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2017 a busy and successful year in sports

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It was a busy year in sports in Dauphin and the Parkland with a lot of highs and lows.
For the Dauphin Kings, 2017 was a low as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, finishing the Manitoba Junior Hockey League season with a record of 17-36-5-2 for 41 points, the team’s lowest point total since the 1998-99 season.
The Kings continued to struggle when a new season got underway in the fall, resulting in the firing of head coach and general manager Marc Berry in mid-November. Assistant coach Mitch Giguere took over on an interim basis.
One highlight for the Kings was the Ukrainian Night game, where the players wore Ukrainian style jerseys, which were auctioned off.
Fans jumped at the chance to purchase their own jerseys when they went on sale, with orders coming in from overseas.
It was a memorable year for Kings forward Riese Gaber of Gilbert Plains, though.
Gaber was named to the MJHL’s rookie all-star team in February and in December, helped Team Canada West win the gold medal at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Truro, N.S.
The Kings celebrated their 50th anniversary in the MJHL with an alumni weekend in conjunction with the home opener in September. The weekend featured two alumni games, with more than 100 former players returning to the city where they played junior hockey.
Female hockey in the Parkland took a hit when Hockey Manitoba passed a motion eliminating two regions, including the Parkland.
Players living north of Highway 5 became part of the Norman region, based out of Thompson. West of Highway 5 south of Ste. Rose became part of the Yellowhead region, based in Shoal Lake and east of Highway 5 south of Ste. Rose became part of Central Plains, based in Portage.
The Parkland Rangers qualified for the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League playoffs, but were quickly eliminated in three straight games by the Winnipeg Wild in the best-of-five quarterfinals.
Dauphin’s Kalee Dyck and Kaila Stratuliak and Gabrielle Robbins of McCreary were named to Team Manitoba’s 18U girls 7s rugby team after attending a tryout in Winnipeg.
Kyle Forsyth of Turko Fertilizer beat Bryan Preston of W.J. Robertson to capture his second straight title in the Bayer Crop Science Parkland Super League of Curling.
After winning game one of their best-of-three quarterfinal series against the Vincent Massey Vikings, the Dauphin Clippers lost two straight and were eliminated from the Westman High School Hockey League playoffs, when the Brandon-based Vikings scored a 2-1 overtime win in game three.
Nolan Hadway and his team of Jonathan Kohan, Brett Werbiski, Lawson Yates and fifth Steven Zurba finished second at the high school curling provincials, in Dauphin.
Hadway lost to Brett Walker of Miles Macdonell of Winnipeg in the A-B final.
Hanne Jensen and her team of Lauryn Kuzyk, Sara Kohan, Emma Jensen and Renee Desroches lost their first game to drop to the B-side where they won two straight before bowing out.
Emma Jensen and her team with Jaycee Terrick, Kaitlyn Szewczyk and Kylie Talbot won the bronze medal at the Asham U18 Women’s Provincial Championships.
After every executive position was left vacant following Dauphin Minor Baseball Association’s annual general meeting, a small group of parents, led by new DMBA president Jodie Romanow, stepped up to keep minor baseball alive in the city.
In March, the Dauphin Lake Golf Resort announced the hiring of Ray Karlson as the new general manager.
Dauphin’s Jessi Rampton helped the MacEwan University Griffins win the ACAC Women’s Hockey Division’s league championship. It was the second straight year Rampton celebrated a league title after winning the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League crown the year before.
Credit Union Place played host to a pair of Western Hockey League playoff games when the Brandon Wheat Kings selected Dauphin as their home rink for their playoff series against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Wheat Kings were forced to look for a new home due to the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair taking place in the Keystone Centre.
Medicine Hat won both games in Dauphin, 6-2 in game three and 3-2 in game four, to sweep the series.
Dauphin skater Brecken Brezden had a successful year, winning gold medals in several competitions, including provincials, where she earned a new personal best score.
It was announced in April that the 1951-52 Dauphin Kings would be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in October, along with former player, coach and general manager Barry Trotz.
Dauphin’s Kirk Smith was recognized for his many years as a volunteer lifeguard when he was named the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba’s 2016 Lifeguard of the Year. He was presented with the award in May.
The Dauphin Clippers girls rugby team had a successful season, finishing as runner-up in the Westman High School Rugby League and winning silver at provincials.
In both cases, the Clippers lost to the Minnedosa Chancellors.
Renee Desroches made it five years in a row when she was named the DRCSS Varsity Female Athlete of the Year. She won the same award in her last year at MacKenzie Middle School and was the JV Female Athlete of the Year in her first two years at the high school, before winning the varsity award in 2016.
To top it all off, Desroches was also named the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s AAA Female Athlete of the Year.
The weather tried its best, but could not dampen the enthusiasm of the 17 local residents who took part in the 2017 Canada Summer Games Torch Relay in July.
The relay began at the city’s Hydro office and snaked its way through the city, ending at the Watson Art Centre.
After finishing the Santa Clara Baseball League regular season in fourth place with a 7-7 record, the Dauphin Brewers made it to the semifinals, before bowing out to the eventual league champion Neepawa Cubs.
Four Dauphin players - Carly Ryz, Kalee Dyck, Kaila Stratuliak and Brayden Tomchuk - were named to their respective U18 Prairie Blizzard teams, which took part in the 2017 Canadian Rugby Championship in Calgary in August.
Olivia Sheldon of Ste. Rose and Sydney Wilkinson of Eddystone helped Team Manitoba win the bronze medal at the 2017 16U Girls Invitational Championships in Vaughn, Ont., in August.
The Dauphin Rangers FC men’s soccer team captured the Westman Senior Soccer League title with a 4-3 win over Brandon’s Old Castle United.
The Parkland Pirates youth rugby program had a successful first year, with more than 60 players registered. The regional program hosted its first-ever jamboree in conjunction with the Dauphin Clippers’ high school jamboree in October.
The Clippers girls 7s team won the first rugby championship in school history when it captured the Westman High School Rugby Varsity 7s title, finishing with an 11-1 record.
The success on the pitch continued when the Pirates’ 17U girls and 17U boys won their respective regional tournaments in Winnipeg.
Rod Carberry, coach of the Clippers rugby teams, was named head coach of the U16 girls provincial rugby team.
The underdog Clippers football team rose to the challenge in the Rural Manitoba Football League championship game against the top-ranked Moosomin Generals.
The Clippers won their third straight league title and eighth in the last nine years, with a 48-40 win over the heavily-favoured Generals.
Dauphin’s Carter Williamson was named Baseball Manitoba’s Youth Umpire of the Year at its year-end awards banquet.
Last month, Fork River’s Diane Hrychuk was inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Hall of Fame after a career than spanned 30 years.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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