Players bounce at Bubble Soccer Halifax’s debut

An all-day tournament on Saturday marked the first appearance of bubble soccer in the Maritimes.

Bubble Soccer Halifax made its Maritime debut this weekend in the gym of Armbrae Academy. Fourteen teams suited up for a tournament that went all day Saturday.

The sound of squeaking sneakers and laughter filled the gym, along with the occasional thud of a teammate and their bubble bouncing off the ground.

Groups of 10 signed up for 40 minute games throughout the day. The groups were then split into two teams and each player squeezed into their respective bubble and began a bouncy game of indoor soccer.

Colleen Armstrong gathered a team of friends to play at the inaugural event. By the end of the second half, all players were sweaty and carefree.

“It was so much fun,” said Armstrong. “The best part is the first time you get hit. You just go flying through the air, and then you realize you’re not going to get hurt.”

“Well, not too badly,” added Dana Hodgins another player on Armstrong’s team.

Players ran around the gym bouncing off each other and the walls, stopping every once in a while for fresh air and rest.

Tim Tanner poses beside his bubble at the end of a fun game. (Photo: Caora McKenna).
Tim Tanner poses beside his bubble at the end of a fun game. (Photo: Caora McKenna).

Patrick Toupin — the man behind the bubbles — had seen videos on the Internet of people playing bubble soccer. Being a soccer player his whole life, he wanted a chance to play.

“It just seemed like a good fit for me,” said Toupin.

When he discovered there was nowhere in the Maritimes to play, he started researching different products. Last month he bought his own fleet of bubbles and started the small business: Bubble Soccer Halifax.

Toupin decided to start the business to compensate for the cost of the bubbles, which are $400 each. “If I can spread the game and maybe make a little on the side that would be great,” he said.

Marianne Parent, Toupin’s girlfriend, was unsure of the idea at first but let him run with it. “We’ll see how it goes,” she said. “So far I’m really impressed.”

Toupin’s background in engineering led him to research and buy the best quality bubbles for his small business. He could tell that the product was new because of the “material science behind it.” He said that “for it to be strong and clear and also not smell makes a big difference.”

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Even though the bubbles were clear plastic, Tim Tanner, another player on Armstrong’s team, still had difficulty seeing. However, he said that reduced visibility added to the fun.

“You’re kind of like a deer in headlights, but then you just get hit and bounce back,” said Tanner.

Toupin hopes to start up a summer league and rent out the bubbles for birthday parties and events.

As word of this new sport spreads, Bubble Soccer Halifax’s website and Facebook page remain the place to stay up to date on upcoming events.

King’s Cup raises questions about gender inequality

Out of 29 players at this year’s University of King’s College’s intramural hockey game, only six of them were women.

The 4th annual King’s Cup hockey game took place on Saturday, in a flurry of beer guzzling and joking rivalry, with the Bays defeating Alex Hall 4-1.

The King’s Cup is played by intramural sports teams, organized by residence building. Competitors play for the residence they lived in during their first year at the University of King’s College. The residences consist of Alexandra Hall, Radical Bay, Middle Bay, North Pole Bay, Chapel Bay and Cochran Bay.

Teams were evenly matched skill-wise, but there was a large gender gap on the ice. Out of 29 total players on the roster, only six women played in the game.

Gender inequality didn’t seem to be an issue at the King’s Cup, but it raised questions regarding gender inequality in sport.

Emily Gautreau, a fourth-year player and ringette coach with the Halifax Chebucto Ringette Association, played for Alex Hall this year and said her experience has been positive so far.

“There have always been a core group of us who’ve stuck together from the beginning, and these dudes are the greatest,” she said. “They respect me and the other ladies, and make sure the other guys do the same.”

The Bays pose for a photo after winning the King’s Cup. (Photo: Bronwen McKie)

Silas Brown, a fourth-year player and co-captain of the Bays team, said this year’s King’s Cup had the most female players since it started four years ago.

“We try and see every year, for King’s Cup, how many girls we can get to come play,” said Brown. He added he doesn’t know why more women aren’t playing in the King’s Cup.

“Obviously, not as many girls play hockey as boys do,” he said. “We do go to a liberal arts university. There’s probably not that many people who are athletically oriented.”

While the King’s intramural team is welcoming, Gautreau said overall respect for women in sports is a prevalent problem. Women should have equal access to resources in sports associations, such as ice time, she said.

“This is particularly noticeable when leagues don’t support teams at the rec levels as much as they do at the competitive [level],” she said.

“I think it’s still an issue that a lot of sports are still kind of considered men’s sports,” said Brown. “I don’t know if women’s leagues are helping to change or enforce that stigma.”

A 2010 report states gender inequality in sport is still widespread, especially within the coaching sphere. Gautreau said this is something she has experienced herself.

Gautreau said two experienced male coaches mentored her this ringette season, boosting her credibility and also parents’ respect for her.

“I got so lucky this season and my head coaches are wonderful, supportive, respectful guys. But, I shouldn’t have to be lucky,” she said. “I shouldn’t have to worry about how I’ll be treated because of my gender.

“I don’t really have a solution, but I do believe that talking about it is the only way to deal with it,” she added.

In the meantime, Gautreau will continue to play with the King’s intramural team.

“I haven’t stopped yet and will only stop when I graduate.”

What you should know before running in the winter

Five tips all runners, new or experienced, should follow before braving the cold and dangerous weather of the winter months.

 

While some Halifax citizens are complaining about the icy sidewalks, many runners maintain their physical activity despite sidewalk conditions.

For some runners, the winter months become daunting. They turn to crowded gyms and at home workouts in order to continue staying in shape during the winter. However, while snow and ice pose a threat to running outside, it is still possible to tackle those obstacles without changing your routine to fit the weather.

