Each year, it’s something.
One year, it’s a dominant volleyball team, or a football team, or a group of talented Little Leaguers making a run at a title. In other years, it’s a banner crop of Olympians, or swimmers or….
You get the point – there’s an awful lot of athletic talent on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, and it was on display in spades this year. Among the highlights: swimmer Hilary Caldwell’s record-breaking summer, Luc Bruchet’s national-championship winning fall and the Surrey Eagles’ dominant run through the BC Hockey League, all the way to the RBC Cup.
Never a dull moment, as they say.
And with that in mind, here are a few more highlights from a busy 2013.
• Earl Marriott Secondary Grade 12 student Spencer Bromley becomes the first Canadian lacrosse player to ever play for Merrimack University. Bromley earned a scholarship to the Andover, Mass. school after an excellent season with the Burnaby Mountain Selects program.
• The Fleetwood Dragons edge Holy Cross in the championship game of the Surrey Firefighters Goodwill Classic senior girls basketball tournament.
• The Surrey Eagles pull off a blockbuster deal at the BC Hockey League’s trade deadline, acquiring sniper Adam Tambellini from the Vernon Vipers in exchange for Mason Blacklock and future considerations.
• The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors defeats the Tamanawis Wildcats 89-70 to claim top spot at the Surrey RCMP Classic senior boys basketball tournament. For the Warriors, the RCMP title is their 11th in school history.
• Despite icing a lineup depleted by injuries, the Surrey Eagles win three straight games on the last weekend of the month, pushing the team back into first place in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division and on their way to one of the best seasons in team history.
• Cloverdale golfer Phil Jonas earns a spot on the European Senior Golf Tour after finishing fifth at a qualifying event in Portugal.
• Surrey Eagles defenceman Jordan Klimek inks a scholarship with Northern Michigan University, becoming the 11th member of the Eagles to secure an NCAA deal.
• The WRCA Warriors senior boys basketball team captures a Fraser Valley Southwest Division playoff title, and qualifies for a berth in the Fraser Valley Championships, which they enter as the No. 1 seed.
• Semiahmoo Secondary track-and-field star Meghan Palesch agrees to a scholarship at the University of Idaho, where she’ll run middle-distance races as well as cross-country.
• Former Southridge School girls basketball coach Gil Cheung – now head coach of the men’s team at Brandon University – makes a half-court shot during the university’s Shootout for Tuition contest, giving Brandon student Mason Kaluzniak free tuition for a semester. The shot was captured on video and, after being uploaded to YouTube, garnered nearly two-million views.
• After taking five of a possible six points on a three-game road trip, the Surrey Eagles officially clinch first place in the BCHL Mainland Division.
• The White Rock Christian Warriors finish the Fraser Valley Championships in second place, falling the final game 73-64 to the Walnut Grove Gators.
• A pair of swimmers – both members of the Pacific Sea Wolves – win medals at CIS Swim Championships in Calgary. Katie Caldwell, swimming for McGill University, earns a silver in the 200-m individual medley and bronze in the 400-m IM, while McMaster University’s Emma Mittermaier captures bronze as part of the school’s 4×100 freestyle relay team.
• In BC Major Midget League playoff action, the Valley West Hawks lose their first-round playoff matchup to the Okanagan Rockets. The Hawks fell 2-1 in the best-of-three matchup, losing the deciding game 4-1.
• For the third time since 2008, the WRCA Warriors fall in the championship game of the BC Boys AAA Basketball Championships. In the title game, the Warriors are edged by the Walnut Grove Gators, 59-53.
• Despite entering as the 15th seed – out of 16 teams – the Elgin Park Orcas fight their way onto the podium, finishing third at BC Grade 8 Girls Basketball Championships.
• The Surrey Eagles roll through the first round of the BC Hockey League playoffs, defeating the Langley Rivermen in four games. In the second round, the Eagles – on an overtime goal from Michael Stenerson – advance past the Chilliwack Chiefs to move into the conference finals.
• A pair of Semiahmoo Minor Hockey teams place in the top five at B.C. hockey championships. The Semiahmoo Ravens peewee A4 squad wins silver in Grand Forks, while the Semi midget A4 team was fifth in Lillooet.
• The Surrey Eagles head to the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup finals, sweeping the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4-0 to move on to face the Penticton Vees. In the finals, Surrey edge the Vees in six games. In the final game, Adam Tambellini clinches the series with a double-overtime goal.
• Goaltender Andrew Hammond signs a free-agent contract with the Ottawa Senators, after completing his NCAA career with Bowling Green State University.
• Cloverdale goaltender Laurent Brossoit signs an entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames. Brossoit was a sixth-round pick by the Flames in 2011.
• The Bayside Sharks’ top men’s rugby team is relegated into the first division from the BC Rugby Premier League after losing their final game of the spring season to Burnaby Lake.
• The Surrey Eagles punch their ticket for the RBC Cup national junior ‘A’ championship after winning a Western Canada title over Alberta’s Brooks Bandits.
• Surrey blue-liner Brenden Dillon – in his rookie season with the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars – is selected to play for Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
• The Earl Marriott Mariners captured a fifth-straight Fraser Valley senior boys rugby title, after a 21-16 win over the rival Yale Lions. That group of Mariners had never beaten Yale, dating back to their Grade 8 rugby days.
• For the second time in as many years, Surrey United’s men’s and women’s teams each win provincial titles. Both squads earn a berth at national championships in October.
• The Surrey Eagles remarkable season comes to an end in heartbreaking fashion, as the team loses 3-2 in overtime to the Summerside Western Capitals in the semifinals of the RBC Cup. The Capitals advanced to the championship game, where they lost to the Brooks Bandits.
