NSCRD showcases some of the top Northern athletes who are pursuing sport as a career. Some of these athletes have attended the Sask Provincial Games for Team North; others have travelled south to join club teams; and some are even making it big on the national stage. If you know any athletes that you would like to see showcased on our website that grew up in the Northern District, please give Ryan a call at (306) 688-2122 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is William McGonigal and I’m currently in grade ten. I have lived in Ile-a-la Crosse, Saskatchewan for the past twelve years of my life. I attend Rossignol High School in my community. I began cross country skiing in elementary school because of my Phys ed. Teacher, Evan Davies. He loves skiing and has competed at world masters’ multiple times. I started skiing in elementary school and like most kids, didn’t find it very enjoyable. As I got better and went to a couple of small races it became more fun.
My first real race came in 2018 at the Saskatchewan Winter Games when I placed fourth, sixth, and third. In grade seven I took my competition to the next level. A high school teacher at my school started getting me into workouts. We would train indoors and outdoors at lunch, sometimes skiing, sometimes workouts, and sometimes visualization sessions. This started me thinking at competing for real.
I started getting better, winning a few provincial golds and having a training plan 365 days a year. For the past two years my sister and I have had the pleasure to be coached by Matt Mazurik, a physio therapist from Buffalo Narrows. Neither of us would be here if it wasn’t for his dedication. We have no team, and one coach, doing everything he can to make two kids better. My sister and I are now competing at a much higher level in cross country skiing, cross country running, and long distance track.
I have competed both in and out of province. I have won provincials for my age group four years in a row. My two best friends compete with me and live in Saskatoon. Graham Farthing, Alistair English and I did the 55km Saskaloppet last year in four hours. I competed at the Canada Winter Games and had an individual provincial best of 25th place in the classic sprint. However, my best race came on February 4th, 2023, when I surprisingly won bronze at Western Canadian Championships in Kimberley, BC in the skate sprints.
My future goals are a bit blurry. I definitely will continue to do the best that I can for the remainder of my high school years. I will most likely move west and attend university somewhere that I can train on a ski team in the mountains. I will see where that takes me. My biggest goal would be to make the junior national team because that’s a point that I know I can get to if I try my best.
I have had many barriers as everyone does along the way. I have been lucky with injury but still have had some close calls. I broke 1200 dollars worth of poles last year which wasn’t ideal. I was in a bike accident where a truck hit me from the side a few days before track and field provincials last year and was still able to compete. My biggest barrier was getting COVID for the first time a week before Canada Winter Games. I almost was not able to go to Regina. Then I couldn’t train for eight days leading up to the trip and was still feeling it for the first race. I believe that cross country skiers are the strongest sport group in earth. The mental and physical toughness is so incredible. You need to plan and visualize every single moment; you need to forget about everyone around you but also be aware of your surroundings. You need to know when to go fast and slow, hard or easy, and know what technique is most energy efficient at all times. My favourite quote ever by my role model Jessie Diggins, an American cross-country skier who has won the World Cup circuit and Olympic medals:
Be a good teammate. Check in with people to see how they’re doing, how you can support them.
-Cross each finish line with nothing left in the tank.
-Come to each start line knowing you worked your hardest and did everything you could to be prepared…and then believe in your race plan.
-Process and honor your emotions and experiences, but let each race be just a race, not a measure of my worth or a definition of who I am.
Line-backer- Saskatoon JR Hilltops
Noah Olivier born in Flin Flon MB, played his high school football career with the Creighton Kodiaks and graduated in 2021-22. Noah currently lives and works in Saskatoon where he signed and is a rookie for the Saskatoon Junior Hilltops as a line-backer.
Noah got into sport when he was young playing all sports such as hockey, baseball, soccer but found his love with the game of football. One of the biggest reasons he tried out for the football team in grade 9 was because of his big brother Ethan that played and inspired him. Noah’s brother Ethan is one of his biggest role models, and when Ethan passed, Noah continued to have his spirit and love for him wherever his journey took him in the game of football and in life.
