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Article from Gateway Gazette: 2016 Canadian Sledge Hockey Champions Present Winning Banner

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum are the proud recipients of the Canadian Sledge Hockey Championship banner presented to them by Alberta Sledge Hockey on October 25, 2016.

Team Alberta went undefeated during the tournament where they faced off against, Quebec, Ontario and BC before facing Ontario once again in the gold medal match. Winning the game 3-1 Alberta came out on top and with the gold.

Head Coach Steve Arsenault was exceptionally proud of his players. "When we started this journey in October I think it was a shock because we went from not having a high-performance program for sledge hockey in this province to demanding one right off the bat. They played exceptionally well. I couldn't ask for a better result."

Tanner Fandrey, a member of Team Alberta spoke about the reaction of his coaches after that gold medal game. "Even the best players in the world are still excited to see those grassroot wins, I think that was the most awesome part of the game was to see those guys, so excited about winning the first ever National Championships."

Fandrey was present at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to represent the players while presenting the banner to Managing Director Donna Hateley.

Article from ASC - Excellence in Sport ENews: Element Selection2016 Celebration of Sport Luncheon in Calgary

On Thursday, October 13, Sport Calgary hosted the 2016 Celebration of Sport Luncheon and along with the Government of Alberta, Alberta Sport Connection and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, the Alberta athletes, coaches and mission staff who represented Canada in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games were honoured in a special celebration.

The event was emceed by former Olympic Gold Medal speed skating champion, Catriona Le May Doan and attended by Lieutenant Governor, Lois Mitchell, Federal Minister of Sport and Persons with Disability, Carla Qualtrough, Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism and Naheed Nenshi, Mayor Calgary, all of whom congratulated our Alberta athletes on their achievements at the Games and thanked them for representing Canada and Alberta.

The Luncheon also featured a panel discussion on Sport with Scott Russell, CBC; Carla Qualtrough, Federal Minister of Sport and Persons with Disability; Jim Peplinski, Former Calgary Flame; and Ian Allison, Marketing Director, Spruce Meadows.

Alberta is home to, and trains, some of the best athletes in Canada. ASC is proud to have them represent us on the world stage and to support them through our sport system. Through Podium Alberta, ASC provided more than $850,000 to support more than 200 Alberta-based athletes pursue athletic excellence at the highest levels of national and international competition while fulfilling their educational goals. For more information please see: Podium Alberta.

Article from Calgary Sun: Nenshi proclaims October 3 Olympian and Paralympian Salute Day

Calgary athletes were honoured at city hall on Monday, with the mayor proclaiming Oct. 3, 2016 as Olympian and Paralympian Salute Day.

Athletes, coaches and trainers who represented Canada at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio received a standing ovation in council chambers at the start of Monday morning's meeting.

"What a summer. Our Olympians and Paralympians gave Calgarians so many reasons to be so incredibly proud this year and always," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"Your performances in Rio made us all proud to be Canadians."

Canadian athletes won 22 medals at the Olympics and another 29 at the Paralympics, and Nenshi said Calgary-based athletes won four Olympic and three Paralympic medals in Rio.

"We are of course in this city extremely proud of our own Olympic legacy. We're even more proud of the role that our city plays in Canada's Olympic movement as a centre of sport in this country," he said.

Nenshi is a self-proclaimed "big sporting fan" who spent time in Rio this summer cheering on athletes and talking about a potential Calgary Winter Games in 2026.

He spoke to council Monday about one of his fondest Rio moments — standing by himself, in an empty section, waving a small Canadian flag and watching Erica Wiebe win gold in wrestling.

"I spent the entire day watching the women's wrestling. I now have a new favourite summer sport," he said.

Article from E-Volution: Honour long overdue for Kelly

Considering he's already in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, it certainly seemed logical that Graham Kelly would have a spot of honour in the place he's called home for 48 years.

