Nanaimo Pirates peewee AAA all-stars celebrate winning the Western Canadian championship in August at the Serauxmen Sports Fields.

Nanaimo Pirates peewee AAA all-stars celebrate winning the Western Canadian championship in August at the Serauxmen Sports Fields.

2011 sees champions, change, controversy

The News Bulletin presents its annual 2011 sports year in review.


The Nanaimo Clippers play the Malmo Redhawks, a touring team from Sweden, winning 2-1 on New Year’s Day at a sold-out Frank Crane Arena. Kyle Kramer scores the winning goal.

Dover Bay Secondary School wrestlers Faye Tuck, Kimberly Van Hest and Katie Van Hest win gold at the Western Canadian Championships in Kamloops.

Nanaimo curling skip Nicole Backe and her team finish seventh at the Curl B.C. women’s championships in Cloverdale.

Vancouver Island University’s court sports teams all win in their 2011 debuts, sweeping volleyball matches and basketball games against the Camosun Chargers at the VIU gym.

Bryan Trottier and Gary Leeman lead the Legendary Hockey Heroes team to a 14-5 win over the Nanaimo Law Enforcement team at the Old-timers’ Hockey Challenge at Frank Crane Arena.

The Nanaimo Clippers announce a change in ownership, as Kelly Hrudey, Paul Colborne and David Moir purchase a 33-per cent stake in the junior A hockey club.

Shima Karate athletes win 34 medals at Karate B.C. provincial championships in Burnaby.


The Vancouver Canucks alumni team defeats the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital team 7-4 at the Hockey for Life charity game at Frank Crane Arena.

The Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards honour winners in 14 categories at a banquet at the Coast Bastion Inn. The Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s soccer team is chosen Team of the Year and Sports Story of the Year.

The Nanaimo Timbermen senior A lacrosse team selects Carlton Schuss with its first 2011 draft pick, seventh overall.

Synchronized swimmer Meghan Dougan and gymnast Kerensa Mitchell, both of Nanaimo, and target shooter Francisca Bradley of Nanoose Bay represent B.C. at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax. Mitchell wins silver in team competition.

The Cedar 12K race is held, hosted by the Bastion Running Club. Jim Finlayson and Care Wakely are the winners.

The VIU Mariners badminton team finishes third at the B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association championships on the Lower Mainland. Bryan Cassels and Jenny Aronson go unbeaten to win gold in mixed doubles.

Nanoose Bay wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell wins three gold medals and one silver at the world championships in New Zealand.

The Nanaimo BMX Association’s track at Beban Park is officially dedicated as the Marie Davidson BMX Park.

Anup Kang steps down as president of the Nanaimo Youth Soccer Club after nine years at the helm.

The Nanaimo Clippers hold their year-end awards banquet, choosing top scorer Andrew Gladiuk as Most Valuable Player. Sam Labrecque is chosen Rookie of the Year.

The VIU Mariners women’s volleyball team wins silver at the B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association championships, falling in five sets to the UBC-Okanagan Heat in Kelowna.


The Nanaimo Clippers are eliminated from the first round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs by the Victoria Grizzlies after losing Game 5 in Victoria by a 3-2 score. Mike Domsodi and Sam Labrecque are the team’s top playoff scorers.

The Dover Bay Dolphins senior AAA boys’ basketball team wins the Island championship in Victoria, defeating the Claremont Spartans 63-61 on a buzzer-beater three pointer by Jason McKee.

The VIU Mariners men’s basketball team wins the B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association championship, besting the University of Northern B.C. Timberwolves 96-90 in Abbotsford.

Nanaimo curling skip Shaelyn Rice and her team places second at Curl B.C.’s juvenile girls’ championships at Lake Cowichan.

Dover Bay wrestler Ryan Yewchin places second at the B.C. School Sports championships in Abbotsford.

Five out of six local kickboxers win their bouts at the World Kickboxing Network: Quest for the Title card at Ladysmith’s Stz’uminus Community Centre.

