Looking back at the year that was

The passage of time can play tricks on one’s perspective.
Everyone has those days that feel like weeks, months, or even years. But when trying to encapsulate the past year of sports activity locally, 12 months seems to have slipped by in a matter of moments.
The bustling athletics scene was chock full of cheers and tears, champions and also-rans. There were those who ascended the medal podium, and those who felt like winners just by stepping on the field of play.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the more lasting sporting memories of 2002, and here’s to a new year that should be filled with many more to come:
•Adam McTavish is named to the Team Canada football squad participating in the Global Junior Championship VI in New Orleans during Super Bowl week.
•Former Muskie football coach Scott Fawcett is hired as the head coach for the Mount Allison Mounties university squad.
•Fort Frances takes part as one of the 12 host communities featured in CBC’s annual “Hockey Day in Canada” event, which almost is cancelled by a CBC technicians strike that’s resolved at the last minute.
•Angela Lee of Stratton loses 7-5 to Jodi Judd (Port Arthur) in her final round-robin game at the district ladies’ playdowns in Terrace Bay to just miss qualifying for the Ontario Scott Tournament of Hearts provincial championship.
•Fort Frances is selected as the host site for the Feb. 5 all-star game in the inaugural season of the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
•The Bryan Bonot rink from Stratton finished in last place with a 1-4 mark at the provincial men’s senior curling championship in North Bay.
•More than two dozen local runners compete in the 22nd-annual “Freeze yer Gizzard Blizzard Run” in International Falls, with Dave Matiece topping the contingent with a third-place finish in the male 40-49 division.
•Lorne Jackson of Fort Frances finishes third with a 5-4 round-robin record at the district playdowns to qualify for the Northern Ontario men’s curling playdowns in Kapuskasing.
•Fort Frances Aquanaut Swim Team members Karli McKinnon, Rachel Dutton and Boyd Badiuk post qualifying times at a meet in Regina, Sask. to earn berths in the junior provincial swimming championships in Brantford.
•The SIJHL reveals the playoff format for its inaugural season while clashing with the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, which pulls out of the upcoming Dudley Hewitt Cup playdowns due to the SIJHL’s involvement.
•The OCN Blizzard from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League defeat the best of the SIJHL 9-3 in the league’s inaugural all-star game at the Ice for Kids Arena.
•The Aquanaut swim team hosts the Groundhog Invitational, with team member Jessica Cousineau qualifying for the junior provincial championships in Brantford.
•The Lorne Jackson rink finishes 3-5 in the round robin and misses the playoffs at the Northern Ontario men’s curling playdowns in Kapuskasing.
•Pro oval snowmobile racer Steve Arpin from Fort Frances racks up six top-three finishes in eight feature races at the 19th annual Grand Prix in Valcourt, Que.
•Bob Shine of Thunder Bay and Donna Harris from Winnipeg take the men’s and women’s overall championships respectively at the annual La Place Rendezvous squash tournament in Fort Frances.
•The bantam boys team of Daniel Murray, Jared Morelli, Michael Brady, Kasey Hawrylak, and Lyle Dolph qualifies for the provincial finals of the YBC’s “Four Steps to Stardom” tournament.
•The Muskie senior boys basketball and junior girls volleyball teams capture NorWOSSA titles, while the senior girls volleyball and junior boys basketball teams lost in their respective championship games.
•The Muskie girls and boys hockey teams are swept in their respective best-of-three NorWOSSA semifinals by the Dryden Eagles.
•The Muskie senior boys basketball team is swept in two straight games at home against the Hillcrest Colts from Thunder Bay in the best-of-three NWOSSAA championship.
•Karli McKinnon, Rachel Dutton, and Jessica Dutton record personal bests during the junior provincial swimming championships in Brantford.
•Steve Arpin from Fort Frances finishes his snowmobile racing campaign with one third-place result at the season finale in Beausejour, Man.
•Emo Figure Skating Club entrant Ashlee Nordstrom finishes first in three events at the Thunder Bay Open competition.
•Sarah Noonan, Megan Canfield, Steve Boileau, Steve Krag, and Richard Allan help the Northwestern Ontario squash team win bronze at the 2002 Ontario WInter Games.
•The “Battle of the Badges” charity hockey game, featuring NHL legends Marcel Dionne and Eddie Shack, raises over $2,000 for the Fort Frances chapter of Northwestern Ontario Crime Stoppers.
