Flash, bang, wallop: Calgary Fire White win the Alberta Provincial Championship (Bantam Female Elite) 2018

Jordyn Hutt, Calgary Fire White battles for the puck along the boards against a player from North Central Impact during the Alberta Provincials Championship Gold Final (Female Bantam Elite) at the Coca-Cola Centre, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada on Mar 25, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

A season of hard work: all teams. A moment of celebration: one team. Calgary Fire White bussed it 716 km north to Grande Prairie and went back home with the Alberta Provincial Champions (Bantam Female Elite) banner on Sunday with a win in the Gold Final, 2-0 over North Central Impact.

Flash

This was no flash win over a few tournament games when anything can happen. Fire White ended the 2017-18 season with a total of 63 points from 26 games, just four regular time losses in the season. The team tallied an impressive twelve points ahead of their nearest competitor, St. Albert Raiders, who also featured in this year’s Alberta provincial championships presented by ATB Financial at the Coca-Cola Centre in Grande Prairie.

Bang

Fire White went off with a bang in their first game on Thursday, beating their neighbours from Okotoks, the Rocky Mountain Raiders by a score of 3-1. The firing continued through the weekend with wins against North Central Impact (2-1), St. Albert Raiders (2-0) and hosts Peace Country Storm (4-2) that put them in the top berth and a place in the Gold Final against North Central Impact.

Wallop

Championships are enabled by scoring goals: Calgary Fire put 13 goals into the nets. Congratulations to the scorers: Gracie Gilkyson (1); Mya Healey (1); Hayley Wiltshire (3); Mia Bierd (2); Ashlynn Stitt (1); Elizabeth Mura (1); Ryann Perrett (1); Ella Kitchen (1); and Sarah Gaiser (2). And to their forward colleagues who also put pressure on the net and made the plays: Jayna Barnden, Chyenne Risling, Jordyn Hutt and Hannah Suto.

Championships are really won though by preventing the other teams from scoring. Congratulations to the Fire White goalies, Ali Kieren and Kalynah Fong-Martin who both put in impressive performances between the pipes. And congratulations to the defence crew who competed for pucks and kept the opposition teams down to scoring just four goals in five games: Gracie Gilkyson, Caolan Marks, Asha Hanson, Jennifer Nixon, Elizabeth Mura and Payten Evans.

Flash, Bang, Wallop

It’s been a pleasure photographing the Calgary Fire White games throughout this season. It was also fun picking songs of the games. Thank you all the players, coaches, manager, off-ice helpers, DJ’s and parents for a smashing season.

In this final blog of the season, I’m ending with a reference to a film, and a song therein. The film is Half a Sixpence, a British musical from 1967, starring Tommy Steele, who sang the song Flash, Bang, Wallop while a wedding (not a hockey game!) is being photographed. To quote: “What a picture, what a picture. Um-tiddly-um-pum-um-pum-pum. Stick it in your fam’ly album” Check out this link to Half a Sixpence if you want to unravel that Brit-speak!

You can stick this in the win column; stick it in the Alberta list of Champions; stick some in your family album!

More action from the game

For more photos from the Fire White’s five games in the 2018 Alberta Provincial Championships please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications and seek HOCKEY

Posted in Alberta, Canada, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calgary Fire White Progress to Provincial Playoffs

A delayed penalty, a scrum in front of the net and Mia Bierd’s third goal assisted by Ella Kitchen (15) and Ryann Perrett for Calgary Fire White versus Olds Grizzlys in the second game, second round of the Alberta Female Hockey League (Bantam Elite) playoffs. Also showing Gracie Gilkyson (2)
© J. Ashley Nixon

Three from Mia

The Calgary Fire White built on their winning performance in game one, the previous day to confirm their place in this year’s Alberta provincial playoffs. It wasn’t an easy ride as Olds Grizzly’s fought hard to stay in the competition. Unlike the first game though, it was Fire White who opened the scoring in the first period after killing two back to back penalties. Mia Bierd got in front of the net and wristed a beautifully placed shot, glove side over Misty Rey’s left shoulder.

