Making it work

The spotlight is on the ice, but the kudos deserve to be spread around.
The job of hockey tournament convener often is a thankless one—riddled with endless hours at the rink, minimal sleep, and tons of headaches trying to keep everything running on time while running themselves to a frazzle.
But from what I’ve witnessed throughout this minor hockey season, I’m hard-pressed to offer anything but praise for the quality of the events being orchestrated by these hard-working individuals.
While Tim Fowler’s effort as head of last weekend’s fifth-annual Fort Frances Girls’/Women’s Hockey Association tournament—a daunting 28-team affair—was the biggest undertaking so far this season on the local scene, it was by no means the only commendable one.
From Atoms to Midgets and everyone in between, tournament conveners have done a bang-up job at appeasing players, coaches, and parents who are pulling on them in 101 different directions during the course of a weekend—and maintaining a positive attitude through it all.
To all of you who have gone above and beyond to make minor hockey tournaments in Fort Frances the success they’ve been, I offer a hearty Sideline Passes salute.
Now go get some sleep. You’ve earned it.
• • •
Cheers are going out to the Fort Frances Special Olympics curling team of Anita Hahkala, Raymond Bedard, Dan Smith, Lisa Gushulak, Lawrence Mason, and coach Kathi Gagne.
The team burned up the ice at the provincial Special Olympics Winter Games in Barrie on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and brought home the bronze medal for their efforts.
I always thought I’d be a good curler, what with all the rocks in my head.
• • •
Pinewood School came the farthest, and also went the furthest at the fourth-annual Crossroads Tornadoes girls’ basketball tournament at Crossroads School in Devlin last weekend.
The visitors from Dryden collected three wins and a tie in the round-robin portion, then beat Sturgeon Creek 24-10 to capture the gold medal.
In the bronze-medal final, the host Tornadoes slipped past the St. Francis Sentinels 18-15 in overtime.
• • •
Crossed fingers will be in high supply among local swimming supporters this weekend as Fort Frances native Jeff Plumridge and his Guelph Gryphons teammates take the long flight to Victoria, B.C. for the CIS national university swim championships.
Plumridge will be competing in the 50m breaststroke, in which he’s ranked 20th in the country, along with the 100m breast (ranked 56th) and the 200m breast (ranked 29th).
He currently holds the third-fastest time in Gryphons’ history in the 50m (30.3) and eighth-best in the 200m (2:30.22).
• • •
It will be a cross-border clash this Saturday and Sunday at the Ice for Kids Arena when the Fort Frances Midget ‘AA’ Canadians welcome the Duluth, Mn. Midget squad to town, with both games scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.
• • •
A 60-player field will be having a ball this week when the annual La Place Rendez-Vous squash tournament takes centre court at the Memorial Sports Centre this week.
Action starts Thursday at 4 p.m., with the finals due to wrap up Sunday at 4 p.m. Spectators are welcome.
• • •
Tickets are still available for Eddie Shack’s “Battle of the Badges” exhibition hockey game between the Joint Forces “Badge Bashers” and the O.P.P. “Hit Men” next Tuesday (Feb. 25) at 7 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena.
The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Fort Frances district of Northwestern Ontario Crime Stoppers Inc., will feature former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks legend Dave “Tiger” Williams as the guest referee while former Winnipeg Jets sniper Morris Lukowich will take part as a player.
Tickets are available at Taggs Source for Sports on Scott Street, or at the arena on the day of the game. The cost is $15 each, or $45 for a family pack of four.
• • •
It will be a meeting of past and present as an east-end neighbourhood skating party reunion and family fun day will be held at the east-end rink here Saturday, March 1 beginning at 1 p.m.
All those who grew up in the area, or currently live there, are invited down for skating, hockey (bring your own stick), and reminiscing. A potluck supper also is tentatively being planned for later in the day.
For more information, contact Bob (274-8540), Donna (274-7046), or Nadine (274-2802 or 274-6252).
• • •
A correction and some congratulations are in order.
Madeleine Lindberg, mother of Fort Frances native Chris Lindberg, called to inform me I had slipped up in my coverage of her son’s participation in the recent Swiss Cup in Basel, Switzerland.
Having seen Chris’ name on Team Canada’s roster for the event and not having found his name in the scoring summaries, I assumed (a cardinal sin in this job) that he had gone pointless in the three games played by our national squad.
In fact, Chris only was on the roster as an emergency substitute, which turned out to be good as he had other, more important business to attend to—the birth of his new son!
Chris’ wife, Anita, delivered little Cooper Christopher Lindberg last Tuesday, and I wish the Lindberg family all the best.
But the proud papa won’t have much time to relish the moment. He’s expected to rejoin his HC Ajoie squad immediately to help with their march through the Swiss ‘B’ League playoffs.
If you are planning any sporting events, or have some sports-related information or scores, feel free to call me at 274-5373 ext. 237 or by e-mail at jpayeur@fortfrances.com
All statistical and story information, with the exception of events held Monday night or Tuesday, must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday to be eligible for publication in that week’s edition of the Times.

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