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FANS ELECT BRENDL, SUTTER, REINHART, DAVIDSON, HOSSA TO TOP 50 WHL PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

As part of the Western Hockey League’s 50th Season celebrations, a panel of historians selected the top 125 players in WHL history this past September. From this list, WHL fans voted at Top50.whl.ca to select the Top 50 WHL Players of All-Time. This week, the fan and panel voting results revealed the following placements:

  • #45 – Pavel Brendl (Calgary Hitmen)
  • #44 – Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos)
  • #43 – Sam Reinhart (Kootenay ICE)
  • #42 – John Davidson (Calgary Centennials)
  • #41 – Marian Hossa (Portland Winter Hawks)

#44 Brent Sutter (Lethbridge Broncos, 1980-82)

Brent Sutter played for the Lethbridge Broncos from 1980-82. The Broncos developed the legendary Sutter brothers as Brent followed in the footsteps of his older brothers Brian, Darryl and Duane. Brent also got the opportunity to play with his twin brothers, Rich and Ron.

The New York Islanders selected Brent Sutter in the first round, 17th overall, of the 1980 NHL Draft after he tore up the AJHL with the Red Deer Rustlers. He also scored his first WHL goal during a brief five-game stint with the Broncos during that 1979-80 season. In 1980-81, Sutter notched 108 points (54g-54a) in 68 games to finish 15th overall in WHL scoring. The following campaign, Sutter only played 34 contests with the Broncos but still racked up 80 points (46g-34a). The Islanders called up Sutter midway through the season and he never returned to the Broncos. As a 19-year-old, Sutter was already making an impact in the NHL. He finished the regular season as a point-per-game player in 43 games and won his first Stanley Cup.

Over his WHL career, Sutter collected 189 points (101g-88a) in 107 regular season games and tallied 10 points (6g-4a) in nine playoff matches. The Viking, AB product played in the NHL for 17 seasons for the Islanders and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Brent joined his brother, Duane, on the Islanders and was a part of the dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Brent hoisted the Stanley Cup during the last two years of that run in 1982 and 1983. When Sutter retired in 1998, he had accumulated 829 points (363g-466a) in 1111 regular season games and netted 74 playoff points (30g-44a) in 144 appearances. Sutter also captured gold medals for Team Canada at the Canada Cup in 1984, 1987 and 1991 as well as a bronze medal at the 1986 IIHF World Championship.

In 1999, Sutter became the owner of the Red Deer Rebels. The 53-year-old is currently in his second stint as the General Manager and Head Coach of the Rebels. In between, he coached the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames in the NHL. In 2000-01, Sutter was named the CHL and WHL Coach of the Year as well as the WHL Executive of the Year. Sutter also coached Team Canada to back-to-back gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in 2005 and 2006.

Victoria Sports News: Three-time Paralympians Dixon, Woolstencroft join 1981-82 women’s rowing crew as 14th class of inductees for UVic Sports Hall of Fame
http://victoriasportsnews.com/three-time-paralympians-dixon-woolstencroft-join-1981-82-womens-rowing-crew-as-14th-class-of-inductees-for-uvic-sports-hall-of-fame/

"This year will mark the 14th class of the University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, founded in 2002 to honour those individuals who have contributed significantly to sport or recreation at the university as athletes, coaches, a team or as builders. Vikes Athletics and Recreation are pleased to announce a strong class of inductees for 2016 including two three-time Paralympians in swimmer Stephanie Dixon and alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, as well as one of the most decorated group of Vikes women's rowers in the 1981-82 crew."

"Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Lauren Woolstencroft, Alpine Skiing Stephanie Dixon, Swimming 1981-82 Women's Rowing Crew"

"Woolstencroft was born missing her left arm below the elbow as well as both legs below the knees. She earned her electrical engineering degree with distinction at the University of Victoria in 2005, while excelling on the world stage as an alpine skier. A three-time Paralympian (2002, 2006 and 2010), Woolstencroft has set the bar for winter athletes winning an incredible 10 medals – eight gold, one silver and one bronze. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Woolstencroft became the first winter Paralympian to win five gold medals in the same games after she took first in the Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super-G, Downhill Skiing and Super Combined. She was later named flag bearer for the 2010 closing ceremonies in Vancouver.

The Calgary, Alta. native won the prestigious Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award in 2002 which is awarded to one male and one female athlete at every Paralympic Games who best exemplifies the spirit of the Games and inspires and excites the world. In 2007, Woolstencroft was named the Paralympic Sport Awards Best Female Athlete and in the same year was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame. Woolstencroft was nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sport Award in 2011 in the category of World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and is also a founding member of the viaSport Board of Directors. The eight-time Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team Athlete of the Year has also been inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and has a Distinguished Alumna award from UVic and an Honorary Doctor of Law from Trent University."

Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Lauren Woolstencroft, Alpine Skiing Stephanie Dixon, Swimming 1981-82 Women's Rowing Crew

Remembering Bill Page -Kynan Vine  Article from
Article from Everything Cowboy.com

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our friend Bill Page.

For those in the rodeo world Bill is best known for the bull ropes he made. Growing up in the Medicine Hat area, rodeo came naturally to Bill. In the 70's some of the greatest rodeo cowboys in Canada were calling Medicine Hat home and Bill was fortunate enough to hang around them.

After a short career in the arena Bill turned his attention to building bull ropes and the rest was history. Bill has made bull ropes for some of the best bull riders in the world and in certain years built bull ropes for every bull rider and steer rider competing at the CFR. The list of names who have rode with a Bill Page rope, which reads more like bull ridings Hall of Fame, spans from the 70's and includes the Johansen Brothers, Jim Lawrence, Scott Schiffner, Darryl Mills, Cody Snyder, Chad Besplug, Tanner Girletz, Devon Mezei, Billy Jones, Kelly Armstrong, Robert Bowers, Austin Beasley and the list could go on for three pages.

There is no doubt in any bull riders mind that the bull rope is the cornerstone of riding bulls. When you talk to Scott Schiffner he will tell you that there was nothing better than a brand new Bill Page rope to make you feel like you could ride any bull. Bill always stood behind his work and if someone didn't get along with a rope or it didn't last the way they needed it to, Bill would fix it or build them a new rope. For most that started buying ropes from Bill as steer riders the price of the rope never increased from there. Bill was the true picture of a cowboy, his hand shake was his word and he always got the job done.

I was fortunate enough to have known Bill for pretty much my entire life. With my dad as the president of Box Springs Rodeo, a good portion of my childhood was spent out that the rodeo grounds preparing for the rodeo weekend. A small group of volunteers would regularly meet to build fence or repair buildings and Bill and Rosemary were often there to lend a hand. Bill always greeted you with a big smile and a warm hand shake and had the ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room. When I entered my first Box Springs Rodeo as a steer rider is was proud to say I was riding with a Bill Page rope, even if it was a hand me down from my brother. For a kid riding steers back then riding with a Bill Page rope was like owning the latest iPhone today, you just had to have one.

Where I got to spend most of my time with Bill was down at the Medicine Hat Boxing Club. For over 40 years this is where Bill could be found during the week nights and this is where he was truly in his element. For those who haven't had the good fortune of walking down the old wooden stairs into the basement of the Kiwanis club, it is like a scene from every epic boxing movie you have ever watched and for a first time visitor can be quite intimidating. But there was Bill standing in the middle of the room, wearing a smile from ear to ear, to greet you with a handshake and make you feel as though you were coming home.

Bill has had a famed career as a boxing coach which includes coaching many young boxers to provincial, national and even Olympic tournaments with many of Canada's greatest champions coming from the tutelage of Bill. Bill founded the Medicine Hat Boxing in 1976. He was instrumental in developing amateur boxing coaches, athletes, and officials. . Bill Page was the President of Boxing Alberta in 1983, and served on the board for nine years. He was also a member of the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association executive for six years. Bill was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of all his contributions to the sport of boxing in 2005.

Bill wasn't just a coach that would teach you how to throw the perfect jab, although he did do that, he was a mentor and could inspire a young boxer to believe they were a champion in the ring and in life. Bill had his own battles to overcome throughout his life and when he would tell you he ran 10 miles along the river while dealing with his asthma and arthritis it would make you want to be better. Bill didn't just mold people into good boxers, he molded them into good people.

I have never met another person who takes such joy and pride in helping another person find their confidence. Whether it was teaching you a right hook or teaching you how to shake a hand Bill made you believe you could be better and when you walked up the stairs from that old basement you felt like you could take on the world. Bill taught me that how you do anything is how you do everything so always give it your best. There is no doubt that right up till the end Bill gave it his best.

The rodeo and boxing worlds have said goodbye to a legend and you can be sure that those boots are going to be tough to fill. Adios Bill.

Masters Grand Slam of Curling coming to Okotoks
Article from Okotoks Western Wheel

The Okotoks curling community has hit a grand slam.

Okotoks will welcome the top men's and women's teams the roaring game has to offer next year as it was announced as the host of the 2016 Masters Grand Slam of Curling to be held Oct. 25-30 at the Pason Centennial Arena.

"It will bring together the 15 top men's, 15 top women's teams in the world. It will include Canadian, world and Olympic champions," said Ron McLaren, chairman of the Okotoks Curling Club's executive committee. "The Masters is one of the original Grand Slam events. It's considered a very prestigious title in the world of curling and has been won by some of the best teams in the world."

