Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Going there is half the fun

Eastman's been everywhere, man

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PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Team Eastman has the spirit of the 2010 Power Smart Manitoba Games.They quickly figured out how to make the most of these multi-sport Manitoba Games, which conclude today with the closing ceremonies at the PCU Centre -- be everywhere.

On Friday, members of the female volleyball team charged around the walking track above the ice surface at the brand-new PCU Centre wearing enormous plastic sunglasses, cheering on the Eastman boys hockey team, which battled to a 4-3 victory over Interlake in the fifth-place game.

After the game ended, the members of the boys' hockey team were in a big hurry to shower and get over to Crescentview school where the girls were playing volleyball later in the afternoon.

"That's been the best part of the games," said 13-year-old Brooke Paulsen of Oakbank, who along with teammates Dayna Zborowsky of Oakbank, Hailey Kupiak of Oakbank and Saige Patrick of Steinbach were back in the gym to watch other volleyball games before they hit the court. "We've been everywhere this week!"

Zborowsky said the team had little luck in their games but competed hard.

"We lost them all but we were in every match," Zborowsky said. "We had lots of time during the day because we usually played just one game a day."

"We've seen ringette, hockey curling," Kupiak said. "They have buses that take you pretty much wherever you need to go."

Patrick said it was tough to make the Eastman team.

"About 48 players tried out so I was really excited when I made it," she said.

"It's been a great chance to play at a high calibre against other good players from around the province and some that we normally wouldn't be playing against from other regions," said Denis Bosc, the Eastman hockey captain, who suffered a separated shoulder on Thursday and will be out of action for 10 days.

He could miss all of the league championship games for his bantam AA Seine River Snipers team, which includes players from the Landmark, Iles des Chenes, Lorette and Ste. Anne areas.

"We definitely all improved as individuals having this experience," he said.

Bosc's Eastman teammate Dylan Betteridge, a defenceman who served as captain in Friday's fifth-place game, said the team will always remember they were among the first to test the ice in the PCU Centre, only recently opened.

"It was nice to play in this brand new building, a big ice surface, great boards, it was a lot of fun," said Betteridge, whose bantam AA Northern Knights were league opponents of Bosc's Seine River team.

The Knights, who include players from Beausejour, Pinawa, Lac du Bonnet, Sagkeeng and Pine Falls area, didn't make the league final, so Friday's game was Betteridge's last of the season.

"It was fun to place (fifth) but it was just nice to play in the Games and be part of the whole experience," added Betteridge.

Through the week, athletes' reviews included thumbs down for the sleeping accommodations, which were air mattresses on the floors of Portage Collegiate Institute, and thumbs up for the food served the Canad Inns Ambassador rooms.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 13, 2010 D5

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