•The Borderland Thunder beat the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs 4-0 in Game 7 of the SIJHL semi-final to advance to the championship series against Dryden.
•Coaches Alex Rosalina and Adriana Ota of the Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy step down, citing unhappiness with the direction of the club.
•Trevor Bonot’s boys’ rink from Rainy River High School capture the silver medal at the NWOSSAA curling playdowns in Terrace Bay.
•The Borderland Thunder are swept in four-straight games by the Dryden Ice Dogs in the inaugural best-of-seven SIJHL championship series.
•Donovan Cousineau led the way for the Fort Frances Aquanauts Swim Team at the regional swimming championships in Thunder Bay with four first-place finishes.
•Gillons’ won its ninth-straight title, sweeping Sabaskong in the final of the Fort Frances Women’s Volleyball League.
•An eight-member squad from the Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy captures seven medals at the annual “Springfest” meet in Fort Frances.
•The Canadian Wrestling Federation brings its travelling road show to the Ice for Kids Arena to entertain an audience of approximately 100 grappling fans.
•Muskie Simone Desjardins is the lone Fort Frances qualifier for the NWOSSAA finals in Sudbury after advancing in the senior girls’ singles division.
•A 15-member contingent from the Northwest Tae Kwon Do Dojang snare 12 medals at Master Kang’s Can-Am Games tournament in Winnipeg.
•Kitchen Creek Golf Club announces a temporary change in the hole sequence on the course as a way of trying to speed up play.
•The annual fundraising banquet held by the local chapter of Ducks Unlimited brings in more than $42,000.
•Karli McKinnon carts home seven medals from the Manitoba Marlins’ Crocus Invitational swim meet.
•Fort High’s John Smith finishes second by only 65 pins at the TSN provincial roll-offs in Thunder Bay.
•Simone Desjardins wins Fort High’s first medal ever at the all-Ontario badminton championships, taking bronze in the ‘C’ flight.
•Poor weather forces the Emo Speedway to push back its opening day of action from May 11 to May 25.
•The Muskie girls’ and boys’ teams win their respective NorWOSSA soccer championships, with the girls claiming their fifth-straight title.
•The Muskie boys’ hockey team announces its intentions to seek Midget ‘AAA’ status from the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association.
•The Borderland Thunder are awarded the right to host the Dudley Hewitt Cup provincial Junior ‘A’ hockey championship in the spring of 2003.
•Harvey Cochrane and Oliver Gibson win the inaugural Emo Walleye Classic after three of the four fish brought in by leaders Bryan Hughes and Trevor Crosswell are found to exceed the acceptable length limitations.
•The Muskie boys’ soccer team wins silver at the NorWOSSA playdowns and advances to the OFSAA championships as the conference’s second entry,
but misses the playoff round at the provincial playdowns.
•The Muskie girls’ soccer squad also win silver, but do not advance to the provincials.
•Christin Thomson is named as Fort High’s female athlete of the year while Jock Gemmell and Jamie Algie are named co-winners in the male division.
•Dave Allison is named head coach of the Borderland Thunder, replacing Wayne Strachan, who later is kept on staff as assistant general manager.
•The Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy hires Romanian native Mirel Bica as its new head coach.
•The Town of Fort Frances holds its inaugural sports banquet, featuring recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Fort Frances Canadians’ Allan Cup victory in 1952.
•Melissa Armstrong of Fort Frances finishes second in the women’s division at the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg.
•Outdoor leagues suffer numerous cancellations and tourist camps lose significant business as a result of the torrential rain in the area that causes massive flooding.
•NorWOSSA announces the splitting of girls’ hockey for the upcoming season into two divisions, featuring Fort Frances, Beaver Brae, and Dryden in the ‘AA’ group and Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and St. Thomas Aquinas (Kenora) in the ‘A’ division.
•The Fort Frances Aquanauts Swim Team and La Place Rendez-Vous host the first annual La Place Rendez-Vous Canada Day mile swim on Sand Bay.
•Brian Beers shoots a three-round total of 41-over-par 254, missing the cut for the final round at the 17th-annual Canadian Club Champions Championship in Whistler, B.C.
•Mel Giesbrecht and Chris Bell of Sioux Narrows capture the second-annual “Castin’ for Cash” bass derby at Lake Despair Lodge.
