The Northern View’s 2019 Sports in Review: January - June

Prince Rupert 2019: Sports part 1

The Northern View’s 2019 Sports in Review: January - June

JANUARY

Pierre LaFrance throws a rock in the A-division semi-finals at the 2019 Fisherman’s Sturling on Jan. 20 at the Prince Rupert Curling Club. (The Northern View)

Rushbrook Trail Reopens

Repairs on the Rushbrook Trail finished after the path was rendered unusable by a storm in late 2018. Uprooted trees had caused the trail to crumble in front of the first bridge on the southern side. The trail had been opened for just a few months after the 2018 summer revitalization, helped in part by the Prince Rupert Port Authority and the Prince Rupert Lions Club, and quickly became a popular attraction for those seeking to explore the outdoors, and grab a close-up view of the Waterfront.

READ AND WATCH MORE: Rushbrook Trail officially open

Rupert Gymnasts star

It was the first tournament of the year for the gymnastics club at the Smithers Saltos Invitational. The athletes took part in vault, even-bars, beam and floor disciplines, with 15 of them scoring high enough to qualify for the Gymnastics B.C. competition. Winners included Abby Toucher and Hannah Baldinger receiving all-around golds in the Junior Olympics 2 category, Cambrie Bosco placing first in the Junior Olympics 4, and Emma Touchet claiming gold in Junior Olympics 5.

READ MORE: Fifteen Rupert gymnasts qualify for Gymnastics BC tournament

Coastal Clash champs

The Junior Rainmakers won the Coastal Clash tournament at the end of the month, edging out competitors from Haida Gwaii, Terrace and Kitimat. Hosted by Charles Hays, the Rainmakers went 3-0 over the weekend, capping things off with a resounding 68-33 win over Caledonia in the final. Dakota Knockwood, one of the guards on the team, received defensive player of the tournament honours.

READ MORE: Junior Rainmakers win Coastal Clash Tournament

FEBRUARY

60th All Native Basketball Tournament opening ceremonies by Lax Kw’alaams on Feb. 10, 2019 in Prince Rupert, B.C. (The Northern View)

Rugby rookies

The Prince Rupert Seamen joined forces with B.C. Rugby to bring their rookie rugby program to make an appearance in Prince Rupert. Seamen member Andy Enns said he hopes the program, aimed at teaching elementary school kids the rules of the game — minus the contact — will inspire more youth participation in the sport.

READ AND WATCH MORE: B.C. Rookie Rugby program travels to the northwest

All Native Basketball Tournament

Master

Master division Rupert squad The Advantage got off to a hot start defeating Greenville off the hop, but would fall off the mark in a bracket that would see Alaska side Hydaburg meet the Lax Kw’alaams Hoyas in the final. Devin Edenshaw was the man of the hour in the title game, racking up 39 points as Hydaburg ran riot offensively to the tune of a 98-74 victory.

Edenshaw won best defensive player, most inspirational player, and MVP of the tournament. The Hydaburg Warriros are a dynasty of the ANBT, having won five championships in a row.

READ MORE: All Native Basketball Tournament: Masters Final

Senior

In the senior division the Prince Rupert Grizzlies took on Gitwinksihlkw, and guided by a team effort that saw five players score in double digits they came away with a 103-80 victory. Gage Ladouceur had the top mark with 19 points. The Advantage would run into the Cinderella tale that were the Vancouver Pigeon Park All-Stars though, who knocked off fellow strong sides Skidegate and Lax Kw’alaams on their way to the final. The storybook tale finally ended though when the Vancouver side matched up against the Kitkatla Warriors in the final game. Jacob Thom from Kitkatla and Marlon Edgar-Apps dueled in the final, with Thom scoring 41 points and Edgar-Apps 31 as Kitkatla came out on top 102-85. Edgar-Apps finished the high scorer of the tournament with 198 points over eight games, while Thom took MVP honours.

