Top 10 Local Sports Stories of the Year

1. Local medals at Canada Winter Games

There was plenty of magic all around the city of Red Deer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Inside and outside the competitive arena, the city proved it knows how to host a big show and the sports fans were out in droves to many of the venues.

Competitively, local athletes collected four medals at the Games, with Kalena Soehn shining the brightest, collecting gold in the trampoline. Red Deer’s Zach Blakely was also strong in gymnastics, earning silver in the male trampoline competition. Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey also collected silver in slopestyle skiing and Drew Sim of Tees won bronze with Team Alberta in the men’s hockey competition.

2. Generals win Allan Cup on home ice

From the moment they were announced as hosts, it was both a dream and a goal for the Lacombe Generals to hoist the prestigious Allan Cup in front of their hometown fans.

It may have been an up and down season for the club and some bumpy time during the playoffs, but it produced in the biggest game of the year April 13, to capture the Senior AAA National title.

The final was raucous, as the Generals hosted the longtime rival Innisfail Eagles in the championship. They won 5-2 to pick up the Allan Cup victory. It was their third Allan Cup win in the past 10 years and their fifth straight final.

3. Alberta Performance at Canada Winter Games

Not only were the locals fun to watch, but Red Deer embraced being the host province for two weeks and threw all their energy behind Alberta at the Games. It was the largest multi-sport cultural event to be hosted in Alberta since the 1988 Olympics.

As a result, Alberta had its best-ever performance at the Games, earning 100 medals, including a record 36 golds on the way to finishing third overall. It seemed like every day of the Games, an Albertan was on the podium and fans were going nuts for their adopted athlete.

4. Jeremiah Lauzon and Jared Howse, national champs, Aug. 16

It is rare for Red Deer to boast a junior national champion on the track but this summer, Red Deer had not one, but two.

First, Jeremiah Lauzon captured a national under-20 medal in the 200 metre at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Quebec.

Then, long-distance runner Jared Howse followed that feat up, winning gold in the under-18 2,000-metre steeplechase at the Legion National Track and Field Championships in Cape Breton, N.S., Aug. 10.

5. Thurston wins first Canadian title and second world title

Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston had a year for the ages. the 24-year-old saddle bronc rider not only got the monkey off his back in Canada, winning his first-ever Canadian Finals Rodeo title in Red Deer, he also won his second world title at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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