Top local stories of 2014
by Randy Pascal
The task at hand seemed easy enough – pick out my top three stories in local sports for 2014, providing a brief background on each. That is, until I actually took
some time to try and sort through the maze of athletic accomplishments that have been featured in Sudbury over the past twelve months.
Even attempting to define what constitutes a “top” sports story was a thought-provoking effort, in and of itself. There would be locals posting results on a
national and international stage, though not necessarily any that would have been noted as ground-breaking news, or particularly surprising.
Much closer to home, there would be victories and athletic feats that were completely unforeseen. In the end, I was able to capture a bit of both groupings, if
still struggling with those that were left behind on the “honourable mention” listing.
Olympic Success: While neither the gold medal performance by Lo-Ellen Park graduate Rebecca Johnston and the Canadian women’s hockey team,
nor the silver medals presented to Meagan Duhamel and her figure skating teammates as part of the inaugural “team” competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in
Sochi were considered shocking, the manner in which the events unfolded, on the world’s largest stage, gets this story on our list.
Trailing the United States 2-0 with under five minutes to play, the Canadian women’s hockey team had provided few signs of the comeback that was about to take
place. Goals by Brianne Jenner and Marie-Philippe Poulin would force overtime, with the latter scoring the game-winning goal just over eight minutes
in to period number four.
Given that Johnston was on the ice for all three Team Canada goals, she joins Duhamel, who teamed with partner Eric Radford to finish seventh overall in
the pairs competition, as one of the top newsmakers in local sports in 2014.
OFSAA Track & Field: Few local track & field pundits would have felt secure in guaranteeing even one medal from the local contingent prior to their
departure to the 2014 OFSAA Track & Field Championships, though some were expected to be in the mix. The fact that no less than four medals, courtesy of four
different athletes, made their way north this past June qualified 2014 as one of the more successful provincial championships for locals on record.
Ryan Taylor leapt from bronze to gold on his sixth and final attempt in the junior boys triple jump, while Lasalle teammate Noah LaPierre overcame
the nervousness he felt in 2013 to secure a silver medal in the junior boys high jump.
Javelin thrower Danika Falvo added a bronze medal in the junior girls event, to go along with the gold medal she secured one year earlier, while visually
impaired Lo-Ellen runner Chris Barclay rounded out the local haul, taking silver in the 100m dash.
Cambrian Women’s Soccer: The return of T.K. Rocca signaled the likelihood of boasting a reasonably competitive edition for the 2014 Golden
Shield Women’s Soccer squad this past fall.
And while the addition of Tiffany Johnson provided an increased basis for optimism, few could have predicted the performance of the local OCAA entry,
tearing up the provincial college ranks with Ontario’s most potent offensive attack. In the end, coach Giuseppe Politi and company would claim bronze medals,
far and away the most impressive performance in program history.
Honourable Mention: Provincial champions and national bronze medal winners, the Sudbury Midget “AA” Lady Wolves were certainly in the running
to crack our top three, as were skip Robbie Gordon and the Northern Ontario senior men’s curling team, also placing third best in the entire country.
Individually, the performances of Ross Proudfoot, Kayla Folz, Nina Kucheran and a host of others ensured that compiling this list would be no walk in the
park. Not that it ever is.