The golf season is well underway and the Gilbert Plains Country Club is ready for what should be a very busy weekend at the course.

With Saturday's high expected to reach 18 with a mix of sun and cloud, Scott McCallum says the tee sheet continues to fill up. You can book a tee time by calling the pro shop at 548-3030.

"The course is in great shape, we've been getting compliments on how good the greens look and they're rolling really well," said McCallum. "Everyone seems to be happy and that's great to see."

The promotion on memberships comes to a close on Saturday. If you haven't been a member since 2018, you can secure yours for this summer for just $600. On top of regular golf, the GPCC is happy to offer different leagues throughout the summer.

Monday night is women's night with there being a competitive and non-competitive side while Tuesday and Thursday are men's night. Regardless of what night you would like to play, all nights are open to players of any skill level. There is also seniors day on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.

The deadline to register for men's night is Saturday by the end of the day with the action beginning on May 11. After seeing many new faces last season, McCallum is hoping to see more new faces this year.

"Whether you're looking for a hobby or just to meet new people, you have plenty of chances here," ended McCallum. "All of our leagues are really taking off and we welcome new people all the time."

Calgary has been the curling capital of Canada in the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic has forced the sport to host all of its national championship and grand slam events in a bubble at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

The first event played in the bubble was the Scotties Tournament of Hearts from February 19-28. Team Kerri Einarson went into the event as the defending champions and they were back ready to prove that they could get it done again.

Seven straight wins out of the gate put Team Canada in a great spot. Following a 7-4 loss against Rachel Homan in their eighth game, the Manitoba-based foursome went right back to their winning ways as they won five of their last six games to ultimately win the championship.

Falling behind 3-2 in the final after four ends, Team Einarson scored a big three points heading into the fifth end break and they finished the game with a 9-7 victory. Einarson finished the game at 88% while Briane Meilleur's 95% was the top of any player. 

And as it's now world championship eve, Einarson says winning a national title never gets old, especially because she's now done it in back-to-back years.

"It's such an amazing accomplishment, I never even dreamt about winning back-to-back national titles," said Einarson. "We're very excited about it and we're looking forward to getting back on the ice to practice on Thursday ahead of Friday."

Two weeks after Team Einarson won the nationals, Brendan Bottcher downed Team Koe to win the Tim Hortons Brier. The Bottcher win put a stop to a string of three straight national final defeats. 

At the end of the Tim Hortons Brier, the focus inside the Calgary curling bubble switched to mixed doubles as the top curlers in Canada competed in the Home Hardware mixed doubles championships. Einarson teamed up with Brad Gushue. Gushue's curling resume includes winning 11 grand slam titles, one Olympic title, and he's also won the world championships twice. At the Canadian mixed doubles Olympic trials in 2018 at Stride Place in Portage La Prairie, Gushue finished second to John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes. 

This time around -- although there was no Olympic berth on the line -- Gushue went all the way. The duo of Einarson and Gushue lost just two of their 12 games and their win against Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott in the final gave them both their first national mixed doubles title. The tournament marked Einarson's first time playing mixed doubles at the national level and clearly, she got the hang of it very quickly. 

"That was a really special moment. I know Brad was pretty disappointed about their performance at the Brier, so he texted me and said let's find a way to win this," offered Einarson. "I laughed and say yup, let's do our very best. We went out and had a lot of laughs and found a way to get the job done."

178851359 469067727697111 4861175938636312014 n

Kerri and Brad will head to Aberdeen, Scotland for the world mixed doubles championships that will be played from May 17 to 23. But before that, we'll continue to take a look at what a great few months it has been for the entire Einarson foursome.

After Niklas Edin won the men's worlds championships, the action was set to continue for Einarson as her team played in the Humpty's Champions Cup, an event that's part of the Grand Slam of Curling. Team Einarson advanced to a semifinal, but they came up short against Team Homan, a team that went on to beat Team Tirinzoni in the final. Disappointed with their semifinal loss, Team Einarson didn't have to wait long to get back on the ice. 

Just one day after the Humpty's Champions Cup wrapped up, the Players Championship took centre stage and this time, Einarson wasn't to be stopped. Their only loss of the event was against Team Tirinzoni in their third game.

Other than that, Team Einarson ran the table, which included defeating Team Homan in the final. The victory gave Team Einarson their second title in the bubble, while it was Kerri's third after winning the mixed event with Gushue.

179121811 494511208559722 1434424948222935336 n

Now Team Einarson is hoping to continue with the success they've enjoyed this season. The best women's teams have entered the bubble as the world women's championships begin on Friday. 

Entering the event as one of the favourites, Team Einarson will battle one of the other favourites to open up their event on Friday. Canada squares off at 2:00 p.m. against Sweden, skipped by Anna Hasselborg. 

