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February 24, 2024 February 24, 2024

Looking back at Taber sports in 2023

Posted on January 4, 2024 by Taber Times
Taber Times File Photo

January

As one of the more prestigious U18 hockey tournaments in the country, the Circle K Classic (formerly the Mac’s U18 AAA Tournament) is a big deal for players. This year, Taberite Kade Duell was a major part of the tournament for the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) as the team ran the table en route to another banner.

With six games over six days, SAHA had a busy schedule. The first game of the tournament was on Dec. 27 against Saskatoon and SAHA was able to double up the Blazers with a 4-2 win. Duell would collect a single assist in the game. The following day saw SAHA line up against the Calgary Northstars, and this time the team rolled as they blanked Calgary 5-0. Duell would add his first goal of the tournament in the game. The round-robin finished with a matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Both teams saw their offence go off and the teams would head into overtime tied 7-7. In overtime, Duell would give SAHA a 3-0 record in the round-robin as he would score the game-winner. Duell would have a hat trick and three assists in the game to give him eight points in three games. 

Tanking in the NHL is hard to do these days considering the last-place team only has a 25 per cent chance of winning the lottery. But despite the lack of great odds, teams will still be tanking over the last several months of the regular season to improve their odds of winning the top overall pick.

Connor Bedard showed what he’s capable of during the 2023 World Junior Championship and he has continued to dominate at the WHL level since. 

They say you have to learn how to walk before you learn how to run.

But, with the way people ran to the first ever Taber Titans Charity Hockey Tournament this past weekend, the board of directors would beg to differ.

“The numbers are still rolling in as we factor in overhead etc, but the early indicators were showing plenty of positive things,” said Danny Weiss, one of the treasurers for Taber Titans Charity. “We hovered around 60 raffle items, healthy triple digit pre-sale concert tickets before at-the-door and hockey teams were even factored in, strong raffle/beer gardens/50/50 sales on what we thought was going to be our ‘slow’ day. The community really stepped up as a whole in raising money for kids in need who want to enjoy sports.”

The W.R. Myers Rebels senior boys basketball team had an up-and-down week in Deep South Basketball League play.

Last Wednesday, the Rebels fell 112-65 to Stirling, but quickly rebounded the next day with a huge 114-66 victory over Picture Butte.

In the Stirling contest, the Lakers came out firing on all cylinders and led 32-12 after the first quarter. Stirling added another 27 in the second frame to take a 59-33 lead into the break.

February

It’s Rebel Classic weekend.

As the calendar flips to February, W.R. Myers High School prepares to host another edition of the classic, which tips off Friday.

“It’s going to be a good tournament this year,” said Rebels boys coach Dale Nielsen. “It’s a very nice range of teams from southern Alberta and beyond. There will be many good teams attending. Specifically, Kate Andrew’s and Brooks have proven very talented this year, with many fine players likely headed for post-secondary. They are also both ranked provincially in the ASAA rankings.”

Taber Oil King teams were back on the ice this past weekend for Central Alberta Hockey League action as the season saw January come to a close.

U11

The U11 Oil Kings were off from CAHL games this past weekend as they return next weekend for a pair of games. On Saturday, Brooks comes to Taber for a 10:15 a.m. puck drop and Sunday sees Magrath in Taber for a 10:30 a.m. game.

U13

It was a busy weekend for the U13 Oil Kings as they had three games. First up was an away game against Bow Island on Friday night. The home team was able to score three goals in the third period en route to a 5-3 win. Hayden Eldridge scored two goals for Taber while Austin Odland had a single, and Seth Jespersen had an assist. Brodyn Sutka made 25 saves on 30 shots in the Taber net.

It was a silver lining for the W.R. Myers Rebels seniors girls basketball team on the weekend in the Rebel Classic.

The 17th annual version of the Taber tournament featured a hard fought championship game, as the home Rebels fell 59-56 to the Winston Churchill High School Griffins.

It was tight the entire way, as Churchill led 18-15 after the first and 27-26 at the half.

Churchill took over in the third and looked to put the game out of reach, as the visitors struck for 22 points and led 44-33.