Noah has had several achievements to date which include; four years playing in Creighton winning two northern championships, made the senior bowl team and winning the game for Team North, selected to be a member of the Sask Selects, and signing with the Saskatoon Hilltops.
Noah hopes to become a full-time starter next year and to continue to prove the doubters wrong representing the northern league proudly and going to the U of S for kinesiology as some future goals. The ultimate goal would be to play college football.
Angel was born in Wollaston Saskatchewan and made her way to Prince Albert SK to attend high school and more importantly give her opportunities that aren’t present in Wollaston and one of those opportunities was becoming able to join a wrestling club.
In 2018, Angel was walking the halls of St.Mary’s High School in PA when the wrestling coach approached her and mentioned that she had the perfect body type to join the wrestling team and see if she would like the sport. Angel attended the first practice and really wanted to give up at that point as her body was really sore and the amount of exercise really shocked her on how hard it was. But she decided to hang in there and give it a try and attend an up coming tournament to just see how she could really do. Angel expressed just how scared she was going into that first tournament in Saskatoon but her talent took over and she won 1st in her weight class and knew she needed to pursue this more and she became hooked ever since.
Angel is currently in grade 11 at St.Mary’s High School but considers Wollaston a big part of her life and continues to fly home to visit family very frequently. She has contributed her family, her grandfather that loved to watch wrestling, her current coaches, Cody Souler and Roxanne Richards and her Grandmother Jenny has a huge support financially. All these individuals have played a huge role in coaching, mentoring and providing the support to Angel up to this point. She considers all them role models in her life.
Some of the achievements that Angel has accomplished so far are: Bronze in Provincials in 2020 80kg weight class and regionals 2020 Gold medal in Prince Albert. Angel has expressed it all hasn’t been easy, and their has been many barriers, from being a single mother, having cultural shock from leaving her home community to a big city were the food is different, way of living, and the language all have been a big transition.
Angel will continue to train in the sport of wrestling as she plans to participate in Nationals in 2022, hopefully NAIG in 2022 and possibly attend a University and compete in wrestling. Her ultimate goal would make it to the WWE but if that doesn’t happen she would settle for being a teacher.
Josiah Hallet was born in Hudson Bay SK and found his way to the community of La Ronge at a young age with his family. Josiah got into Judo when he was 10 years old as his parents thought it would be a good idea that their boys join a sport or activity that taught them life lessons and have some fun along the way meeting new friends.
Josiah instantly enjoyed the sport and he credits a lot of his success to his coach Jeff Irvine as one of his role models and helped him be the athlete and person he is now. Josiah currently uses the motivation of other athletes he sees when he travels to competitions and tries to learn as much as possible from others to teach him helpful hints but most importantly life lessons he can learn along the way.
Josiah at the age of 16 has already accomplished so many things. I met Josiah at the 2018 Saskatchewan Winter Games in North Battleford where he helped Team Northwin 3 bronze medals. Josiah was also Youth U16 Male Athlete of the Year in SK (2020) and most improved athlete of 2020 in Judo in SK. He won 2 silver medals in Edmonton internationals (2019), Bronze at the Ontario Open (2019), Gold at Silver SK Open (2019), and Gold at the inter city Winnipeg Open (2019).
Josiah even though he is still so young in his craft, plans to continue to compete and train and see where the sport of Judo can take him. He wants to travel around competing and seeing new places, see if he can make a run for Team Canada someday but most importantly he wants to take all his experiences and have life lessons that will help him moving forward whatever comes his way.
Josiah first goal will to finish high school in La Ronge and train to be able to compete at Nationals and the Montreal Open both in 2022.
One thing is for sure from talking to Josiah is that he has the world ahead of him and the North is very proud of his accomplishments but also impressed of the kind of person he is and will inspire others to be.