A full 14-game round-robin will be played with the final set for next Sunday.

"We just want to go out and continue to enjoy this great experience," ended Einarson. "It's really special for us to be given the chance to be Team Canada. Our goal is to have some laughs and we don't want to put too much pressure on us. That's how we can have success."

The Home Hardware two-man classic in support of the Gary Brandon Sports Bursary is back at the Dauphin Lake Golf Club.

After hosting the event in September last season, this year's event will return back to its normal time as the event is from May 28-30. Trevor Fox and Regan Hedley won last year's event as they downed Steve Desroches and Jake Wiens to win the title.

This year, great prizes will once again be up for grabs and every team is guaranteed four rounds. The entry fee this year is $250 per team which includes multiple meals and a chance at prizes.

Each team plays a qualifying round on Friday and that's followed by the matches which begin on Saturday. The event is open to golfers of all skill levels as after Friday's qualifying match, teams are put into their proper flights.

"With the four rounds in three days, it's like any golfers dream," said Karlson. 

Saturday's first-round will be a 9:00 a.m. shotgun followed by another shotgun at 2:00 p.m. Sunday's final round is a 9:00 a.m. shotgun which is followed by the closing ceremonies for the event which include prize giveaways. Registration for the event is now open and it is capped off at 40 teams. However, if four more teams are interested after the initial 40 register their teams, the event will proceed with 44 teams.

Junior golfing:

Free lessons at the club begin this weekend. Spearheaded by Jordan Pernarowski, junior golfers in Dauphin will get an excellent chance to learn from some veteran golfers including Stan Homeniuk.

They start on Saturday and are open for anyone under the age of 18. You are asked to call the pro shop if you would like to book a spot. 638-9400 is the number to call. The lessons run on May 1, 8, 15, 22, and June 5. 

"The golf course is very active right now and we're pleased to be able to offer these free junior lessons," ended Karlson. 

After no season was staged in 2020, the Dauphin Soccer Association is ready to get back to business this spring. Nathan Fleck has confirmed the season will begin on May 6 and it ends on Thursday, June 24.

Registration is still open until this Saturday and at most, it would be $100 for the full season. You can see full prices here. Fleck says it's a great feeling knowing kids in Dauphin will get the chance to hit the field this year after a year off.

"We're really excited to get back on the pitch, that's for sure," said Fleck. "The weather is certainly in our favour so everything is looking good for us."

Players born in 2017 can register to play in the 'Intro to Soccer' age group while there are also 'Tiny Tims', 'Timbits', U10, U13, and U18 age groups. And while the soccer season is a go, the Manitoba Soccer Association has said parents aren't allowed on the field at the U13 and U18 level.

Parents are only allowed on the field at the U10 and younger age groups and parents must help with practice. Parents are required to remain in their vehicles at the U13 and U18 levels, at least for now. Fleck says while this has to be the case now, he is hoping it changes at some point.

"When the current public health orders end, we'll see if things change," offered Fleck. "We would love to get all parents on the sidelines if we can, so we'll see if that is possible later in the season."

If you're 50 or older and you golf, Scott McCallum is hoping to see you out every Tuesday morning at the Gilbert Plans Country Club. 

Senior golf starts and will run every Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m., with registration beginning shortly before.

If you're a member, it only costs an extra $2 to play and that money goes toward prizes.

"It's a lot of fun and it's a great way to meet new people and have fun while doing so," said McCallum. 

The 2020-21 Westman High School Hockey League season was extremely short. The Crocus Plains Plainsmen played the most games as they hit the ice three times while Killarney and Deloraine both played twice.

The Dauphin Clippers, meanwhile, won their only game 7-1 against Crocus Plains. The season was officially cancelled in mid-February. And as we do look forward to brighter times when we can get back in the rink, the league's management will be staying the same.

Jason Alf confirmed that he will return as co-president alongside Corey Forbes once again. The pair have been working together for several years and they are excited to remain as co-presidents. The global pandemic has held the league back from crowning a champion for the past two years.

Dauphin was set to play in the league final two seasons ago while this year's team was poised to make another run. Alf says he feels horrible for every single student-athlete that wasn't able to hit the ice.

"These guys just want to play sports. We also know it's not hockey, it's every sport and every extra-curricular activity," said Alf. "Our grade 12s this year missed the final last year and they didn't really get to play this year. It's just so tough for the kids, I feel for them."

The WHSHL plans on returning next season as preparations to get ready for a new season have already begun. 

"We're planning as if everything will be good to go," said Alf. "We're hoping to get back to our 19 team league and we'll go from there."

Alf says the best case scenario would allow teams to compete in league play and tournaments. 