The VIU women’s volleyball team comes second at the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association championships in St. John, N.B. In a controversial finish, the Mariners score match point against Mount Royal and begin to celebrate before a referee reverses a call and the match resumes.

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men’s soccer team is eliminated from the Jackson Cup playoffs in a 2-1 overtime loss on the road against Sooke Celtic.

Curling skip Garry Smith and his AC Taxi team wins the Christensen Collision Cash League championship.

Curling skip Marg Obee finishes second at the Curl B.C. masters women’s provincials at Qualicum Beach. Nanaimo’s Sally Noonan and her team also compete at the tournament.

The Re/Max Downtown team wins the King of the Court men’s basketball championship, beating the Spartans 93-87 in overtime at the Oliver Woods Community Centre.

Five Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association teams qualify for provincials: the Ramsay Lampman Rhodes Extreme midget girls, the Mid Island Extreme bantam girls, the Pacific Boat Brokers Clippers midget Tier 1 boys, the bantam Tier 1 boys and the peewee Tier 1 boys.

Brechin Lanes bowlers Brendan Duperron, Tokoara Elliott and Jared Craven win the boys’ combo title at Youth Bowling Canada’s B.C. championships.

The Nanaimo United Div. 1 men’s soccer team defeats Bays United BUFC by a 12-1 score at Mariner Field.

The VIU Mariners men’s basketball team wins bronze at the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association championships in Oshawa, Ont., defeating the Mt. Saint Vincent Mystics 73-71.

Bill Bestwick is fired as coach and general manager of the Nanaimo Clippers after 11 seasons in those roles. Mike Vandekamp is announced as the Clippers’ new coach and GM.

Battlefield Fight League hosts a 16-match mixed martial arts card at Frank Crane Arena. Marcus Aurelio defeats Ken Tran by submission in the fight of the night and Jesse “J.T. Money” Taylor wins a unanimous decision over Clay Davidson in the main event.

The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners begin the Canadian College Baseball Conference season with a 6-2 win against the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs in Kelowna. Taylor MacDonell is the winning pitcher.

The Nanaimo United soccer club gets a shakeup as Frank Klemencic steps down as club manager and Bill Merriman resigns as coach of the Div. 1 men. Allan Jorgensen takes over as manager. Also, the club’s Div. 2 men’s team decides not to accept promotion to Div. 1.


Nanaimo weightlifter Rhonda Heaslip wins gold at the Canadian Powerlifting Championships in Charlottetown, setting eight Canadian records along the way.

Bowler Jennifer Park, of Splitsville Entertainment, wins the Bowling World Cup Canadian National Championship in Brandon, Man. Park averages 240 over her 16 games.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates begin the B.C. Premier Baseball League season with a 7-4 road win against the Victoria Eagles. Kenton Schroter is the winning pitcher in the opener.

Dover Bay wrestler Ryan Yewchin wins silver at the Canadian Wrestling Championships in Windsor, Ont. Katie Van Hest and Kimberly Van Hest both win bronze.

Vancouver Island University’s athletics department holds its annual awards banquet. Volleyball player Lindsay McLoughlin and soccer player Robbie Cochrane are chosen as the Athlete of the Year winners.

The Vancouver Island Rookie Roller Derby League debuts in the city with a bout at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The Harbour City Rollers defeat the Nanaimo Nemesis 164-124.

The Nanaimo DBL Timbermen win their opener, beating the North Shore Indians 10-4 in West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association action at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Shane Chalker and Riley Kemp each score four.

The Nanaimo Timber-men junior A lacrosse team comes from behind to win its season opener, beating the Langley Thunder 8-7 on the road.

The Nanaimo Timbermen junior B lacrosse team loses its home opener 6-2 to the Westshore Bears.


Nanaimo Boxing Club athletes Josh Grossgardt and Tony Tran win at the B.C. Golden Gloves in Richmond. Madi Hicks also fights, winning an exhibition.