Amateur Nationals Golf Player
Lauren Fox was born in Flin Flon Manitoba and currently lives in Creighton Saskatchewan where she goes to School at Creighton Community School and will be attending grade 12 this year (2019).
Lauren started playing golf at the young age 4 where she was introduced to putting at various mini golf courses where she played with her older brother and parents. From there she played her first full round of golf at the age of 7 where her Dad took her out along with her brother. Lauren credits her Dad for taking her out and showing her the game of golf at such a young age which she loved mostly because of the outdoor fun, snacks and driving the golf cart.
Lauren has had many role models so far as she continues her golf journey but she added her Dad has been the most influential. She would also like to thank her brother for all the rounds that they have done together providing a sibling rivalry on the coarse that only made her better when competing against other competitors. Finally Lauren also would like to thank her swing coach Curt Lawrence that has put many hours in getting her ready to compete but also teaching her so many things when it comes to golf.
Lauren has many achievements up to date and hopes she can continue her journey this year and beyond. So far she has won the Club Championship in Flin Flon, 1st 2018 High School Provincials in Estevan, 2nd place in 2017 at High School Provincials, 2019 2nd in Golf Saskatchewan Junior Championships, and finally 105th in Nationals in 2019 in Lethbridge.
Lauren plans to get ready for all her 2019 events coming up, then to gain a scholarship in golf for a University in 2020. She also wants to continue to play in Golf Saskatchewan Woman’s and Seniors Championships.
Lauren plans to go to University in 2020 and to continue to play Golf for the rest of her life.
Amateur Volleyball Player- Team Sask U15
Rylee Bell lives in La Ronge Sask and currently goes to school at Churchill High School in La Ronge. Rylee got into the sport of volleyball when she was in grade 5 and she suddenly had a big passion to play the sport, especially after the countless hours she watched her parents play at local tournaments and competitions.
Rylee thanks both her Mom and Dad for supporting her early career in the sport of volleyball, and for that believes her parents will always be her role models as she continues to play the sport she loves.
Rylee has had many achievements in her young career so far. She made the under 15 Team Sask, making the A Team for the Toppers in Prince Albert, Team Woodland 2017-18 gold and heading to BC this summer for U15 Team Sask.
Rylee has many future goals and she hopes volleyball is part of that future. She would love to play for the U of S Huskies volleyball team and some day play in the Olympics.
Currently she will be enrolled in grad 10 at Churchill High School and plans to play seniors girls volleyball, continue to play with her club team for the Prince Albert Toppers and continue her studies.
We will be keeping our eye on Rylee as she continues her journey in sport and volleyball and becoming a role model for future northern athletes.
University of Saskatchewan Cheerleader
LeKeisha Halkett was born and raised in La Ronge SK and went to school at Churchill Community High School. She started cheering in grade 6 at Pre Cam Community School at a non-competitive event. Then she decided to join the cheer team at Churchill Community High School because of the positive experiences she had.
LeKeisha has had many different coaches and role models throughout her cheerleading career, however Jianna Haugen inspired her to push herself to the limit and saw the potential that she needed to put her heart and soul into the cheer team.
Over the years of competing LeKeisha struggled like many other teenage girls with insecurities. It was through cheerleading she was able to grow confidence within herself and fell in love with the concept and team atmosphere of cheerleading. It all came full circle and was a huge achievement when she found out she made the University of Saskatchewan cheer team.
LeKeisha’s future goals includes to be on the cheer team at U of S throughout her whole University career then hopefully become a coach to teach others of this great sport. Currently LeKeisha is finishing her summer job at Gordon Denny then plans to move to Saskatoon to attend the U of S in September 2017 and start cheerleading again!
Junior Hockey Player- London Lakers
Regan Yew born and raised in Ile a la Crosse Saskatchewan and currently is playing in London Lakers in the Junior Canadian Hockey League.
Regan started skating at the age of 5 years old, he instantly loved the game and then played organized hockey in Meadow Lake at the age of 9. Regan described his father having the biggest influence in his hockey path as he coached Regan all the way up to Bantam age. Both Regan’s mom and dad supported and dedicated years and years to see the success happen for their son from minor hockey to junior.