READ MORE: All Native Basketball Tournament: Seniors Final

Women

In the women’s division the Prince Rupert Rain started their tournament campaign against Similkameen. The Rain started out hot and despite a push from their opponents they finished strong for a 51-36 win. Kristy Innes received Player of the Game for her 13 points. When the two sides rematched later in the tournament though, it was all Similkameen as they rolled over the Rain for their sixth win in a row. This earned them a spot with Kitamaat in the final, who were coming off a title run the year prior. Just like the senior division, the women would have a repeat winner as Kitamaat raced out of the gate to a 32-14 halftime lead and, despite a torrid third quarter push by Similkameen, held on for the 45-39 victory. Kitamaat guard Adelia Paul led all scorers with 19 points in the final, and earned tournament MVP based off her offensive and defensive efforts.

READ MORE: All Native Basketball Tournament: Women’s Final

Intermediate

There was Prince Rupert representation in the intermediate division final, as the local side Bad Boyz made the title game against the Skidegate Saints. Skidegate dominated the first three quarters to open up a near 20 point lead, but after their offensive standout Trafton Williams suffered a knee injury the Bad Boyz used the opportunity to storm back into the game and even tie things up. That’s when Skidegate’s Jesse Barnes stepped in to right the ship though, scoring eight of his team’s final 17 points to will them to the one possession victory. Barnes finished with a game high 34 points. He will be going up to the senior division in 2020, and had a message for the top dogs in that bracket. “Kitkatla, we are coming for you.”

READ MORE: All Native Basketball Tournament: Intermediate Finals

Junior Rainmakers win zones

The Junior Rainmakers built off the momentum of their Coastal Clash victory to sail to the zone title in Smithers. In the final against the Smithers Gryphons, Charles Hays leapt out to a dominating 25-2 run off of tip-off and never looked back. It was 41-14 at halftime, with the Rainmakers cruising to a 74-42 win.

B.C. Lions visit Rupert

The CFL team travelled north to speak to students at the Prince Rupert Middle School. The focus of the talk was about much more than sports though, focusing mainly on giving back to the community as well as mental health. In addition to the positive messages, Lions players took part in games with the students, including a relay race, push-up competition and tug of war.

WATCH MORE: This Week Podcast – Episode 122: ANT opening ceremonies, Prince Rupert firefighters, visit by BC Lions.

River Kings knock off Rampage

The Rampage season came to an unceremonious close against their most bitter rivals the Terrace River Kings. It was a close game at 3-3 headed into the third period, but Terrace came out flying in the final 20 minutes to punch their ticket to the next round. Tensions had reached a breaking point between the two sides, as continuous fights and dust-ups marked the end of the game. The animosity even spilled over into the handshake line before things were finally brought under control.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Rampage fall to River Kings

Hall of Fame for Mel Bishop

Long-time Prince Rupert senior basketball coach Mel Bishop is heading to the Basketball BC Hall of Fame. Bishop played in Ontario, B.C. and overseas in England, and has been the coach of the team for more than 30 years. Executive director of BC Basketball, Lawrie Johns, said although Bishop is being inducted into the coach category, he could just as easily been in the builder category. “Mel’s many decades of leadership and coaching in the province with emphasis on the northwest has been outstanding. He has been a huge factor in developing our sport. Mel is an icon in basketball and we look forward in welcoming him to our Hall of Fame,” Johns said.

READ MORE: Coach Mel Bishop will be Hall of Fame inductee

Stene joins golf course as new pro

Tyler Stene arrived in Prince Rupert from Victoria, where he previously worked as the assistant pro at the Highland Pacific and Cordova Bay courses. The 33-year-old had a good short game on the Vancouver Island Pro Tour, but says his junior programs are really what made a splash on the island. “They’re really good,” Stene told the Northern View of his junior programs. “You need that to build the community at a golf course.” Stene said he already has a few junior programs planned for the club as well as for local schools. This included his SNAG programs, as well as a number of summer camps. Stene also took over coaching of the Charles Hays golf team.

