Ice Chips and Canoe Quips

Timmins cross country race features three local medalists!

Timmins has long been the hotbed of cross-country runners. However, three young Manitoulin phenoms have been training hard all summer and were not intimidated to take their ‘game’ on the road. Elite Coach Gerry Holliday has been working with Lakeview’s Maren Kasunich and Central Manitoulin’s Ava and Easton Assinewai since last spring.

The venerable 38th annual Brother Roland Saumur XC Invitational at Hersey Lake is the race to be at in early season racing. Maren and Ava finished first and second respectively in the female Grade 7 race. The pair both broke the course record with Maren taking the gold and Ava close behind in silver. Easton, just in Grade 2, finished in third place in the highly competitive Grade 3 race with 130 other runners.

The trio and hundreds of other Manitoulin runners will be lining up to start three local races over the next three weeks. Their season starts with the Wiikwemkoong Invitational at the Rainbow Ridge golf course on Thursday, October 4, then the next two successive Thursdays. On the 11th is the Bobcats’ run hosted by Whitefish River First Nation at Birch Island. Finally, the Manitoulin Championships, hosted by C. C. McLean in Gore Bay, is on the 18th! Good luck to all who have made it this far in your preparation, the rest is just fun now!

Get your “Full Value Fitness” this weekend!

This Saturday, September 29, the inaugural Full Value Fitness Challenge will take place on the track at Manitoulin Secondary School in M’Chigeeng. Organizer Jon Balfe has created a fascinating obstacle/skills/endurance contest to improve your personal fitness, functional movements, strength and agility.

The timed event will have people go through 11 different sections for time. Mr. Balfe will be setting up a schedule so that you can book the most convenient time for your Saturday anywhere from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm so you can get your time and then go on your merry way if you would prefer.

The events are all very functional skills that you would normally have to perform on any given day as you go about the 11 tasks on your schedule as officials record your times. Jon is a huge proponent of self-improvement and not feeling a huge pressure to finish faster than anyone else. It is all about you becoming healthier.

Jon has created an amazing trailer of what his course will look like, complete with very cool drone footage of the location and his own children performing most of the tasks. It looks like it will be a ton of fun and amongst a super-supportive atmosphere. Check out Jon’s posts on YouTube labeled, Full Value Fitness Challenge Trailer. See you there.

Wiikwemkoong offered hockey camp!

Wiikwemkoong’s own professional hockey player was one of the featured instructors at a two-day girls’ camp in Espanola this past week. Kelly Babstock, who is gearing up for her fourth season in the National Women’s Hockey League, was among those instructing the 44 players who attended the camp.

The event was organized by Lawrence Enosse, who manages Wiikwemkoong’s Waasa Nabin Community Youth Services Centre. Since there is no ice available in the Wiikwemkoong rink during the summer months, the closest location Enosse could find to stage the camp was in Espanola, and offered three hours of on-ice instruction.

Enosse was thrilled with the turnout, with players ranging in age from 5-17. In addition to the several players from Manitoulin Island, other camp participants came from as far away as Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

Babstock was joined on the ice by another elite Indigenous player, Kalley Armstrong, the granddaughter of former Toronto Maple Leafs’ captain, George Armstrong.

Armstrong, who was born in Maple, played four seasons of collegiate hockey in the United States, graduating from Harvard University in 2015.

Babstock, who is from Mississauga, spent the past three seasons starring for the Connecticut Whale. Though she will still be toiling in the NWHL, she will be playing closer to home now as she signed an off-season deal with the Buffalo Beauts.

“There was a lot of excitement and from the parents as well,” Enosse said of the reactions of camp participants who were sharing the ice with Babstock and Armstrong. “I found it really inspiring to the young players that were present.”

At that two-day event, Babstock spoke to conference attendees about the importance of combining sports and academics.

After Babstock’s suggestion to run a hockey camp, Enosse quickly put the wheels into motion.

“It was a last-minute thing,” Babstock said. “But it was a good turnout. There were a lot of good kids there and a lot of skilled players out there.”

Babstock invited her close friend Armstrong to help at the camp as well. The pair have known each other for a number of years. Considering the great success, of the event Enosse and Babstock have considered making this an annual event!

NOJHL honours local with three star honours

Hats off to Gregory Trudeau-Paquet who has already garnered three-star honours twice this season in only five games. Greg currently has five points in just five games and is second place on his Kirkland Lake Goldminer squad.

Pickleball Club: medals out and welcomes newbies!

Manitoulin Pickleball Club was well represented at the Ontario Pickleball Championships at the R.I.M. Centre in Waterloo, September 14 to the 16, earlier this month.

Congratulations to: Irma Gibson, Gold, mixed doubles, skill level 3.0, age 60+, Glenn Boisvert, Gold, mixed doubles, skill level 4.0, age 50-59, & Gold, men’s doubles, skill level 4.0, age 60 +, Megan Boisvert, Silver, mixed doubles, skill level 4.5, age 19-49, Bud Hebner, Silver, skill level 4.5, age 60+.

Manitoulin Pickleball Club welcomes players to come out and play at the NEMI Recreation Centre, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10 to 12th and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 pm. Coaching and equipment are provided. Contact Bud Hebner 705-805-1257 or email

A good sport is good for sports.