Sporting highlights in 2017 included celebrating past achievements by Powell River athletes.
Powell River Regals entered BC Hockey Hall of Fame in the 20th anniversary year of the team’s 1997 Allan Cup Canadian hockey championship. The team took its place among BC’s hockey royalty on July 28 at the official induction ceremony in Penticton and now have a display in the hall with a plaque, photo and story of the organization, which has won four national championships and numerous provincial titles.
A high point for the community was watching Powell River Kings battle it out in the BC Hockey League Island Division championship series. For game six of the series on March 25, more than 1,400 hometown fans packed Hap Parker Arena for what would be the Kings’ final home game of the 2016/2017 season.
Kings lost 4-2 to Victoria Grizzlies and came up short by one goal two days later in Victoria, falling 2-1 in double overtime in the seventh and deciding game of the best-of-seven series. With three games remaining in 2017, the Kings are in first place in the Island Division with 42 points from 18 wins, 10 losses, three overtime losses and three ties.
In March, Powell River Villa soccer club was dropped to Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Division 3A for the 2017/2018 season after a 3-2 loss to Nanaimo United FC at Timberlane Park. Villa also lost a challenge match in July to stay in Division 2.
Chris McDonough, who began his Villa playing career as a teenager with the reserve team before joining the big club from 1994 to 1996, returned as coach in August. He also coached the team from 2013 to 2016. Villa ended the year in third place in Division 3A with 10 wins, two losses and a tie.
Two Powell River hockey players were among 61 draftees selected in the Western Hockey League bantam draft in May. Defender Gabe Shipley was chosen by Prince George in the sixth round, 128th overall, and forward Nic Porchetta went to Everett in the 10th round, 218th overall. Both players attend Delta Hockey Academy and were 15 years old at the time of selection.
Out of all the rep hockey coaches in every division of the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association, Powell River Bantam Rep Kings coach Andy Welsh was selected as the organization’s coach of the year for the 2016/2017 season. The award was announced on Sunday, May 28.
More teams competing and more athletes participating led to a fantastic year for Brooks Secondary School Thunderbirds, according to the school’s athletic director Tony Rice. Rice said several team and individual efforts highlighted the season, including three provincial medal performances: senior girls volleyball, junior boys cross-country and Chris Fisher in the 3000-metre steeplechase all won bronze.
The season’s biggest highlight, according to Rice, was not how teams finished, but how many students turned out for school sports due to seeing their peers involved in competitive programs.