•The Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association denies the Muskie boys’ hockey team’s request to be granted Midget ‘AAA’ status.
•Ray Bedard of Fort Frances wins two gold and two silver while fellow Fort Frances competitor Dave Ducasse captures four silver at the Special Olympics national summer games in Prince Albert, Sask. (Bedard’s effort qualified him for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland this June).
•“Snake” Krawchuk shoots a two-under-par 70 to win the senior men’s open at Kitchen Creek Golf Club in his first attempt.
•Frank and Terry McClymont team up with Ryan Wood to win the fifth-annual Kid/Pro Tournament fishing derby.
•Norm Lindsay wins the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship for a record third time, the first with teammate Jess Swenson, with a combined weight of 55.72 pounds.
•Fort Frances native Bob Peters is elected to the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in the “builder” category for his coaching efforts at the University of North Dakota and Bemidji State University.
•Thunder Bay United defeats the Kenora Celtics 3-1 to win the men’s division of the Borderland “Ball Blast” soccer tournament in Fort Frances. Gillons’ downs Curves 5-1 to capture the women’s crown.
•The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship compiles a projected deficit of $10,000, the first time in three years the event has finished in the red.
•Pat Handorgan, Sr. from Morson and Fred Greene of Sioux Narrows win the Kenora Bass International fishing derby on Lake of the Woods with a combined weight of 49.69 pounds.
•Greg Ward wins the Kitchen Creek Classic men’s golf tournament after three-straight second-place finishes while Christin Thomson wins the ladies’ tournament, her third in four years.
•Curves defeat Gillons’ 3-2 in a shootout to win the Borderland women’s soccer league championship. Taggs topple Nova 3-1 to claim the men’s title.
•The Rainy River Royals, back in the Rainy River District Fastball League after a four-year absence, cap off their return by beating the Bulldogs 3-2 in the championship final.
•Frank McClymont and Rick Savage of Kenora reel in a combined weight of 29.24 pounds to capture the ninth-annual Morson Bass Classic.
•The Muskie ‘A’ football squad kicks off its season with a 40-0 loss across the river in their annual exhibition clash with the International Falls Broncos.
•The Emo Speedway wraps up its season, with Kyle Ridlon of Aurora, Man. (mini-sprint), Ron Westover of Devlin (street stock), and Gavin Paull of Fort Frances (modified) winning their respective division crowns.
•Edina, Mn. resident Denny Nelson’s attempts to hold a bass fishing derby on the Canadian side of Rainy Lake meet with protests from local sportsmen and environmental groups. The event is stopped at the end of the first day by immigration officers because of Nelson’s lack of a Canadian work permit, and eventually is cancelled by Nelson.
•Snake Krawchuk (men’s), Donna Lee (women’s), Dave Bruyere (seniors), Merdo Krawchuk (masters), Kate Bondett (junior girls) and Tanner Ward (junior boys) win their respective divisions at the Kitchen Creek club championships.
•The Borderland Thunder begin their second season by winning the SIJHL pre-season “Showcase” tournament at the Ice for Kids Arena.
•Pat Soboleski wins the inaugural RYC Wells Fargo Fall Classic yachting competition on the north arm of Rainy Lake with a time of 3:11.13.
•Marni Korpi and Mike Vacura of Roseau, Mn. win the Rainy River Walleye Tournament with a combined weight of 16.3 pounds over two days.
•The Borderland Thunder trade forward Justin Bodnarchuk and Terry Parisien to the Feathermen Hawks for forward Brent Greene. Bodnarchuk and Greene voice opposition to the deal, which goes against the Hawks’ agreement with the SIJHL to maintain an all-aboriginal team. The deal eventually is scrapped, with Bodnarchuk being released, Parisien being traded to the Dryden Ice Dogs for forward Rob Scales and defenceman Mark Morin, and Greene staying put with the Hawks.
•Al Carlson of Kenora and Ted Stewner from Winnipeg win the inaugural Rainy Lake Bass Classic with a two-day total catch of 39.12 pounds.
•Dave Matiece of Fort Frances finishes 51st in the veterans’ category (age 40 and over) at the World Long Distance Championships in Triathlon held in Nice, France.
•The Fort Frances Curling Club votes 50-48 at its annual general meeting to allow smoking to continue in the facility’s upstairs lounge.
•Christin Thomson of Fort Frances finishes sixth in her NCAA debut with the St. John’s Red Storm women’s golf team at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, NJ.
