At the end of January musher Hank DeBruin was getting in as much training as possible for the Yukon Quest on his property where he runs his business Winterdance Dogsled Tours. DeBruin spent months training his team in preparation for the international race which is set to begin this weekend. A 53-year-old race veteran DeBruin is hoping to finish in the top 10. ANGELICA INGRAM Staff

Local football players selected to play U.S.

By Darren Lum

A tryout earlier this month for Team Ontario is giving a pair of local teenaged football players an opportunity to showcase their skills south of the border who are looking to further their playing careers beyond high school.

The childhood friends and Red Hawks football teammates Sage Christiano and Kyle Lavergne will be part of the provincial team under-18 that will play Team USA in the annual International Bowl game at the AT&T Stadium home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys in Texas this coming February.

Christiano an offensive lineman that has most recently played with the Ontario Varsity Football League’s Oshawa Hawkeyes is very excited to have made the team and loves that he can share the experience with his friend.

“It’s great to have the experience to go and play at this level and play in the Dallas Cowboys stadium but to share that with a teammate and someone I have known since my early childhood makes it that much better” Christiano said.

Christiano first learned of the news on Dec. 7 and said this is the result of hard work and dedication.

“It just goes to show that perseverance pays off. I’m very fortunate to have the support of my family friends and community. I will be going to Texas with my teammate and friend Kyle Lavergne. As for family and friends at the moment everybody wants to come but we’ll see what happens” he said.

To Lavergne a wide receiver the news came as a shock as this enables him to play the best in North America.

“It’s huge making this team… I never thought I could get to make a team Ontario and represent my province in USA” he wrote in an email.

The selection came at time when Lavergne was figuring out where he would like to play after high school. This past summer he played in the Ontario Football Conference with the Peterborough Wolverines’ varsity team and has recently committed to attending McMaster University.

He’s proud of his selection that included a field of elite players from across the province.

“It’s just crazy to think about being on the team. And especially coming from a small town it’s cool that me and Sage can share the experience together. This team is coached by university coaches so not only do we get to learn and get exposure but we get to spend a week with university coaches from around Ontario and get exposure in the states” he said.

The two friends continue to train together every week.

This is not only a showcase of individual talents but also an opportunity to be a representative of Canada.

“I know for me it’ll be the biggest week thus far regarding football. I also want to try and prove to people that Canada can play with the States when it comes to football” he said.