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    Pam Behnke-Van Hoof of Petawawa and Chrissy Laforce of Arnprior will be heading to New Zealand this April with the Ottawa Valley Strong Ladies Fastball Team to compete at the 2017 World Masters Games. (Submitted photo)

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    Team photo. (Submitted photo)



Ottawa Valley Strong Ladies Fastball Team preparing for 2017 World Masters Games

Community News

By Pam Behnke-Van Hoof

Posted on Thursday, March 16, 2017

A dream over three years in the making is almost a reality for 16 local athletes.

The Ottawa Valley Strong Ladies Fastball Team, comprised of players 45+ primarily from the Ottawa Valley/West Carleton/Kanata areas, is preparing for the tournament of a lifetime; the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand this April.

The Ottawa Valley is represented by two local players: Pam Behnke-Van Hoof of Petawawa and Chrissy Laforce of Arnprior, who first met while playing competitive fastball in Ottawa. “After so many years of being there for our families when everyone was playing their sports, this is now more about us, something we wish to do for ourselves,” said Behnke-Van Hoof.

The team is coached by Scott Searle, of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. Searle is a more than qualified Coach who can put these ladies through the paces in order to compete at the caliber needed for Auckland. “We believe that through our efforts we may also serve as a catalyst and inspiration to other women (and girls) and encourage them to pursue lifelong involvement in sport as a way of life, as we have done in our lives.”

The team has already raised thousands of dollars towards their initial goal of $80,000, approximately $5,000 per team player. They have raised a large portion of the funds over the past two years but still require a further $11,000. Funds are needed for general expenses including ground transportation, hotels, equipment and uniforms. Each player is responsible for their own travelling and personal expenses. “We’ve been working towards this trip for a long time,” said Jayne Coady, player member. “We have said from the beginning that we will get there!”

The World Masters Games is a 10-day, multi-sport event held every four years for athletes who have reached “masters” age of over 35. The event mirrors the Olympic Games with both Summer and Winter Games occurring every four years. Athletes must be amateur status to compete.

While there is no qualifying process to attend, there is, however, a heavily involved application process that the Ottawa Valley Strong had to go through. They had to prove they were a unified team that has been competing in the area.

In Auckland, the ladies will be competing against 22 other teams from around the world—but only one other Canadian Team. “We are proud to represent the Ottawa area.” said Coady of being just one of two Canadian Teams competing at the Games.

If you’d like to assist the ladies in any way in achieving their fundraising goal, please do so via their GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/moms2auckland or email at 2017auckland@gmail.com. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

It’s soon time for the Ottawa Valley Strong Ladies Fastball team to take the field—hit it out of the park ladies!