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Organizers top up prize money for tourney.

With some additional prize money up for grabs, organizers of an Aboriginal volleyball tournament in Winnipeg are hoping for their biggest event yet.

For the third straight year the Winnipeg 'Kwe women's volleyball team is running its event, which is simply dubbed the 2006 Indigenous Volleyball Tournament.

The tourney, which will be held Nov. 24 to 25, will be staged at Winnipeg's Shamrock School.

During the tournament's first two years, the University of Manitoba's Association of Aboriginal Commerce Students had assisted with organizational details, but this year the Winnipeg 'Kwe are running the tournament in partnership with the Manitoba Aboriginal Sport & Recreation Council (MASRC). This signifies the first volleyball tournament the MASRC has hosted.

As in the past, the tournament will feature both women's and men's divisions. Organizers are hoping to attract 26 teams (13 in each division) to this year's event. That would be a substantial increase from the 15 squads that took part a year ago. A total of 18 clubs had participated in the inaugural tournament in 2004.

A registration deadline of Nov. 17 has been set. But tournament spokesperson Michelle Audy said organizers have to be flexible with that deadline.

That's because in previous years most of the entrants have registered late, some even the day before the tournament begins.

"It becomes a madhouse those last two weeks," said Audy, who also plays in the tournament.

Audy is a member of the Winnipeg 'Kwe side. Her club won the women's division last year, and it placed third in the women's category in 2004.

Audy said there is a real mix among the participants' level of play.

"I would say it's between recreational and competitive," she said. "But it's always the competitive teams that advance to the playoffs."

Audy said some teams feature current or ex-provincial team players. And clubs also have former or present university players on their rosters.

All tournament participants must be Aboriginal. The tournament is primarily for adults, those 18 and up. But younger players can also take part by signing a waiver.

Besides Manitoba, the event in the past has attracted teams from Ontario and Saskatchewan. There has also been one player from Minnesota that made the trip the past two years to suit up for the Winnipeg 'Kwe.

Audy is hoping there will be more out-of-province entrants this year. She expects squads from Ontario and Saskatchewan to return to the event.

And there has also been some interest from teams in Alberta, Minnesota and North Dakota.

The registration fee is $400 per team. The winning side in both the women's and men's divisions will receive $2,600 each. Last year's winning teams took home $2,000 each.

For more information about the tournament call Audy at (204) 771-7258 or send an e-mail to MyOshyn@hotmail.com.

By Sam Laskaris

Windspeaker Contributor

WINNIPEG
COPYRIGHT 2006 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:2006 Indigenous Volleyball Tournament
Author:Laskaris, Sam
Publication:Windspeaker
Geographic Code:1CMAN
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:471
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