In a field stacked with exceptional golfers, Jared Lonethunder and Kevin Pelletier took home the top prize as the first golf tournament of the season has come to an end at the Gilbert Plains Country Club.

Playing in the "Hozer's Fundraiser", the duo played steady all day and took care of business when needed as they took home the $1500 first place prize.

Championship Flight:

2nd: Matt Lavalle and Magoo Lavalle

3rd: Ryan Horn and Daryl Lacquette

1st Flight:

1st: Stacy and Faron Genaille

2nd: Elvis Nepinak and Tim Edwards

3rd: Greg Star and Jeffrey Roulette Jr.

2nd Flight:

1st: Adam and Dion Anderson

2nd: Donna and Dawayne Blackbird

3rd: Todd Desjarlais and Taylor Fletcher

3rd Flight:

1st: Shaq Houle and John Houle

2nd: Mike Zallinski and Justin Spence

3rd: Tyrone Desjarlais and Leo Baptiste

The event played as a key fundraiser for Jose Lacquette who is set to attend Humber College in the fall. He will also tryout for their men's golf team. His goal is to one day play professionally or become a head professional. 

He had this to say on the event.

"I would like to thank everyone for coming out today and all the sponsors that helped us," said Lacquette. "I am really thankful for the support and help I have got not only today, but throughout the past years when I would attend golf tournaments and skins game or just playing for fun. I would also like to thank my brother Tyler for teaching me how to golf and of course, my mom and dad. They have believed in me since day one and always support me."

177030038 952002412213488 6838921841535012075 n

Rylan Thiessen was instrumental in the Brandon U18 Wheat Kings playoff run in the 2018-19 season in the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League.

After a 30 point regular season, Thiessen erupted in the playoffs as Brandon went on to defeat the Winnipeg Wild as they were crowned league champions. In just 11 playoff games, the 19-year-old that grew up in Brandon scored five times and he added 14 assists which earned him the playoff’s most valuable player honours. In three more games at the Telus Cup West Regionals, Thiessen scored another goal while adding two assists as the Wheat Kings came up short in their quest for a spot at the nationals.

Rylan also played three games that season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The following season, Rylan returned to Lethbridge where he would play in 22 more games, before packing up his bags. On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, Thiessen was traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings, a move that would see him join the team he grew up watching.

Rylan says it was tough moving away from a team that listed and signed him after going undrafted, but he was happy to be moving back home.

“I made quite a few relationships in Lethbridge, so the news of being traded was a bit of a shock,” said Thiessen. “With that said, I was getting the chance to play with my childhood dream team. I was really excited when I sat down and things are going really well here.”

Following the trade, Rylan produced three assists in 14 games with his hometown team last year. And now, Rylan has achieved a big milestone. Playing in his 53rd career WHL game — and 28th with the Wheat Kings — Thiessen found the back of the net for the first time on Wednesday night. In a 6-1 rout of the Swift Current Broncos, Rylan scored his first goal with 56 seconds left in the second period. Ben McCartney and Jake Chiasson picked up the assists on the monumental goal for the young man.

“It felt really good. Not only scoring in the WHL, but for it to happen with the Brandon Wheat Kings, it’s a real thrill,” offered Thiessen. “I grew up thinking and dreaming of scoring with the Wheat Kings and now that I’ve achieved that dream, it’s a great feeling.”

Rylan admits that scoring a goal was something that was high up on his list of things to do and at times, he was getting frustrated, but that frustration is now gone out of the window and in this case, the doors at the Brandt Centre.

“Scoring goals makes you play more confident so I’m going to try and build off of it and keep going in the right direction,” said Thiessen.

East Division domination:

Ben McCartney’s 12 goals and 20 assists give him a team-leading 32 points while Ottawa Senators prospect Ridly Greig is just behind with his 27 points.

Five Wheat Kings have at least 20 points while Nate Danielson, the team’s fifth-overall pick in the 2019 draft leads all rookies on the team with three goals and 10 assists.

Just three more games remain this season for Brandon with dates against Prince Albert (April 24), Regina (April 25), and Saskatoon (April 28). Brandon will enter their game on Saturday with five straight wins and they’ve won eight of their last 10 games, with points coming in nine of the games. Brandon’s 34 points are the most in the league and their 16 wins are also the most.

Brandon’s hot play has them three points ahead of both Saskatoon and the Winnipeg ICE for the top spot in the East Division as the team continues to battle for the Subway Cup, given to the team with the most points after 24 games.

“It’s always fun being in a winning environment and it’s been like that basically the whole time here in Regina,” said Thiessen. “We’re looking to keep this going for our final three games, we want that division championship to be ours.”

