Szabados backstops Canada to Olympic Gold
This may not be a Griffin’s story per se, but Shannon Szabados, current goalie for the Griffins men’s hockey team, won an Olympic gold medal with the Canadian women’s hockey team.
Szabados, 24, had suited up for Team Canada in the world championships before, but this was her first opportunity in the Olympics and she shone brightly as one of the stars of her team in the Vancouver Olympics in February.
In the gold-medal game against the United States, she made 28 saves for the shutout in the 2-0 victory. Marie-Philip Poulin scored both goals for Team Canada.
Szabados returned to MacEwan in September for what will likely be her last year at the school. She’s in the education and physical education combined program and will soon have to transfer to another institution. This is her third year at MacEwan after taking 2009-10 off from school to prepare for the Olympics full-time with the rest of Team Canada.
In November, Szabados joined Canada once again and won gold at the Four Nations Cup, held in Newfoundland, where the hosts were up against the States, Finland and Sweden.
Back in March, the Griffins men’s volleyball team hosted the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association (CCAA) national championships for the fourth time.
All four times MacEwan has hosted the Griffins have been shut out of the medals. The disappointing performance came just one year after the men won their first-ever national championship at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.
The Griffins opened the 2009-10 season with a fantastic 8-2 start in the first semester, but faltered in second half, winning just one of their last 10 matches. In the bronze-medal match, the Griffins won the second and third sets, but the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Heat won it in five.
In the end, the Limoilou Titans of Queebec won the national title over the SAIT Trojans.
Curling takes gold
MacEwan’s curling team took home two medals from provincials in March.
The women’s team, skipped by Kelly Erickson, won gold at the event by beating the NAIT Ooks, while Ryley Manning skipped the mixed team to a bronze medal, despite losing to the Concordia Thunder in the Griffins’ final match.
The MacEwan women went 3-0 in the round robin, but lost 8-2 in a match against the Ooks to send them to the final. Even though they lost, but because they had finished first, they had another chance to get back to the top and they did just that. They beat the Grande Prairie Wolves 7-1 and beat the NAIT Ooks for the second out of three meetings to take the championship.
Griffin David Jansson was named to the Alberta Colleges Athletics Association mixed all-star team.
Best finish yet for cross-country
The Griffins cross-country teams were certainly the highlight of the fall semester for Grant MacEwan University.
They performed well at provincials and expectations were high for nationals at New Brunswick in November, because they knew that Alberta is consistently one of the fastest provinces at the event.
Rookie Griffin Garrett Gerke was the fastest male for the team and he finished 22nd overall. Meanwhile, fellow Griffins rookie Jenny Hockin, who joined MacEwan after previously running with the University of Alberta Pandas, led the Griffins women and finished 13th overall.
The Griffins women won the bronze medal as a team.
“I think this is a relatively inexperienced team and that they’ve grown partially from my experiences, and I’ve been able to share that with the team,” Hockin said from New Brunswick following the event. “What’s really exciting is that these guys are gaining their own experiences right now and next year, it’s going to be like a completely different team.”
Volleyball men knock off number one Rustlers
The Griffins men’s volleyball team started off the 2010-11 season, well, just OK — they had played some very tough teams and had managed a 4-4 record — but things turned around in a big way Nov. 19 and 20.
They went on the long drive to Caronport, Sask., about nine hours away, and beat the Briercrest Bible College Clippers in back to back games. At the time, the Clippers were ranked number one in the country with a perfect 6-0 record.
“It’s much nicer going into Christmas having wins behind you, than feeling like you still have things to work on,” head coach Jon Heinen said of the victories. “We do still have things to work on, but . . . the bus rides there and back, it makes a huge difference . . . It makes you feel like it’s worth it going that far.”
The games were the Griffins’ last before the December break.
Sidney Crosby’s goal
“Sidney Crosby, the golden goal!”
It’s a call from Chris Cuthbert that will go down in history, along with the likes of “Henderson has scored for Canada” 38 years earlier.
It also began the debate of what was the most significant goal in Canadian hockey history: Paul Henderson’s against the Soviet Union in 1972 or Crosby’s over the United States in Vancouver at the Olympics in 2010.
Regardless, Crosby gave Canada the medal it most desperately wanted for its 14th gold medal and sent the entire country into a state of delirium and immense pride.
It didn’t come easy for Team Canada. Jonathan Toews and Corey Perry opened the scoring for the home side, before Americans Ryan Kesler and Patrick Kane tied things up.
In overtime, it was a great shot from Crosby through Ryan Miller’s legs, after a great feed from St. Albert’s own Jarome Iginla that put an end to the excitement — or just started it, depending on how you look at it.
When bronze is just as good as gold
Another classic moment from the Vancouver Winter Olympics was given to Canada from Joannie Rochette.
The 24-year-old figure skater finished in fifth at the 2006 Olympics in Italy. She’s a six-time Canadian champion and expectations were high for her in Vancouver.
However, everything changed when her mother, Therese, suddenly died Feb. 21, shortly after arriving in Vancouver from Quebec.
Joannie was scheduled to compete for a medal on Feb. 25, but now nobody could even know if she would even be able to skate at all.
The two had a very close relationship, and Therese coached Joannie for much of her life.
Rochette, despite still obviously grieving, wasn’t about to stay in her hotel room. She went out onto the ice, skated for her mother and earned a bronze medal.
“I feel proud and the result didn’t matter but I’m happy to be on the podium,” Rochette told QMI agency after her amazing performance.
“This was a lifetime project with my mom and we achieved that. I remember watching the Olympics for the first time with my parents, my mom. This was her dream for me.”
Taylor vs. Tyler
The Edmonton Oilers earned the number one pick in the NHL Entry Draft with a dismal 2009-10 season and a bit of luck in the lottery.
After that, the debate over who should go number one in the draft — Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires or Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers — only intensified.
There were good arguments for each player, including Hall should be picked because he’s a proven winner (Memorial Cup and World Junior Championship), and Seguin should be the guy because he’s a centre and the Oilers need a centre more than a winger.
In the end, the Oilers went with Hall, and already the 19-year-old has done much to impress Oilers fans.
He had 11 goals and 10 assists through his first 34 games this season (through Dec. 27’s games). That puts him fifth among NHL rookies for points and tied for second in goals.
For the record, through his first 32 games, Seguin has five goals and six assists.
Riders fall to Als, again
Edmonton hosted the 98th Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 28.
There were plenty of captivating storylines going into the game, the main one being the Saskatchewan Roughriders trying to make up for an embarrassing performance in 2009 when they lost the big game because of a penalty for having too many men on the field.
It wasn’t such a heartbreaking defeat this time around, but the Montreal Alouettes still came out on top, 21-18.
Following the game, the emotional Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo explained how he had a cyst on his thyroid, and that doctors weren’t sure if it was cancerous or not.
He’s since had it removed and here’s hoping that Calivillo returns to the Canadian Football League at full strength, despite what he’s done to the Edmonton Eskimos on the field over the last few years.