I get teased all the time about how the Maple Leafs won’t win a cup in my lifetime but I’m here to say it’s going to happen. For my last sports column, I figured I’d go out with a bang and predict that the Toronto Maple Leafs will win a Stanley Cup in the next five years. It’s been since 1967 and even the Chicago Cubs were able to break their 108 drought, so it’s only a matter of time for the Leafs.

First round exit after first round exit is a tough thing for Leafs Nation, no doubt, but this is the best core they’ve had since the early 2000s and probably the best overall team since 1993. A team built around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly has to be able to break through. I know plenty of fans complain about the current NHL playoff format, but there’s zero excuses left for this team. They’ve flamed out in the first round against Boston twice, Columbus, Montreal, and Tampa Bay — all in Game 7 (or Game 5 in the bubble round against Columbus), so sooner or later you’d think they’d figured it out. 

There is 18 senior high school curling teams vying for three Provincials berths during the South Zone Championship at the Lethbridge Curling Club which began yesterday and continues today.

There will be a Zone champion from a men’s, women’s and mixed doubles category.

“I think the level of competition should be pretty high,” said Dave Fletcher, LCI curling coach and high school curling league organizer. “These are the teams that have had to make out of their local areas in order to get to Zones.”

Canada is well-known for a variety of sports from hockey to basketball but students at Dr. Hamman School were taught a Canadian sport that predates all of those, lacrosse. 

With Dave Welton, the technical director of the Southern Alberta Lacrosse Association, dropping by the school last week to educate the students on lacrosse, he was also able to explain the goal of this program.

The W.R. Myers Rebels senior boys basketball team will play for third place in the Deep South Basketball League.

Taber’s championship dreams were dashed last Wednesday, as the Rebels fell 94-79 to Coaldale’s Kate Andrews in the league semifinal.

Colby Torrie led Myers with 24 points, while Kade Hansen added 15. Tyson Harker added 12 and Elias Cooper had 10 points in the loss.

Rebels coach Dale Nielsen said his team played hard throughout, but ran into a battle-tested opponent.

March

As a lead up to Green Shirt Day on April 7 the Taber Arena had Green Shirt Day at the Rink last Saturday to show off some good hockey, and help build awareness for Green Shirt Day proper. 

Bernadine Boulet and Toby Boulet, mother and father of Logan Boulet, were both present at the event.

“It’s a pre-Green Shirt Day event, but Logan played lots of hockey here in Taber and there’s lots of people here in Taber that have received organs — organ transplant recipients,” said Toby. 

In the final weekend of February, the victories were still hard to come by for the Taber Golden Suns. In six games, the three teams managed only one victory between them, but it was a good one.

U13

On Feb. 25, the U13 Suns faced off against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Braxton Ranch netted the Sun’s first goal on a power play at 5:26 in the first period, but the Canes were up 2-1 after the first, 4-1 after the second, and 6-1 until the 7:48 mark in the third, when Ranch scored another. A minute and a half later, Delphin De Boer scored again for the Suns, but the team came up short 6-3.

The St. Mary’s Celtics senior boys basketball is entering zones on a hot streak.

St. Mary’s defeated St. Mike’s from Bow Island in the River Ridge League championship in a heart-stopping 66-64 contest, which went down to the wire.

With only six seconds left, Bow Island tied the game at 64, before the Celtics had a little magic left.

Coming up the court, a pass from Rex Bell was sent up the wing to Kaden Gross, who drove to the middle and hit a fadeaway jump shot at the foul line. The buzzer beater took the Celtics to victory.

It was an all-Taber match-up in the bronze-medal game at the 1A south zones boys tournament Saturday at Lethbridge College.

Taber Christian emerged with a 61-58 win over the St. Mary’s Celtics in an exciting conclusion to the season for both teams.

A defensive first half saw Taber Christian hold a 28-16 lead at the break. But St. Mary’s had its offence pour in 26 in the third to trim the deficit to 46-42.

But the comeback fell short in the end, as Taber Christian held on to take third place, thanks to 19 points from Martin Neustaeter, 15 from Dawson Giesbrecht and 11 from Sebastian Hoekstra. Jayden Wiebe also had 10 for Taber Christian.

The W.R. Myers Rebels senior boys and girls teams both earned bronze in their respective 2A zone basketball tournaments.

It was a high-scoring loss in the semifinal that knocked the boys out of contention for gold, as Stirling’s offence exploded for 43 points in the fourth quarter to steal a 96-89 win.