Regan has had many achievements on his path to where he is today. He played Triple A North Battleford from 2010-2012, then 2013-2015 played in the SJHL, AJHL, MJHL. In 2015-2016, was the North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League MVP and scoring leader and now currently playing with London Lakers of the EMHL and leads the league in scoring. Regan was also drafted by the PA Raiders but injuries stopped any further success of playing the WHL.
Regan admitted it all hasn’t been easy and he had to overcome several barriers and obstacles. The costs were not easy throughout his minor hockey for his family, the 5 hour round trip to Meadow Lake for games, tournaments and practices. A 14-hour round trip to Saskatoon to train in the off-season. Lack of training facilities, and not being able to play other sports because was told to just concentrate on hockey. Regan thanks everyone in his family and community for the support.
Regan has many future goals, he plans to continue his dream to make Pro but if that does not happen he hopes to attend University while still playing hockey.
University of Regina Cougars hockey player
Dillan McCombie from Creighton Saskatchewan got into hockey when he was 2 years old when his dad built an outdoor rink in his backyard for his family. Dillan’s older brother and friends would be out there everyday. So when Dillan was 2 he tried skating and he instantly loved it. Dillan’s parents made it possible for him to play because they always drove him to the rink and volunteered a lot of their time to make it possible for Dillan to play.
Dillan’s role models growing up was his siblings. He looked up to his older brothers and would always try to tag along and do whatever they tried to do.
Dillan had many achievements in his hockey career, but a few that he will always remember his playing Jr for the hometown Flin Flon Bombers and having his friends and family be able to watch him all year and sharing a lot of memories with his family. Secondly after he was traded to Daulphin from Flin Flon he was able to play for the National RBC Cup. They ended up losing in the semi-finals but it was an amazing experience they he would cherish forever. Lastly when Dillan played for Bonnyville Pontiac’s and they were in game 6 in the 2nd round playoffs. They were playing at home with a chance to win the series and go on to the north division final. The game ended up going into overtime and his linemate gave him a perfect pass in the slot resulting in the winning goal. He just remembers the place going crazy and being surrounded by teammates knocking him to the ice in excitement.
Dillan’s future goals are to finish his university degree. Once he is done playing university hockey he would love to play some professional hockey if the opportunity is there.
Dillan’s message to younger kids would be to make sure they have fun playing hockey. He knows there is a lot of pressure at times but you cant forget that hockey is a ‘game’ so u need to enjoy it. Also make sure you put as much effort into school as you do hockey, because highschool grades are important to scouts. If you can keep your marks up, it will only help you to have a career in hockey.
Team Sask Volleyball Player-Beauval
Don Campbell born and raised in Beauval Saskatchewan, got into sport at a early age. He started volleyball when he was in grade 9 and his coaches saw great potential and encouraged Don to continue to play and get better. Don thanks his two coaches who played a huge role to develop his volleyball career into the player he is today. Don thanks Paul Raycroft and Sam Dawson who were his role models in his community.
Don has many achievements in his short volleyball career and continues to make new memories and achievements. Don played in high school in Beauval on the volleyball team, he also plays on a club team out of La Loche, where he traveled to Edmonton to play in a big club tournament. He also played in regionals in Saskatoon this past summer, his team finished 10th in Nationals and he participated on trying to make Team Canada. Don is currently playing with Team Sask at Western’s in Fort McMurray Alberta and is the only Northern Saskatchewan athlete taking part at the games. Campbell could only remember three other Beauval residents who have also participated in the Western Canada games and said it was an honour to be recognized as one of the best volleyball players in the province.
Don hopes to get a scholarship and play with the University of Huskies in 2016-2017 and take a field of fitness as a major. Don thanks all those who have helped him play sport and stick with volleyball. He hopes that volleyball will open up many doors for him.