Three Nanaimo teens are selected in the Western Hockey League draft, with Chase Lang going in the fifth round, 89th overall, to the Calgary Hitmen.

The Nanaimo Timbermen senior A lacrosse team loses its Western Lacrosse Association season opener, 13-9 to the Burnaby Lakers on the road. Scott Ranger scores four goals in the loss.

The Nanaimo Hornets Div. 2 women’s rugby team wins the provincial championship with a 17-3 win over Burnaby in North Vancouver. Britta Peterson, Dana Nielsen and Elise Pepin score tries in the win.

The Vancouver Island Baseball Institute Mariners finish second at the Canadian College Baseball Conference championships, losing 8-5 in the final to the Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs in Kamloops.

The V.I. Raiders hold their spring camp at Nanaimo District Secondary School. Among the many guest coaches is Travis Lulay of the B.C. Lions.

The Nanaimo Diamonds synchronized swim team hosts the Jean Peters Provincial Synchronized Swim Championships at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. The 12-and-under Diamonds and the 16-18 Diamonds both place second.

The Nanaimo Coal Miners senior men’s baseball team loses its home opener 2-1 to the Burnaby Bulldogs at Serauxmen Stadium. Bill Hadden supplies Nanaimo’s RBI.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates premier baseball team sweeps the Langley Blaze at Serauxmen Stadium, winning 2-1 and 7-6, pushing across the winning runs in the bottom of the seventh in both games.

Shawn Nelson, Claire Morgan, Royd Burkart and Kate Scallion are the winners of the GutBuster trail run at Westwood Lake Park.

Battlefield Fight League holds a mixed martial arts card at Frank Crane Arena. Nanaimo’s Graham Spencer wins his semi-main event matchup against Bruno Capdeville in a split decision and Jesse “J.T. Money” Taylor defeats Denis Kang in less than two minutes in the main event.

Nanaimo District Secondary School track and field athlete Katelynn Ramage wins the provincial championship in race walk, beating the rest of the field by half a lap.


Forty-one sailboats leave Nanaimo Harbour for the start of the Van Isle 360 international yacht race. Among the skippers entered are Francis Walsh and Bill Jones of the Nanaimo Yacht Club and Tim Rann of the Schooner Cove Yacht Club.

Christina Spence-Proteau wins the Women’s Mid-Island Amateur golf tournament at the Nanaimo Golf Club by 10 shots.

Vancouver Island Baseball Institute pitcher Adam Paulencu is selected in the Major League Baseball draft, going to the San Francisco Giants in the 13th round.

Nanoose Bay’s Stephen Watson wins the B.C. Mid-Amateur masters’ men’s golf championship at Campbell River.

Wastelands Motocross Park hosts a Canadian Motorsport Racing Corporation’s Monster Energy Motocross Nationals series stop. Colton Facciotti wins the MX-1 class.

Ron’s Landscaping wins the Coffee League women’s softball championship, defeating Wheatsheaf Pub in the final.

Nanaimo athletes Ray Lappalainen and Crystal Thompson represent Canada at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.


The Nanaimo White Rapids host their annual Canada Day weekend invitational swim meet at Bowen Park’s Kin Pool. Approximately 100 swimmers from the local club compete.

The Vancouver Island Rookie Roller Derby Tournament is held at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. The Terminal City Roller Girls defeat the Reign Valley Vixens in the final, 212-73.

The Nanaimo Island Stone Timbermen junior women’s lacrosse team places second at provincials, falling 5-0 to New Westminster in the final.

The Nanaimo U16 rep girls’ soccer team wins the provincial championship in Penticton, defeating Coquitlam Metro Ford 4-1 in the final. Emily Shires scores a hat trick.

The Nanaimo Timbermen junior A lacrosse team is eliminated from the playoffs, swept two games to none by the Victoria Shamrocks.

The V.I. Raiders hold main camp at Port Alberni’s Bob Dailey Stadium.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates win the pennant as the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s regular-season champions, finishing with a 34-14 record. It’s the first pennant for the Pirates since 2001.