The projected No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Connor Bedard, was in Lethbridge with his Regina Pats earlier this month to face the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and fielded questions from local media on how his season is going in Regina and his perspective on the draft.

“Yeah, I mean you don’t really think about it too much,” said Bedard, on the draft.

“I mean your focus is on the present and kind of for us, we’ve got to win games down the stretch here, and obviously I want to play well myself, and improve myself and I think that’s the focus. (And) not what’s coming in a few months.”

The biggest piece of advice Bedard has taken into this year is staying present.

After 56 rides with professional bull riders since 2018, Magrath bull Catch My Drift retired after his last buck at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) South Country Co-op Showdown at the Enmax Centre earlier this month.

“We’ve been coast-to-coast in Canada and all the way to Las Vegas, going south,” said Josh Berezay, Catch My Drift owner.

Spring is in the air and hockey seasons are wrapping up across the country. With the Taber Golden Suns all seeing the end of their seasons, it allowed the organization to recognize some of their players’ accomplishments throughout the 2022-23 season. 

For the U13 Suns, it was a season of growing as Taber would put up a 6-27-2 which was good for 14 points. Looking at the entire season, the team saw several notable performances from its players. The team handed out four awards last week at the Suns’ annual awards banquet. Canaan Fleck took home Most Sportsmanlike, after putting up 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists) in 35 games while only taking six penalty minutes. Maddix Miller was awarded the Player’s Player award. Miller posted three goals and 20 assists in 35 games this season. Ryker Orsten was the most improved player as the forward had 22 goals and 15 assists in 35 games. Last but not least, Delphin De Boer was announced as the team’s MVP after leading the team with 41 goals and 23 assists, good for 64 points in 32 games. De Boer was fifth in goals and points in the South Central Alberta Hockey League’s U13 division. De Boer was also recognized as the SCAHL U13 Most Valuable Forward. 

April

After a brief hiatus, the Taber and District Sports Hall of Fame is back.

With its banquet set for Saturday, April 29 at the Heritage Inn, the Taber and District Sports Hall of Fame committee will be pleased to announce the inductions of Joe Orban (builder) and Devin Setoguchi (athlete) after careful consideration of the nomination packages it received.

“The year 2019 was our last induction banquet,” said Debbie Sargeant, president of the Taber and District Sports Hall of Fame committee, adding Del Cleland and Brandi Merritt were inducted that year. “COVID hit and brought the world to a standstill, but we are back going strong.”

It was a special finish for the U14 WHAM volleyball team this past weekend as they competed in their third premier tournament of the season. After good showings at their first two tournaments, players and coach were eager to reach that final rung.

“This was our third AVA premier this season, and the players have become more comfortable as the season has progressed. At our first premier, they were quite nervous, but they played well and proved to themselves that they could compete with the teams in our division. At our second premier, the team worked hard to win the bronze medal, and that gave them a lot of confidence going into this third premier,” explained coach Jill Pickerell. “This was our first time seeing the teams from Northern Alberta, but they didn’t let that phase them — they trusted themselves and each other and worked as a team to come out first in their pool.”

What started off as a whisper, can now be heard loud clear when it comes to children in need with their love of sport.

Taber Titans just passed their one-year benchmark anniversary, where an idea formed into a reality.

“The ground work started in April. I made a few calls about the idea last week of March of last year,” said Taylor Gouw, president of Taber Titans Charity.

The ball diamonds in Taber are preparing for the return of the W.R. Myers Rebels boys’ baseball team. This week sees game action for the squad after a few tryouts earlier this spring. And with warmer weather hopefully sticking around, the team is itching to get back out. 

After tryouts wrapped up, the coaching staff saw tons of players readying for games. This year’s team sees quite a few younger players, which could work out to the advantage of the Rebels. 

The Taber Thrashers had a great 2022 season and now they’re looking to build on that with the season approaching. Lacrosse has continued to see growth since its inception and now the association is excited to see what 2023 will bring. 

“Numbers this year are looking good. We went up in registration by 10-15 players which is a big jump for us. We have teams in all the divisions this year as well as many players looking to play at the A level in the province,” stated Jared Capner, president of Taber Lacrosse. 