The longtime columnist here at the News and former city alderman got his due, added to the Medicine Hat Sports Wall of Fame Wednesday night at the Family Leisure Centre.

"It's about time," remarked emcee and current council member Les Pearson, summing up the feelings of the few dozen attendees.

Kelly's work as a CFL historian through the seven books he's written on the league were instrumental in his nomination for that shrine. His 44 years writing a weekly column at the News was key for the provincial honour. But as the 73-year-old stood at the podium in a building he had a hand in creating, accepting not one but two standing ovations, it was made clear his work in the Gas City's sports scene goes far beyond being a writer.

"This is the biggest," said Lee Little, who nominated Kelly. "As a community volunteer and working with the football association, it's a football person talking to a football person. Graham allows us to bridge the football to politics talk, and when we talk to him, he gets it."

As kids played football at the adjacent Methanex Bowl, others skated or swam or worked out elsewhere in the leisure centre. All owe some gratitude to Kelly, who in 30 years on city council had a hand in all of it and more.

"You cannot drive anywhere in this city and not see a project he was not involved in," noted Mayor Ted Clugston, adding that the city is better for having him.

Kelly, born mere blocks from where the Saskatchewan Roughriders play, moved to Medicine Hat with wife Lorena in 1968. The one-time waterboy for the Riders transitioned into writing and initially was denied a chance to be a columnist. But he persisted, and thanked his wife and family in attendance for supporting his passion over the years.

"Lorena did so much to facilitate my career," he said. "When I was in the press box she was in the stands with my sons (David and Rob)."

One time Lorena was even in the press box herself, called into duty when Graham was in Hamilton at a university conference in 1965 while the Tiger-Cats headed to Regina for a regular season game.

At the time he was writing for United Press International. He asked her to fill in.

"Lorena was the first woman in a press box in the CFL," Graham said to a round of applause Wednesday.

"Now most of the reporters are women."

Times do change, but Kelly's spot as a columnist has remained. He's been to 42 Grey Cup games, seen the city's population nearly triple, and was acutely aware of the special place this honour holds in his heart.

"To be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame (in June) was certainly special and a highlight of my life, but most of the people in Red Deer that night never heard of me, don't know me," said Kelly. "It was very special to be honoured by people in Medicine Hat who think I'm worthy of being honoured, many of whom I've worked with over the years. It's a special thing."

Among the attendees was fellow Sports Wall of Fame member Lovell McDonnell and many who Kelly recognized as former students of his. Quinn Skelton, now coach of Hat High's Mohawks football program, said Graham was "the same type of teacher as you'd expect him to be now. Straightforward historian, a great guy to listen to in class.

"He was involved back in the early days of Rangeland football, he's always been a positive supporter with our minor football both on and off the field. A great role model and a positive public figure to look up to here in Medicine Hat."

Article from Edmonton Sun: Dinner with family of swimming greats showed importance of personal best performances

The only thing — well, the biggest thing — missing from Canada's remarkable run of medal and near-medal Olympic performances at Rio is some legitimate recognition that, finally, we are maturing as a sports nation.

For the first time in this old media wretch's long memory, we have begun to accept that the only way to build long-term success in any endeavour is to seek and achieve consistency.

Which means, to me, that an individual's personal best — which this nation has a long history of overlooking or pooh-poohing — may be as important, long-term, as any individual visit to a post-event celebration on the podium.

For years, it was common for media and fans to denigrate athletes who wore national colours, including the flag, but failed to get past the early stages of competition. To miss in the heats or fail in a quarter- or semifinal was to be labelled a serious failure. We aren't doing that any more.

True sports fans owe a debt of thanks to the enlightened builders and observers who have led the way in the great steps towards serious recognition of progress at a high level.

Several times in the last 10 days, a long-ago meal at the home of the late Don and Gwen Smith and their eight kids has been brought to happy memory. In case you didn't know, Edmonton's downtown pool is named in Don's honour and Gwen, once named top athlete at the University of Toronto, includes membership in Alberta's Sports Hall of Fame among her numerous accolades.

