End Games

Brendan McCarthy
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Team Newfoundland and Labrador returns from Games with few medals but plenty to be proud of

The 2009 Canada Summer Games may be over, but most of the athletes who represented this province at the Games, which were held in Prince Edward Island over the last two weeks, will return to training and competition on, in or at fields, gyms, tracks, diamonds, rinks and boats almost immediately.

Ryan Brockerville of Marystown, who won a silver medal in the men's 3,000-metre steeplechase last week, didn't even get to return home with the rest of the provincial contingent after Saturday's closing ceremonies. The Simon Fraser University runner went directly from Charlottetown to Whistler, B.C., where the SFU cross-country team is holding a training camp in preparation for the fall season.

Members of Newfoundland and Labradors Canada Games contingent at the closing ceremonies Saturday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Photo by Brendan McCarthy/The Telegram

Charlottetown, P.E.I. -

The 2009 Canada Summer Games may be over, but most of the athletes who represented this province at the Games, which were held in Prince Edward Island over the last two weeks, will return to training and competition on, in or at fields, gyms, tracks, diamonds, rinks and boats almost immediately.

Ryan Brockerville of Marystown, who won a silver medal in the men's 3,000-metre steeplechase last week, didn't even get to return home with the rest of the provincial contingent after Saturday's closing ceremonies. The Simon Fraser University runner went directly from Charlottetown to Whistler, B.C., where the SFU cross-country team is holding a training camp in preparation for the fall season.

Many others are set to play in sports other than the ones in which they competed at the Games.

Sisters Chelsea and Courtney King, who ran in track and field events at the Games, returned to St. John's over the weekend, but will leave again this week for mainland schools, where they will suit up for varsity hockey teams.

Nineteen-year-old Chelsea, who participated in sprint events in Charlottetown, is the latest in a long line of recruits from Newfoundland to the Mount Allison University AUS women's hockey program, while 16-year-old Courtney will return to Ridley College, a St. Catharines, Ont. prep school, where she will play hockey this winter before the spring high school track and field season.

Local soccer enthusiasts will get a chance to see many of Newfoundland's Summer Games male soccer team over the Labour Day weekend as they compete in Challenge Cup playoffs. The team, which looked like it might be a medal contender midway through the Games tourney, finished seventh overall, ending its schedule with a 3-2 win over British Columbia on Saturday. Boyd Roul of Lawn, with two, and Sean Edwards of St. Lawrence had the Newfoundland goals. Quebec won the gold medal, defeating Alberta 2-0 in the final .Ontario took the bronze.

Besides soccer, there was also competition in swimming and volleyball on Saturday prior to he afternoon closing ceremonies.

The men's volleyball team defeated Nova Scotia 3-1 to finish seventh overall, the highest placing of any Atlantic Canadian entry and equaling the best finish for any male v-ballers at the Games.

Max Burt of Gander, who is heading back to Dalhousie University, led the way for Newfoundland with 22 kills. Alberta captured gold with a 3-0 win over Ontario. B.C. won the bronze.

The women's volleyball team also finished on a winning note, defeating P.E.I. 3-0 to finish ninth overall.

Maura Hayes of Cupids, who will play for the University of Calgary in the fall, led Newfoundland with 10 kills and three blocks. Memorial University star Erin Bursey of Weybridge had nine kills. Manitoba won the gold over Ontario, while Alberta took the bronze.

The swimming competition Saturday wasn't held at the University of Prince Edward Island pool at the CARI Centre, but at Southwest River, where competitors took part in the Games' first-ever 10-kilometre swims.

Despite never having competed in the distance before, both 19-year-old Dayna Hogan of Stephenville and 15-year-old Sarah Tremblett of St. John's completed the race in about two hours and 38 minutes, about 25 minutes slower than the first-place winner from Ontario.

Only half of the male competitors finished - many of them plagued by cold currents on their course. Among those leaving the water early were 14-year-old Ryan Adams of Mount Pearl and 17-year-old Nick Hogan of Steady Brook.

In all, Newfoundland and Labrador swimmers set 21 age-group short course provincial records, more than half of them coming in relay events, including four in the senior men's and women's divisions. Owen Daly of St. John's set five individual records in the male 13-14 age categories.

The pool also produced half of Newfoundland and Labrador's medal total over the two weeks of the Games, and all three of them came through the efforts of Erica Noonan Of Stephenville, who won silver in the 100-metre butterfly and breaststroke and 200-metre individual medley in the SWAD (swimmers with a disability) division.

The province's other medals were Brockerville's silver, and bronze won by the men's rugby team and women's fours rowers during the Games first week, during which competition was mostly held in and around Summerside. Most events during the second week were in the Charlottetown metro area and Montague.

Perennial powerhouse Ontario, the Canada Games Flag winner in 17 of the past 21 Games, led the medal standings with 202 (70 gold, 68 silver, 64 bronze). Quebec was second with 145 (42-53-50), while B.C. was third with 144 medals (57-43-44).

Noonan was the province's flagbearer for the closing ceremonies, while Brockerville carried Newfoundland and Labrador's sign as the athletes paraded into the Alumni Canada Games Place track and field complex, with Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy representing the provincial government.

Ontario captured the Canada Games Flag as the top-scoring province in a tight race that came down to the final two days of competition. Ontario finished with 274 points, edging B.C., which was second with 256. Quebec finished third with 244, and earned the Centennial Cup as the most improved province.

Newfoundland was ninth with 95 Flag points, up from 87.5 from the 2005 Summer Games in Regina, where it finished with eight medals - four silver and four bronze.

Canada Games awards a flag to the top province based on points scored by every athlete, not just top-three finishes.

P.E.I. won the Jack Pelech Award for sportsmanship.

Some 4,400 athletes and coaches, including about 350 from Newfoundland and Labrador, took part in the Games, which marked the first time an entire province has played host. Sports were held at venues across the province, with the crown jewel being the Alumni Place at UPEI.

While Games officials said final ticket sale numbers had not yet been tallied, they said they'd already met their goal of $500,000 at the end of Week 1.

Besides open-water swimming, two other sports - triathlon and golf - also made their Games debuts. Rugby may have made its final appearance. It's not on the schedule for the next Summer Games, although there is some suggestion that with the sevens version of the sport approved for inclusion in future Olympics, the sport may return, in some form, to the Canada Games.

Ontario boasted the biggest team with 361 athletes, while Nunavut had the smallest squad with just five athletes, all wrestlers.

The 2013 Summer Games will be held in Sherbrooke, Que., while Halifax will host the 2011 Winter Games.

bmcc@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Ridley College, Simon Fraser University, Mount Allison University AUS University of Prince Edward Island Dalhousie University University of Calgary Canada Games Flag CARI Centre Halifax

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada Ontario St. John's Quebec Marystown Whistler Alberta Stephenville British Columbia Manitoba Mount Pearl Steady Brook Summerside Regina Nunavut Sherbrooke

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