Step it up

Desire and drive separate the champions from the also-rans in every sport, including hockey.
Blocking shots and taking a hit to make a play are sporadic events during the course of the regular season. But when the playoffs roll around, it’s those willing to sacrifice their bodies more often that usually are rewarded.
The Borderland Thunder wiped out the defending SIJHL champion Dryden Ice Dogs in four-straight games in their recently-completed best-of-seven semi-final series based on their willingness to get physical to get ahead.
Defencemen like John Kocis and forwards such as “Critter” Nagurski and even Chad Baldwin, who has stuck to skating rather than body crunching for most of the season, were tossing their weight around with authority.
Dryden gave it all they had but in the end, the Thunder’s combination of scoring depth (13 different players tallied at least one goal in the four games) and physical prowess wore them down.
With injuries to key personnel hopefully healed by Game 1 of the SIJHL final which starts here next Tuesday night, the forecast is for blue skies in Borderland country—with a possible SIJHL title and victory at the Dudley Hewitt Cup here later in April on the horizon.
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Noted fishing experts Chip Leer and Gord Ellis will hold a pair of spring fishing seminars today at Pinewood Sports.
The sessions, slated for 2 and 6 p.m., will provide avid anglers—and even novice ones—with insight on the newest tools of the sport fishing trade, as well as some secrets that might make the difference between reeling in the big one or having just another fish story to tell about the one that got away.
Admission is free, and Leer and Ellis also will be glad to answer any questions those on hand may have.
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Cheers to the Muskie Blueline Club, which stepped out of its regular sporting jurisdiction to lend a financial hand to the Muskie boys’ curling squad that competed at the all-Ontarios in St. Thomas last week.
The club pitched in $500 to help defray travel costs for the team, which finished 1-3 against the best high school curling rinks in the province.
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More rousing applause for Erica Anderson of the local MEC Bulldogs Atom ‘A’ hockey team, who proved being a girl playing among boys doesn’t necessarily mean being out of place.
Anderson, a fixture on the blueline all season despite being the lone girl on the squad, was named the round-robin Most Valuable Player on defence in the Atom “A” category at last weekend’s Elks Tom Thumb/Atom ‘A’ tournament in Thunder Bay.
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The Fort Frances Cyclones will be backstroking for bucks to help their team’s cause this Sunday at the Memorial Sports Centre when the first-year organization holds its swim-a-thon from 8-10 a.m.
The event is held throughout the season by all clubs registered with Swim Ontario. A portion of the money raised goes to Swim Ontario while the rest stays with the host club.
The Cyclones are aiming to make their version of the fundraiser as enjoyable as possible, with prizes for the most amount of pledges as well as different rewards for various numbers of lengths swam by the participants.
Snacks and refreshments will be on hand for everyone attending, and parents of the swimmers will be asked to keep track of their child’s total number of lengths.
Anyone interested in helping with the event, or having any questions about it, can contact event chairperson Sue Pelepetz (482-3024) or Cyclones head coach Debbie Murray (486-3886).
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There is only a few days left to do your part to help make minor hockey more accessible to more young players in the Fort Frances region.
Sunset Country Ford, in co-operation with a nationwide charity drive organized by former NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, is collecting used children’s hockey equipment from area families until the end of this month.
All gear brought in will be distributed by the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association to less-fortunate youth who otherwise would not be able to afford to participate in minor hockey.
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

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