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Windspeaker Sports Briefs - March 2013


Compiled by Sam Laskaris







Government funds programs
Five Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia will benefit from some provincial government funding aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles. Premier Darrell Dexter announced on Feb. 8 his government was putting up a total of $625,000 towards physical activity leadership programs.

Programs will be started in the following First Nations; Annapolis Valley, Eskasoni, Glooscap, Millbrook and Paq’tnkek. Each First Nation will receive $125,000 from the government to start the programs.

The communities will also kick in $100,000 each towards to the programs.

The money will be used in each First Nation to initiate five-year physical activity plans. Each community is expected to hire staff members to develop these plans.

Ferland producing for Blades
Calgary Flames’ prospect Michael Ferland should be forgiven if he has to check the front of his jersey to see which team he’s playing for. That’s because the 20-year-old Cree has played for four different teams in three different leagues this season.

Ferland, who was drafted by the Flames in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, started off the 2012-13 campaign in the American Hockey League with the British Columbia-based Abbotsford Heat.
Abbotsford is the Flames’ top affiliate club in the minor pro ranks.
Ferland, who is from Swan River, Man., did not earn any points in the seven games he played for the Heat. He was then sent down to the Flames’ East Coast Hockey League affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies. He played three matches with the Grizzlies, earning a lone assist, before he returned to the junior ranks.

Ferland originally came back to the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, where he had spent the past three seasons. But after just four games with the Wheat Kings he was dealt to another WHL franchise, the Saskatoon Blades, in early January, just prior to the league’s trading deadline.

Though he had to leave his home province, Ferland certainly isn’t complaining about this move. That’s because the Blades are atop the league’s East Division standings while the Wheat Kings are dead last in the six-team division.

Ferland, who had 96 points (47 goals, 49 assists) in 68 games with the Wheat Kings a year ago, has been averaging more than a point per outing with the Blades.

He racked up 24 points, including seven goals, in his first 20 contests with Saskatoon.

Regardless of how far the Blades advance in their own league playoffs, Ferland knows the Blades will still be playing this May.
That’s because the Saskatoon club will be hosting the Memorial Cup, scheduled for May 17 to May 26. As hosts, the Blades receive an automatic berth into the four-team tournament.
The event will also include the WHL champions, or the league finalists if the Blades win the league title.

Also taking part will be the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champs.

Spirits defend title
The Nanaimo-based West Coast Spirits did have a favourable schedule.

But the club also won the games it needed to as it successfully defended its title in the women’s division of the prestigious All Native Basketball Tournament, which concluded Feb. 16 in Prince Rupert, B.C.

This marked the 54th year the tournament, which attracts Aboriginal squads from across British Columbia, has been staged in Prince Rupert.

The Spirits were one of 14 teams that took part in the women’s category. They defeated a team from Metlakatla 63-61 in their championship final of the double-knockout tournament, which saw entrants eliminated after losing two games.

As the defending tournament champions, the Spirits received an opening-round bye in this year’s event. That’s a huge advantage considering they had yet to play a game by the time half of the entrants in their division had already lost once.

As it turned out, the Nanaimo side only ended up playing four games at this year’s event. The West Coast squad, which included seven returnees from last year’s champion, won its tournament opener but then dropped a 59-47 decision to Metlakatla.

The Spirits rebounded in their next outing, however, and defeated the Prince Rupert Rain 70-53. This victory earned the team a berth in the final and a chance to avenge its previous loss to Metlakatla.

Three of the Spirits’ players were singled out for their efforts following the tournament. Brittany Williams was named the tournament MVP while her teammates Jeannine Adams and Jolene Nagy cracked the tournament all-star squad.

The tournament also featured three other divisions.

Skidegate won the men’s grouping, Kitimaat took top honours in the intermediate men’s (21 and under) division and Massett captured the men’s masters class.