The 2023 Taber Spring Classic Pro Rodeo will take place on April 28 – 29 at the Taber Agri-Plex.

“It’ll have all the CPRA events,” said Tami-Jo Brewin of Rowland Farms. “Barrel Racing, Saddle Bronc, Bareback Riding, Bull Riding, Novice Bull Riding, Team Roping, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, and Breakaway Roping.” 

The 2023 Southern Alberta Youth Range Days will be held from July 18-20, 2023 at the Country Hall in Del Bonita, Alberta.

“Range Days is an opportunity for youths aged 13-18 of all backgrounds and experiences to learn about the grasslands located within the Milk River Watershed,” said Allison Choquette, wildlife and outreach technician with Milk River Watershed Council Canada. 

May

Staying in southern Alberta for the second straight weekend, the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball Jets made the short trip to Lethbridge this past weekend for the Prairie Baseball Academy tournament. 

The tournament kicked off on April 27 when the Jets took to the field to take on PBA JV. The Jets turned in a complete effort as they took the game 11-1. Brett Getz took the ball and gave the Jets a complete game on the mound. Colin Fisher was hot at the dish as he went 3-4 with a double and two RBI, Luke Wheatley went 2-3 with an RBI, Seth Christie was 2-2 with an RBI, Kyle Yip hit a triple with two RBI, while Alex Laurence and Stevyn Andrachick both went 1-2 with an RBI. 

Last week saw the W.R. Myers Rebels boys’ SV baseball team play in a pair of games. First up was a match-up against Eagle Butte as the team had their Fan Appreciation Night on May 3. 

Both teams came out swinging the bats and they put up an explosive offensive game that eventually saw the home team come out on top 22-18. The Rebels collected 21 hits and the entire offence was firing on all cylinders as each of the starting nine would add a hit. Tanner Bullock went 4-6, Ashton Lukacs added three hits and four RBI, while Tage Jensen also drove in four along with two hits, Evan Koizumi was 3-4 with three RBI and Jaxon Maksymytz went 2-4 with three RBI. Hayden Span was 3-5 at the dish with a pair of RBI and Bryden O’Connor collected two hits and drove in one.

This past weekend saw the U15 Taber Thrashers hit the road for the Okotoks Raiders Spring Classic tournament. Friday night saw the tournament kick off with a game against the home Okotoks Raiders. 

The Thrashers were able to cruise to an 8-2 win in their first game of the tournament. 

Looking to build off of the first-game win, the Thrashers found themselves back in action early on Saturday morning with a 7:45 a.m. matchup against the Cranbrook Blackwolves (orange). Continuing their strong play, the Thrashers once again were able to build a lead and hold on for a big 5-2. 

St. Mary’s athletes hit the badminton courts this spring and the teams have seen quite a bit of success. It may be a short season but the players were able to hit the courts and come away with several accolades for their school.

On the senior high side, the badminton team captured the 1A Zone banner earlier in May with 16 total points, besting Coalhurst who had 11 — good enough for second place — and Picture Butte who had eight which placed them in third. On top of that, Sam Pacleb was all over the court and was able to capture the bronze in senior girls’ singles against Japnoor Manku from Chinook High School. Natsu Adachi from Medicine Hat took the gold while Brooklyn Lesko from Winston Churchill was the silver medalist. 

With the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League underway, the Southern Alberta Chaos have seen a number of games come and go. Starting in late April, the Chaos have seen their season kick-off and the team has been battling around the .500 mark. 

Playing their home games in Taber, the Chaos started their season at home on April 29 with a game against Mountain View Stingers. The visiting team was able to build a big lead and held on for an 11-4 win to open the season. Game two at home on May 6 saw a similar formula as the Chaos faced off against the Rockyview Rage. The Rage would pull away in the second and third periods en route to a 16-8 victory.

June

It was a championship finish for the W.R. Myers Rebels high school baseball team.

A year after the team went 0-10 in its first season back after a prolonged hiatus, the Rebels turned in a dominant weekend at home during the Southern Alberta High School Baseball League Tier 3 Championship Tournament.

“From start to finish, we played an exceptionally solid three games,” said Myers head coach Garrett Simmons. “We had one bad inning in our opening game but other than that, we stayed composed and played our best baseball of the year when it mattered most.”