One such past champion was on hand for the announcement, 2003 Masters winner and 2010 Olympic and world champion curler Kevin Martin.

"I really appreciate Okotoks. I've been coming here for many years. It's such a sporting town," said Martin, now a broadcaster with Sportsnet. "The Grand Slam of Curling, it's all about the growth of the game, that's what it is."

Next year will mark a season of unprecedented growth for the Grand Slam series with Okotoks on board as one of the biggest number of tour dates in the circuit's history.

"Last year the Grand Slam of Curling property had five events, this year the Grand Slam property had seven events," Martin added. "Next year, with Okotoks part of it, it will be the biggest curling property in the world with eight events and $2.5 million in prize money.

"That is a large deal in our sport."

The event, co-hosted by the Town of Okotoks and Okotoks Curling Club, has been held in Canada since 2002 yet the 2016 Masters will mark the first time Alberta has hosted the Masters in the history of the Grand Slam.

"It's so exciting for Okotoks to have this opportunity to showcase our community as a first-class sporting destination," said Okotoks Town Councillor Ken Heemeryck. "And to be able to present such a prestigious event on a national scale."

The event will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet as part of the channel's coverage of the Grand Slam of Curling.

"Through social media, internet, press, television coverage provided by Rogers Sportsnet, who own and operate the series, the event will bring great exposure to our area," McLaren added. "We hope to work with local and regional businesses to ensure the event showcases our amazing community and what it has to offer."

In the meantime, the executive committee featuring McLaren, Debbie Miller, Gail Giroux and Susan Lypkie is calling on volunteers to help tackle the challenge of hosting an event with such magnitude in the world of curling.

"The next 13 months is going to be extremely busy," McLaren said. "We are looking for volunteers and business partners to make the 2016 Masters the most successful Grand Slam event ever held."

Those interested in getting involved can email or visit okotokscurling.com and find the Grand Slam volunteer link on the homepage.

A Humble Beginning - Lethbridge Herald Article

A group of university-aged ringette players toil away one-and-a-half times a week for the U of L Pronghorns.  Obscurity would be an upgrade from their current stature, as the University of Lethbridge's ringette team — they compete in a university league, but are not a varsity team.  It's a humble beginning, to be sure.

This is a few years in already and the team has gone from asking players to attend tryouts to cutting players. They've raised a scholarship and they volunteer for the school's Operation Red Nose campaign, which supports Pronghorn varsity athletes.  This week, the team met with university athletics officials who have expressed public support of the squad. That athletic director Ken McInnes attended a game recently was a big win. That they had a meeting scheduled was another.  Are these the humble beginnings of something bigger?

It is a team held together by passion, determination and a little bit of defiance. There's a chip on the shoulder of these women. There's also a love of their sport. A Canadian invention, ringette isn't "hockey with a ring" — it's more like basketball on ice. With sticks. And a ring.  Members of the Pronghorns have adopted and sponsor a Lethbridge Ringette Association team and other players help out with coaching. They're planning a skills camp and they've partnered with the Lethbridge

Members of the Pronghorns have adopted and sponsor a Lethbridge Ringette Association team and other players help out with coaching. They're planning a skills camp and they've partnered with the Lethbridge Sport Council to increase their profile.Players drive themselves to games in Calgary, Edmonton — wherever they can. Trevor Hall drives in once a week from Calgary to help coach. His daughter plays on the team, and he loves the sport.

Players drive themselves to games in Calgary, Edmonton — wherever they can. Trevor Hall drives in once a week from Calgary to help coach. His daughter plays on the team, and he loves the sport.Coach Meryl McKinnon has been here since the start, pouring time, money, heart and soul into the

Coach Meryl McKinnon has been here since the start, pouring time, money, heart and soul into the endeavour. They're fighting for funding, awareness and a shot at becoming a varsity sport.  But while they dream about being a fully funded Pronghorn team, their expectations are realistic.Are these the humble beginnings?  Are these the humble beginnings?

The Pronghorn women's rugby team has won three national championships and beginning this season added a full-time head coach.  McKinnon, a rugby player herself, knows the history of the U of L's rugby team. She knows it started with a group of passionate coaches and players. Those coaches drove the bus, bought the gear and even rented the bus. Those were some humble beginnings, for a three-time, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame team.

Those were some humble beginnings, for a three-time, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame team.

The ringette squad hopes to clear the birth canal one day. Until then, they're still incubating.

"Our girls pay to play," said McKinnon during the team's weekly practice at Nicholas Sheran Arena. They also get an ice time every other week. "And yet we still have girls who are here so that they can play ringette."

