Good vibrations in your very own backyard

There are times on this job where I catch myself thinking how generally nice the atmosphere in this town can be.
Now I know what you’re thinking right off the bat. No, I’m not on the payroll of the Town of Fort Frances to provide a public service announcement, nor is this another—albeit roundabout—attempt to take a cheapshot at our friends in Dryden.
Although those are pretty good reasons to praise this town (memo to Mayor Witherspoon: cash will suffice), I must say the mass gathering for Fort Frances Youth Soccer’s opening week at the St. Francis Sportsfields on Monday evening generated nothing but good community vibes—which even have managed to reach me and my supposed cynical “twentysomething” ways.
Even when approaching the scene of more than 400 kids playing from the parking lot, this setup had it all: kids getting fresh air and having fun, parents on the sidelines with their cameras, cots, blankets, and juice boxes in the cooler, and parent coaches cheering on their players—all players in fact.
It had the makings of a broch-ure photo shoot. Puppies were even playing with kittens. (OK, that didn’t actually happen).
Add the sunny skies and cool spring weather and you can’t help but take a deep breath, smile and simply take it all in.
So kudos to everyone involved with FFYS. It’s a definite sign spring is upon us. To those with no direct involvement, may I suggest taking a stroll out there one evening to watch some of the action.
Just watching the reaction of a youngster scoring his or her first goal or making that big save may be worth the trip.
• • •
Stratton’s Angela Lee was named Confederation College’s Female Athlete-of-the-Year last week.
The 21-year-old second-year accounting student led her college rink to the Ontario championships in February.
Thunder Bay’s Mike Assad, Lee’s teammate on the mixed team that competed at the provincial playdowns last month, won Male Athlete-of-the-Year.
• • •
The Rayside Balfour Sabrecats knocked out the Soo Thunderbirds 4-2 in their best-of-seven Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association final.
They’ll now meet the Dryden Ice Dogs, who defeated the local Borderland Thunder in the SIJHL final earlier this month, in the best-of-three Dudley Hewitt Cup final starting tomorrow night in Rayside.
That winner advances to the Royal Bank Cup (Junior ‘A’ nationals) in Halifax next month.
The Ice Dogs have been idle since April 4 when they swept the Thunder in the inaugural SIJHL final.
• • •
The women’s Borderland Soccer League registration will take place next Thursday (May 2) from 7-9 p.m. at Tagg’s Source for Sports. Cost to enter is $65 for players aged 15 and up, who are advised to bring along their health card.
• • •
The local Couchiching Raiders men’s hockey team finished the season at a perfect one-for-one in tournaments. The Raiders went 5-0 in capturing the ‘A’ title at the Goodwill Cup in Thunder Bay last weekend.
“It was an excellent tournament. Everyone had fun,” said co-captain Brent Perrault. “That’s good enough for the year. We’ll take and keep that perfect record.”
The Raiders roared through round-robin play at the 20-team event at the Delany Arena with a 5-4 win over the Toner Warriors, a 6-4 win over Lake Helen, and a 9-3 triumph over Pigipwabikamik.
They beat Shoal Lake 8-3 in the semi-finals and then nipped the host Fort William squad 4-3 in the final.
• • •
The Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association elected two new board members at its general meeting last Wednesday. KC PeeWee ‘AA’ head coach Tony Kadikoff and Barb Harris have joined while Gord McQuarrie and Kim John-ston opted to step down.
If you are planning any upcoming sporting events or have any sports related information, feel free to call 274-5373 or drop by the office. You can e-mail me at rvillagracia@fortfrances.com.

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