Lauren Edlund couldn’t have been happier to suit up for the BioSteel All Canadian Girls Volleyball 17U Game earlier this month as the local product from Barnwell made the trip to Toronto. 

The 6’1 opposite hitter was shocked to be asked to play and the way everything came about may not be the way athletes receive their typical invitation to these sorts of events.

The Vauxhall Spurs are in their busy season as the “A” squad opened their conference games on June 3 with a doubleheader against the Lethbridge Miners. 

“Overall, things went pretty well for our opening conference games of the year at Lloyd Nolan Yard. We split the games with the Miners, winning game one 7-2 and losing game two 3-0,” explained Jimmy Vulcano, head coach of the Spurs. “Our outfield was a standout. Several big catches from Torbin Jorgensen, Langdyn Cummins, and Wyatt Coupe — all covering a lot of ground. Infield performance also was very solid for games, particularly the performance of Aidan Maxwell at third base. We will be focusing on overall team hitting, but the boys have been working hard and it’s early in the year.”

Since the start of June, the Southern Alberta Chaos are looking to gain some momentum in the standings. With seven total games in the month, the Chaos have played five games so far, and things are looking up for the squad as their season continues and they look to climb the standings in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League. 

While it may not look or feel like traditional football weather for southern Alberta, one Taberite is gearing up for some football come next month. Carson Becker was selected to represent Football Alberta U16 at Football Canada’s U16 Western Challenge from July 4-8 in Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Selected as a defensive back, Becker joins six other players — John-Mikel Degamo (Bonnyville Bandits), Durnin Dyer (Spruce Grove Cougars), Ryder Frampton (Airdrie Raiders), Linkin Pedersen (Calgary Colts), Natte Ryning (Sherwood Park Wolverines), and Ryder Small (Sherwood Park Rams) — at the position.

Taber’s U13 Thrashers lacrosse team have captured their league banner and are headed to Alberta Lacrosse provincials in Edmonton July 14-16.

The team, coached by Cory Kerkhoff, went undefeated over the weekend in league playoffs. The Thrashers took on the Medicine Hat Sundevils on Friday night, beating them 8-6. On Saturday they played against stiff competition in the Brooks Drillers, taking the game 10-3.

July

The Southern Alberta Chaos lacrosse team finished off June with a pair of games as the team looked to improve on its record. 

On June 24, the Chaos welcomed in the Calgary Bandits to the Taber Ice Arena. In the first period, the Chaos would pot four goals from Connor Materi (2), Austin Sheen, and Davis Pinksen to take a 4-1 lead into the second period. Jett Matisho had a pair of assists in the period while Ryder Fomradas, Brock Higa, Logan Jones, and Daine Mattson all had singles. 

After splitting doubleheaders against the Tri-County Cardinals and Lewiston Red Birds last week, the Vauxhall Spurs are still working on a few things before Northern Districts. With that starting on July 19, the Spurs still have a handful of games left and the coaching staff is eager to see how the team continues to improve up until that point. 

“The boys are starting to really prepare — mentally and physically — for the upcoming championship. We’ve had a couple of defence bumps in the road recently in a couple of games, which only helped us to see a greater picture of what we need to work on,” explained Jimmy Vulcano, head coach. 

On July 22-23, the Taber Senior Pro Rodeo will be held at the Taber Agriplex.

“We run two separate rodeos,” said Glynnis Turcato, a competitor and member of the Canadian Classic Rodeo Association (CCRA). “We’ll do a whole rodeo on Saturday and then start over with another whole rodeo on Sunday. What makes that nice is people will stay because they know there’s another rodeo there and so then they camp and stay and run downtown or go golfing or go biking or shopping. That’s the nice part about having a couple days; they put a little bit more interest into the community.”

Taber and District Soccer is currently running a Girls Summer Rep Soccer Program from July 25 to August 17, 2023.

“Our goal as a board is to increase the love of soccer in youth and reach out to as many different groups in Taber, the MD, and surrounding areas that are a part of our district,” Liz Foote, current president of Taber and District Soccer, said. “This program hopefully will increase the love of sports/soccer in some of our younger girls and hopefully we see them play soccer or even other sports in their later years.”

On July 22 the 7th Annual Justin Hall Memorial Golf and Dinner Event took place at the Taber Golf Club.

