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Junior B hockey, U18 curling and 7s rugby coverage

Merchants update The St. Albert Merchants have two games remaining before the playoffs after hosting the Capital Junior B Hockey League champion Wetaskiwin Icemen on Sunday. Puck drop is 8 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.
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TOUGH GUY – Luke Harris, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu second degree back belt from St. Albert, returned home from last month’s European IBJJF Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, as the gold medallist in the master three black-belt super-heavyweight division and silver medallist in the master three black-belt open class. Harris ended his 2018 season ranked No. 1 in IBJJF NoGi for his age (40 to 45) division as a back belt. The owner of Hayabusa Training Centre Ltd. in Campbell Business Park was awarded 23 medals (15 gold, six silver and two bronze) in 24 events in four countries last year and his first gold and sixth medal at worlds in three years was in the open weight division at the IBJJF NoGi Championships in December at Anaheim.

Merchants update

The St. Albert Merchants have two games remaining before the playoffs after hosting the Capital Junior B Hockey League champion Wetaskiwin Icemen on Sunday.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.

Prior to playing the Icemen (24-6-2), winners of consecutive CJHL playoff titles, the Merchants (12-18-4) entertained the Edmonton Mustangs (16-17-2) Friday but the score was unavailable at press time.

The Merchants were two points behind the fifth-place Stony Plain Flyers (14-19-2) and six back of the fourth-place Mustangs with games in hand.

The Mustangs or the third-place Morinville Jets (19-15-1) are potential best-of-three qualifying round opponents for the Merchants in the west division.

The Merchants close out the regular season Wednesday against the Edmonton Royals (19-15-1) at Confederation Arena and Friday against the visiting Beaumont Chiefs (25-7-2). Game times are 8 p.m.

U18 curling

Provincial berths are up for grabs at the Curling Alberta U18 Optimist playdowns starting Thursday morning at St. Albert Curling Club.

Three male and two female rinks advance to the March 14 to 17 juvenile championships in Medicine Hat and the winners qualify for nationals, April 2 to 7 at Glen Allan Recreation Complex in Sherwood Park.

Nathan and Rebecca Molberg of St. Albert punched their tickets to provincials by sweeping the male and female finals at the Crestwood U18 bonspiel in November.

Rebecca curls with third Tori Hartwell, second Kristina Allen and lead Ashleigh McKinnon and the team’s coach is Ian Turner.

Nathan’s rink of third Ben Helston, second Nick Workman, lead Morgan Bilassy and coach Nicole Bellamy are also representing Alberta at the Canada Winter Games, Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer.

Fourteen male rinks are competing in the playdowns and one of the teams is the St. Albert foursome of skip Nic Oake, third Chase Lozinsky, second Carter Parenteau and lead Owen Pacholok.

Oake, Lozinsky and Pacholok delivered a gold-medal victory for the St. Albert Skyhawks at the 2018 Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association championships curling with David Howes.

Six female rinks are vying for provincials and St. Albert representation includes skip Julia Bakos with her Crestwood crew of third Quinn Prodaniuk, second Kim Bonneau and lead Julianna MacKenzie and the Anna Smith team of third Brennin Turner, second Presley Cuthbertson and lead Rachael Hansen.

Bakos, Prodaniuk, second Alyssa Nedohin, MacKenzie and coach Glenna Rubin are also the Team Alberta female reps for the Games.

Visit for more information on the U18 playdowns.

Edmonton Gold 7s

The St. Albert Rugby Football Club is represented by 13 juniors on the Edmonton Gold 7’s teams competing at the Vancouver invitational tournament in March.

The U16 males are Alex Bennett, Luke Feraco, Jacob King, David Kociuba, Dominic LeClercq, Josh Looker, Quillen Andrews and the coach is Paul Looker.

Rowan Andrews made the U18 male team.

The U16 female lineup includes Julia Baniak, Ayana Blackwell and Paikea Wall.

Autumn Butlin and Shea McMahon are competing with the U18 female team.

Meanwhile, at the recent Alberta Regional 7s Championships, Looker, Zac Brimmage and Rowan Andrews scrummed down with the U18 Gold males while Butlin, McMahon, Emily Maki and Ashley Rosychuk were members of the U18 Gold female team.

Looker also earned an invite to the Alberta Wolf Pack 7s camp.

Jeff Hansen

About the Author: Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.
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