemberton skier Charley Field got some good news late last week.

As featured in Pique on Nov. 10, her program at the University of Alaska Anchorage was in peril of being cut because of slashed budgets to the state university program.

However, university president Jim Johnsen opted to look in a different direction to try to save the school some money. He made the decision after the NCAA said they would not grant a waiver to offer fewer than 10 teams, which is the minimum for Division II schools.

The indoor track and field teams were also spared as part of the decision.

Proponents of the ski program worked to gather over 5,000 signatures in support of the teams and according to the Alaska Dispatch News, the board of regents was receiving an email asking them to save the program every two minutes.

"So much relief,'' Field told the Alaska Dispatch News. "Finally, you could take a deep breath.''

Johnsen told the paper that athletic-program supporters will be counted on to help with fundraising now that the programs have been saved.

Lake Louise men's races cancelled

Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA) announced some unfortunate news on Nov. 16. The men's downhill and super-G events, which were scheduled for Nov. 26 and 27, respectively, were cancelled because of low snow conditions in Lake Louise, Alta.

According to an ACA release, the bottom portion of the course needed some colder temperatures to maintain snow, but they never ended up coming through. Volunteers tried to create enough snow for the race to happen, but the temperatures stayed above zero degrees Celsius and wreaked havoc on the conditions.

It's the first time in 29 years that the race was cancelled at the snow control stage.

There is still hope of allowing the women to compete the following weekend, Dec. 3 and 4.

In FIS action this past weekend, Marie-Michele Gagnon and Erin Mielzynski were 17th and 23rd, respectively, in the women's slalom in Levi, Finland while Valerie Grenier and Laurence St-Germain failed to make the finals. In men's action, none of Phil Brown, Trevor Philp and Erik Read qualified for a second run.

Sigge's P'ayak adds mini option

Some small changes are coming to the Sigge's P'ayakentsut this winter.

Organizers have consolidated the weekend's events into a single day — Saturday, Feb. 25 — at Whistler Olympic Park.

As well, they've expanded the offering of kids' events. In previous years, the shortest distance was 15 kilometres, but this time around, the five-km P'ayak Mini will be offered for kids aged five to 12.

Event chair Dirk Rohde said the existing courses were too much to ask of children.

"We've had a lot of requests in the past for the kids to be involved in the loppet as well, but the distances weren't geared toward the kids," he said. "We did have some of the 10-, 11-, 12-year-olds skiing the 15-kilometre course, but that's just not geared towards them, so we decided to come up with the P'ayak mini."

The weekend coincides with the B.C. Midget Championships in Kelowna, and Rohde expects to lose some skiers to that conflict, but hopes bringing in some younger blood will help to offset that decline.

Registration is $10 until Jan. 31 and $25 afterwards. All participants will receive a cookie medal at the finish line.

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