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WHA expands, skating open house, boarders finish cross-country trip, skiers face the wind

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WHA announces eastern expansion plans

The resurrected World Hockey Association, which created the Junior West Hockey League that includes the new Squamish Cougars franchise, has announced plans to expand to the east coast next season.

Dennis Flood has been named as general manager for the eastern league, joining the executive of the World Hockey Association. According to a release from the WHA, he is already talking to communities interested in hosting WHA teams.

The west coast league is comprised of six teams this season after Pierce County dropped out of the running. The teams include the New Westminster Whalers, Squamish Cougars, Osoyoos Spurs, Lumby Fighting Saints, Bellingham Bulls and Armstrong Sharks. Teams have a 48-game regular-season schedule.

The league provides an alternative to the more structured junior system created by Hockey Canada, and is open to players aged 16 to 20.

 

Skating club hosts open house

The Whistler Skating Club, which coaches everything from beginner Learn to Skate classes to competitive figure skating, is hosting a public open house on Monday, Oct. 16. Parents of skaters and members of the public are welcome to come out, grab some refreshments, and watch a competitive exhibition.

The open house gets underway at 4:45 p.m., the exhibition at 5:45 p.m. and a photo session with the skaters at 6:45 p.m.

 

Boarders go cross-country for breast cancer research

A group of four tired skaters arrived in Vancouver on Monday, wrapping up a five-month, 8,000 kilometre journey from Nova Scotia to Vancouver to raise money for breast cancer research. Although they were not the first to cross the country to raise money for a good cause — Whistler’s own John Ryan hand-pedalled across Canada in 1999 to raise money for spinal cord research — they were the first to attempt the trip by skateboard.

The riders were Rob Lewis, Aaron Jackson, Benjamin Jordan and Carlos Koppen. They came up with the idea for the trip last year when one of their friends lost a mother to breast cancer. The journey was called Push for the Cure, and they averaged 80 to 100 km a day. One day they covered 135 km.

The official website is www.pushforthecure.com.

 

Canadian skiers return to wind tunnel

For the past five years the Canadian Alpine Ski Team has gone from mountains to Michigan, where they test new clothing and equipment, and refine their body positions in the General Motors wind tunnel. GM is a headline sponsor for the CAST program.

With races being decided by mere fractions of a second these days, the team is looking for every advantage it can get.

Whistler’s Britt Janyk, who is focusing more on speed events this year, was one of the racers to take to the tunnel, along with Stefan Guay, Jan Hudec, Vincent Lavoie, Genevieve Simard, Sherry Lawrence, and Shona Rubens. Women’s speed coach, Rob Boyd, and men’s speed coach, Paul Kristofic, also used the tunnel.

“This was my first experience with the wind tunnel and it was really interesting,” said Simard. “Some races are won by just a few hundredths of a second so if I can work, with the help of GM, on something that takes me from fifth to first, I’m willing to put the work in.”

Pontiac GMC is a long-time sponsor of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team as well the headline sponsor of a national FIS race series and the national championships.

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