December 16, 2019

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Ringette star Manitoba's flag-bearer for Canada Winter Games

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/2/2019 (313 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba's powerhouse under-20 ringette squad is a solid favourite to strike gold at the Canada Winter Games later this month, so it made perfect sense for organizers to select one of the team's stars to serve as the province's flag-bearer.

Alana Lesperance, a 19-year-old University of Manitoba student, was thrilled with the honour.

"I can't even put it into words," Lesperance said Tuesday at a news conference to unveil her selection ahead of the Games, slated for Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta.

MANITOBA AT THE GAMES

Click to Expand

Where: Red Deer, Alta.

When: Feb. 15 to March 3

Chef de mission: Marcie Halls-Stronciski

2019 team: 208 athletes, 46 coaches, 14 managers, eight tech support workers and 20 mission staff

2015 Winter Games: Manitoba finished sixth with 16 medals, including six gold, three silver and seven bronze at the Games in Prince George, B.C.

"Our province has so many good athletes and they put in so much effort, so to be able to represent each and every one of them is really a privilege. That's exciting."

Lesperance plans to enjoy the Games' opening ceremony, but has some serious ambitions for the competition to follow.

"Winning gold," said Lesperance. "I mean, our team was selected in May and we've been putting in so many hours, sacrificing a lot of things — my school work for sure. I think we'll do really well."

The Canada Games ringette competition kicks off Feb. 15 and continues until the medal games on Feb. 22. Quebec, Ontario and Alberta are also considered contenders for gold.

Lesperance is among the most decorated members of the provincial team. She has medalled at three of the five national championships she's attended, was named an all-star in four of the five and was honoured as the toughest competitor at one of the nationals.

She was also a member of the junior national team in 2017.

Ringette player Alana Lesperance was chosen to be Team Manitoba's flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Ringette player Alana Lesperance was chosen to be Team Manitoba's flag bearer for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta.

'I can't even put it into words. Our province has so many good athletes and they put in so much effort, so to be able to represent each and every one of them is really a privilege. That's exciting' – Alana Lesperance, Team Manitoba flag bearer

Added teammate Kelsey Gillan, another U of M student: "I would say we have a good chance of making it to the final. It's going to be a hard competition. We haven't played some of the teams since October, so we don't know what to expect from them."

Co-coach Andrea Ferguson believes her squad is up to the task after an excellent pre-Games schedule that included major tournament wins in Quebec in January and Ontario in November, beating the host teams for gold each time.

"It is gold or bust," said Ferguson, who was also on the coaching staff that guided Manitoba to gold at the 2015 Games in Prince George, B.C.

