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Article from Calgary Sun: Neumann continues as Dinos' key supporter
http://calgarysun.com/sports/football/neumann-continues-as-dinos-key-supporter

There may be no bigger booster of the University of Calgary Dinos football program than one Jack Neumann.

As the school’s Sports Information Director between 1978-2007 and director of alumni until 2012, Neumann has always bled the Dinos’ red and gold. Now he’s going to make sure those colours will be synonymous with Dinos football for years to come.

On Wednesday, Neumann was feted by the university for his unique and significant living and legacy commitment to the program, with his donation coming in the form of jerseys for the team.

“I’m a traditionalist as everyone knows,” Neumann began. “You don’t see the New York Yankees or the Los Angeles Dodgers changing their colours. I wanted to leave a legacy gift that was something unique. Every team needs jerseys, as long as they’re scarlet and gold, as long as there’s no black in it. I just wanted to leave a little gift so I set up the endowment.”

Neumann, who has been awarded Order of the University of Calgary and is in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, didn’t want to go public with his generosity but hoped that by doing so it would spur other individuals to do likewise for other Dinos athletics programs.

“We’re all admirers of Jack — I can’t get that much press out at anything I do,” said university president

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon of a strong throng of media members attending the news conference. “He is relentless in promoting our Dinos — in fact, I think he’s our biggest booster. Jack was really seen as a leader in sports information, had leadership roles in that community and as someone who elevated the profession.

“We rely on people like Jack to invest their time and their energy and their passion, day-in and day-out, to say how great the University of Calgary truly is. Jack wears it on his sleeve, wears it on his heart …”

As the Dinos prepare for their 10th consecutive Hardy Cup game on Saturday afternoon against UBC, Neumann was asked how cool it would be to see the team win a Vanier Cup in those jerseys.

“Pretty darn special,” Neumann said with a grin. “We were so close last year in them, but those factors are beyond my control.”

Banner raised in honour of a great coach Clare Drake at the U of A Clare Drake arena. 

Clare's motto is a sign of who the man is and of his successes.  "It is amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit."

ClareDrakeBanner UofA Nov2017web

 

Synchro Canada article: Leslie Sproule named Synchro Canada's NextGen Technical Director and Head Coach
http://mailchi.mp/synchro/leslie-sproule-named-nextgen-technical-director-901533?e=0a173bafc9

Synchro Canada is pleased to announce and welcome Leslie Sproule to the Synchro Canada National Office team, as the Next Gen Technical Director and Head Coach.

Reporting to the Chief Sport Officer (CSO), Leslie will be responsible for the leadership and management of Synchro Canada’s NextGen High Performance Programs (Senior, Junior, 13-15). Engaging key stakeholders, including PTSO partners and clubs, as well as Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) staff across the country to plan and implement appropriate sport science, sport medicine and innovation support around our targeted athletes, Leslie will develop Canada’s short term and long term technical vision targeting a podium finish at the 2024 Olympics.

Leslie is a Chartered Professional Coach, certified at NCCP Level 4, who brings over 35 years of technical program development and coaching experience in the sport of synchronized (artistic) swimming to Synchro Canada's national operations. Her appearances as a coach include three Olympic Games and numerous World, Pan Am and major FINA events. Most recently, she shepherded Canada’s senior national team at the 2017 FINA World Championships.  

Leslie previously held positions at Synchro Canada as High Performance Director (2002-2004) and served in National Team Head Coach and Assistant Coach roles for fourteen years at the Junior, NextGen and Senior A team levels.

This is a one-year contract position (subject to renewal) that has been made possible through the NextGen funding support of the Canadian Olympic Committee and Sport Canada through its high performance partner, Own the Podium.

Leslie will commence her new role this week from her home office in Calgary.

 

On Nov. 13, Clare Drake will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. To celebrate, the U of A is holding a special banner-raising ceremony this Saturday, November 11 before the Golden Bears take on the Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Banner Raising Ceremony
Date:
 Nov. 11
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Clare Drake Arena
Tickets: https://www.ualberta.ca/clare-drake#buy-tickets

Hockey Hall of Fame Induction
Date: Nov 13
https://www.hhof.com/htmlInduct/ind17Drake.shtml

Drake has been inducted into the 2017 Class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category, along with fellow 2017 inductees Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi, Danielle Goyette, and fellow builder Jeremy Jacobs.

