As the calendar gets set to turn to 2018, there is much from the past 12 months worth reflecting upon – especially when it comes to sports in South Surrey, White Rock and Cloverdale.
And though there is always much to celebrate here, 2017 seemed to have even more worth celebrating than usual, from provincial championships and national titles – in a variety of sports – to annual summertime traditions like the Tour de White Rock and Canada Cup softball tournament.
And, of course, who could forget perhaps the biggest local sports story of the summer – the White Rock All-Stars’ storybook run on the ball diamond, which led them from district and provincial tournaments all the way to the national stage and, eventually, the Little League World Series. And if qualifying for the prestigious tournament wasn’t enough, the squad became the most successful White Rock team to ever compete in Williamsport, winning their first two games.
Here are a few more highlights, taken straight from the pages of the Peace Arch News over the past 365 days.
• A pair of Earl Marriott Secondary and Bayside Sharks rugby stars – John Jubenville and Michael Smith – are named to Canada’s U19 men’s rugby team that will play a two-game series against the U.S. in California.
•A team of Cloverdale curlers led by skip Tyler Tardi – and also including Jordan Tardi, Sterling Middleton and Nicholas Meister – start the year off right, winning a BC Junior Men’s Curling Championship in New Westminster on Jan. 1.
• Six months after the 2016 BC Premier Baseball League season ends, White Rock Tritons slugger Quin Hall is named the league’s rookie-of-the-year. For the following season – to begin later in the spring – Hall moves from the Tritons to the Whalley Chiefs.
• The Panorama Ridge Thunder senior girls basketball team win the annual Surrey Fire Fighters Goodwill Classic, defeating the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 76-71 in the final game of the citywide showdown.
• The Semiahmoo Totems senior boys hoops squad holds off the Panorama Ridge Thunder 66-63 to win the school’s first Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic title since 1995. Meanwhile, in the RCMP tournament’s junior boys division, Lord Tweedsmuir narrowly defeats Semiahmoo 67-66 in the final game.
• It appears the Surrey Eagles will soon have a new nearby rival, after it’s announced that the West Kelowna Warriors are set to sell to new owners and move to North Delta. Eagles’ owner Chuck Westgard tells Peace Arch News that he’s heard the deal is “99.9 per cent done,” but a day after the story is published, BCHL commissioner John Grisdale calls PAN to say the deal is not, in fact, that close. Eventually, the move falls through and the team stays in the Okanagan.
• Adam Hadwin, an Abbotsford golfer who lists Morgan Creek Golf Course as his home track, writes his name in the PGA record book after shooting a round of 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge, becoming just the ninth golfer in tour history to shoot a sub-60 round.
• Less than a week after suffering the worst defeat in team history – a 19-3 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters – the Surrey Eagles get a measure of revenge, beating the Smokies 7-3.
• A trio of brothers – Jeff and Joe Barszczewski, who live in South Surrey, and Jami, who lives in Powell River – are inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame along with fellow member of the 1996/97 Powell River Regals senior men’s team, which won that season’s Allan Cup.
• The Cloverdale-based Tardi curling rink adds a national trophy to its growing resumé, after winning gold at Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Victoria.
• Elgin Park Secondary rugby coach Mike Jameson is named as one of two winners of BC Rugby’s Gerald McGavin Coaching Award, and as a result, earns a spot as an assistant coach with Team BC’s under-18 boys team which is set to travel to Ireland in the summer.
• Curl BC announces that the Cloverdale and Peace Arch curling clubs will jointly host the 2018 National Masters Curling Championships, set for April 2018.
• Three schools – Semiahmoo, Lord Tweedsmuir and Tamanawis – combine for six basketball banners on the same weekend at Surrey championships. All six teams – ranging from Grade 8 girls to senior boys – move on to Fraser Valley championships.
• After two losses to the Chilliwack Chiefs, the Surrey Eagles are eliminated from BCHL playoff contention for the third year in a row.
• Semiahmoo Secondary student Eric Zhang is named B.C.’s under-16 tennis champion after a win at Silex Canada Junior Indoor Provincial Championships.
• The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers capture a B.C. senior girls AAA basketball championship – the first-ever for the school – after a 67-57 win over Abbotsford in the provincial championship game.
• A few weeks after being eliminated from BCHL playoff contention, Surrey Eagles’ owner/president Chuck Westgard insists the team is trending in the right direction, while hinting that a management/coaching shake-up could be in the offing.
• Adam Hadwin gets his first career win on the PGA Tour at the Valspar Championship.
• Two longtime curling teammates, Doug Meger and Ken Watson – along with two Chilliwack curlers – finish first at BC Masters Curling Championships in Cranbrook.
• BC Lions’ great Geroy Simon, a Cloverdale resident, is named to the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
• Lisa Brooking, a nurse at Peace Arch Hospital, competes for Canada at world cross-country championships in Uganda.
• During the official unveiling of a new junior ‘B’ hockey team in Langley, Pacific Junior Hockey League president Ray Stonehouse says the league is eyeing White Rock and Cloverdale – among other Lower Mainland cities – for future expansion.