In the picture (Don is top row, 3rd from the left)
Member of the Creighton/Flin Flon Ski Club
Nick Martin born and raised in Flin Flon and is an active member of the Creighton/Flin Flon ski Club for the past 10 years. Nick got into skiing after his best friend pushed him to join the club. They both played hockey but never really got into the sport so they decided to ski and right away Nick knew that was the sport for him. Nick fell in love with skiing mostly because it was a sport outdoors and living in the North its custom to be outside and enjoying the outdoor life.
Nick really never had any role models growing up in skiing. His goal each time was to get better and beat anyone he raced up against. Nick has realized over the past 2 years that he is now a role model for many Northern kids and he embraces to the role. Many kids come up to him and ask him of all his achievements and the places he has gone to ski. Nick feels he has a responsibility to teach kids not only how to ski but to conduct themselves if they want to be successful. When Nick interacts with the kids it reminds him of why he fell in love with the sport of skiing and sees many kids trying to follow in his footsteps.
Nick just came home from representing Saskatchewan at the Canada Winter games in Prince George and enjoyed the experience and the venue. Nick has won many medals in his road to stardom and looks to continue to train to go to higher levels. Its his goal to train at a better facility with higher level coaches.
Nick is currently attending School and is training all summer to be in the best shape possible for next ski season. Nick really wants to thank his mom and his coaches for all the support and help along the way that has made his goals and dreams come true. Nick look to represent Sask/Manitoba at the highest level one day.
University of Saskatchewan Hockey Team
Craig McCallum born and in the Canoe Lake area and now living in Saskatoon playing with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies hockey team. Growing up Craig always loved the game of hockey whether it was watching it on TV, or playing in the back yard. Some of the role models Craig had growing was his mother Laura McCallum and his uncle Dennis Iron. Craig has also had some great coaches throughout his minor hockey career.
Craig has had many achievements growing up and has played at a high level being a member of the Beardy’s Blackhawks, Edmonton Oil Kings, Prince Albert Raiders and now with the University Huskies. Craig looks to also finish his degree in Bachelor of Education.
In Northern Saskatchewan elite hockey players usually find there way South but one thing is for sure you can go to almost any community North of Prince Albert and people are aware of Craig’s accomplishments and continue to follow him on his quest to win the CIS championship with the Huskies.
People from Canoe Lake are very prod of him and his active role in being a role model for hockey players in Northern Saskatchewan, and they wish him the best in his quest and journey to make it someday to the NHL.
Looking to be a member of the U of S Basketball Team
Emma Smallwood born and raised in La Ronge Saskatchewan, started playing sports at the age of 2. Emma started out as a skier at the age of 2 and has many family memories in the process with spending lots of time with her family at the ski hill. At the age of 11 she took part in basketball. Her brother played and she soon knew that she wanted to learn more about the sport and take part.
As Emma got older she has many people that played as role models in her sporting life. Her basketball coach David Shearer helped her reach her goals and pushed her to be a better player and an all around person. Emma is proud to say she wouldn’t be the person she is today without his support.
Emma is very proud of the many sporting achievements she has received throughout her high school years. She excelled in many sports not just basketball. She participated in the 2011 Canada Winter games in skiing, Won 2nd and 3rd in Hoopla Basketball in consecutive years, 1st place in rugby provincials in 2013 and 2014 and finally 2013 3rd place finish in soccer provincials. Emma clearly has a gift in many sports and her success followed every team she was part of.
Emma plans to try out for the University of Saskatchewan female basketball team and get a nutrition degree. Then ultimately coach basketball some day. Emma currently participates many sports for fun as she tries to concentrate on her degree.
Canoeing, Hometown: Pelican Narrows
Summer Stevenson born and raised in Pelican Narrows SK, got involved in Canoeing when she was 4 years old when her parents shared their passion for canoeing with her. When mentioned who played an significant role in her development of the sport Summer was quick to add that it was her mom (Bella) who played a huge role in her success. Summer added, ” my mother is my best friend and role model and without her guidance and support I would of never been the paddler I am today. Her time and commitment she spent with me out on the lake are memories I will never forget.”