The Nanaimo Clippers hold a weekend orientation camp at the Nanaimo Ice Centre so that new coach and general manager Mike Vandekamp can get a look at the roster he inherits.

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athlete Madison Heisterman sets a B.C. record in the 800-metre race at a series event in Victoria, crossing the finish line in two minutes, 24.10 seconds.

Mountain bike racer Steve Smith of Cassidy wins the Canadian open downhill race at Crankworx at Whistler.

The Nanaimo DBL Timbermen win their playoff series against Royal City in a two-game sweep. The deciding game is a 10-9 victory in which Ryan Dietterle posts a hat trick.

Nathan Barlow wins the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. He completes the course from Nanaimo Harbour to Departure Bay in one hour, 11 minutes, 54 seconds, the second-fastest winning time in history.

Nanaimo Timbermen president Hadi Abassi suspends star player Lewis Ratcliff indefinitely, with two games left in the Western Lacrosse Association season. Abassi felt the former league MVP had missed too many practices and games. The T-men go on to lose their next game 12-11, eliminating them from playoff contention.

The Wheatsheaf fastball club wins the Softball B.C. provincial B championship in Victoria, defeating the Sooke Loggers in the final.

The Blair McKinnon Celebrity Flag Football Charity Game is held at Caledonia Park to raise money for various causes.

The Budget Red Sox win the Nanaimo Senior Men’s Fastball League championship, defeating Palladian Development two games to one in the final. The scores in the three-game series are 2-1, 1-0, 1-0.

The Nanaimo Hub City Paving Pirates are eliminated from provincials in Vancouver, getting shut out 2-0 by the Langley Blaze, then getting shut out again 1-0 by the Coquitlam Reds.

The V.I. Raiders win their Canadian Junior Football League season opener 39-13 on the road against the Langley Rams. Receiver Andrew Smith makes six catches, three of them touchdowns, finishing with 149 yards.

The Nanaimo Palladian Pirates junior baseball team wins one of its four games at the B.C. Junior Premier Baseball League championships at Serauxmen Stadium. The North Delta Blue Jays win the title.

Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club members Randy Fred and Shirley Cole compete at the Blind Bowls Association of Canada championships in Kitchener, Ont. Fred wins gold; Cole, silver.


The Nanaimo Coal Miners place third at the Baseball B.C. championships in Kelowna, winning three of their five games at the tourney.

The DBL Timber-men are eliminated from the post-season, losing the finale of a best-of-five series against the Ladner Pioneers, 7-3.

Kristian Hrabowych wins the Nanaimo Amateur golf tournament at the Nanaimo Golf Club by five strokes.

The Nanaimo Diamonds midget B girls’ fastball team wins Softball Canada’s Western Canadian championship in Medicine Hat, Alta. The Diamonds go a perfect 8-0 and Cody Hibbert bats .700 at the tourney.

Thomas Oxland wins the 800-metre race at the Legion Canadian Youth Athletics Championships in Ottawa, Ont. Marita DeSchiffart wins the 1,500m steeplechase.

The Nanaimo Clippers make a blockbuster trade, sending Gerry, Myles and Leo Fitzgerald and Jesse Ursic to the Prince George Spruce Kings in exchange for Trevor Fitzgerald, Josh Bryan and Scott Milnthorp.

The Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s basketball team plays an exhibition game against the NCAA’s Ball State Cardinals. The Cards win 101-67. Brandon Jones scores 16 points for the M’s.

Nanaimo athletes win 14 medals at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops. Canoe racers Liz Kraft and Natasha Cross each win two gold medals, as does golfer Mark Valliere.

Nanaimo Timbermen captain Scott Ranger is chosen as the Western Lacrosse Association’s MVP after a 54-goal season.

Nanaimo athletes win dozens of medals at the B.C. Seniors Games in Trail, Rossland and Castlegar. Heidi Bromley and Nancy Ryan, both swimmers, win seven and six gold medals, respectively, and track athletes Barry Sparkes and Joe Giegerich win three gold medals apiece. Curling skip Garry Smith and his team also win gold, scoring an eight-ender in the semifinals.

