LAC LA BICHE - The Lac La Biche Boxing Club is expanding its opportunities to participate in provincial tournaments across Alberta.
On Nov. 5 and 6, a handful of youth participated in the Alberta Sub Novice Tournament in Calgary, an event geared toward entry level boxers with less than two fights, said Ken Scullion, the Lac La Biche club’s head coach.
“There were probably about 75 to 80 bouts (fights),” during the weekend competition, he says, highlighting 13-year-old Michael Manuel Gardner’s fight during the weekend tournament.
“His bout was probably one of the more exciting ones because it was quite the comeback.” Gardner didn’t place, he walked away with the best Junior B boxer overall. It's an achievement that is encouraging the team to continue to compete, said Scullion.
Participating during the weekend for the first time was 12-year-old Broden Lavalle on the Junior A side and 15-year-old Cameron Laviollette on the Junior C side. For two other students who didn’t compete, the trip down to Calgary was an opportunity to see the provincial talent and experience tournament-style boxing, said Scullion.
Additionally, the club which has been around for decades with Scullion at the helm for almost 37 years, continues to be a safe space for youth to exercise, gain confidence and build skills, he explained.
“I teach them about boxing, but it's more about having a place for these kids to go and have some kind of outlet for them.”
For many of the kids, access to other sports and an opportunity to be a part of a team isn’t always available. Scullion alongside coach Jermey Trimble who train the kids at the club’s boxing gym in the Bold Center, are providing that space.
“There are life skills involved in boxing and we don't usually get the type of kids that are in other school sports. It seems to be a pretty good place for all the kids. It doesn’t matter what kind of skill level they have or their age group… it’s a safe haven for everybody.”
With financial support from the non-profit organization KidSport, many of the kids have an opportunity to participate without finances being an issue, and the gym is able to keep its doors open, said Scullion.
“Probably more than half of our kids—probably close to three quarters—are funded by KidSport. Without the help and support of people at KidSport the club would probably falter.”
As the young group winds down from the tournament, more of the club's boxers are headed to the Bronze Gloves tournament on Nov. 26 and 27 in Chestermere, Alta.
“It was a good tournament. We’re looking forward to the end of the month. We're going to go to the Bronze Gloves, which is for boxes that have two to seven bouts… We’re looking forward to it.”