• Earl Marriott’s Kathryn Van Ryswyk won two gold medals, and two Lord Tweedsmuir athletes – thrower Ben Ingvaldson and runner Jasmine Grant – combined to win five medals to lead the Peninsula contingent at BC High School Track and Field Championships in Langley.
• The Earl Marriott Mariners’ senior boys rugby team is eliminated for provincial-championship contention after a loss in semifinals to the eventual-champion Shawnigan Lake Stags. It’s the third time since 2009 that EMS has been ousted by the Stags in the semifinal round.
• Elgin Park Secondary’s senior girls rugby team finishes fourth at BC High School AAA Championships – the best-ever result for the South Surrey school.
• Cloverdale referee Jeff Ingram wins the Kelly Sutherland Award as the top official in the BC Hockey League.
• Just a month after leading the Surrey Eagles to the RBC Cup national tournament, head coach/general manager Matt Erhart leaves the team to take an assistant coaching post with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.
• Surrey Eagles forward Adam Tambellini is drafted by the New York Rangers in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft (65th overall.)
• Ocean Athletics Track and Field club members Jake Hanna and Chelsea Ribiero head to the Ukraine, where they compete at the World Youth Track and Field Championships.
• South Surrey golfer Jamie Oleksiew wins a BC Junior Girls Golf Championship at Langley’s Belmont Golf Course.
• Reigning Canadian road-race champion Zach Bell cruises to victory in the Peace Arch News’ men’s road race – the third and final event of the Tour de White Rock. Bell finished the 134-km race more than four minutes ahead of the second-place cyclist. In the 80-km women’s event, California’s Kathryn Donovan took the checkered flag, three minutes ahead of second-place teammate Lex Albrecht.
• For the third straight summer, Japan captures top spot in the women’s international division of the Canadian Open Fastpitch Championship, winning the final game over Australia in extra innings. Canada finishes fourth. In the U18 Futures tournament, the Surrey Storm ’95s finish first, while the White Rock Renegades ’98 win the Showcase (U16) event.
• White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association’s 12-year-old all-star team advances to Canadian Little League championships. White Rock defeated Hastings to take the provincial crown.
• Team BC’s rugby rosters are chock-full of Peninsula players for the 2013 National Championship Rugby Festival in Vancouver. Eleven players from the area suit up for the province’s U18 boys side, the U18 girls team has six locals, and the U16 and U14 levels also feature local talent.
• Hilary Caldwell sets a new Canadian record in the women’s 200-m backstroke at FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Caldwell, a Pacific Sea Wolves alum, swam the event in 2:07.81.
• The White Rock Renegades ’97 capture a national U16 fastpitch title in O’Leary, P.E.I., beating Calgary Kaizen 3-1.
• South Surrey’s Jake Hanna and Cloverdale’s Ben Ingvaldson strike gold at Canadian Youth Legion Track and Field Championships in Langley. Hanna takes top spot in the youth boys 400-m, while Ingvaldson wins gold in the shotput, as well as bronze in the discus and hammer throw.
• The string of national titles comes to an end for the White Rock Renegades ’95, as the girls fastpitch squad is edged for the Canadian title by the Surrey Storm. Until the loss – a 2-1 defeat – the ’95-born Renegades had won three consecutive national titles at various age groups.
• Local softball players, coaches and executives are saddened, but not all that surprised, when the sport does not make the cut for inclusion into the 2020 Summer Olympics. Instead, wrestling – which was briefly dropped from the docket earlier in the year – is reinstated.
• The Surrey Eagles begin defence of their 2012/13 BCHL championship with new coach Peter Schaefer behind the bench, and a slew of new players on the ice.
• A pair of South Surrey NHLers find new hockey homes, as Colton Gillies inks a one-year deal with the Rochester Americans of the AHL, while Colten Teubert – formerly of the Edmonton Oilers – heads to Germany for the season.
• After a multi-year absence due to a lack of players, the Semiahmoo Totems field a junior boys soccer team. In their first year back on the pitch, the team qualifies for playoffs.
• The first month of the BCHL season is a rough one for the Surrey Eagles, as the team struggles to regain its championship form. At one point in the month, the team’s losing skid hits five games.
• The 2016 Women’s World Fastpitch Championships are awarded to Surrey. The announcement is made in Colombia at the International Softball Federation’s congress.
• The Semiahmoo Totems junior girls team leads the charge at BC Cross-Country Championships, winning their division of the provincial high school meet.
• After nearly having to fold due to not having a coach, Elgin Park Secondary’s senior boys soccer teams recruits one – soccer rookie Cari James – and advances all the way to the provincials for the first time in years.
• Cloverdale goaltender Laurent Brossoit – a Calgary Flames prospect who began the season bouncing between minor-league teams in Abbotsford and Alaska – is dealt to the Edmonton Oilers. He’s then assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons by his new club.
• The local chapter of KidSport hosts its annual Nite of Champions gala at Hazelmere Golf Club. The event is highlighted by guest speaker Brian Burke and raises more than $80,000 to help local athletes pay registration costs for sports.
• Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior volleyball teams nearly pull off the rare double-championship, as the boys squad captures a gold medal at AAA provincials, and the girls team finishes in second place.
• South Surrey runner Luc Bruchet is crowned a national cross-country champion, after placing first in the senior men’s division of the Canadian Cross-Country Championships at Jericho Park in Vancouver.
• Semiahmoo Secondary’s senior boys basketball team successfully defends its Rivalry Week title, beating both Elgin Park and Earl Marriott in back-to-back games. The three teams played each other over the course of a week for local bragging rights.
• Nic Petan, a White Rock native, makes the cut with Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, which begins Boxing Day in Sweden.