The Nanaimo Pirates peewee AAA all-stars win Baseball Canada’s Peewee Western Championship at the Serauxmen Sports Fields, defeating the Abbotsford Angels 7-0 in the final. Josh Burgmann is the winning pitcher and Owen Yarocki hits a home run.

Eleven Nanaimo athletes complete the Subaru Ironman Canada triathlon in Penticton. Stefan Jakobsen completes the 2.8-kilometre swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run in nine hours, 55 minutes, 24 seconds.

Nanaimo White Rapids swimmer Stephanie Taekema wins gold in the 100-metre breaststroke at provincials in Richmond, setting a new B.C. record with a time of one minute, 13.64 seconds.


The Nanaimo Clippers open training camp at Frank Crane Arena, with 40 players taking to the ice.

The Nanaimo Redmen start their Vancouver Mainland Football League season with a win, defeating the Langley Stampeders 21-7 on the road.

The City of Nanaimo officially opens the new artificial turf surface at Merle Logan Field at Beban Park. The Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team takes the field after the opening ceremonies and defeats the Holy Cross Crusaders 36-0.

The VIU Mariners men’s and women’s soccer teams both start their Pacific Western Athletic Association seasons with wins in North Vancouver. The M’s men and women both beat the Capilano Blues by 3-1 scores.

Wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell, NHL player Alan Hill, soccer player Ernest “Fat” Edmunds and parks and rec builder Larry McNabb are inducted into the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame.

Byron Trajan, Erin Burrett, Joel DeSchiffart, Rebecca Bassett, Felipe Edora and Kim Gagliano are the winners at the Run for the Mountain six-kilometre race at Westwood Lake Park.

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men’s soccer team loses its Vancouver Island Soccer League season opener, 1-0 at Juan de Fuca.

The Okanagan Sun accuse the V.I. Raiders of tampering in the Nanaimo team’s acquisition of former Sun player Mitch Thompson at the B.C. Football Conference’s transaction deadline.

The Nanaimo Clippers lose their first game of the B.C. Hockey League season, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Powell River Kings on the road. Trevor Fitzgerald scores a game-tying goal with 30 seconds in regulation to force OT.

The North Island Silvertips start the B.C. Major Midget League hockey season with a pair of wins at the Nanaimo Ice Centre over the Kootenay Ice, 3-1 and then 10-3. The wins are the first for new coach Dan Lemmon.


V.I. Raiders quarterback Jordan Yantz sets the Canadian Junior Football League record for career touchdown passes with his 82nd TD strike, a 32-yard reception by Dustin Pedersen, in a 56-19 win over the Langley Rams at Caledonia Park.

The Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity football team shuts out the Nanaimo District Islanders 54-0 in the JV Kocher Classic at John Barsby Community Secondary School’s Canem Field. There was no varsity Kocher Classic in 2011.

The Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team wins its season opener, beating the Ballenas Whalers 41-21 at John Barsby Community Secondary School’s Canem Field. On the same day over at Nanaimo District Secondary School field, the NDSS Islanders Tier varsity football team kicks off its regular season with a 45-0 win over the Argyle Pipers.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s and men’s volleyball teams both start their Pacific Western Athletic Association seasons with victories against the College of the Rockies at the VIU gym. The women win 25-16, 25-6, 25-15 and the men win 25-17, 25-11, 23-25, 25-20.

Spencer Crowley wins two silver medals in rowing at the Pan American Games in Gaudalajara, Mexico and Jennifer Park wins silver in bowling. Wakeboarder Aaron Rathy also places second, but is later stripped of his medal after testing positive for an over-the-counter stimulant.

Trevor Fitzgerald is named captain of the Nanaimo Clippers.

Nanaimo hosts a full weekend of cyclocross racing, with the Cross on the Rock championship at Beban Park one day, followed by a series race at Bowen Park the next day.

