Many athletes from eastern Ontario are set to compete in the 27 sports of the Ontario Winter Games March 8-11 in Collingwood, but the Ottawa Senators women’s hockey Bantam ‘AA’ squad can certainly lay claim to sending one of the largest contingents from a single club team.
With six forwards, a defender and a goalie selected from a pool of approximately 500 players province-wide, there will be plenty of familiar faces for the eight Senators chosen from a two-day tryout in Rockland.
“It’s pretty good for our team to show that we have a strong group,” notes Amanda Ieradi, who scored the lone goal in the Senators’ playdown victory over Gloucester to secure a spot in the provincial championships. “We all click together – the forwards and the defence. And we all get along really well.”
That camaraderie may get turned on its head at the Winter Games, however. The teams are not formed by region at the competition, which means that several Senators will be on opposing sides. But the friendly spirit of the Games is what Ottawa assistant captain Cassidy Herman is looking forward to most.
“Outside of hockey, I want to see all the other sports and participate,” says the Grade 9 Holy Trinity Catholic High School student. “I’m just excited – really looking forward to it.”
Around 3,500 total participants with athletes, coaches and officials are expected to take part in the Ontario Winter Games, which act as a breeding ground to prepare youth athletes for the Canada Games and then international events.
The roster of sports includes many activities usually found on summer calendars, such as field hockey, table tennis, wrestling and synchronized swimming.
In February, Ottawa’s Margarita Gourbounova was a standout at the Ontario Parasport Winter Games in Huntsville, winning one gold and two silver medals in cross-country skiing for athletes with a visual impairment.
Friday April 5 Guelph 2 vs. Bantam 1 Thursday April 4 Bantam 2 vs. Saugeen Maitland 2 Thursday April 4 Leaside 1 vs. Bantam 2