• South Surrey Olympic weightlifter Christine Girard – a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics in London – finds herself inching closer to a gold-medal upgrade after both the gold and silver medallists are discovered to have tested positive for banned substances. It’s the second time the Canadian has been the recipient of a podium boost – in the 2008 Olympics, her fourth-place finish was upgraded to a bronze after the silver medallist was stripped of her medal.
• White Rock swimmer Hilary Caldwell qualifies for FINA World Swimming Championships after a pair of strong finishes at Canadian National Swim Trials in Victoria.
• South Surrey gymnast Treyson Cerrato earns a trip to national championships in Montreal after winning the national open category at provincials.
• South Surrey high-jumper Alexa Porpaczy leaps to a new personal best at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, Calif., thus meeting the standard to join the Canadian national team that will compete at Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas later in the year.
• South Surrey swimmer Elsa De Leeuw, 92, is inducted into Masters Swimming Canada’s Hall of Excellence.
• Devante Stephens – a former Valley West Hawks defenceman and current member of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets – signs an entry-level contract with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, two years after the team drafted him in the fifth round of the league’s entry draft.
• The Surrey Eagles name Brandon West as head coach for the 2017/18 BCHL season, replacing Blaine Neufeld, who previously held the dual role of head coach/GM, but will now serve only as GM.
• The Surrey Beavers win a provincial Div. 1 men’s rugby championship with a 41-10 win over the Nanaimo Hornets at Abbotsford’s Exhibition Park. The win comes a year after losing the final in overtime, and is the team’s first title since 2012.
• Justin Sourdif of the Delta Hockey Academy is drafted by the Vancouver Giants third overall in the Western Hockey League’s annual bantam draft. In the fall, he joins the Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League.
• South Surrey teenager James Karnik – who has spent the last two years playing basketball at prep schools in both the United States and Ontario – signs a scholarship with the NCAA’s Lehigh University Mountain Hawks.
• For the 12th time in 14 years, Surrey United’s women’s soccer team wins a provincial cup title, topping the North Shore Renegades in the final.
• The Earl Marriott Mariners senior boys rugby team wins its second consecutive Fraser Valley banner after a come-from-behind 27-19 win over their longtime rivals, Abbotsford’s Yale Lions. The win boosts the Mariners into the quad-A bracket of provincials – and a date with the powerhouse Shawinigan Lake Stags.
• After six years behind the bench with the BC Major Midget League’s Valley West Hawks, head coach Jessie Leung leaves to join the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters as an assistant coach.
• Gymnast Treyson Cerrato wins two medals at Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Montreal.
• Semiahmoo Minor Hockey alum Matt Bradley, now in his final year of junior hockey, is traded from the Medicine Hat Tigers to the Regina Pats, where he’ll have a chance to play in the Memorial Cup, which the Pats are set to host in 2018.
• Three Canadian teams will hit the field at the Canada Cup international softball tournament, it is announced. In addition to the national team, a development squad and an under-19 junior team will also compete in the tournament. At the same time, it’s announced that four local athletes – Danielle de Ruiter, Grace Messmer, Maria Palmegiani and Abbey Fortin – will play for the U19 squad.
• Semiahmoo Minor Hockey alum Michael Rasmussen – a member of the Tri-City Americans of the WHL – calls it a “dream come true” after being selected in the first round, ninth overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Entry Draft.
• White Rock baseball pitcher Claire Eccles – who made history in May when she became the first female player in the history of the West Coast League – earns her first win on the mound for the Victoria HarbourCats, leading them to an 11-2 win over the Kitsap Bluejackets.
• Adam Hadwin opens the U.S. Open with a round to remember, carding a nine-under-par score highlighted by a tournament record six straight birdies, but a rough final round of 80 knocks him back down the leaderboard to finish the four-round event.
• South Surrey resident Garrett Davis heads to Peru with Canada’s under-17 water polo team, which is set to compete at the Pan American Games. Davis calls the competition “the biggest thing I’ve done.”
• A year after international teams vied for a women’s world softball championship at Softball City in South Surrey, the venue welcomes teams from across the world for the revived Canada Cup. The tournament is won by Japan, which defeats Australia 7-1 in the gold-medal contest.
• Three Semiahmoo Peninsula athletes – Alexa Porpaczy, Joel Della Siega and Tyrell Mara – return home from Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa with medals.
• Steve Fisher and Kristin Lay win the men’s and women’s road races, respectively, at the Tour de White Rock. The men’s race came down to a sprint to the finish line, while Lay cruised to victory, pulling away from two other riders on the final lap.
• A pair of South Surrey water-polo athletes playing for Canadian U17 squads – Garrett Davis and Gabby Mantyka – return from Pan American Championships in Peru with bronze medals.
• Three White Rock Renegades teams – the ’99s, 2000s and ’02s – make it onto the podium at provincials, and thus qualify for national championships later in the summer.
• Members of Ocean Athletics score medals of all colours at BC Junior Development Track and Field Championships – which were moved at the last minute to South Surrey from Kelowna due to air-quality issues stemming from the Okanagan wildfires. Tayla Kempf leads the way with six medals, including four gold.
