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ACAC Men’s Volleyball Awards Presented At RDC


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The 2016-2017 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men’s Volleyball Championship is set to get underway on Thursday in the Red Deer College Main Gym. The top 8 ACAC Men’s Volleyball teams will compete for an opportunity to be named conference champions.

Wednesday, these talented student-athletes and coaches gathered in the RDC Arts Centre to recognize and celebrate the 2016-2017 ACAC Men’s Volleyball award winners. The ACAC consistently produces elite athletes and coaches that excel on a provincial and national level.

ACAC North Coach of the Year and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Coach of the Year Nominee, Phil Dixon from The King’s University, was caught off guard by his award and nomination and is anticipating an exciting championship.

“It was quite surprising. There are a bunch of great coaches in the north and south” said Dixon. “The CCAA nomination came as a bigger surprise. I’m thankful for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to this week with the guys. There’s going to be some great competition. I’m really looking forward to it.”

ACAC South Coach of the Year, Sean McKay from SAIT, humbly accepted his award amongst a talented pool of coaches.

“There are a ton of great coaches in the south. As a first year coach, it is quite the honour,” said McKay. “I was blessed with a good group of guys, and they make me look good every Friday and Saturday.”

ACAC Men’s Volleyball Player of the Year, ACAC Men’s Volleyball All-Conference South team selection and CCAA All-Canadian Nominee, Isak Helland-Hansen from Medicine Hat College, credited his team for his awards and nomination.

“It has been a great season for our team and it’s really nice to be recognized when you do well. I don’t necessarily take these awards as an individual,” said Helland-Hansen. “I like to recognize my team and it’s a team effort. You can have a bad game and still be successful and I have my team to thank.”

Diane St-Denis, RDC Athletic Director, is grateful for the opportunity to host the ACAC championship and aims to host events at a national level in the near future. “Hosting the Men’s Volleyball Championship gives RDC the opportunity to highlight top student-athletes from across the ACAC,” she said.

And, looking to the fall of 2018, St-Denis highlights how RDC Athletics will “begin using the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, and our teams will begin training and competing in this state-of-theart facility. We’re excited for the opportunities this will bring, and we’re currently putting the final touches on a bid proposal to host the 2019 CCAA Championships.”

In the immediate future, competition at the ACAC Men’s Volleyball Championship will begin on Thursday in the Red Deer College Main Gym at 1:00 p.m. For a complete schedule of games and results throughout the weekend, visit

2016-17 ACAC Men’s Volleyball Award Winners, presented February 22 at RDC

  • Coach of the Year, North Division – Phil Dixon, The King’s University
  • Coach of the Year, South Division – Sean McKay, SAIT
  • Player of the Year – Isak Helland-Hansen, Medicine Hat College
  • Rookie of the Year, North Division – Jakub Zdybek, Keyano College
  • Rookie of the Year, South Division – Bryan Fountain, Briercrest College
  • CCAA All Canadian Nominee – Isak Helland-Hansen, Medicine Hat College
  • CCAA All Canadian Nominee – Tristan Simmonds, Grande Prairie Regional College
  • CCAA Coach of the Year Nominee – Phil Dixon, The King’s University

North All-Conference Team

  • Kristofer Ames – The King’s University
  • Justin Delorme – Keyano College
  • Blazej Pellowski – Keyano College
  • Lucas Robertson – Grande Prairie Regional College
  • Alex Sabourin – Keyano College
  • Tristan Simmonds – Grande Prairie Regional College
  • Brendan Vanderlinde – The King’s University
  • Lyndon Varga – University of Alberta, Augustana
  • Levi Wolthuis – The King’s University
  • Jakub Zdybek – Keyano College

South All-Conference Team

  • Luke Brisbane – Red Deer College
  • Brodie Dolter – Medicine Hat College
  • Regan Fathers – Red Deer College
  • Isak Helland-Hansen – Medicine Hat College
  • Ty Moorman – Red Deer College
  • Trent Mounter – SAIT
  • Jackson Oborne – SAIT
  • Cole Sanderson – Medicine Hat College
  • Michael Sumner – Red Deer College
  • Dax Whitehead – Lethbridge College

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“A Really Special Place” – Why the Wild Rose Motocross Track is One of a Kind

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This summer, as you wander between the breweries and activity centers located in southeast Calgary, pause for a moment – if you listen closely, you may hear the distant rumble of motocross engines as bikes of all sizes careen over jumps and around corners at the Wild Rose Motocross Track.

Located just off Blackfoot Trail in Southeast Calgary, the 88-acre park is backed by the Calgary skyline, a prime piece of land located just minutes from downtown. Founded in the 1960’s as the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, the track has deep roots in the city of Calgary, and according to WRMA board member David Pinkman, “Few sagas can compete with the wild west history of Calgary’s Wild Rose Motocross Association and its hard-core motocross lovers.” 