Summer’s achievements are long, as she won numerous Gold medals at First Nation games, Gold, Silver medals at the Saskatchewan Games in Meadow Lake 2012, and just this summer won 4 Gold and 1 Silver at the NAIG games in Regina. When asked what were her favorite moments at these events, Summer stated ” having friends and family being part of it”
Summer currently goes to School in Prince Albert at the FNUC studying arts and science, and even though she is unclear of her career one thing is for sure she wants to continue to paddle, more specially become a coach and share her skills with future Northerners.
Volleyball, Hometown: La Loche
Alwyn Piche a member of Clearwater Dene First Nation was one of 13 inductees into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Hall of Fame. Piche now 28 was twice voted Canadian Collegiate Athletic Men’s Volleyball Player of the Year in 2009 and 2013. He played for Keyano College Huskies in Fort McMurray where he graduated with a Mechanical Construction and trades certificate.
Exceptionally talented he emerged as Keyano College’s most decorated student athlete in its history. In the years he won the CCAA Volleyball Player of the Year he was also a member of the Al-Canadian team and was CCAA National Tournament All-Star in 2009.
Alwyn is the ACAC’s all-time points leader in Men’s volleyball while also ranking first in all-time aces, second in kills and tenth in digs.
Piche now works for Suncor in Fort McMurray as a mechanic, using his community as his home base.
Wrestling, Hometown: Patuanak
Sydney got involved in sport when she was in grade 2. The principal of her School encouraged her mother that Sydney would have some strong physical skills and that she should consider putting Syd in sport eventually. Sydney was provided lots of support from her mother along the way and her mom never missed a tournament that Sydney participated in. As Sydney got older and started to train harder she was coached and supported by her coach Gary Frey who became Sydney’s coach for about 4 years. Sydney would also like to acknowledge all her friends and other family members who were there for her and providing mental support along the way.
Sydney has many accomplishments in the past few years. She claimed 2nd in 2013 in regionals after training and being gone for about 4 months. The first time Sydney went to Nationals was in 2013 held in Saskatoon and she claimed 5th. From there in 2014 she claimed 4th in Nationals in Guelph Ontario. A experience she would never forget claimed Sydney. All those events were made possible from all the medals I won growing up in elementary and high School which gave me the confidence and belief that I could compete at the high of level.
My most favorite moment as a wrestler was still going to National in Ontario, it was a lifetime experience.
Currently Sydney lives in Prince Albert and plans to attend the University of Saskatchewan next fall and plans to try out for the wrestling team. If that doesn’t work out she would like to give back by either being a coach or a referee.
Sydney’s advice for kids involved in sport is to work hard, train hard and remember sometimes its not always about winning but if you to put the work in eventually it will pay off and you will accomplish your goals.
Volleyball, Hometown: La Ronge
Carmen was born in Uranium City SK, but raised in Air Ronge SK. Carmen was brought up into sport because her parents and family supported an active lifestyle. Carmen had many support groups in her journey through sport especially with her coaches. No one more than her coach Rob Liggett coach from Churchill High School and her college coach Austin Dyer at Lakeland college in Lloydminster. These two individuals saw potential and did not focus on her underdevelopment, but worked to develop her skills to a higher level.
One of Carmen’s greatest moments in sport was becoming the captain of her college Lakeland team, it was a dream that she thought was just a dream. Carmen has now hung up her shoes playing out her 5 years of eligibility and just play’s recreational whenever she can.
Carmen’s message for younger volleyball kids; ” if you love sport than just keep playing, don’t hold back because you think you won’t go anywhere, you never know who is watching you and taking notice. It is about enjoying your time in sport with your teammates and if you see an opportunity then run with it and take responsibility for your future and seize the opportunity.