READ MORE: Tyler Stene joins golf club as new pro in Prince Rupert

MARCH

Senior boys Rainmakers capture the BC Boys Basketball Provincial Championships 2A Tournament title on March 9 in Langely, B.C. (photo courtesy of Sarah McChesney)

Long awaited title for Senior Rainmakers

The Rainmakers captured the BC Boys Basketball Provincial Championships 2A Tournament with a decisive victory over Lake Country’s George Elliot Coyotes. Finals were held on Saturday, March 9, at the Langley Events Centre, where the Charles Hays Secondary School senior basketball team capped off their tournament with a 78-51 win. “I’m really happy with the kids, they worked hard all year,” said head coach Mel Bishop, adding that many of the players weight trained to bring extra strength to their game. It’s been 18 years since the team took the title at provincials. Prince Rupert won the AAA championship in 1964, and the AA in 1998 and 2001. In 1998, Ryan Bishop was on the Rainmakers as a Grade 10 call up. He’d graduated when Prince Rupert took the title in 2001. This year, Ryan coached with his father, Mel. In an interview at the Langley Events Centre, Ryan said “It’s nice to be a part of an actual one. I consider this my first provincial title.”

READ MORE: Rainmakers win 2A championship at provincials

Big wins in Winnipeg for Rupert swimmers

Kobi Franes smashed a Prince Rupert Rapids club record to capture gold in the 800-metre freestyle at the Prairie Winter Invitational swim meet in Winnipeg. “Kobi broke his own record time, he is way in front of any swimmer in Prince Rupert history,” Chris Street, the club’s head coach, said. Sixteen Prince Rupert swimmers, along with two swimmers from Smithers, formed the Points North swim team at the high-profile meet. “We trained from October, when the pool re-opened, with the goal to swim as fast as possible and this was our focus at the meet,” Street said. “We went to this meet so that we could take as many swimmers as possible and going to such a high-end event is very beneficial for the swimmers to compete at such a level.” The Points North team had a number of breakthrough performances including Jarred McMeekin, who obtained a Western National Qualifying time and was the first swimmer this year to do so. Isaac Dolan staged an epic come-from-behind victory to capture gold in the 200 metres, 14-15 years of age category. “It’s great to see those kinds of wins,” Street said.

READ MORE: Rupert swimmers return from Winnipeg meet with medals

Rupert tops Junior All Native again

The Prince Rupert U17 boys’ team are the 2019 Junior All Native Basketball champs for the second year running. The Tribesmen came up in the finals against a determined Snuneymuxw Native Sons team, who made the reigning champs work hard for their victory. Both teams were neck-and-neck until the end of the third period when the Tribesmen’s experience and maturity showed, the Native Sons giving away a number of free throws, the gap growing until the final buzzer went with 91 points on the scoreboard versus the Native Sons’ 85. Last year the Tribesmenhad a relatively easy victory, requiring only 69 points to beat the then-defending champs Vancity Sons.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert U17s are 2019 Junior All Native Basketball Tournament champs

Coy Cup closes for Rampage

Rupert Rampage were knocked out of the 2019 Coy Cup, after losing 4 -1 to the winning team, the Dawson Creek Canucks, on March 28. The teams’ loss on Day 3 of the tournament follows consecutive losses against the host team, Fort St. John Flyers on Day 1, and on Day 2 against the Williams Lake Stampeders. “We were short on bodies for the tournament but the guys played well,” Roger Atchison, head coach for Rupert Rampage, said about his team’s performance in the tournament.

“The pace of the games was faster than what we are used to and we weren’t as deep as the other teams, players wise,” Atchinson said. The Dawson City Canucks beat the Fort St. John Flyers 4 – 1 on March 30 to win the championship title. This is their second consecutive win. There was some individual hardware for Rampage players at the end of the season, as Judd Repole was named league MVP for his scoring ability, finishing the season with the most points in the league. Tyler Ostrom meanwhile was chosen as the top defenceman.

READ MORE: Rampage going to Coy Cup despite playoff loss

READ MORE: Rampage run out of steam against the Stamps

APRIL

Rupert runners brave the rainy weather for the annual 8km and half-marathon. (The Northern View)


Merging the bases

The Prince Rupert Minor Softball and the North Coast Minor Baseball Association have merged into a single group, the Prince Rupert Minor Softball Association (PRMSA). Ralph Weick said that after many years without organized youth ball in the community, coincidentally, both PRMSA and CMBA started quietly organizing to bring some level of ball back for the youth of Prince Rupert. “Joining together was always on the table and that’s what we’ve decided to do now,” Weick said about the recent merger. “It’s all about our youth and being able to give them a positive experience and we will be better equipped to do that together.”

READ MORE: Baseball and softball leagues merge in Prince Rupert

MAY

The women’s PRFC team wins first tournament ever in Kitwanga. (photo courtesy of Karen Cruz)


PRFC Women claim first tournament title

The women’s Prince Rupert Football Club experienced their first tournament victory at the annual May soccer tournament in Kitwanga. “This was the first tournament PRFC Ladies team has won, finally breaking our third place curse from last year […] Lots of blood sweat and tears shed, everyone dug deep and played their hearts out. It was an amazing weekend that we will never forget,” Brittanne O’Connor, team captain and centre forward, said. The women faced off against the Terrace Providers for the championship. Venisha Cruz scored first for Prince Rupert with the Providers tying it up before half time. O’Connor scored ten minutes into the second half giving them a 2-1 lead, and eventual victory.

READ MORE: Women’s Prince Rupert Football Club win first tournament ever

Rupert dancers shine at B.C. Dance Competition

Rupert dancers cleaned up at the annual B.C Dance Competition at the Lester Centre of the Arts, where over 300 dancers are competing for $60,000 in prize money and scholarships. Some of the winners included Taylor Jackson placing first in the jazz and lyrical solo categories, Sienna Lomba placing first in jazz solo, Nolan Robinson and Cruz Rochon placing first in the duet 12 and under category, Nathania Cam placing first in the contemporary solo 14 category, Evangeline Apollo placing first in the Briker Hip hop solo 10, Coral Fitzsimmons placing first in the Musical theatre solo 12 and under, and Gillian Jardim placing first in the jazz solo 13-18 and the demi-character solo 13-18 categories.

READ MORE: Rupert dancers shine at the B.C Annual Dance Competition

Top spot at B.C. Dance Provincials

Taylor Jackson of Prince Rupert took home a first place prize in the B.C. dance provincials on May 29, rising to the top with her variety solo routine. Titled ‘Literally Dance’, Jackson’s routine was choreographed by her jazz teacher Meghan MacRae. The pair work out of the Dance Academy of Prince Rupert.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert dancer takes home first place at provincials

New personal bests in track and field

Prince Rupert Middle School athletes, Logan Hughes and Ben Visser, are the first two boys to ever compete provincially for PRMS Storm. Hughes and Visser both won in the zone competition held in Smithers – spanning from Houston to Haida Gwaii – two weeks ago. Hughes placed first in the 400- and 800-metre sprint as well as the 100-metre hurdles. He then placed second in the 100- and 200-metre sprint, high and long jumps, 200-metre hurdles, and discus. Finally, he placed third in javelin. “I’ve never really been in a really big track meet before. The best part was reaching my personal best and making new friends with other athletes,” he said. Hughes reached his personal best in the zone competition, reaching five metres 10 centimetres in the high jump and one metre 55 centimetres for the long jump. Visser broke the 1983 high jump record and last year’s 200-metre hurdle record, placing first in both competitions along with the 100- and 200-sprints and the long jump.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert Middle School track team headed to provincials for the first time

READ MORE: Track and field provincials continue as Prince Rupert boys continue to push their personal records

Relay for Life surpasses goal

The 2019 Relay For Life in Prince Rupert kicked off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, with a survivor lap, and ended at 10 p.m. with the luminary ceremony and remembering those who had passed. Teams raised money for cancer research leading up to the event. The results on Monday, May 27 showed that they had raised more than $67,991, surpassing their goal by nearly $8,000.

READ MORE: Relay For Life in Prince Rupert raises nearly $68,000 for cancer research

READ ALL OF THIS YEAR’S WHY WE RELAY STORIES HERE

JUNE

Ben Visser, Grade 8 Prince Rupert Middle School Strom athlete, at the 2019 track and field provincials in Kelowna running the 200- metre sprint. (Photo courtesy of Barton Hughes)


Track success continues for Rupert schools

The Prince Rupert Middle School Storm and Charles Hays Rainmakers track and field athletes came home with two ribbons after Grade 8 Ben Visser and junior Dakota Knockwood finished in the top eight in the high jump category. This is the first track and field ribbon for the Storm who are competing in provincials for the first time ever. Saturday was the final day of the B.C. track and field provincials in Kelowna. In total, the Prince Rupert boys competed in nine events, finishing top 10 in four of them. “As a team, when you get four top 10 finishes, six personal bests out of nine events, that’s really well done. I’m very proud of the group,” said coach Dighton Haynes.

READ MORE: Ribbons for Prince Rupert Middle School and Charles Hays athletes as track and field provincials end

Charles Hays returns to golf provincials

The Charles Hays Rainmakers closed out the AA Golf Provincials on Wednesday, June 5, at Pheasant Glen Resort in Parksville. Arlen Des Champ once again set the top mark for the Rainmakers, shooting an 80 overall on the par 72 course. This was just three strokes off Des Champ’s opening round score of 77. He finished 13th overall out of 60 competitors. Jonathan Pirillo landed in the eighties both days, shooting 89 on Wednesday to follow up Tuesday’s 86. Nicholas Pirillo, Noah Aceto and Gavin McNiece rounded out the squad. “We had one of the youngest teams there,” said new head coach Tyler Stene. “The future looks bright for Charles Hays golf team the next couple of years.” This was the Rainmakers first trip to the golf provincials in over six years.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert golfers taste provincials for first time in years

READ MORE: Rainmakers wrap up final day of provincial golf championship

Top swim marks

The Prince Rupert Amateur Swim Club were crowned champions of the Northwest Spring Invitational after edging out Kitimat in the final standings. The 11th edition of the regional championship, held in Terrace this year, saw the Prince Rupert swimmers outscore the Kitimat contingent 21-19, with points based on the combined efforts of all swimmers. Smithers came in third place with 12 points, followed by hosts Terrace with four. Canadian Olympic swimmer Hilary Caldwell, who won a bronze medal in the 200- metre backstroke at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, was in attendance to cheer on the swimmers.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert swim team makes waves at spring invitational

Seamen power their way to year end victory

The Prince Rupert Seamen finished their rugby season strong with a pair of resilient games. The June 15 doubleheader against Williams Lake and Prince George, hosted in Terrace, saw the Seamen come away with a win and a tie. The 20-15 victory over Williams Lake marked the first time Prince Rupert has ever defeated their southern counterpart, while the 10-10 draw with Prince George showed them to be more than capable of competing with the biggest city in the North. “This weekend was one for the books for the club. Probably the best our team has played in many years,” said Jason Scherr of the Seamen. “The entire team stepped up, it was amazing to see.” The Seamen also awarded a pair of bursaries to two promising high school rugby players for the Charles Hays Rainmakers. Athletes Rebecca Samson and Josh Wickett were the recipients for the hard work they have shown both on the field and in their studies.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert’s Seamen shine in year end rugby victory

Jurassic Rupert

Fans gathered at the Toronto Raptors watch party at the Civic Centre erupted as the team defeated the Golden State Warriors to bring home their first ever title. Inspired by the original ‘Jurassic Park’ gathering, along with its many spinoffs across the country, the centre decided that basketball crazed Prince Rupert would be a perfect venue for a viewing party of its own. The first, and westernmost in the country, gathering took place on June 10 during the Raptors Game 5 loss. For the Game 6 clincher, there were plenty more people in attendance, and a much better result for fans of We The North.

READ MORE: Basketball fans show up in numbers for NBA Finals watch party at Civic Centre in Prince Rupert

Back to back for Holkestad

Prince Rupert’s Rose Holkestad is the champion of the 2019 Ladies Jubilee after a commanding weekend on the links over Seafest weekend on June 8-9. Holkestad shot a two day total of an 18-over-par 158 to put herself back on top of the prestigious Northwest tournament. She finished 14 strokes ahead of Prince Rupert’s Janet Sheppard in second place. Karin Williamson made it a clean sweep for Prince Rupert golfers on the low gross podium, finishing just one stroke behind Sheppard. With the victory Holkestad is on her way to a successful follow up of her 2018 campaign, where she won the Women’s Senior Open as well as the His and Hers championship with her husband Brian.

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