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Winterhawks lose a close one

The Whistler Winterhawks Midget 1995-1997 squad lost their final game to place second at the Whistler International All Star Hockey Tournament this past weekend.

Their first game was a 5-3 win over the Junior Panthers, followed by a 6-2 win over Raiders Hockey. They lost 4-2 to the Cougar Selects, a team of rep players from Vancouver, then rallied to defeat West Coast Hockey 6-5 in their semifinal game. In the last game they were edged by the Warriors 3-2.

The Midget squad had a banner season, winning league and playoff banners before heading to the Tier 3 provincials, where they placed third. They also placed third at the Challenge Cup tournament back in May.

The Whistler tournament is always a little different, with core players on holidays or otherwise unavailable. The Whistler squad included players from Kelowna and the Lower Mainland.

Eagles short-benched for finals

After going 4-0 in the regular season, the Sea to Sky Eagles Rugby League Football Team would arguably be the favourite going into the B.C. Rugby League Grand Finals this Saturday against the Surrey Beavers. But sport is nothing if not predictable, and the Eagles will head to the fields at Capilano Rugby Club in West Vancouver missing their captain Matt Upton, a 27-year-old Australian living in Whistler who dislocated his shoulder three weeks ago. This will be the first game that Upton will have missed in the team's two seasons.

"It's been really tough on Matty," said head coach Keith Reeves, "he's played through this season's good times and last season's tough times, along with Ally Mac he really deserved to play in the final."

Upton won't be the only player missing. Harvey Bell, the team's leading scorer, landed a contract at the Calgary Stampede he couldn't pass up.

However, the Eagles continue to be confident. "Surrey are a real tough team who really get in your faces and try to provoke you," said Reeves. "We will beat them with skill and pace. We've lost a few key players but this year our squad is strong enough to cope with such losses. In our last two games we scored over 100 points and we will continue to play open, attractive rugby. We want to build a fan base and the best way to do that is to give (fans) something that is attractive to watch."

Kickoff is at 2 p.m., following the plate final between Kelowna and Richmond.

Snowboarder among grant recipients

Alexandra Duckworth, a member of the national snowboard halfpipe team and a Whistler resident, is one of 20 athletes to receive a $5,000 Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund bursary for the upcoming Olympic season.

Duckworth is one of only three members of the national women's halfpipe team, along with two-time Olympian Mercedes Nicoll (sixth in 2010) and Calynn Irwin.

Since its creation in 2000, the Investors Group fund has contributed $1.3 million to Canadian athletes that meet their criteria for athletic achievement, financial need and community involvement.

Duckworth placed in the top 10 twice this season, including the World Championships and World Cup finals.