The Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre and 17 partner organizations hosted an event on Market Square in downtown Swift Current to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21. The event was part of a provincial campaign against racism by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) with the theme “Show Racism the Door.” This was the second year that organizations in Swift Current participated in the MCoS campaign on this day, which is observed around the world to highlight ongoing efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Representatives from partner organizations spoke at the event. People participated in a game that helped to highlight the event's themes of moving away from stereotypes and prejudice, and of building a community of acceptance and respect. Thereafter they wrote down messages of respect and acceptance that was placed on a door to cover words of disrespect and intolerance.
The Swift Current Skating Club celebrated a successful season with the On Broadway ice show at the Innovation Credit Union i-plex, March 19. The club's ice show is an annual event to showcase the talent of their skaters in front of family and friends, who attended in large numbers. Skaters wore colourful outfits and performed routines that where choreographed to the sound of music from some famous musicals, varying from The Sound of Music to Grease and The Lion King. The performance concluded with a grand finale, when all the skaters were on the ice. This was followed by an awards ceremony, during which six rising star awards were presented to skaters. The award recipients were Hart Johnston (First Blades 1), Georgia Unger (First Blades 2), Vaeda Johnson (First Blades 3), Sadie Schamber (CanSkate 1), Erika Olson (CanSkate 2) and Karley Tait (Rising Stars). A gift was also presented to Tracy Hansen, a member of the club's coaching staff, who is retiring after 19 years as a professional coach, of which around 16 years were spent with the Swift Current Skating Club.
Award-winning Saskatchewan country music artist Codie Prevost performed in Swift Current on March 18 at a concert that was a fundraiser for the Lyric Theatre's building renovation fund. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales also benefitted the Hockridge and Thomson families in the city, who have to deal with expenses due to the medical condition of a child. Amisha Hockridge (13) was born with microtia, a rare condition that can affect the heart, spine, kidney and bowel. She already had 13 surgeries and she is preparing for another one. Amisha and her family attended the Codie Prevost concert. They were able to meet him before the start of his performance and she was invited by Prevost to perform a song during his concert. She sang the Ed Sheeran song Thinking Out Loud. Three-year-old Bella Thomson was born with a rare form of severe combined immunodeficiency. She has spent over 600 days in hospital since birth. She has already undergone 12 surgeries and there will be at least two more. For more information about the journeys of these two children and community efforts to support them, go to the Facebook pages Amisha's Microtia Battle and Isabella's Mustard Seed.
Write Out Loud hosted two award-winning artists and storytellers from Val Marie at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current, March 15. Madonna Hamel has produced award-winning radio documentaries for the CBC, her one-woman monologues have been performed around North America, and her art installation My Mother's Apron, which was on show last summer at the Prairie Wind and Silver Sage Ecomuseum in Val Marie, has been extended for another season. Her series of vignettes, My Sister's Apron, will be performed in Regina in April. Interdisciplinary artist Joseph Naytowhow has produced traditional and contemporary stories and songs that have been recorded and performed nationally and internationally. His passion for sharing cultural knowledge has made him a sought after speaker, performer and educator, he has been working with various university education departments on cultural research projects, and he recently completed a short book of fiction based on his residential school experience. The two artists have met in Val Marie and they have been cooperating on a storytelling event that took place at the Prairie Community Centre in Val Marie, March 18. The next event in the Write Out Loud series will feature poet Linda Monahan on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre.
Students from Great Plains College and the Chinook School Division as well as members of the public participated in an event in Swift Current to to raise awareness about the impact of residential schools on aboriginal people and the need for action towards reconciliation, March 14. The morning event “Truth and Reconciliation: Let's Walk the Talk” took place at the Great Plains College. It was hosted by the Southwest Multicultural Association in association with the City of Swift Current, Living Sky Casino and the college. Dr. Brian Gobbett of Great Plains College presented a pictorial history about residential schools and reconciliation efforts. Elder Noel Starblanket of the Star Blanket Cree First Nation spoke about his residential school experience. The event concluded with a walk to Market Square, where four students from Maple Creek Composite School (Angelo Catalasan, Mandla Mthembu, Jarod O'Toole, Keara Zoerb) read out various steps towards action and change to achieve reconciliation. Participants then enjoyed a lunch of soup and bannock at the Lyric Theatre. Elder Noel Starblanket also spoke that evening at an event hosted by the Swift Current Branch Library.
The Swift Current Group 2 Scouts hosted their annual Kub Kar Rally at the Swift Current Mall, March 11. The scouts spend hours preparing for the event by building their hand-made race cars and semi-trailer trucks. The results of their workmanship were tested at the rally as they competed in the different race categories for obstacle course, straight line event, stopping on the spot, and everyone’s favourite, the speed track.
The Swift Current Snooker Club hosted the provincial snooker championship, March 10-12. The event was held upstairs in the Stockade building at Kinetic Park. This was the fourth year in a row that the event took place in Swift Current. There were 16 contestants. Players came from Estevan, Regina and Saskatoon, and there were four players from Swift Current – Guy Lovestone, Terry Lovestone, Mike Peters and Leonard Wiebe. The A side winner was Darryl Wouters of Saskatoon, a past Canadian champion. This was his fourteenth provincial title. Second place went to Dennis Chapados of Regina, Swift Current's Terry Lovestone was third, and Leonard Wiebe of Swift Current placed fourth. The B side winner was Swift Current's Guy Lovestone and in second place was Greg Tanner of Estevan.
The Montreal Canadiens alumni team helped to raise funds for the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame and the City of Swift Current's Safe Places – Youth Certified initiative when they visited the city to play a game against a team of local first responders, March 10. The Living Sky Casino Hall of Fame game at the Innovation Credit Union i-plex was an opportunity for local hockey fans to see former players such as forward Stéphane Richer, defenceman Patrice Brisebois and goalie Richard Sévigny on the ice. The Swift Current Emergency Services team consisted of members of the local fire department and ambulance services. They were joined by former Swift Current Broncos Sheldon Kennedy, Todd Holt and Joel Rogers as well as a former member of the Canadian women's hockey team, Bobbi-Jo Slusar. The event provided a few Swift Current locals with a unique opportunity to be on the Montreal Canadiens bench. Chuck Audette, John Kennedy and former Swift Current mayor Jerrod Schafer skated with the team, local hockey coach Larry Johnson was the team's associate coach next to coach Yvon Lambert and former Broncos trainer Gord Hahn was the alumni team's trainer. The final score in the game was a 10-7 win for the Montreal Canadiens alumni team.
A large turnout at the game and support from the community helped the Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS) senior basketball team to raise $13,630 for the family of school alumnus Rena Best, who recently died of cancer. The Swift Current Ardens Pink Game against the North Battleford Vikings took place on March 9. SCCHS students Carter Hancock and Ryan Girardeau had their heads shaved during halftime. They were able to raise a total of $1,927.30 in support of the Ardens fundraiser. The game turned into a real battle between the two teams that was decided in the final seconds, when the Ardens could not score on penalty throws to lose 57-56. Team members presented a cheque to Kelly Nelson and his children Kalven (14) and Ellie (9) after the game. The money from the fundraiser will be donated to a trust fund that has been set up for the two children. Their mother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in August 2015 and she passed away on Jan. 25, 2017. Rena Best grew up in Swift Current and attended school at Central School, O.M. Irwin School and the SCCHS, where she helped to manage the 1984/85 Ardens basketball team to a provincial championship title.