At the recently concluded Provincial Championships hosted by Water Polo Canada, Team Alberta delivered an outstanding performance with both the 15U male and 15U female Blue teams winning gold in their respective categories. These teams were part of a 68-member squad that Alberta sent to the event which is the largest program in Team Alberta history. AWPA was thrilled to see that nine different Alberta clubs were represented this summer and we look forward to seeing athletes return to their home clubs with new experiences, development and leadership.
Alberta Water Polo was represented by five teams at the Provincial Championships which were hosted in Montreal from July 5th to 9th: Two 15U male teams, two 15U female teams and one 19U male team. The success of the 2023 Team Alberta program is a testament to the strength of the sport programming in Alberta. Some of these important AWPA initiatives include the 2022 Club Alignment Framework, various coach development opportunities, and Alberta’s multi-center National Development Centers (ie. the Calgary Legacy Centre and the Edmonton RDC).
This past spring Alberta had more than 100 athletes try out for Team Alberta. Athletes went through an intensive and highly competitive tryout process to be selected to the 2023 rosters. Taking into consideration the high level of provincial team interest and athlete skill, AWPA opted to send two teams in each 15U division (a Team Alberta first). This initiative offered provincial team experience to an additional 24 athletes who gained valuable development opportunities and it marked a significant milestone in their water polo journeys.
Alberta pride was definitely visible in Montreal (see coaching picture attached) and AWPA is thrilled to congratulate all athletes, coaches, families and clubs on an outstanding 2023 provincial team season! The achievements of Team Alberta at the 2023 Provincial Championships highlights the dedication, hard work and passion of Alberta’s athletes, coaches, support staff, volunteers and clubs. As Alberta continues to nurture, develop and invest its water polo programs, the future is promising for these talented athletes and the success achieved at the championships serves as a stepping stone to greater heights in the sport.
Keep reading for a brief recap on each of the 2023 Team Alberta teams!
15U Boys Team Alberta Blue
Athletes: Matthew Deptuck, William Dueme, Mateo Giorgi, Ethan Imeson, Lian Kim, Joshua Li, Austin Neal, Sully Oosterveld, Markian Severson, Nash Vanhooren, Keegan Wong, Oliver Wu (Listed Alphabetically)
Coaches: Bryce Reade & Zerind Malcolm-Teleky
Recap: “It is most important to play well on Sundays.” This classic sport mentality is exactly what our 15U Blue Team did with a decisive 9-4 win over Team Ontario Blue to secure the 2023 Provincial Championships title! Sunday’s game was a rematch for the teams as they opened the tournament against each other with Team Ontario Blue winning the first match-up. This made Sunday’s win even more impressive as it demonstrated how much the team grew throughout the tournament. The team finished the weekend with a record of 7:1 and throughout the event the boys displayed determination, confidence and passion for the game which contributed to the team’s gold medal performance.
“It was a long and hot week in Montreal, but the boys didn’t let that hold them back and played better with every game. We ended the tournament with our best game by far. I couldn’t be more proud of how we came together to play as a team.” - Bryce Reade (Team Head Coach)
15U Girls Team Alberta Blue
Athletes: Hazel Bowers, Clara Dorobantu Brown, Vallie Guiver, Adelyn Kyfiuk, Ava Kyfiuk, Kayla Leong, Josey Lukie, Scarlet Lukie, Calla Peatz, McKenna Pineda-McLean, Ellie Restauro, Hannah Spence (Listed Alphabetically)
Coaches: Alyssa Hunt & Lizzy Birch
Recap: Who doesn't love a comeback story? The Team Alberta 15U Girls Blue Team went into Sunday's gold medal final undefeated. However, after being down 5-2 at half to Team Ontario, the girls needed to dig deep and work together in order to turn things around. With about a minute to play Team Alberta tied the game; meaning that the gold medal would be determined in a shootout. After an exciting and nerve-racking shootout (Alberta going 3/3 with their shooters and a strong performance from the goalie) Team AB emerged victorious to win the 2023 Provincial Championships with a final score of 10-7!
“What a week! The 15U Girls Blue Team had a week filled with growth, excitement, and perseverance as we experienced dorm living, intense heat, navigating travel, and developed together as a team. Throughout the trip we also explored many personal skills involved in being an elite level “champion” athlete.
The 15U Girls Blue Team came together and were determined to represent the province of Alberta with pride, and we did just that. The 15U Provincial Championship title was hard fought as we came from behind and earned it together as a team. I am so proud of this group and feel privileged to have coached this young and talented team.” - Alyssa Hunt (Team Head Coach)
19U Team Alberta Men
Coaches: Mikael Sabo
Recap: Competition was fierce in the 19U Men’s division at the 2023 Provincial Championships. Throughout the event our 19U men’s squad played hard and competed in many tight matches. Finishing fifth at the event, the team displayed excellence beyond their actions in the water and acted as positive role models for the 15U teams. This 19U squad set the standard for Alberta’s teams on what it means to be a Team AB athlete and displayed important leadership throughout the event. For many of the athletes on this team, this event was their final Team Alberta experience as they will now be aging out of the Provincial Team system. AWPA congratulates them on a successful Team Alberta career and wishes them the best of luck in whatever the future holds for them.
15U Boys Team Alberta Yellow
Athletes: Ali Abzakh, Grayson Bennett, Xavier Burley, Kingston Falkenberg, Eric Gardner, Luke McCormack, Ivan Ren, Lincoln Stotz, Callum Snell-Farnsworth, Case Tarras, Aven Weibach, Eason Zhang (Listed Alphabetically)
Coaches: Jonathan Spence & Lazar Ceklic
Recap: Throughout the Provincial Championships our young 15U Boys Yellow Team focused on development and aimed to be a stronger team come the end of the tournament. For many, this was their first experience with the Team Alberta program and over the week they gained valuable competition experience and were challenged outside their comfort zones. With some close games throughout the event, this squad showed great focus, growth and heart. The future is bright for Team Alberta and we look forward to watching these athletes continue to develop in the years to come!
“Despite being the youngest team at the tournament the 15U Yellow Boys showed everyone why they deserved to be there. They worked hard and improved every single game, putting up many excellent fights against more experienced teams.” - Jonathan Spence (Team Head Coach)
15U Girls Team Alberta Yellow
Athletes: Alexis Bohrson, Hazel Carriere, Daxan Fauser, Lily Irons, Kate Martin, Emma Mcleod, Elin Kim, Katelyn Kuzik, Samantha Mulvale, Eva Peterson, Alexia Smith, Ruby Walker (Listed Alphabetically)
Coaches: Taylor Halbauer & Robyn Currie
Recap: Throughout the Provincial Championships the 15U Girls Yellow Team experienced many opportunities for development. From competing against the top 15U athletes in the country to various mental performance sessions, this team left the event stronger as athletes, individuals and as a team. With many first-time provincial team athletes, the coaches were highly impressed in the coachability, effort and attitudes of this group of athletes. These athletes will return to their club teams this fall as leaders with newly developed skills and high performance experience.
“The girls had heart and fought with determination in each and every game. The results were not what we hoped, but the improvement this team showed over the course of one tournament was unbelievable. The coaches can’t wait to see what the future holds for these promising athletes!” - Taylor Halbauer (Team Head Coach)
FULL ARTICLE with Team details and pictures