1. Running for beginners

According to Running Room, someone who is new to running should start slow. The first few times they go outside they should start by fast-walking. This allows for the new runner to build up their endurance.

Instead of going out and running as fast as you can for as long as you can, which could result in injury if the runner pushes themselves too far, it is much safer to start slow.

The best thing to do is to gradually increase the ratio of walking to running each time. It is best to start by walking for two minutes and running for one minute, then the next day, walk two minutes and run two minutes – always increasing the time and distance.

According to Andrew Moser, a student at the University of King’s College and avid runner all year around, joggers should also do specific exercises to increase the strength in your ankles.

Moser’s mother is a physiotherapist who taught him most of what he knows about muscles and how they help with running – especially on slippery and icy sidewalks.

“She would always talk about stabilizers, which are basically muscles that do the correcting for you when you are trying to balance [on the ice],” says Moser. “Already being a good runner helps, but you can start on the treadmill, or do simple balancing exercises like standing on one foot to strengthen your ankles.”

2. Thinking about tackling the ice?

After training to become a stronger runner and building up endurance, runners might be tempted to run outside all year around. However, before doing so, the runner must know a few tips for making sure they do not fall on the ice.

According to Moser, anyone who is planning to run during the winter months should:

  1. Pay attention to where you are running. If you see any shiny patches, chances are it is ice and you should slow down and shorten your stride.
  2. When turning corners, you should also slow down and shorten your stride so that you do not lose your balance.

According to Running Room runners may also feel soreness after running in the snow and ice. This is because your stabilizers are working harder to keep you from slipping.

3. Clothing

Moser thinks that there is a lot of value in getting athletic gear that is more expensive because it will last a few years, and you know what you are buying is good quality. He recognizes that not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on running gear, and suggests that anyone can buy leggings or sweat pants from Winners.

Moser also acknowledges that it is best for new runners who are not sure how much they will be running, or if they will stick with it, to look for cheaper versions of athletic clothing at places like Winners. As they become more committed, it can be justified to spend more money on longer lasting gear.

Running Room suggests that runners who will be running in the colder months cover up any exposed skin like: your neck, hands, faces and heads. You can do this with scarves, hats, gloves and ski-masks.

Running Room also suggests that, because days in the winter months are shorter and it gets dark much faster, a runner should make sure that they wear bright clothing or running gear with reflective stripes so that drivers will be able to see them in the dark.

4. Tips for running in the cold

According to Running Competitor, it is best to start off your run by running into the wind, then half way through the run you should switch it up and run with the wind at your back. Running Competitor explains that if you run with the wind at your back first, you will work up a sweat. Then when you change direction, the cold wind against your face will cause sweat to freeze.

Running Competitor also suggests that runners use Vaseline on any exposed skin that cannot be covered. Vaseline has waterproof and windproof properties that will protect your skin from frostbite

They also stress the importance on keeping hydrated during and after a run because you sweat just as much while running in the winter as you do in the warmer months – even if it does not feel that way.

Moser also suggests that any runner, experienced or new, should definitely take it easy on hills. Although the hills make for a great workout, they can become very dangerous during the winter months when they are covered in ice, snow or slush. He says that it is better to run slow and keep your balance, than to run fast and hurt yourself.

5. Alternatives

Moser says his girlfriend is starting to get into running as well, but she’s not experienced enough to go out and tackle the snow, ice and slush that covers the ground. Instead, during the winter months, she likes to go on Youtube and look up workout videos which are posted by fitness gurus.

Some alternatives to running in the winter are:

  1. Going to the gym
  2. Walking
  3. Yoga/ Hot Yoga
  4. Fitness classes
  5. Online workout videos

X-Women close out Tigers in dramatic finish

StFX X-Women move onto the Subway AUS hockey final after sweeping the Dalhousie Tigers.

The StFX X-Women ended the Dalhousie Tigers’s season Thursday night with a 3-1 win at the Halifax Forum. The X-Women won the Subway AUS best-of-three semi-final series 2-0.

StFX senior forward Alexa Normore jammed in a rebound past Tigers goaltender Jessica Severyns to open the scoring at 6:29 into the first period. Heather Tillsley and Schyler Campbell tallied assists on the play.

It wasn’t long before Dalhousie’s Lisa MacLean answered back with a blistering slap-shot that beat the league-leading goaltender Sojung Shin.

The X-Women controlled the play for the majority of the second period. League-leading scorer Normore was tenacious on the puck and overpowered many of Dalhousie’s defensemen.

“She is a great player,” said Tigers defencemen Rachel Carr.

“She was hard to contain all night. Her and her line-mate Schyler Campbell work very well together. They are two special players.”

In the second period, after an onslaught of shots and minutes of the Tigers being hemmed in their own end, Sarah Bujold sent Daley Oddy in on a partial breakaway, where she displayed a dazzling set of hands and tucked in a slick backhand past Jessica Severyns.

The X-Women led 2-1 heading into the final minutes of the third period.

In desperation, Tigers coach Sean Casey pulled Severyns in an attempt to tie it up.

But the X-Women’s size and strength prevailed, and with 47 seconds left in the game, senior forward Kara Power out hustled the Tigers’s defence and buried the puck into the open net to solidify the lead.

The X-Women edged the Tigers 3-1.

Shots on goal were 31-25 in favour of the X-Women.

Despite sweeping the series, StFX coach Ben Berthiaume was glad it was over.

“Dalhousie was relentless,” said Berthiaume.

“They were a very hard working team. It was a tough series.”

The X-Women will go on to play Moncton in the Subway AUS championship.

Lisa MacLean battles for puck possession after a face-off. (Photo: Connor Currie)