Football, Hometown: La Ronge
Connor was born and raised in La Ronge Saskatchewan. His first involvement in sport was in hockey when his dad enrolled him in novice in the La Ronge minor hockey program. His dad was influential in starting him in sport and getting him to play at such a young age.
Connor then took to football when he started grade 7 when his teacher Gabe Andrews got 2 U of S Huskies to come down to La Ronge to run a week long spring camp. Connor’s main supporters now in football are currently his parents and his coach (Gabe Andrews). My proudest moment in football came in grade 10 when we had our first game against Big River Beavers on our home field in La Ronge. Our coach gave us a very inspirational speech about getting first downs, getting our first hit, and scoring our first touchdown. I was able to get them all and be on the winning side of a 36-24 win, with him scoring all the touchdowns.
I currently still play for the Churchill Chargers and have future plans to either play for the U of S Huskies or Regina Thunder.
My advice for younger kids who plan to play sports is to never give up no matter how much criticism you get it will help you advance in the long run, and secondly if you don’t get it right in practice then do it over and over till you can master it for the game.
Cross Country Skiing, Hometown: La Ronge
Dylan started skiing when he was 5 years of age when his mother signed him up in skiing for the La Ronge ski club. After that Dylan trained and competed every winter to where he is at today and what he plans to accomplish in the coming years.
Dylan is currently 17 years old and plans to get ready for Nationals in Newfoundland on March 13th, 2014. He then hopes he can compete to make Canada Winter Games and Westerns that will happen in 2015 in Alberta and BC.
Dylan loves the sport of cross country skiing because he loves to compete and train and its a very mental sport that challenges him each and every day to get better. Dylan hopes to inspire other La Ronge ski Club kids to continue to grow and compete and try out for competitions as they present themselves. He is also wishes all the kids heading to PA for the 2014 Sask Winter Games goodluck as he competed in Moose Jaw and medaled for Team North at the 2010 games and knows how much fun they will have.
Volleyball, Hometown: Wollaston Lake
When I was in elementary school, I started playing volleyball with the school staff during the evenings. My mother was the principal, so I would tag along with her. They let me participate with them. I learned a lot by being involved and by watching. In grade 7 and 8 we had a junior team at school and actually went to tournaments. Travelling to tournaments was a big deal for us, considering we lived in Wollaston Lake (approximately 800 North of Saskatoon).. It was rare for Mr. Bob Magee and Ms Julie Andrews (Pearson) coached these teams. I remember going to play in La Ronge at the high school. It was a long trip with but we had lots of fun.
During the summer holidays, I would attend volleyball camps in Meadow Lake and Saskatoon. I often won the awards for the most promising player when I was young, that really encouraged me to keep going. During the winter of 2008, I tried out for the Saskatchewan Bantam Team to attend the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) and I made the team as the setter. Setting has always come very natural to me. That spring and summer we had a lot of practices which required travel to Saskatoon from Wollaston Lake. My mom did a lot of fundraising for this. I also attended as many volleyball camps as I could that summer. We had a great team and I was able to play every game during the NAIG tournament and we won gold.
We moved to Prince Albert in 2008. I attended St. Mary’s High School where I played as the setter for my entire tenure. I also played club volleyball and attended Nationals in 2012 in BC. I always had great coaches and I practiced a lot!! We had practice every day after school, two mornings a week for setters, and I also took the volleyball academy class at school. It took a lot of hard work and dedication. One day I counted how many times I set the ball in a day and it was over 500. That is how you get good at what you do – practice, training, and muscle memory.
I had the opportunity to attend college in Calgary and play there, but I chose to stay close to home. Now I play on various competitive and non-competitive league teams in Saskatoon, as well as weekend tournament with the many great friends I’ve gained through volleyball. This past summer, I traveled to Arizona to represent Canada at the North American Indigenous Games for Adults. Again, my team won gold. It was a great experience and I would love to go again.
