Here are the top 10 Central Alberta sports stories that made headlines in 2017.
1. Red Deer College Kings volleyball wins second straight national title
RDC continued to rewrite the Canadian College Athletic Association volleyball record books with their third national title in the last four years in March.
The Kings topped the Titans De Limoilou in a five-set victory to capture the CCAA gold. It was the second straight year RDC beat the Titans de Limoilou in the gold medal match. Regan Fathers was tournament MVP and Ty Moorman and Luke Brisbane were first-team all-stars.
The Kings have won 13 CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championships since 1995.
2. RDC Queens curling win national gold
Also in March, the RDC Queens curling team picked up a CCAA gold medal, defeating Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champion Veronica Maschmeyer of Concordia 7-6 in the final.
Marla Sherrer, along with Sara McMann, all-star second Brett Day, Katie Primrose and Taylor Konschuh, won six of their final seven games, giving RDC gold in the women’s division for the second time in the past four years.
Sherrer, 21, of Lacombe joined in the family tradition of winning CCAA gold as her sister Kaitlyn also won a national title in 2014.
3. Red Deer Rampage win Junior B Lacrosse national silver
The Red Deer Rampage won 17 games in a row in Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League play. Although they lost in the league title game, Red Deer earned a trip to the Founders Cup, the Junior B Lacrosse national championship, in August.
They avenged a league championship loss to the Manitoba Blizzard with a 10-7 win in the Founders Cup semi-final, and faced the Orangeville Northman of Ontario in the final. The Northmen defeated Red Deer 18-7 in the final to capture their second straight title and the Rampage still picked up silver.
4. Lacombe Generals second at Allan Cup
The Generals fell 7-4 to the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts in the final at the Senior AAA championships in Bouctouche, N.B. Evan Oberg, Eric Galbraith, Chris Rauckman and Teegan Moore scored in the final for Lacombe. Myles Bell led the team with four goals over the tournament.
5. Riggers win bronze at Canadian Men’s Baseball Championship
The Red Deer Riggers came close to playing for a Men’s national baseball title in Victoria, B.C., in late August, but settled for bronze.
The Riggers dropped an extra-inning game to the Burnaby Bulldogs in the national semi-final before beating provincial rival Sherwood Park 9-8, pushing across the winning run in the seventh inning.
The Riggers were one hit away from the gold medal game, in the eighth inning tied 1-1 against Burnaby when number hitter JP Wilner had the bases loaded with one out. He hit into a double play and the Bulldogs put up six runs, including a grand slam in the top of the ninth to finish off Red Deer.
6. Rebecca Smith wins international medals in the pool
Red Deer’s Rebecca Smith, 17, broke onto the international swimming stage winning two individual medals at the World Junior Championships in August. She also won two relay medals in the 4X100-m 4X200-m freestyle relay.
Smith swam at the FINA World Championships in Budapest in July. She raced the butterfly leg in the preliminaries for the mixed 4X100-m medley team that won a bronze medal.
7. Notre Dame Cougars Badminton second consecutive provincial title
On home court this spring, the Notre Dame Cougars became provincial 4A badminton champions for the second-year in a row.
“Being home and winning at home is the greatest feeling ever. The kids are way more excited… the last week we trained so hard because they pushed for this banner. It’s amazing,” Notre Dame Cougars badminton coach Leroy Stanisclaus said.
8. Lindsay Thurber Raiders girls win 4A volleyball provincial title
The Lindsay Thurber Raiders girls volleyball team picked up a provincial gold medal at the 4A Alberta Schools Athletic Association Championships in Medicine Hat in November.
The Raiders came up just short at provincials with a silver medal on their home court in 2016, but got revenge in 2017 winning gold against the number one ranked Western Canada Redhawks in four-sets in the final.
9. Rebels on the verge
The Red Deer Rebels were one game away from performing a miracle in the WHL playoffs in 2017. The Rebels finished 25 points behind the Hurricanes in the regular season but won three of the first four games in the Eastern Conference quarter-final series. Red Deer lost the next three games, including a 6-2 defeat in Game 7 in Lethbridge.
10. Ivan Hlinka announcement
In early December, the City of Red Deer announced they would commit $75,000 as a co-host of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
The international best-on-best U18 event is typically held in Europe but Hockey Canada agreed to host the event in 2018, 2020 and 2022. Round Robin games for the tournament will be held in Edmonton at Rogers Place, and Red Deer’sServus Arena.
The 2018 tournament will kick off at the Servus Arena with an exhibition game between Team Canada and the Czech Republic on Aug. 4th.