According to Christopher Nguyen, a member of the Justin Hall Memorial Committee, 57 golfers and 85 dinner attendees attended this year’s event, including Hall’s wife, his three girls and his parents, siblings and extended family.

The event itself launched in 2017 and is done yearly in honour of Justin Hall, who passed away in 2016. 

August

The boys of summer are still out on the diamond competition in the biggest games of the summer. And that includes the Norcrest U13 team that is preparing to host Provincials from Aug. 4-6. 

“It is really exciting for us to be able to host a tournament like this. It’s been a lot of work and planning but in the end, it will all come together and will be a real good tournament,” stated Dave Kimoto. “Our parent group has been awesome with the planning and getting ready for it, as well we’ve had a huge help from Dale Tillman and Rick Popadynetz who have been volunteering their time to get the diamonds at the Ken McDonald Sports Complex in great shape for us to play on.” 

It may still be August, but before you know it players will be heading back out onto the ice for the hockey season. 

Come the beginning of September, players will once again hit the ice for tryouts for the three Taber Golden Suns teams as they look to begin their quests for South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) banners. The U13 team will be coached by Chad Roderick, who is new to the Suns. Roderick has coached almost every minor hockey level and is from Raymond.U15’s head coach will be Jeremy Kenyon who was an assistant coach with the U15 club in 2021-22. U18 sees Lynn Degenstein back behind the bench for his eighth season with the Golden Suns. 

While concertgoers flocked to Taber in early August for the first annual Cornstock music festival, little did they know they would also be helping out local hockey players. During the festival, the Taber Titans Charity set up shop to help handle “adult refreshments” and things went exceptionally well.

“The Taber Titans’ involvement with Cornstock began well over a year ago,” explained Taylor Gouw, president of the Taber Titans. “You could say the perfect storm merged up as Ken Holst was just starting Spider Entertainment around the same time we got going — the partnership has been rock solid. Ken and his crew have been one of the Titans’ major supporters and Ken let us take on a major part of Cornstock in that of the beer gardens.” 

This summer has been busy with sports and that included the bi-annual World Police and Fire Games. This year’s edition was hosted in Winnipeg and local Taber Police Member Cst. Leighton Motz headed east to compete in the games held from July 28-Aug. 6.

While the summer is nearing its end, Taber’s Trail 77 Club has seen nothing but good things over the last several months. Hosting three premier events, the club has been busy this summer and all saw various degrees of success. 

During the second week of July, the club saw tons of activity in the coulees shared by the Municipal District of Taber Municipal Park and the Town of Taber as Trail 77 put on three events: a run, a duathlon and a bike race.

The temperature may still be reaching the 30-degree mark, but hockey season is rapidly approaching for Taber Minor Hockey teams. The coming Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL) season will begin this fall and those looking to register to play in U5 to U18 Taber Minor Hockey can still complete registration.

Registration costs for the season are as follows: U5 ($160), U7 ($330), U9 ($390), U11 ($680), U13 ($680), U15 ($715), U18 ($735). Goalie fees for U13, U15, and U18 is $350. Contact the registrar at registrar@taberminorhockey.com to get a goalie discount applied before registering as a goalie.

September

September is here and football is underway in southern Alberta. The W.R. Myers Rebels saw their season kick-off last Friday as the team started their season at home against the Crescent Heights Vikings. 

“It’s been a long off-season, and we were pretty excited to get back on the field,” said Jason Jensen, head coach of the Rebels. “Crescent Heights is always a tough test, especially with them having one of the more highly touted senior linebacker/slotback prospects in the province, Carter McLean. After last year’s dogfight to start the season, we expected more of the same this time around. We weren’t disappointed there.”

Teresa Baldry is currently involved in the Taber chapter of the Terry Fox Foundation.

Baldry’s daughter, Tess, who is a mother of four small children, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago at the age of 32. Fortunately, Baldry says, Tess has had surgery and treatment and is currently in remission. 

That said, Baldry wanted to do something to support cancer research even before her daughter was affected by cancer because she has always had a soft spot in her heart for Terry Fox. 

After a strong showing in Week 1, the W.R. Myers Rebels hit the gridiron once again this past weekend as they looked to add another win. With another home game on tap, the Rebels were hopeful to put together another strong effort as the Cardston Cougars came to town.