•Jason Cain of Fort Frances is selected first in the random draw for the 40 available spots in the 2003 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
•The North Western Ontario Tourism Association’s fish symposium and annual general meeting are held at the Fort Frances Curling Club.
•Bob Tkachuk and Megan Ross of Fort Frances finish in the top half of the 31, 120-person field at the 25th Chicago Marathon, the world’s largest such event in terms of participation.
•The Borderland Thunder begin the SIJHL season with a 10-game unbeaten streak before losing a pair of games to the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs.
•The Muskie football ‘A’ team completes a winless season, its first since 1987, with a 35-8 loss to the No. 1-ranked Oak Park Raiders in the quarterfinals of the Winnipeg High School Football League playoffs.
•A four-member group marks the competitive debut of the Fort Frances Cyclone Swim Club at the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts “Soon to be Classic” meet.
•Fort Frances natives Julian Brunetta, Ron King, Guy LaFrance, and Ted Kotyk are selected for induction to the University of North Dakota Hall of Fame as part of the 1958-59 NCAA champion men’s hockey team.
•The Borderland Thunder are forced to forfeit their 3-0 victory over the Dryden Ice Dogs Oct. 30 after goalie Dan Hoehne, who posted the shutout in his Thunder debut, was ruled ineligible because the SIJHL had not yet authorized his transfer.
•The Muskie senior girls’ basketball team wins the NorWOSSA championship in Dryden over the defending champion Eagles, before losing to the Churchill Trojans in the NWOSSAA best-of-three final here.
•The Muskie junior girls’ hoops team and the junior boys’ volleyball team finish second in NorWOSSA, while the senior boys’ squad loses in the semi-final to the Beaver Brae Broncos.
•Sarah Noonan helps the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs women’s soccer team to the semi-finals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference playoffs.
•Caitlyn and Jeannie Townson (Bantam), along with Josh Stevens and Bob Petawanaqueb (Junior), win their respective divisions at the YBC Northern Ontario Family Twosome zone playdowns at Plaza Lanes to advance to the provincials.
•Hailey and Corey Fehr, along with Kelly Brown and Tyler Abma, win medals as representatives of Northern Tae Kwon Do at the 19th-annual Central Canadian Tae Kwon Do championships in Winnipeg.
•Jared Catholique-Bruyere of Fort Frances wins gold in the 81+ kg division at both the St. Boniface Open and the Ontario Open.
•The Kitchen Creek Golf Club votes 54-6 to ban smoking from its clubhouse, effective at the start of the 2003 golf season.
•Glen Edwards resigns as head coach of the Muskie boys hockey team in the midst of his 23rd season with the program.
•Mary-Beth Tkachuk (ladies ‘A/B’) and Brian Glavish (junior boys) of Fort Frances triumph in their respective divisions at the Northwestern Ontario Open squash tournament in Thunder Bay.
•Jared Catholique-Bruyere beats long-time nemesis Mike Grunberg to win the 81+ kg division final at the Canada Winter Games qualifying meet in Ajax to advance to the games in Bathurst-Campbellton, N.B.
•The Emo Cowboys win the 14th-annual Pizza Hut Midget ‘B’ Invitational hockey tournament in Thunder Bay.
•Snowmobile racer Johnny Lundon of Fort Frances suffers a season-ending ankle injury at the opening race of the year in Duluth while Team Polaris teammate Brad Loveday of Fort Frances suffers a double leg fracture and lacerated hand at an event near Thunder Bay the following week.
•The Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy discusses plans for either expansion of their current facility, or the feasibility of constructing a brand new gymnastics centre.
•Fort Frances bowlers Jon Wood, Dan Bone, Jen Hawley, and Ashley Lafreniere help the Sunset Country mixed team win gold at the Northern Ontario 5-Pin Bowlers’ Association provincial youth challenge in Thunder Bay.
•Fort Frances bowler Jeff Watts claims gold in the junior boys’ division at the YBC zone singles qualifier in Kenora, while Joey Ballan (bantam boys) and Cristy Beadle (senior girls) capture bronze at the event.
•Fort Frances Aquanaut Swim Team member Alex Parent breaks a five-year-old Swimmers With Athletic Disabilities (SWAD) provincial record in the 400-m freestyle event while competing at the Prairie Winter Invitational in Winnipeg a few weeks earlier.