It's amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. 
- Drake’s favourite motto

Some great videos to watch about Clare Drake:

While we remember all those brave men and women who went to war to fight for our freedom this Remembrance Day, we at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum would like to highlight a few of our Honoured Members who gave back to Canada in a different way during the war; through the development and success of their sport.

Many aspects of everyday life during the war required women to fill roles that were traditionally filled by men. Sports were no different. Some women were given the opportunity to play professional level sports - such as the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - while the wars raged overseas. The military even created its own sports teams to fill the gap left by a lack of pro teams, such as the Army & Navy Pats and the Army and Navy Starlets.

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to display many of our veteran Hall of Fame members in the museum and Hall of Fame Gallery.  Stop by to see the full exhibit or check out a sneak peak on our website: http://ashfm.ca/2-uncategorised/251-remembrance-day 

100 Year Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele

"The Battle of Passchendale, which occurred from late October to mid-November 1917, is considered an impressive victory for Canada, but one that came at a high price with more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers killed, and almost 12,000 wounded. The outcome of the battle, won despite almost impossible odds, cemented Canada’s reputation as an elite offensive fighting force, with nine Canadian soldiers earning the Victoria Cross."

Canadian Army well-represented at the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2017/11/canadian_army_well-representedatthe100thanniversaryofthebattleof.html

One of the many activities includes the Poppies Run. This run includes a five-kilometre stretch dedicated to Alberta Sports Hall of Fame member Alex Decoteau who fought and died at the Battle of Passchendaele.
ASHFM Biography - http://ashfm.ca/component/k2/decoteau-alex
ASHFM Vignette - https://youtu.be/tWXzHSrUjvE

DecoteauAlex

Article from CBC Sports: Jeremy Wotherspoon: 100 days — good for hype, bad for athletes
By Jeremy Wotherspoon, November 2, 2017
http://www.cbc.ca/playersvoice/entry/jeremy-wotherspoon-100-days-good-for-hype-bad-for-athletes

Hundred days, that is how close we are to the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Korea.

It is an arbitrary number, but if I really want to attribute importance to “100 days to go,” here’s what this time of year means for me: the beginning of November marks the end of my fly-fishing season.  Throughout my career, I was more interested in fishing than skating during the summer months.

I would do all of the training sessions, but as soon as I was done, I would be thinking about how quickly I could get out to the river, what stretch of river would be best, what flies to use. For most of my career, 100 days out from the Olympics also used to be the time when we would start doing our first races of the season, so the shift in focus from fishing happened pretty naturally.

But most importantly (except for the loss of fishing), 100 days out from the Olympics marks my birthday, and the skaters training in Calgary used to organize a Halloween party, the last time that we would “change gears” until after the Olympics. I can remember doing my first race of the season on my birthday, then going to the Halloween party that night, and then going fishing the next morning. Hundred days out never occurred to me at all while I was skating — I am not saying that this is a bad thing. Marking 100 days from the Olympics serves to remind the public that the winter sport competitive season is beginning.

It focusses interest on the great athletes who will be competing for Canada on the world stage. It also reminds administrators about their preparations for the Olympics, and whether they are on course to have things ready for the athletes so they can focus solely on their day-to-day preparations.

 

Problem at Torino Olympics

So the 100-day mark is a useful milestone, just not for the athletes. To be at their best, athletes need to focus on doing high-quality work every day at training. They need to dial in to what they are doing right now.  The final goal is motivation, it is wild self-belief, it is emotional energy that convinces us to get up and train every day. This is a big challenge, because the Olympic goal dwarfs the sometimes imperceptible day-to-day improvements that are necessary to get there.

This was my problem in the lead-up to Torino in 2006. I was the least content with my training and my skating, and  I was the most conscious of the countdown to the Olympics. Day in and day out there was always something that wasn’t good enough for me. I ignored the day-to-day gains, and when things did go well, I didn’t know why, so I racked my brain trying to repeat it.