Just over two minutes into the second period, Bierd scored again. Ryann Perrett shot the puck from close range and it looked as though Rey had picked it up with her glove. But the rubber slipped by and Fire White’s number nine centre scooted around to the goalies left and sniped it into the net. Less than three minutes later, she got her hattrick after a delayed penalty against the Grizzlys and scrum in front of their net. No hats on the ice but enough for goalie Misty Rey to be pulled and replaced by Meghan Olsen. More than enough for Fire White win the short series 6-2 on aggregate and to join the Bonnett’s Storm and other teams in the playoff finals in Grande Prairie later this month.

Final score: Calgary Fire White 3-0 Olds Grizzlys

Up next: The  Alberta Bantam Elite playoffs start on March 22 in Grande Prairie. The qualifying teams besides Calgary Fire White are Rocky Mountain Raiders, St. Albert Raiders and North Central Impact. The hosts, Peace Country Bonnett’s Storm also play in the finals.

Song of the match

DJ Kitch was laying down some cool playoff pop songs at the game, making it a difficult choice. It could have been a song from The Strokes (Last Nite), or John Mellancamp (Hurts So Good?). Maybe The Beastie Boys ((You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party))? Alanis Morissette, the runner-up from yesterday’s game was in contention again today with Ironic, not least because of the sing-along it invokes in the Fire White team. But none of those. As this is the last home game before the playoffs up in Grande Prairies, and because there are connections to two of my all-time favourite bands (guess which ones?) I’m awarding three stars today.

One Star

The first star goes to Sporty Spice and her team mates in The Spice Girls, with Wannabee.

Two Stars

Joe Jackson was so close to being a winner with One More Time. It’s a song from 1979, the third single from the album Look Sharp, one of the coolest sounding and looking albums ever produced. I have that one displayed on my basement wall and I never thought I would hear it in a hockey arena in Canada. Great choice, Kitch! This video shows Joe Jackson and band playing the song live in 1980. Reminds me of the jacket and tie I used to wear back in those punky/New Wave halcyon days! If you like this one, you might also like to check out Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Three Stars

The winner, however, goes to the song Paper Planes for two reasons. First, it’s performed by Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name, M.I.A, which coincides with our hattrick scorer, Mia Bierd. The Fire White’s Mia was definitely not missing in action (MIA) in this game. Second, if you look at the credits you will also find, besides M.I.A and Thomas Wesley Pentz (aka Diplo, a DJ, producer, and member of Major Lazer) the names of the members of The Clash: Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Nicholas Bowen “Topper” Headon, and one John Mellor (the late Joe Strummer). They are credited as the M.I.A song samples extensively from Straight to Hell, which featured on the album Combat Rock, released in 1982. Here’s the film link to M.I.A performing Paper Planes from the album Kala released in 2007.

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communication

 

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suto scores twice in Fire White’s win over Grizzlys

Jennifer Nixon hits a puck towards the net in the second round playoff game (Alberta Female Hockey League Bantam Elite) between Girls Hockey Calgary Fire White and Olds Grizzlys at East Calgary Twin Arenas, Calgary on Mar 10, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

 

Coming off a first-round win over Red Deer, the Grizzlys roared into action in the opening period of their first round two game against Girls Hockey Calgary (GHC) Fire White. The Olds team got just reward for their early efforts with a power-play goal after 15 minutes of play. Kallie Clouston, the Olds captain, got in tight, squeezed past her defensive marker and pushed the puck past Ali Kieren’s glove hand.

Fire White responded well though and evened up the scoring with a goal from defender, Gracie Gilkyson with just 17 seconds remaining on the clock.

Island Bernard-Docker put the Grizzlys ahead again halfway through the second period with a scrambled affair in front of the Fire White net. Again, Fire White retaliated, with just seven seconds left when Hannah Suto shoveled the puck backhanded past Meghan Olsen’s blocker.

