Members’ Statement: Outstanding Local Athletes

I congratulated three amazing local athletes on their achievements over the summer. Aralyn Smith, Natalie Dodd, and Ella Shelton are an inspiration to young girls in Oxford who dream to compete in professional sports one day.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: It’s a pleasure to rise in the Legislature today to congratulate three exceptional athletes who made big news in Oxford over the summer.

First, I would like to congratulate two students at Woodstock Collegiate, Aralyn Smith and Natalie Dodd, who were both on Team Canada at the 16th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships. Aralyn is from Embro and has competed in world championships since she was 12. Natalie is from a farm just outside of Hickson and has been interested in dragon boating since she was nine. They both did an amazing job, coming home with three gold and five silver medals. Team Canada also won the world championship, winning 52 gold medals, the most medals overall.

I would also like to congratulate Folden’s native Ella Shelton as well, who will be leaving Oxford for the Big Apple after being drafted on the New York team of the new Professional Women’s Hockey League. Previously, Ella played in the NCAA for Clarkson University, was part of two Canadian world championship teams and won a gold medal in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Ella was New York’s first pick in the draft, and she was drafted fourth overall.

Congratulations again to these three amazing athletes. Your hard work and perseverance has paid off. You are an inspiration to the young girls in Oxford who dream to compete in professional sports one day.