Nanaimo BMX Association riders Allison Churko and Hunter McGill are among the winners at the American Bicycle Association’s BMX Canadian Grand Nationals in Chilliwack.

The V.I. Raiders win their sixth straight B.C. Football Conference championship, shutting out the Langley Rams 44-0 at Caledonia Park. Mark Mueller, Jordan Yantz and Teddy Ash win player of the game awards.

Nanaimo District and Dover Bay secondary schools win Island championships in cross-country running. ND’s Miryam Bassett wins the individual championship, edging out Nanaimo Christian School’s Marita DeSchiffart by half a second in Victoria.

The V.I. Raiders lose to the Saskatoon Hilltops 38-28 in the Canadian Junior Football League’s Jostens Cup national semifinal at Caledonia Park. It’s the Raiders’ first home-field loss since 2005.

The VIU Mariners men’s soccer team wins a second straight provincial championship, beating the Capilano Blues 2-1 in Kelowna. Jared Stephens is named tournament MVP.


The Dover Bay Dolphins senior boys’ soccer team wins the Island championship, shutting out the Claremont Spartans 2-0 at Merle Logan Field. Keegan Lang scores the championship-winning goal and Alex Anderson, playing hurt, records the shutout.

The VIU Mariners men’s and women’s basketball teams both win their season openers against the Langara Falcons at the VIU gym. The men win 87-68, led by Jacob Thom, who scored 26 points, and the women win 81-51 led by Jocelyn Jones’ 24 points.

The VIU Mariners men’s soccer team takes bronze at nationals in Quebec City. Jared Stephens and Stephen Ewashko are chosen tournament all-stars.

Swimmer Adam Rahier wins gold at Para Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, finishing first in the 100-metre backstroke. He also wins two silver medals at the Games.

Former V.I. Raiders star Andrew Harris scores the first touchdown of the 99th Grey Cup and goes on to win Most Valuable Canadian honours as his B.C. Lions defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34-23 at B.C. Place stadium in Vancouver.

The Nanaimo District Islanders Tier 2 varsity football team wins the first provincial championship in school history, a 28-21 victory over the Howe Sound Sounders in Burnaby. Jacob Cheng scores two touchdowns in the win and Dustin Wall finishes with 177 rushing yards.

The Nanaimo Redmen are defeated 37-8 by the White Rock Titans on the road in the Vancouver Mainland Football League semifinals.


The Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity football team wins the provincial championship, beating the Mission Roadrunners 22-20 in the Subway Bowl at B.C. Place stadium. Kyle Vollet and Brandon Parker earn player of the game honours. The final two minutes see the Roadrunners throw eight straight passes to try to get into field-goal range.

The Barsby Bulldogs AA varsity football team loses 16-12 to the Mission Roadrunners in the Subway Bowl provincial championship at B.C. Place stadium. The ‘Dawgs nearly take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, but fumble inside the Roadrunners’ five-yard line.

The Cedar Spartans, Dover Bay Dolphins and Nanaimo District Islanders senior girls’ volleyball teams all reach their respective provincial championships, though none return with medals. The Spartans qualify by winning the Island championship two weeks earlier.

Shima Karate students win 28 medals at Karate B.C. provincials in Burnaby. Hannah Darmadi wins three gold medals to lead her team.

The Nanaimo Hornets Div. 1 men’s rugby team wins the Cowichan Cup first-division Island championship, beating James Bay 36-21 at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park. Ryan Bradley scores three tries in the win.

Nanaimo Curling Club skips Kesa Van Osch and Steve Waatainen qualify for Curl B.C. provincials. Nicole Backe and Darah Provencal also qualify as members of out-of-town teams.

Nanaimo curling skip Kesa Van Osch and her teammates Kalia Van Osch, Marika Van Osch and Brooklyn Leitch win the Curl B.C. junior provincial championship in Victoria, defeating a Prince George rink in the final on New Year’s Eve, 8-4.

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