My energy was waning. The countdown was like the tick of a clock, not knowing how I would handle the moment when the ticking stopped. “Hundred days to go” brought panic, adrenaline, and a feeling like I was about to give a speech without any preparation. During my racing years, the 500-race was my best event. Ever since Lillehammer in 1994, each Olympic 500 skater did two races, one starting in the inner lane, the other in the outer lane.

The competitor with the lowest combined times won (the Olympics in Pyeongchang, by the way, will be the first time since 1994 that speed skaters will compete in just one 500 race). In Salt Lake City in 2002, I fell in the first steps of the first 500.

I came back the next day and won the second race, but I still finished last, because I didn’t complete the first 500. I was unranked, but I was first of the unranked (and that is a joke that nobody but me finds funny). I may not have an Olympic medal from Salt Lake City, but I still came back after a fall, knowing my chance was gone, and prepared myself to step up to the line with the intention to skate my best again.

Reflecting on my career now, Torino is my biggest regret. In the 2006 Olympic 500 race, I just had an “okay” first race — not terrible, but not great. I still had another race to do, and if I could have just skated another “okay” race, I had a chance for the podium. The problem was the podium wasn’t good enough for me. I had to win the Olympics, to redeem myself and prove myself to the critics after 2002.  This was the only acceptable outcome for me, and this lack of perspective crippled me.

After my first 500, I don’t remember any of the usual things that people do after races; getting off the ice, going to the change room, debriefing myself, and planning for the next one. I remember leaving my skates in the change room and walking outside of the building. I walked to an area where a lot of fences and building materials were stored, around a corner where no one would be able to see me.

I paced back and forth, so angry that it felt like the frontal lobe of my brain was going to burn through my forehead. I was crushed by the realization that winning wasn’t possible anymore. I was furious because I was unable to settle. Winning was more than the goal, it had become a necessity.

 

A podium finish was a compromise that I hadn’t prepared myself for. When I went back in and started getting ready for the second race, my deep competitive drive felt disconnected from what I was doing. I didn’t warm up enough or properly. I went through the motions.

When I put my skates on and got back on the ice, I felt stunned, uncomfortable. I skated around in the warm-up lane and I got a cramp in my foot, which had literally never happened to me in my life.

I had to quickly take my skate off and stretch my foot, and when I got back on the ice it was time to race. I felt like I wasn’t me, that I did not “fit” properly in my skates, in this place. I couldn’t see past having been beat — everything other than winning felt like failure.

I did not reflect on this or even identify it as my biggest regret until I became a coach, and saw competition from another perspective. Now I can look back and see my own tunnel vision. When Olympic gold was the ONLY acceptable outcome, it led, in the end, to a much worse final result.

 

Coaching perspective

I want to help athletes keep things in perspective. To prepare them to deal with situations as they come and to not get stuck like I did, weighed down by internal pressure and artificial constraints. I would never tell one of my athletes that it is 100 days out from the Olympics. Is this the correct approach?  As an athlete, I don’t have the best Olympic record, but I am always learning and my ideas and opinions are not static.

Other athletes may respond to 100 days out differently. Some may see a milestone reminder to stay on task and be at their best. But my reasoning for not focusing on deadlines is based on my coaching philosophy. Deadlines take away from today, and the daily steps that lead to good performances at the Olympics. Preparing for the Olympics is the same as the preparation for every season. We do our best work every day to improve our skating skills, to get more specifically fit, and to stay as healthy as possible in the process. Take very small steps, with small expectations, and be satisfied with any step in the right direction.  If you are doing your best work every day, why would you need a wake-up call? 

I don’t think I would be a very good coach if I said: “suddenly this is important!” I can’t plan someone’s rate of improvement, so I don’t impose deadlines on anyone. I have ideas and outlines of where I want an athlete to get, but these are not direct expectations. We follow the course, and every day is an opportunity to get a little better, and we hold onto the little golden steps when they happen.

I don’t want athletes to focus on what they have to do in 100 days, I want them to focus on what they are doing right now.