Players in Canada-USA friendship series in Thunder Bay hope it's a win for women's baseball
Elite-level, international baseball returns to northern Ontario this week as Thunder Bay hosts a five-game friendship series between the Canadian and U.S. national women's teams.It's the first international competition for both sides since the 2019 COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships in Mexico, where the Americans won gold. Both Canada and USA are in the top five of the world rankings.
For the first time in more than two decades, an all-girls team from Alberta will compete at the Little League Softball World Series in Greenville, N.C. — kicking off their opening game on Tuesday night.
Aged 13 and under, the St. Albert Angels will represent Canada in a game against a team from the Philippines on Aug. 9.
"We have to prove ourselves every single game," said Ella Stranaghan, a 13-year-old pitcher for the Angels.
Athletes from far north make 800-kilometre trek to Tony Cote First Nation Summer Games
Athletes from Fond Du Lac made the long journey to Saskatoon and Whitecap Dakota First Nation to compete at the Tony Cote First Nations Summer Games. Isadore, 14, is one of thousands of young athletes from across Saskatchewan competing in events being held in Saskatoon and Whitecap Dakota First Nations this week. However, her journey to the Games was like a marathon on its own. Isadore lives in Fond Du Lac, an isolated community on Lake Athabasca, about 800 kilometres as the crow flies from Saskatoon, It's closer to the border of the Northwest Territories than the town of La Ronge.
The U13 St. Albert team won gold at the Canada Little League Softball Championships over the Heritage Day weekend in Victoria, B.C. With an undefeated track record for every game at nationals, the team managed to snag a final spot in the global tournament.
According to the Little League Softball World Series, the St. Albert group is the first Alberta team to play for the global title since 2000, when Calgary's Sunridge Little League competed.
"It's kind of overwhelming," Stranaghan said.
Stranaghan said she was inspired to try softball less than a year ago, after watching many videos of the game online.
Video: Canada’s Michelle Li captures badminton silver at the Commonwealth Games (cbc.ca)
But when Stranaghan tried to talk about the sport at school, she said boys in her class would often taunt her by saying, "that's not a real sport."
Former first-round pick Nick Merkley signs in KHL
The Calgary native has signed a one-year contract of KHL side Dinamo Minsk.Merkley, 25, has been a talented, high-end scorer at every level of hockey he’s played in besides the NHL. At the AHL level, Merkley has 157 points in 201 career games. At that level, he’s a line-driving playmaker with a knack for setting up his linemates and finding his way onto the scoresheet. At the NHL level, Merkley has struggled to make his mark, and his lack of size (he’s just 5-foot-10, 195 pounds) and his lack of breakaway skating talent have combined to make him ineffective in an NHL role.
Stranaghan said being chosen to play for Canada internationally was gratifying — convincing her and her teammates that girls have a place in competitive sports.
She said she still can't believe she will be competing at the event she used to watch for hours.
"We're representing all of Canada. It's huge for everyone," she said.
"It just kind of shows you that you can go somewhere with this."
For head coach Dianna Jordison, the world championship event will mark her international debut.
"I'm hoping that it opens the doors and lets other teams know that this is a possibility, so that we can get bigger competition within Little League in Canada," she said.
"You can build dreams out of this and have goals and aspire to have a future in sport."
According to Jordison, players and softball fans wish the championship event would be live-streamed across Canada, like the boys' tournament.
The St. Albert Angels will play a team from the Philippines at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The Little League Softball World Series runs until Aug. 15.
Brian Jean: Alberta needs constitutional change, not a virtue signalling Sovereignty Act .
Responding to Danielle Smith’s proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act is challenging because Smith herself simultaneously portrays it as both a constitutional hand grenade and a mere exercise in legal virtue signalling. Her examples of the provocations from Ottawa to Alberta are correct and anger me as well, but normal everyday Albertans need to recognize that the Alberta Sovereignty Act is counter-productive and harmful. It is also likely unconstitutional.