• South Surrey kickboxer Joseph Piccolo, a 17-year-old Elgin Park Secondary student, wins a world championship after winning both his fights at the 2017 International Kickboxing Federation World Classic Championship in Orlando, Fla.
• The White Rock All-Stars have a month to remember – rolling through provincial championships in Victoria undefeated to qualify for Canadian championships, which are held in Medicine Hat, Alta. The team then captures a national title – again going undefeated – and heads straight for Williamsport, Pa. – host site of the prestigious Little League World Series. At the international tournament, the White Rock squad wins its first two games – over Italy and Venezuela – to become the first White Rock team to win more than once at the event. The team finishes the tournament with a 2-2 win-loss record.
• Former Valley West Hawks forward Luka Burzan – who now plays for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL – is named to Canada’s roster for the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, to be held in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
• The White Rock Renegades ’99 win a Canadian U18 fastpitch championship in Lloydminster, Alta, defeating their younger Renegades 2000 teammates 4-1 in the tournament’s gold-medal game. It’s the second year in a row that a Renegades squad has captured a U18 national title, after the 1998-born ’Gades accomplished the feat in 2016.
• The Surrey Storm U14A squad wins a national fastpitch championship in Brampton, Ont.
• South Surrey golfer Susan Xiao wins a 2017 Canadian Junior Girls Championship in Ottawa, carding a three-under par final round to finish five strokes ahead of the second-place finisher.
• Kienna Stephens wins bronze at World Rowing Junior Championships in Lithuania.
• Members of the White Rock Amateur Swimming Association (WRASA) win a combined 37 medals at BC Summer Swimming Association provincials in Kamloops, setting eight provincial records in the process.
• Chris Hartmann wins a gold medal for Canada at World Team Disc Golf Championships in England.
• Surrey will be a stop on the Rogers Hometown Hockey tour, it is announced. The television broadcast – which will precede an NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs – is set for December.
• Coming off multiple seasons without a playoff appearance, the Surrey Eagles – with a new coach behind the bench and a handful of new players on the ice – open the 2017/18 BCHL season with a win and a tie.
• Earl Marriott Secondary’s football program announces it will be without a senior team for the fall season, and instead will field Grade 8 and junior varsity squads.
• Former White Rock Triton pitcher Brayden Bouchey – a Toronto Blue Jays draft pick – wins a Northwest League title with his hometown Vancouver Canadians, helping the team defeat the Eugene Emeralds in the final.
• South Surrey golfer Phi Jonas adds another tournament win to his golfing resumé, capturing top spot at the PGA of BC Club Professional Championship in Victoria.
• For the third year in a row, Maureen Harriman is named the overall Head of the Nicomekl champion at the regatta hosted by Nicomekl Rowing Club.
• Surrey Eagles forward John Wesley – a White Rock native – improves upon his BCHL-leading goal total with a four-goal performance against the Vernon Vipers.
• Cloverdale’s Owen Hopkins, 9, returns to the ice after battling cancer – a fight that earlier in the year drew the attention of the Vancouver Canucks, who had several players attend a Cloverdale Wildcats’ practice.
• Surrey United U15 girls soccer team wins a national championship in Calgary, defeating a Quebec squad for the gold medal.
• Despite torrential rain, high-school runners from Surrey and across the Lower Mainland compete at Fraser Valley Cross-Country Championships in Crescent Park. As a team, Sullivan Heights wins the senior girls overall title, while Earl Marriott’s Jaxon Mackie wins gold in the senior boys race.
• Former Surrey Eagles captain Danton Heinen scores the first goal of his NHL career, and adds a second one in the same game to help the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.
• The Seaquam Seahawks repeat as champions of the Peace Arch News Classic senior girls volleyball tournament, defeating Fraser Heights Secondary in the gold-medal game.
• The Surrey-White Rock chapter of KidSport raises $110,000 at its Nite of Champions gala.
• The Semiahmoo Totems Grade 9 girls volleyball team captures a provincial banner after defeating the Langley Christian Lightning in the B.C. championship game at Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
• Earl Marriott’s Grade 8 football squad wins a provincial title, beating the Pitt Meadows Marauders 32-0 in the final game.
• The Earl Marriott Mariners’ junior boys volleyball team wins a provincial banner after finishing first at B.C. championships, defeating MEI in the final.
• South Surrey hockey referee Troy Paterson – a former BCHL defenceman – makes his debut in the pros when he officiates an American Hockey League game between the Hershey Bears and Springfield Thunderbirds.
• The Semiahmoo Totems’ senior boys volleyball team defeats the Mount Baker Wild to capture a B.C. triple-A championship banner – the second in a row for the school, and the fifth in school history.
• Longtime Canadian Football League kicker Sean Whyte – a Semiahmoo Peninsula native and former Semiahmoo Secondary student – signs a new three-year contract extension with the Edmonton Eskimos.
• Just a week before they’re set to head to the prestigious Mac’s Invitational tournament, the Valley West Hawks lose their leading scorer, Arshdeep Bains, to the WHL, as the young forward joins the Red Deer Rebels for the remainder of the hockey season.