Winter water polo for skill development

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Local event features teams from across province

INNISFAIL – The Alberta Water Polo Association (AWPA) held a winter league tournament last weekend at the Innisfail Aquatic Centre.

The one-day tournament on March 3 welcomed U-12 boys’ and girls’ teams from across the province.

“This tournament is part of our winter league. It’s one of multiple tournaments that we have on weekends together,” said Scott Robinson, commissioner of the Alberta Water Polo Association (AWPA). “(Most) teams under Alberta Water Polo are playing in these games this weekend.”

He noted that a couple of teams, including the Calgary Wild and the Innisfail Hurricanes, cancelled their attendance due to bad weather and poor driving conditions.

A total of eight teams, including four boys’ and four girls’ teams from Calgary and Edmonton, participated in the tournament.

Winter league tournaments often include U-14 teams as well, he noted.

“Because the Innisfail pool is half shallow, half deep we can’t have our older children playing here,” said Robinson.

Robinson said the AWPA holds several tournaments throughout the winter season to allow players to improve skills, learn the sport and gain points for their team for the upcoming winter league playoffs.

“We have (several) weekend tournaments and they play the games for points, similar to hockey,” he said. “Each team plays each other and then we have playoffs for medals at the end of our winter league.”

The winter league begins in mid-January and runs to mid-April.

Robinson pointed out the league tournaments are friendly yet competitive events.

“At our U-12 level it’s all about learning skills, teamwork, learning to love the water and enjoying the sport,” said Robinson. “This is our youngest age category.”

He noted the increase in interest in water polo and growth of the Alberta Water Polo Association in recent years.

“We’re trying to branch out into the grassroots areas so we can develop more clubs so we can have more games for tournaments,” said Robinson. “Over the past few years Alberta Water Polo has grown tremendously.”

Scott Robinson, Alberta Water Polo Association commissioner.

“At our U-12 level it’s all about learning skills, teamwork, learning to love the water and enjoying the sport.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.