The final period was into the last two minutes when Suto scored again, a shot from in front of the net that beat the hard working Olsen through traffic.

Final score: Calgary Fire White 3-2 Olds Grizzlys

Up next: You have an even shorter wait for the next match between these two teams as time springs forward by one hour in the wee hours of March 11. The second of the two home and away games in the second round of the Alberta Female Hockey League playoffs starts at 12:30 at East Calgary Twin Arenas (ECTAS).

Song of the match

Some good, edgy female singers were in contention today. Avril Lavigne skated away with the three stars after checking Alanis Morrisette on the ice with Sk8er Boi, released by the Skate Punk Queen of Canada in 2002.

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hockey by the Numbers

Girls Hockey Calgary Bantam AA Fire White goalies: Kalynah Fong-Martin (31) and Ali Kieren (1).
© J. Ashley Nixon

 

The Number on the back

How important is the number on the back of a hockey player? Not as much as the crest on the front, but still enough for players, if they are famous enough, to use that number in their autographs. It becomes a part of their brand identity, cherished and sometimes negotiated for as players move from club to club. Many hockey fans will argue (especially Oilers fans) that number 99, the one carried by Wayne Gretzky through his illustrious career is the best number.

Others will add 87 (Sydney Crosby), often with the Olympic gold-winning goal from 2010 in their minds. Or recognize the brilliant skill set of Russian star, Alex Ovechkin (8). Jágr’s number 68 would top out the variety list, given that he played for nine NHL teams over his 28-year career finishing with Calgary in 2018 (and the Travelling Jagrs might believe he can still hang out some more?). And who could forget Bobby Orr Number Four, recite that phrase and stir up memories of one of sport’s most iconic photographs?

But if integration of name and number is what you’re looking for, it doesn’t get better than the number 22 worn by Canadian professional hockey player, Jordin Tootoo.

Numbers out of the Hat

Even in the minor hockey leagues, the number on the back is worn with pride and often sought out again and again as the young players make their way up from Timbits to Novice, from Atom to Peewee and through to Bantam and Midget. Of course, with rivalries for the same numbers within the same team, players sometimes have to transition to new identities-as defined by their numbers. A draw “out of the hat” in the dressing room usually settles the contest although, in the younger years, there are sometimes tears when that lucky number is picked up by another player.

Lucky 13?

In recent years, number 12 was popular amongst the forwards in Calgary minor hockey teams as youngsters were inspired by the captain of the Calgary Flames, Jerome Iginla. With his departure and the arrival of Johnny Gaudreau, number 13 has become more appealing, although some jersey sets still have the 13 missing. Who said that superstition has gone? By the way, did you know that Johnny Hockey’s birthday lands on August 13? Coincidence?

Lizzy Mura, a defender, wears the number 12 for Girls Hockey Calgary Bantam AA Fire White.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Portraits and Numbers

I created a series of portraits inspired by these numbers. You can view the full set on my photo website-follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications. The players are all young women from the Girls Hockey Calgary Bantam AA Fire White team, who play in the Alberta Female Elite Bantam Hockey League. With thanks to Global Sport Academy for the jersey and team sponsorship.

What’s your favourite sports number?

What’s your favourite hockey or other sports number? Is it for good luck, a recognition of a player or something else? Let me know!

Girls Hockey Calgary Bantam AA Fire White goalie, Kalynah Fong-Martin (31)
© J. Ashley Nixon

 

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Documentary photography, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Young Women Wrestling

Madison Sartain, from Bonnyville and Holly McDougall from Calgary wrestle at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on Feb 18, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

 

 

Madison Sartain was still in junior high school (grade 7) when she started wrestling with older girls at Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS). Within two years she was winning events at the University of Alberta and got the third gold medal of her short career at the Alberta Open held in Cochrane in 2017.