So what makes this year’s Brandon Wheat Kings team special? Well, they have great coaching, they score a lot, and they all have one common goal in mind and that’s to have success as a team.

“We have a deep roster with a veteran defensive core,” ended Thiessen. “We come to play every night. We wear teams down with our speed and our hard work, it’s hard to handle us.”

Ken Munro got his first chance to be a head coach back in 1996 when he was the bench boss for the U18 Tier 2 Swan Valey Stampeders and 25 years later, Munro is still coaching the game he loves. His coaching journey has included some twists and turns along the way, but the Swan River native said he wouldn't change a thing.

Munro became the coach of the team in 1996 when his nephew moved down from Lynn Lake and when the U15 team was already full, he joined the U18 team and as a result, he was coached by his uncle. 

"It was a fun year with a lot of learning," said Munro. "Going from being an assistant coach to a head coach is different, but I enjoyed the change."

As we fast forward to 1999, the Swan Valley Stampeders were set to enter the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as the league's newest team. Playing out of the Swan River Centennial Arena, Munro remembers how much excitement there was in town when the team entered the league and Ken was given the chance to be upfront and centre. 

Just a couple of years removed from his first season as a head coach, Ken joined the Stampeders as an assistant coach. The team ended up winning 31 games in their inaugural season which finished them in ninth place. Ken compares the atmosphere in the team's first season to when they advanced to the league final in the 2018-19 season. 

"It was such an exciting year for everyone in the organization and around the community," stated Munro. "I joined a great coaching staff and that gave me a great opportunity to learn from veterans."

176187376 536871887298741 2607307108408455607 n 1

On September 1st, 1999, Ken's oldest son, Quinn was born at the hospital in Swan River. And to say the Munro's are all Stampeders would be an understatement. During the team's first rookie camp, Quinn Henry scored the first goal and Ken said to his wife that the first person that scores a goal, we'll name our kid after. The rest is clearly history and 18 years after he was born, Quinn suited up in three games with the Stampeders and he's also a former Parkland Ranger. 

Munro says some of the most exciting times with the Stampeders came when they travelled to play the OCN Blizzard at the Gordon Lathlin. OCN won five straight league championships from 1999 to 2003. 

"The chants you would hear on the ice when sitting in the dressing room, there was honestly nothing like it," offered Munro. "Although we were a new team, we had a great rivalry with them. We were packing our rink and they were packing their rink, it was great to be a part of."

Father, son dominance:

15 years after he joined the Stampeders coaching staff, Ken was the main piece in putting together the Parkland U18 AA Rangers for the 2014-15 season.

The team struggled heavily at the start of the year but by the end of the season, they were champions. Before playing in provincials, they were beating teams that previously beat them by 10 goals early in the year. The team was then invited to the provincials -- which was a surprise -- and they made their invitation count as they beat The Pas, 3-2 to win the provincials. Quinn was the team's starting goaltender for the season.

"It was kind of unexpected, we didn't even think Hockey Manitoba would put us in the provincials because we were a regional team," offered Munro. "We had a good team and we made a good run, it was a blast."

That was the team's only season as high school hockey took over in Swan River. 

Although Quinn is now done playing competitive hockey, you can still find Ken at the rink nearly every day in the winter. His younger son, Will plays with the Parkland U18 Rangers and Ken was a part of the coaching staff alongside Tom White when WIll played with the U15 Rangers. 

Will -- a draft pick of the Kelowna Rockets -- scored once and added two assists in seven games this season with Parkland before the campaign was cancelled due to restrictions put in place by the government. Munro was also auto-protected by his hometown Stampeders ahead of the 2020 MJHL draft. 

176554519 483316726418238 1218099462308156087 n

Combined with his days as an assistant coach prior to 1996, Ken has been coaching for more than 25 years and he says there is no end in sight as he continues to love doing what he does on the ice with athletes in the Parkland.

If you've been waiting to play at the Gilbert Plains Country Club, the wait is almost over.

Scott McCallum confirmed on Wednesday that the course will open for play on Thursday at noon.

Tee times must be booked as it's expected to be very busy. You can book one by calling the pro shop at 548-3030. 

The CFL is pushing back the start to its 2021 season and reducing the number of games played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league announced Wednesday it plans to kick off the 2021 campaign on August 5, nearly two months later than originally planned.

The CFL campaign was slated to open June 10 with each team playing a full 18-game regular season after the league cancelled the 2020 season due to the global pandemic.

Training camps were to open in mid-May with the first exhibition contest slated for May 23.

But with Canada dealing with a third wave, the CFL board of governors decided Tuesday to push back the start of the 2021 season and reduce the schedule to 14 games.

That will also result in the Grey Cup game being played on December 12 in Hamilton instead of Nov. 21.