My advice to anyone who wants to excel in a sport is to spend a lot of time training, learning, and listening to the coaches. You also need a great support system behind you – thank goodness my parents pushed me and supported me in everything I did. They expected me to always do my best and were willing to support me if I put in the effort. Also, seek out others who you can learn from and take their advice. I had so many people help me and encourage me along the way, and thanks to them, I am a better player, and more importantly, a better person. Although I am only 19 years old, I feel I have enough experience to help mentor players who are younger than I am. I know the amount of support they need. As of right now, I’m in the midst of getting my coaching certification so I can hopefully help coach youth at the North American Indigenous Games.
Mixed Martial Arts, Hometown: La Ronge
Growing up I always idolized Muhammad Ali and dreamed of being just like him, but there wasn’t much opportunity for boxing near where I lived. Eventually I discovered MMA and immediately knew I wanted to compete. I started by learning Muay Thai while living in Thailand for 7 months. Since returning to Canada I’ve had 8 amateur mixed martial arts fights with a record of 6-2-0. I also obtained the Amateur Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight titles under the promotion I compete for. I am confident 2014 will be a great year for me as I make the transition from amateur athlete to professional. My next fight is at the amateur world championships in Las Vegas on Oct 19. To follow my up and coming pro MMA career check out my Facebook fanpage: Devon “Mr Boomtruck” Smith. Advice to the future generation: “Find who you are, know what you’re capable of and achieve it.”
Devon currently lives in the La Ronge area and hopes that more kids continue to pursue there dreams in whatever sport they want to do
Hockey, Hometown: Beauval
Eric Roy is the from his hometown to play in the Western Hockey League and hopes he won’t be the last. The Beauval Saskatchewan athlete had a lot of help growing up in a community that had no rink yet he still pursued his dream of playing competitive hockey. With the help from his parents Karen/Bill and his Uncle Eldon he was able to travel to Meadow lake to play hockey. Eric currently plays with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL and he was drafted by the Calgary Flames this April in New Jersey which was a highlight Eric says he will never forgot. Eric loves to go back home and speak to kids to let them know that there dreams are possible and he hopes the community is able to get a rink for more kids to play the sport he loves. Eric hopes to continue to strive to get better this year and strive to keep the plus minus down. Eric is looking forward to getting back on the ice and the season is close to starting and he couldn’t be more excited.
Eric Loves the game hockey and hopes more kids from his community strive to work hard to accomplish their goals. Eric tells kids never to give up and believe that what your doing will pay off in the end. Eric left home at the age of 14 to play in Prince Albert and never stopped believing he could get drafted.
The NSCRD and all of Northern Sask wishes Eric a great season in Brandon and we look forward to seeing him in Calgary one day. I would like to thank Eric for giving me a few minutes and telling me a little bit of his story.
Golf, Hometown: La Ronge
Mitchell McPhail just graduated high school in La Ronge four days ago and now plans to conquer the Junior Golf World. Mitchell 18 years of age along with his dad Darcy plans to attend the North American Cup match play championships in Toronto July 1st-3rd representing Canada. From there he will attend the Canada Cup in Welland, Ont., July 6th-10th. He then will get a 2 day break to travel to Breda, Holland to compete in the very important Pon Cat Dutch Jr Open representing Team Canada on July 12-21st. Then Mitchell will travel back to Ontario to compete in the Canadian Junior Golf Match Play championships on July 22nd-25th. From there they will travel to Scotland to play at the famous St. Andres Golf Course in the Euro Juniors Cup on July 27th-4th. Then finally Mitchell will end his travels in Waterloo Aug 5th to play in the National Jr. Championships before travelling back to La Ronge.
Mitchell represented Team North Golf Team at the 2012 Summer Games and hopes to get a scholarship in the USA. He also hopes to get an exemption to
play on the European Tour. From everyone from the Northern District we wish you luck this summer and are very proud of your accomplishments.
Picture: Mitchell McPhail competing at the 2012 Sask Summer Games in Meadow Lake a member of Team North Golf Team. (On the left)