Courage, enthusiasm, and stamina

Her courage and enthusiasm for the sport are contagious and a foundation for her success. That also demands a rigorous training schedule, including two practices each week for an hour and a half with the BCHS Roadrunners. Her coaches, Christine Anacker, a math/science teacher and Justin Sauve, who teaches physical education and social studies, put Madison and her team through skills, as well as working on their muscle development and cardio by making them wrestle straight for three minutes and then a 30 second water break and then wrestling again just like at a tournament.

Wrestler Madison Sartain, from Bonnyville with her Zone 7 team coaches at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on Feb 18, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Aggression and endurance

Madison also participates in track and field to increase her endurance and plays basketball. “It helps with the aggressiveness that is needed for wrestling”, she explained. Power to weight ratio is vitally important in wrestling, a sport where you are expending huge amounts of energy just to remain in position. So paying attention to diet is needed too. “I try to eat healthy most of time and snack to keep energy while at (wrestling) meets.”, she said. Madison, who weighs in at around 64-67 kg competed in the 72 kg class at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games held in February.

2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games

I caught up with Madison while photographing her match against Holly McDougall from Calgary. Although Madison did not win that one, her points record over the day was good and she won the silver medal in this prestigious provincial competition.

That was the first time I had a bloody nose.

It was a day of intense competition for young athletes from across Alberta who splendidly demonstrated physical strength, mental agility, control and aggression on the wrestling mats. Madison, fortunately, has not suffered any injuries in her sport so far. She did though get a bang on her face at this match that stopped the action for a short while. “That was the first time I had a bloody nose,” she explained. “I didn’t even really notice I had one until the girl I was wrestling told me.” Madison showed huge courage to overcome that trauma and put her heart on her sleeve when she came back from an emotional moment after a strong move by her heavier opponent took her breath away.

Madison Sartain, from Bonnyville, battles with a bloody nose during her match with Holly McDougall from Calgary wrestle at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on Feb 18, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Managing the mental game

Managing the mental game of wrestling is part and parcel of this young athlete’s preparation. “I get very nervous before a match, especially when I look at my opponent and I can see how much bigger or stronger she is than me or when I hear how long she’s been wrestling with a club team.

Most of the time being nervous goes away once I get on the mat and then you just wrestle.

I end up psyching myself out and feeling like I will lose just by how she looks.” Madison’s school teachers in Bonnyville are helping her with that part of her sport as well: “My coach has been working with me on directing that feeling into succeeding on the math. I try 100 percent and give it my all. Most of the time being nervous goes away once I get on the mat and then you just wrestle.”

Madison Sartain speaks with her mother, Amanda at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games, held in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada on Feb 18, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Keep wrestling

Wrestling is a tough sport, a great sport for female athletes and full of life’s lessons about mental and physical preparation, overcoming adversity and getting the job done.

As well as her parents and coaches, Madison looks to a role model from Bonnyville as she continues to develop in her sport. That’s Megan Fedlant, who used to compete in the same high school team, went on to the University of Alberta and competed in the Pan-American Games.

I was curious to understand what keeps Madison motivated and where she would like to go to in her favourite sport.

I like that I seem to be talented at it, it makes me feel proud…makes me feel strong and I like to win.

She talked about getting a scholarship for wrestling, attend the Western Canadians (in 2019) and make some national teams. “I like that I seem to be talented at it, it makes me feel proud…makes me feel strong and I like to win.” Seems like a strong foundation for future success in the sport of wrestling.

More photos of wrestling at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications for more photographs of wrestling and other sports at the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games.

Posted in Alberta, Canada, Education, Photography, Social documentary photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calgary’s got Soul in the City @calgaryfolkfest

Lynn Olagundoye (Maric) and Marina Athanasius singing on stage with guitarist Barry Mason from One Big Jam, during the Soul in the City performance at Festival Hall, Calgary in partnership with Calgary Folk Music Festival on Feb 24, 2108.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Soul Town

Cow Town became Soul Town on Saturday night at the Calgary Festival Hall. The Inglewood venue, in partnership with Calgary Folk Music Festival, hosted Soul in the City: Volume 2-A Seat at the Table, one of a series of events across Canada during Black History Month, to celebrate the achievements and contributions that Black Canadians have made to the culture, outlook, and prosperity of our country.