The Rocky Mountain Turf Club horse racing kicked off its annual fall season earlier this month.

“Everybody’s busy in the backstretch getting their stalls ready and getting set up. Horses are shipping in and at this end of it, we’re trying to make everything look real pretty and nice and inviting for our race fans and our new race fans, which we encourage,” said Rose Rossi, RMTC general manager.

New this fall season was the Elicie Bates Race Day on Sept. 9 to remember a person who was a long time RMTC ambulance attendant, a worker in the backstretch and was a horseman.

With school back in action, St. Mary’s School has seen the return of plenty of sports this fall. Since the start of school at the beginning of September, SMS has seen plenty of its student-athletes return to their sports of choice. 

Looking at golf, SMS saw one of their own compete at the 1A ASAA South Zone golf championship and bring home a medal. Golfer Lyndon Kurviyal won the silver medal at Zones after a great round of golf. Kurviyal was tied for first after 18 holes of golf, shooting 76 and went to a three-hole playoff, where he ended up finishing 2nd. Kurviyal then travelled to Lloydminster to play at the 1A ASAA provincial championship on Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 with results unavailable before the press deadline. 

Students at Taber’s W.R. Myers High School staged a walkout last Tuesday in protest over consideration of a rebrand for the school’s Rebels athletic program.

Despite misinformation circulating on social media, Horizon School Division Supt. Wilco Tymensen was careful to point out that no decision on the matter has been finalized.

October

The St. Mary Auroras girls volleyball team pulled out a recent win (25-16, 25-23, 18-26, 25-19) in league play versus Winston Churchill.

Over the weekend, the club traveled to Camrose for the Our Lady of Mount Pleasant Tournament which allowed them to test their skills playing some out-of-zone teams and see some new competition.

All three Taber Golden Suns were back on the ice this past weekend as the South Central Alberta Hockey League saw its season continue.

U13

Looking for their first win on the season, the U13 Suns were on the road this weekend for a pair of road games. First up was a matchup against the Bow Valley Timberwolves on Friday night.

The first period saw the teams trade goals and the game would head into the second period tied at 2-2. Ben Van Der Linde and Hudson Stenger had the Taber goals while Hayden Eldridge also collected an assist.

The time has come for Taber Oil King teams to return to the ice for the Central Alberta Hockey League tiering round.

U11

The U11 Oil Kings kicked off their season with a pair of games this past weekend as they started in Tier 4. On Friday evening, the Oil Kings hit the road to take on Raymond for a high-scoring game. In a back-and-forth affair, the Oil Kings were able to carve out a 7-6 win. Lincoln Braun and Cage Holcek each notched a hat trick and an assist to lead the way. Cooper Ross had a pair of assists, Ryden Baker had the other goal, and Arlo Van Geest chipped in with an assist. Dylan Volk got the start in net and made 36 saves on 42 shots.

The first session of the third annual Family Fun Gymkhana Winter Series will be at 10 a.m. on November 4 at the Taber Agri-Plex.

“Gymkhana is sport competitions or games done on horseback,” Tracy Iwan of the program said. “This family fun winter series starts at the beginning of each month starting in November and runs through until May. We give points throughout the season for everyone that participates as well as points for competing in the different competitions during the day. At the end of the season points are counted and a high-point champion is picked for each age category.”

Prairie Rose Public Schools’ Badlands Baseball Academy has been running for about a dozen years and continues to attract players from across the country. This year’s team is comprised of five players in Grade 10, six in Grade 11 and eight in Grade 12, arriving at the academy from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

From September through to the middle of October, the team plays about 35 games before spending the winter practising five days a week at an indoor facility in Oyen. In the spring they are back outside and normally play between 45 and 55 games to conclude the year. The team travels around Alberta and B.C. and play multiple tournaments in the U.S. each year.

November

The first annual Rowan Beckie U13 Memorial Hockey Tournament will take place from Nov. 10-12 at the Vauxhall and Taber arenas.

Melanie Jespersen, a director of the tournament along with Shantana Kover, said that this event is to honour Rowan Beckie, who passed away unexpectedly Feb. 11, 2023 at the age of 11.