TEAM MANITOBA

Alpine skiing

Noah Cunningham

Jack Healey

Mykola Kruk

Maia Dalling

Alpine skiing

Noah Cunningham

Jack Healey

Mykola Kruk

Maia Dalling

Matthew Sauer

Natalie Cuvelier

Lauren King

Scott Robinson

Hayden Plewes

Karly Friesen

Jared Friesen

Lori Steppler

Hana Dunlop

Amanda Creith

Robert Lawrie

Jessica McBride

Maclean Hatherly

Archery

Kadin Giebelhaus

Bryanne Lameg

Austin Taylor

Cleo Wermann Thorn

Duncan Crawford

Avril Hatherell

Artistic Swimming

Laurie Preston

Jorja Koziuk

Carolyn Currie

Myra Landers

Madison McLeod

Tamara Chaput

Kendi Dyck

Lily Danis

Maxine Yip

Alyssa Medeiros

Sarah Benson

Kayla McMurchy

Badminton

Paul Brown

Félix Tessier

Jeannette Ding

Rylan Ramnarace

Kyi Nichols

Arnish Patel

Tiffany Tantakoun

Ghajaayine Senthilkumaran

Emalia Sinclair

Devika DeRaj

Justin Friesen

Ashelle Dick

Mélanie Curé

Biathlon

Lévi Brunelle

Meaghan Smith

Mark Naylor

Kaylee Dean

Emma Mitchell

Alexisse Bérard

Lucas Smith

Ian Mitchell

Heather Willis

Gregg Campbell

Lorraine Mitchell

Richard Pettit

Boxing

Mohammed Makhlouf

Justice Harborne

Jawad Miakhail

Kent Brown

Rodman Batson

Cross-country skiing

Simon-Pierre Lamarche

Imogen Nadlersmith

Casey Nelson

Emma Malkoske

Taschi Klaschka

Levi Nadlersmith

Elise Hummelbrunner

Aaron Warkentine

Simon Giasson

Jesse Bachinsky

Conor McGovern

Tessa Warkentine

Timothy Wintoniw

Megan Carter

Elise Paetkau

Pauline Nadlersmith

Steven Wintoniw

Curling

Hayley Bergman

Payton Bergman

Cheyenne Ehnes

Anastasia Ginters

Christine Hamblin

Adam Flatt

Graham Loewen

Zachary Bilawka

Sean Flatt

Thomas Clasper

Figure skating

Annika Duguay

Breken Brezden

Emmet Dewar

Chanel Cabak

Jade Pilat

Emma King

Yohnatan Elizarov

Kevin Dawe

Tammy McKay

Tina Chen

Freestyle skiing

Rowan Parnell

Asa France

Rylan Halladay

Owen Lothian

Keegan Jackson

David Parnell

Artistic gymnastics

Mackenzie Neumann

Akira-Lee Cormier

Stephanie Clarkson

O'keri Katjivari

April Demeule

Caitlyn Yip

Alexis Gillespie

Jordyn Crerar

Jordyn Galloway

Rachelle Valel

Robert Persechino

Alexandra Empey

Celia Champion

Artistic gymnastics – trampoline

Lauren Hawkins

Tyler Champagne

Raina Gertley

Isaiah Klassen

Amanda Pierson

Michelle Bonner

Daniel Klassen

Female hockey

Karine Sandilands

Camille Enns

Rachel O'Toole

Kennesha Miswaggon

Rorie Ringor

Kylie Lesuk

Danica Namaka

Paige Hubbard

Raygan Kirk

Kate Gregoire

Taylor Coward

Rebecca Thiessen

Julianna Thomson

Kaila Powell

Makenzie McCallum

Paige McArthur

Alexandra McArthur

McKiya Mazur

Olivia Cvar

Sarah Dennehy

Reid Sloan

Sarah Zacharias

Jordan Sobkowicz

Gordon Woodhall

Riley Kosmolak

Male hockey

Cole Assailly

Colby Wotton

Conner Roulette

Eric Alarie

Rory Neill

Jayden Catellier

Dawson Pasternak

Carson Lambos

Tyler Brennan

Ashton Geekie

Hudson Thornton

Aidan Brook

Grady Lane

Skyler Bruce

Hunter Wallace

Justin Lies

Tayem Gislason

Cabrel LaBossière

Roux Bazin

Trentyn Crane

Daniel Eliasson

Bradley Purdie

Garth Mitchell

Scott Antaya

Brian Elder

Joseph Norminton

Judo

Ijob Hamraev

Nina Zigic

Justin Ekosky

Sarah Ekosky

Rebecca Villa

Samantha Ulrich

Michael Akbashev

Dylan Tully

Kadin Bonnell

Ainslee Reynante Tolentino

Emily Rogowsky

Emily Czosnek

Kelden Bonnell

Ariel Mesongnik

May Baldo-Oduca

Mark Berger

Brian Jones

Ringette

Jayme Dorsett

Alexsi Kavvadas

Caroline Girardin

Taylor Hildebrand

Jordyn Campbell

Olivia McCowan

Josée Roy

Isabella Paisley

Nicole Girardin

Brett Van Nieuw Amerongen

Kelsey Gillan

Alana Lesperance

Kaylee Spearing

Celeste McElroy

Belle Groen

Milica Oravec

Jenna Bazin

Milanne Rondeau

Robert Walker

Ashley Lutz

Andrea Ferguson

Snowboard

Cole Steendam

Evan Merino

Liam Berger

Keenan Demchuk

Braeden Demchuk

Catrin Butler

Mason Desjardins

Speed skating

Mary Prendergast

Tyson Langelaar

Ashley Hannah

Kennedy Charles

Chloé Beauchesne

Alexa Scott

Andrew Seddon

Robyn Salie

Elliot Ganas

Emma Roche

Adam Buchwald

Magnus Ellis

Jacob Hannah

Danica Grierson

Ryan Kulbacki

Jordan Campbell

Owen Hack

Joel Simpson

Hunter Ullett

Tyler Derraugh

Cynthia Klassen

Elizabeth Derraugh

Scott Van Horne

Squash

Alexander Kirbyson

Bryce Kristjansson

Dorothy Hargraves

Kostubh Agarwal

Anne Hargraves

Emily Hargraves

Mohyna DeRaj

William Znidarec

Trevor Borland

Alix Younger

Table tennis

Anna Liu

Gordon Chow

Nibusha Loganathan

Jeremy Tran

Yunyang Deng

Carol-Jean Wong

Arvin Tronco

Phuong Nguyen

Wheelchair basketball

Bethany Johnson

Matthew Wilton

Emma Isaacs

Téo Roy

Rylan Bileski

Thomas Thevenot

Bernard Rosello

Spencer Lambert

Joshua Brown

Jarrett Yaworski

Chantelle Horel

David Bileski

Mission staff

Peter Conway

Patrick Kirby

Marcie Halls-Stronciski

Kelly Babb

Dustin Stewart

Stephen Younger

Luc Therrien

Nolan Kowal

Kyla Ray

William Gendron

Stephen Harris

Tara Funke

Lin-P'ing Choo-Smith

Mandy Los

Andriana Demchuk

Deborah Schween

Sarah Tone

Bernard Reichardt

Jessica Alcantara

Ryan Van Berkel

"We've talked about that a little bit and I'd say we have a target on our backs based on finishes at previous tournaments. We won the last two tournaments and finished second in the first two.

"They're all well-rounded, they're all incredible kids."

Manitoba, captained by Milica Oravec of Oakbank, is an effective blend of youth and experience. The squad includes two 16-year-olds and four 17-year-olds.

"I've actually had the pleasure of coaching the majority of the team for the last three years prior to this, so we created a nucleus that I was familiar with and the girls as a unit are incredible," said Ferguson.

"They work hard, they understand what it means to win, they understand what it takes to win and they understand the hard work that goes into it. So I'm really looking forward to competing."

Nicole Hekle was the only previous ringette player to serve as flag-bearer for Manitoba. Hekle represented her province at the 2003 Games in Bathurst-Campbellton, N.B., and went on to lead her team in scoring as Manitoba earned a silver medal that year.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

Read full biography

History

Updated on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 5:48 PM CST: Adds team Manitoba list

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