Collective Soul

Soul in the City’s collective, a contemporary, and thoroughly entertaining variety show featured music, art, and spoken word that explored a more collaborative, inclusive world. A world where we all have a seat at the table.

Soul Tracks and Words

DJ Fatrok cheered up the audience with a nice eclectic selection of black music including the notably, Sweet Love voice of Anita Baker. Priscilla Bukasa opened chapter one of the show with rap/slam poetry from one of two satellite stages set on either side of the room. Later, Pierre Mvono, a rapper from Lethbridge, stepped up to the other podium and eloquently articulated with her across the audience with a sea of words that sometimes cajoled, sometimes castigated, all ebbing and flowing with rhythmic delight.

Spicy Soul

Girls singing hip-hop? Fairly unusual. Sisters singing hip-hop? Sounds pretty rare. Two Indo-Canadian sisters singing hip-hop? You what? Priya and Bhagya Ramesh formed Cartel Madras in Calgary last year. Their vibrant combo of dancing and singing signalled that hip-hop has room beyond the badass guys and gives a loud female perspective on urban life. Now that’s a new seat at the table!

Soul in the City

The House Band, One Big Jam, led by guitarist Barry Mason, singer/guitarist Jared Clark and also comprising sax, trumpet, and plenty percussion laid down variously soulful, funky or hip-hop grooves to accompany the singers on the main stage. Calgary singer/songwriter, Wyatt Louis performed a reflective piece from under his wide-brimmed hat. Jared Clark sang a nice duo with Lynn Olagundoye (Maric), who also combined beautifully in voice and stage presence with Marina Athanasius. They all made it clear if anyone needed it: Calgary’s got Soul!

Soul Images

For more photographs from the Soul in the City gig at Festival Hall, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications

 

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Dance, Heritage, Music, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fire White top the league with win over Fire Red

Mya Healey celebrates her goal and Fire White’s third in the opening period of their game against Calgary Fire Red at East Calgary Twin Arenas on Feb 25, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Final league game of the season

Good scheduling by the Alberta Female (Bantam Elite) Hockey League put the two top teams in the southern Alberta division against one another for the final league game of the season. Fire Red was on a roll with two wins already over the weekend. Conversely, Fire White had a late trip home the previous night after a defeat in Lethbridge.

The previous form book might have suggested one thing; the opening period said another. Three unanswered goals by Fire White’s Ella Kitchen, Ryann Perrett, and Mya Healey followed by some crafted defensive misery served by the Fire White that shut down the Fire Red attack gave Fire White the match.

Final score: Calgary Fire White 3-0 Calgary Fire Red

Now if this was a football (soccer, if you must) league, the Calgary Fire White would get the League Title, with their season tally of 63 points, 14 more than their nearest rivals, the Fire Red. Sadly, that accomplishment does not get enough recognition in hockey. The playoffs start next weekend although the two Calgary teams get a bye in the first round.

Song of the Match

DJ Kitch was clicking through the iTunes playlist today and he came up with a beauty right out of the gate. It’s an old song (1977) but it continues to put a smile on faces, including a number of players in the Fire team. Today’s Song of the Match goes to Mr. Blue Sky from the album Out of the Blue by Electric Light Orchestra. Here’s a live recording from Hyde Park, London from 2014 Who knows what the computerized voice says at the end of the studio track (also sung by Richard Tandy, the ELO keyboard player on this video clip)? And, this is important, tech geeks, why? Answers on a postcard please, and if you don’t know, ask Jeff Lynne.

Up next

The Alberta Female (Bantam Elite) Hockey League playoffs start next weekend. Calgary Fire White have to wait until then to see who they play in the second round.

More action from the game

For more photos from the game please follow this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications

 

 

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Hockey, Photography, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment