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St. Albert students to play ball(s) at Francophone Games

40 to compete in all-French event
HAVING SEVERAL BALLS — École Alexandre-Taché students (L-R) Liliana Cormier, Chloé Too, and Dominic Mulder will be playing basketball, Kin-Ball, and volleyball at the 30th annual Alberta Francophone Games this May 24-26. They are shown here with the balls used in their respective sports. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

St. Albert students will be going for the gold in Lac La Biche this weekend as part of the 30th annual Alberta Francophone Games.

Some 40 St. Albert students are scheduled to be in Lac La Biche this May 24 to 26 for the 30th annual Jeux francophones de l’Alberta (Alberta Francophone Games). Established in 1993, the Games bring hundreds of Grades 7-12 French-speaking students from across Alberta together to show off their talents and cultural pride.

Some 575 students and 100 volunteers have signed up for this year’s Games, which will be held at J.A. Williams High School, Aurora Middle School, and the Bold Centre in Lac La Biche, said Sylvie Sonier, Zone 4 chef de mission for the Games. Participants will compete in sports such as basketball, Kin-Ball, and volleyball, as well as non-sporting events such as cooking, music, and visual arts. Top performers can earn medals and may earn a spot on Team Alberta at the  Canadian Francophone Games (which will next be held in 2025).

Sonier said interest in the Games has surged since the end of pandemic-related restrictions, with some 88 athletes signing up in her zone this year compared to the typical 30.

Alexandre-Taché army

All but two of the St. Albert students headed to the Games are from Alexandre-Taché. (The two exceptions are from St. Albert Catholic High.)

Grade 11 Alexandre-Taché student Dominic Mulder will be competing in volleyball, as he did at last year’s Games.

“I thought it was a great experience last year,” he said, adding that it was easy to get along with the other athletes.

As his teammates will be drawn from across Zone 4 (which covers Edson, Fort Saskatchewan, Hinton, Jasper, Legal, Morinville, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain), Mulder said he won’t get a chance to practice with them before they meet in Lac La Biche. Still, he hoped to meet new friends, show off his skills, and win gold at the Games.

Competing in Kin-Ball for her third Games is Alexandre-Taché Grade 9 student Chloé Too.

Kin-Ball is a sport where teams compete to hit and catch a four-foot-wide ball without letting it touch the ground, Too said.

“Since you know the ball is going to go really slowly, you have to catch the other team by surprise and be as quick as possible,” she said, adding that you need strong arms to strike the voluminous ball.

Too said Zone 4 placed 6th at last year’s Games but could have the top spot in reach this year, as the team had been practicing every week for two months.

Grade 8 Alexandre-Taché student Liliana Cormier will compete in 3-on-3 basketball this weekend in her second time at the Games. She has been practicing with her brother at home to prepare, as she won’t meet her teammates until competition day.

Cormier said attending the Games last year made her proud to be French.

“When you spoke French, you spoke it with pride.”

The Games begin at 8 p.m. on May 24 at the Bold Centre with opening ceremonies. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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