Photo Credit Eden Schell 

In 1984, The Wild Rose Motocross Association (WRMA) was officially formed, and the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park became the Wild Rose. Acting as a major host for a number of national motocross events since the 70’s and nurturing some of Canada’s best professional riders to date, Pinkman argues the “course of Canadian motocross history may not have been the same but for this unique piece of dirt and hills.”

With 7 tracks available including the full-sized Main, East and Hill Tracks, as well as the Extreme Beginner, Mini, Pee Wee, and Enduro Tracks, Wild Rose welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels. “This is the only track of its kind in Canada,” says Michelle McCarthy, newest member of the WRMA board, “It’s right in the centre of the city; it’s got 3 big bike tracks, the smaller tracks and the enduro park. This is a really special place.”
Whether it be your first time on a bike or the day you’re finally going to clear that 15-foot tabletop, the track encourages everyone to come out and ride. “People want to see new riders,” says McCarthy, “they want to see the community flourish. Plus, dirt biking is really, really fun,” she laughs.  

Photo Credit Eden Schell 

Like countless other Canadian businesses, the Wild Rose Track has taken a hit due to COVID-19, with day pass riders and memberships being significantly down. Open year round – weather permitting – the track normally sees up to 30,000 visits per year. However, due to the pandemic, numbers are currently far lower as the park operates within capacity limits. 

As a recreational park on city property, track management wanted to set an example for taking action to reduce the spread of COVID-19, responding rapidly to Alberta Government guidelines by implementing a number of new precautions and preventative measures. This includes constructing wash stations at every track, implementing paperless transactions and COVID-19 symptom screening upon entry to the park, as well as establishing an online scheduling system to limit the number of riders at the track at one time.  

In the midst of the new normal, the park remains committed to growing and supporting the motocross community in Calgary and beyond, staying on top of updates that will allow them to return to racing and regular operation as soon as possible. While all spring and summer race series have been cancelled by COVID-19, the WRMA is actively monitoring pandemic updates with the goal of hosting a successful race series this coming fall. 

To learn more about the Wild Rose Motocross Association, visit


For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

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Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path

Everywhere there is gloom. Well, almost everywhere.

A welcome exception is the 15-team Alberta Junior Hockey League, which lost much of its gate revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic arrival at playoff time, and now waits for permission from Hockey Canada and Alberta Health Services to go ahead with its 2000-2001 season.

President Ryan Bartoshyk confirmed on Monday that his league is “in the process of drawing up our schedule right now. We’re aiming (to have teams on the ice) by Sept. 1 and we hope to get the season started by Sept. 18.” Any and all final decisions must meet with at least two levels of official approval, of course, but operators have expressed their confidence by agreeing to put in the work, recognizing that later starts (or no start) are still possibilities.

To an outsider, the clearest declaration of league independence is this: the schedule, with various possible opening dates pencilled in, is being drawn up for all 15 teams. This is most impressive when it is known that several franchises – no names provided by president Bartoshyk or any team spokesman – have expressed serious concern about the cost of business in the coming season.

We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Not included are the Blackfalds Bulldogs, who will replace the former Calgary Mustangs at the start of the 2021/2002 season. Bartoshyk was pleased to say “work on the new arena for Blackfalds is due to start this month.”

Among the established teams reported to have mentioned their problems outside of league meetings are the Canmore Eagles, but the team’s two captains and a pair of assistants have already been named for the coming season. At least a couple of promising signings have also been announced. As a result, pessimism has shrunk a great deal.

Also optimistic about the coming season are the Olds Grizzlys, whose attendance averaged well over 1,500 a game when they dominated Junior A ranks several years ago but dropped to about 600 a game last year. “This is a great sports community, a great place to be,” said club governor and vice-president executive Trent Wilhauk. “We know the fans will come back; they love their Grizzlys.”

Population of the community is slightly more than 10,000. “It’s a happening place when the team is going good.”

After wiping out last year’s playoffs and destroying some of the regular post-season increases at the gate, COVID-19 has continued to harm the AJHL, just as it has damaged so many other areas of the economy. “We have lost at least one league camp for tryouts,” said a spokesman. “We know we’re going to lose more.”

Those financial setbacks may have been dwarfed by the loss of some appealing playoff matchups. “Some of the teams that drew above-average numbers for us (Okotoks Oilers, Brooks Bandits, Sherwood Park Crusaders) didn’t have a playoff game before we had to stop,” Bartoshyk said. “They all had byes in the first round.”

Other teams with relative season-long success at the gate also missed money-raising opportunities. “It’s obvious that our league relies on corporate sponsorship and support at the gate,” Bartoshyk added, mentioning a handful of promising pending post-season clashes — Drayton Valley and Sherwood Park, the Whitehorse Wolverines and the Spruce Grove Saints, Camrose Kodiaks and Drumheller Dragons – that could not take place.

At this point, the day’s general feeling that the AJHL future remains bright surfaced again.

Said Bartoshyk: “We’re ready. We’ll do what is necessary.”

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