By Sheldon Spackman
Make that seven games in a row now without a win for the Red Deer Rebels. This, after falling short 4-3 to the Winterhawks in Portland Friday night.
The first period saw the Rebels get out shot 17-8 but they were only down 1-0 after twenty minutes of play. Portland’s goal coming just :59 seconds into the game from Joachim Blichfeld.
The Rebels however tightened up their play in the second period, with Portland only out shooting them 12-11 but it was their three goals against that did the most damage. Ryan Hughes opened the scoring for the Winterhawks at 1:16 to put Portland up 2-0 but the Rebels Adam Musil got the visitors on the board soon afterwards with a power play goal at the 2:47 mark to make it 2-1 Hawks. Portland then went up 3-1 when Keegan Iverson scored unassisted at 12:24. It was a short lived two goal lead though as Red Deer’s Michael Spacek scored at 13:03 to close Portland’s lead to 3-2. What would prove to be the eventual game-winning goal though came from the Winterhawks Jake Gricius at 14:37 to make it 4-2 Portland after forty minutes.
A penalty-filled third period resulted in the Rebels Jared Freadrich scoring a power play goal at 14:12 to make it 4-3 Hawks but that’s how it would finish.
Portland’s win improves their record to 32-23-1-2 with 67 points and fourth place in the WHL’s U.S. Division. The Rebels drop to 23-27-6-3 with 55 points and third place in the Central Division. Their next chance at finding the win column is Saturday night in Vancouver. The Giants are 18-36-2-3 with 41 points and fifth place in the B.C. Division. They themselves have lost four-straight, so something will have to give for someone tonight.
Face-off is 8:00 pm MST.
“A Really Special Place” – Why the Wild Rose Motocross Track is One of a Kind
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 https://www.wildrosemx.com.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Alberta Juniors Choose Positive Path
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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