It’s been said that champions are made, not born. Grace Holowiski of Taber is a champion, and if she wasn’t born that way, she’s now made herself into one. In September, she competed at the Taekwon-do World Championships in Finland and came home victorious. “I placed first, so I came home from that trip a world champion. It was my ninth world medal,” she said, noting that it was her fifth time competing at an all-world level.

The competition lasted for a week and she was there from Sept. 5 to 8. “I do special technique,” she explained. “It’s a form of board-breaking. The boards are set at a certain height, and you have to execute a kick and break the board.” In the women’s special technique category, there were about 25 competitors from around the world. To qualify, the contestants must have been selected for entry by a competition committee, so, “It’s the best of the best,” she said. There were over 1000 competitors at the world championships. To be eligible as a qualifying competitor at the world championships, she first had to establish that she could compete and be dominant at a national level.

The Spar for the Star on 54th will be held on Saturday, December 2, at the Taber Agri-Plex.

Joel Mills, head of Bam Bam Boxing Club and Executive Director for the Star on 54th, says that the event will be a combined TANGO and Star fundraising event with 10 amateur boxing matches along with a concert and a gala. Spider Entertainment, Mills says, will provide the entertainment. The event, Mills says, will be open to all ages and will cost $45 per general admission ticket with ringside tables costing $1500 per table.

The TANGO Foundation, Mills says, does an annual fundraising gala and rather than do their typical gala at the Taber Community Centre, the Taber Assisting Nations Through Global Outreach (TANGO) Foundation, the Star Society, and Bam Bam Boxing Club will hold a joint event at the Agri-Plex that will have a maximum capacity of 792 people.

The St. Mary’s Auroras clinched the ASAA South Zone 1A Girls Championship over the weekend. The tournament ran Thursday through Saturday in Stirling, and the Auroras went into it ranked first in the zone.

Carolyn Siemens, assistant coach and teacher at St. Mary’s, gave us the rundown. “For pool play, we played Taber Christian on Thursday and were able to take the win 25-11, 25-9. On Friday night we had two games, first playing Milk River. This was a tough game for us, we met some tough serving and struggled to find our pass for a bit. With that being said, the girls rallied back in the first set and took the win 25-23, and then the second set 25-17. Our second game that night saw us playing Bow Island. We took them in two sets as well; 25-22 and 25-17. This put us in first place in the pool and gave us a bye to the semi-final game on Saturday.”

The St. Mary’s Auroras are the ASAA 1A Provincial Champions for 2023. On Nov. 22, the team made the trek to Peace River for the year’s ultimate tournament. The competition began on Nov. 23 with round robin play and was organized into three power pools. The teams ranked from 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12 were in pools together. The Auroras went into the tournament ranked first, and that landed them in the toughest pool.

December

Taber local Jessie Ferguson competed for Miss Rodeo Canada 2024 at the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Red Deer, Alberta from November 1-5, 2023, but the competition was ultimately won by Kaylee Shantz, a 22-year-old resident of her family farm that is northwest of Rimbley, Alta.

“I didn’t come out with the crown but instead so much confidence in all of my abilities even if it was once something far out of my comfort zone,” said Ferguson. 

Ferguson, however, did not come home completely empty-handed.

St. Mary’s and Taber Christian High have assembled a combined basketball team for the season, and it’s game on. 

Sam DeBoer is the head coach and the assistants are Jaydee DeBoer and Carolyn Siemens. The joint program gives students from both schools an opportunity to compete in league play. On Dec. 8, assistant coach Siemens gave an update. 

The Town’s off-leash dog park has been the subject of specific requests for improvements over the past couple of years. 

Brian Martin, the Town’s recreation manager, confirmed that there have been requests for a number of upgrades: irrigation for the entire area, a hydroseed application, grading and leveling of the grounds, an improved pathway, and installation of new fencing around the perimeter.

The St. Mary’s Auroras girl’s basketball team hosted Vauxhall on Dec. 12, and their season home opener started well but then stalled. 

“We had a good first half of the game, ending the half at 25-24,” said Carolyn Siemens, assistant coach.  “After the half we came out flat in the third quarter and struggled to make shots in the second half, ending the game with a 37-53 loss. McKenzie Siemens led our scoring with 15 points and Savannah Schmitt added eight, Siemens had eight assists and on the boards we saw Nyla DeBoer with 10 rebounds and Kennedy Planger with nine.”

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