Of the Smith kids, George, Graham, Sandra, Susan and Becky all swam for Canada.

During the relaxed meal, one of the daughters mentioned winning a medal or two at a significant event. Plenty of detail was requested by proud family members, nothing more or less than the praise every winner expects.

But the lesson that stuck with me came moments later: either Graham or George mentioned achieving his personal best. He seemed apologetic that he did not win, but the other family members took the briefest of moments to quell his self-doubt.

Don, an outstanding coach during his time at the University of Alberta, explained to this curious reporter that the impossible quest of every athlete is to seek personal perfection.

Ever since that dinner, I have agreed with his assessment.

As a result, the sheer joy of Penny Oleksiak's medals and the triumphs and near-triumphs of Canadians at all levels of every event is made even greater because a large number of Canadian athletes may be on the cusp of wonderful things to come.

All these personal bests tell that wonderful story.

Article from Lethbridge Herald: Steacy wins bronze at Rio Olympics

Ashley Steacy is an Olympic bronze medallist.

Steacy, the LCI grad and former University of Lethbridge Pronghorns rugby star, was part of Canada's rugby sevens team which defeated Great Britain 33-10 on Monday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro.

With many family members and friends in the crowd, Steacy wept as the final buzzer sounded on the bronze-medal match. The commitment to Rugby Canada pulled Steacy away from her life in Lethbridge, but it all came to a thrilling, emotional finish for the Canadian women and their incipient Olympic sport.

Steacy competed with another former Pronghorn in Kayla Moleschi, who arrived after Steacy left the program. She's become a star in sevens rugby with her standout play internationally in the Rugby Sevens Series and become a spokesman for the sport thanks to her ability on the field, but also her shinning personality off the field.

"Patzer, I mean, she's not just an incredible player," said former Pronghorns head coach Neil Langevin, who still occasionally calls Steacy by her maiden name. "She has transformed the whole sport by being a great ambassador, a great role model for the game and the kind of athlete you want to be."

Langevin coached Steacy — as Patzer — to three Canadian University championships. He also coached Moleschi to a Canada West conference title after that. Steacy's arrival to the program saw them become a powerhouse and they attracted more star players. All the while, led by the Lethbridge product with no ego and a Ram tough presence on the field.

"I've known a lot of high-level athletes and the one thing they all have in common, to a degree, is selfishness," said Lethbridge Rugby Club president Rory McKeown. "But Ashley, for whatever reason, has none of that."

Steacy has also represented Canada in rugby 15s, and was a stalwart of the Lethbridge Rugby Club before national duty called. She spent last season recovering from a knee surgery which saw an artificial ligament made from woven kevlar installed in her knee.

McKeown said he watched the game with his parents, and took nothing for granted until Canada scored its final try and he could celebrate Steacy's win.

"It is certainly quite a feeling to say not only do I know an Olympian, but I know an Olympic medallist," he said.

Langevin said Moleschi may have been Canada's best player, by his estimation, in the tournament. A smart and tough runner, Moleschi can also tackle well and is adept at the little things. Langevin said that may be because while Patzer was out with a knee injury, Moleschi had to fill many of her roles.

"While Ashley was out, they asked Kayla to do a lot of the things they relied on Ashley to do, and it made her a much better player for it," he said. "I think it showed, during the tournament, and she was very good for Canada."

The University of Lethbridge's athletic department staff gathered in The Zoo at the U of L for the morning's 17-5 semifinal loss to eventual gold medallist Australia. Another group of fans gathered in the university's fitness centre to watch the bronze-medal game and afterward, the outpouring of congratulations on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter from friends and former teammates of Steacy's seemed endless.

Steacy is Lethbridge's first Olympic medallist since Bob Kasting, also an LCI graduate, won bronze in the men's 4×100 medley relay at Munich in 1972.