The team competes in the University Challenge Cup against teams from across Canadian Inter-University Sport. While none of them are varsity teams, many of the other programs are more-tenured and receive financial support from the school. McKinnon doesn't begrudge them that support."Some of these programs have been around for ages, like the U of A," she said. "They get support from the community, they're in cities with bigger ringette associations or they have more support from the university.

"Some of these programs have been around for ages, like the U of A," she said. "They get support from the community, they're in cities with bigger ringette associations or they have more support from the university."We're still pretty new, even though we're very competitive, we're one of the newer teams."

"We're still pretty new, even though we're very competitive, we're one of the newer teams."These Horns have come a long way in a few years. At first, it was a team which offered a spot for women to play competitive ringette. The city had a recreational women's team in the LRA, but for stronger players, there were no options. Now, the women cut by the U of L team can play on a B team while the U of L women

These Horns have come a long way in a few years. At first, it was a team which offered a spot for women to play competitive ringette. The city had a recreational women's team in the LRA, but for stronger players, there were no options. Now, the women cut by the U of L team can play on a B team while the U of L women act a de facto A team. The C team, for less competitive players, is still active.For the LRA, which McKinnon said has been very supportive, it gives girls playing minor ringette a place to play.

For the LRA, which McKinnon said has been very supportive, it gives girls playing minor ringette a place to play."There weren't a lot of options for girls who came out and still wanted to play after they turned 18," she said. "Especially for the better players. We started out just as a way to get girls playing but this year, we've got a really strong team and we had to cut some girls.

"There weren't a lot of options for girls who came out and still wanted to play after they turned 18," she said. "Especially for the better players. We started out just as a way to get girls playing but this year, we've got a really strong team and we had to cut some girls."It's grown every year."

"It's grown every year." That's the message McKinnon wants to give the university.  As a U of L graduate herself, McKinnon said she's looking for a teaching job locally while also running the team. As long as she can stay in Lethbridge, she'll keep pushing. Giving up isn't an option.  "I don't know what's going to happen, but I think we contribute a lot to the community and the school," she said.

Support comes not just from the players, their parents and the LRA, but proponents like U of L Rec Services program manager Bill Halma. Rugby star Nicole Ronsky also made sure to drop the ringette team into a recent Herald interview.  It all helps.

"We're trying to prove something, not just by winning games," she said. "I mean, these girls go to school, they work. It's not easy but they're great about it. They volunteer their time and I'd love to see if Ken can help us out in any way."

McKinnon said her players respect the Pronghorn logo they wear on their gear. Her expectations? She said she'd love to see the roster on the gohorns.ca website.  That would help with recruitment and sponsorship support. It would give the players a sense of belonging to that Pronghorn community.
It would be a humble beginning.

A humble beginning

‘Welcome home Slats’: Edmonton honours Oilers great Glen Sather

Article from Global News

He coached the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships and by the end of this week he will join the ranks of nine other Oilers greats by having a banner raised in his honour at Rexall Place.

The recognition will be given to Glen Sather before Friday night's Oilers game against the New York Rangers but there is much fanfare leading up to the main event.

Edmonton Oilers release details about Glen Sather ceremony 1984 Championship team reunion; October 8, 2014 Former Oilers reunite in Edmonton to remember 1984 Stanley Cup win The celebration got underway Wednesday, when four former Oilers captains who played during the Sather era shared their memories of 'Slats,' as he's known. Craig MacTavish, Kevin Lowe, Al Hamilton and Kelly Buchberger spoke to the media while in Edmonton for the events later this week. The common theme was how much Sather cared about his players.

"I remember vividly when Don Cherry made disparaging remarks about Randy Gregg and Randy's ability, and Glen forced or made Don Cherry come and apologize to the team in front of everybody at a team lunch," Lowe said.

"With Glen, he always wanted to make our team a family and you're always accountable for yourself... and if you got in trouble you'd have to contact him first but unfortunately sometimes I didn't contact him and I would get scolded and maybe that's why he left me unprotected in the '99 expansion draft and never told me," Buchberger added with a laugh.

On Thursday, a public ceremony was held at the Winspear Centre to honour Sather.

The main event happens Friday night at Rexall Place when Sather will join Al Hamilton, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson and long-time radio broadcaster Rod Phillips who already have banners hanging from the rafters. The ceremony starts at 6:20 p.m., before the puck drops.

Sather was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. He won four Stanley Cups as the Oilers head coach (1984-88) and a fifth in 1990 as the team's president and general manager.

Sather played 10 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars, accumulating 192 points (80 goals, 112 assists). He also appeared in 72 playoff games.

Sather played one season with the Oilers in 1976-77 when the team was part of the World Hockey Association.

With files from The Canadian Press.