The second annual Slave Lake Indoor Soccer Tournament is now in the history books and it has grown significantly from last year.
Tournament and indoor co-ordinator Esther Bylsma says there were 12 teams that participated in the event on Jan. 26, 27 and 28 at the fieldhouse. Last year there were only two teams.
The teams were from all over the province as well as outside. There was a team from Millar College of the Bible from Pambrun, Sask. There were teams from Three Hills, St. Albert, Edson, Edmonton, La Crete and Grande Prairie.
Bylsma said there was only one local team, the Slave Lake Strikers.
Teams could compete in three divisions, men’s, women’s and co-ed.
In the men’s division, La Crete Football Club placed first, beating out the Strikers in the finals 5-2. In the women’s division the Barracudas won gold, defeating the Prairie Pilots 3-0. In the co-ed division the Escalator Nachos were victorious, defeating Prairie’s co-ed team in the finals 2-1.
“They were all well- fought games and really well played,” Bylsma says.
This tournament acted as a fundraiser for Slave Lake Minor Soccer. There was a silent auction held at the same time. Bylsma did not have a final count of how much was raised, but says it went well. She feels there was great community support.
Bylsma says she started this tournament to provide another competitive sporting opportunity. When she first arrived in Slave Lake she felt the only opportunity was in hockey.
“I wanted to see a sport grow so I decided to start with that,” she said.
With that in mind, Bylsma started coaching and joined the minor soccer board. She built this tournament from there.
Bylsma reports that the snowstorm earlier that week did little to discourage participation. She could only point to one person who backed out due to the weather, a referee. The weather did not hinder the enthusiasm of the players either.
“They were all excited to come and play,” she says.
As for changes to make next year, Bylsma explains that the games were a little tight so she would want to stretch them out. That said, she feels there will not be many changes.
“I think overall it ran pretty well but not too many big changes for next year,” she says.
In the women’s division of the Slave Lake Indoor Soccer Tournament.The Barracudas defeated the Prairie Pilots 3-0.
In the co-ed division of the Slave Lake Indoor Soccer Tournament, the Escalator Nachos beat the Prairie Pilots 2-1.