Summer Games Spectacular
It was seven remarkable days. Steinbach hosted the 2016 Power Smart Manitoba Summer Games from August 7th to the 13th and what a show it was. From the opening ceremonies right until the last medal was presented. 3,000 athletes, coaches and volunteers took part in making these Summer Games one of the best ever. There was athletics, basketball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and volleyball in Steinbach; baseball in Mitchell; cycling at Sandilands provincial forest and Steinbach; triathlon in St. Malo and sailing at West Hawk Lake. Co-chair Trish Enns said the games were bigger than she ever imagined and the success was due to the volunteers, committees and planning crew. "There were a lot of people that put in 16 or 17 hour days to pull this off," said Enns. "I am so proud to be part of such an amazing crew that put this together.”" Eastman athletes won 66 medals including 19 gold, 23 silver and 24 bronze.
17 years is a long, long time. That's how long Norm Anderson was president of the Hanover Soccer Club before stepping down in November. After moving to Manitoba from Scotland, Anderson noted how 18 players from 11 nationalities got together to from the Hanover Kickers soccer team. It wasn't long after that the team decided there was a need for a better system to develop young players and the Hanover Soccer Club was born. "We instigated a board and took over the youth league that was running in Steinbach from the group that was running it," said Anderson. "They were just tired. They had been doing it for many years and it's a lot of work volunteering all the time. From them it just escalated and took basically took on a life of it's own. It's been phenomenal." Anderson says about 200 people played soccer in Steinbach two decades ago and that number has grown to about 1,000. Anderson will remain on the Hanover Soccer Club board as he takes on the role of Technical Director.
The Return of the Allan Cup
The question always comes up. If you host an event for the first time and it's a huge success - why not do it again? Case in point...the Allan Cup. Steinbach hosted the 2009 Canadian Senior “AAA” Hockey Championship that drew standing room only crowds to the T.G. Smith Centre. It was also the coming out party for the South East Prairie Thunder who lost 4-3 in double overtime to the Bentley Generals in the final. The Prairie Thunder did win the Allan Cup in 2012 & 2015 and when it was Manitoba's turn to host the championship in 2016 - a decision was made to bring the Cup back to Steinbach. Just like they did in 2009, South East and Bentley met in the final and the outcome was the same. Carter Rigby scored 15:47 into overtime as the Generals beat the Prairie Thunder 4-3. "It's obviously a tough loss," said defenseman Rob Smith. "We felt we had opportunities to win but it's the way it goes sometimes. We're really proud of the way we battled."
It was a top three finish for Steinbach's Les Friesen and Steffan Reimer of Blumenort at the 38th annual Manitoba Marathon. Friesen finished just 31 seconds behind 2016 champion Bradley Keefe of Winnipeg. "It was definitely a new experience and I wasn't expecting it," said Friesen who ran the 26.2 mile course in 2:44:03 and had the lead at mile 24. "I knew he (Keefe) was hurting and I had a chance to win so I put on a surge when we turned on to Pembina Highway with a couple of miles to go. For about half-a-mile he stuck with me and caught up to me and I was just done. I took a risk doing that. I had nothing left. I wasn't disappointed at all. To finish second - I'm very happy." Reimer, who competed in the Boston Marathon in April, finished in third place with a time of 2:50:35. "I only found out I was in third literally when they announced it on the backstretch. I thought I would be fifth, sixth or seventh but I had to idea where I was. To finish third - that's special."
A Record Setting Season
The Eastman Selects won a lot of hockey games in the 2015-2016 season. Eastman won 40 of 44 regular season games and lost just once in regulation. For the first time in team history, the Selects finished in top spot in the Manitoba “AAA” Midget Hockey League. Eastman swept the Southwest Cougars in three straight games in the quarterfinals; eliminated the Yellowhead Chiefs three games to two in the semifinals and then lost three games to one to the Winnipeg Wild in the final. "It's easy to be proud of that group," said Selects head coach Calvin Bugyik after their tough game four loss. "Everybody in that dressing room is a better player than they were when we got together in September and obviously we're a better team. We told the guys it's going to sting and it does hurt. I know how hard it is for them because they care and they wanted this so much. This is a season we can definitely be proud of regardless of tonight." Despite that 40-win season and two trips to the finals in three years, Calvin Bugyik was informed by the Eastman Minor Hockey Association he would not be returning behind the bench for the 2016-2017 season.