Hockey fever got the year started in 2011. On Jan. 4, the Chronicle reported on the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey League’s Pee Wee Tier 2/3 Christmas Tournament and Jamboree at Fuller Lake Arena.
Basketball was heating up the court in January 2011. The Cedar Spartan boys took gold in the Superball Tournament held in Nanaimo with an 85-76 win over D.W. Poppy. The Chronicle also reported on the Cedar Secondary boys basketball team’s recent trip to Hawaii, where they represented the country in the Sport Victoria Christmas Classic.
On Jan. 16, the Fuller Lake Arena continued its flurry of activity with a figure skating showcase for Vancouver Island talent.
Readers also learned the story of former Ladysmith basketball star Darcy Kulai. Despite significant damages to his hands suffered in an industrial accident two years out of high school, Kulai went on to play soccer and coach basketball in his spare time.
February got on a roll when Chronicle reporter Erin DeCoste strapped herself to a wheelchair and experienced the challenge and excitement of wheelchair rugby at Frank Jameson Community Centre. “The crash had the strength to rattle my teeth… I was risking life and limb with the local wheelchair rugby team,” she reported.
The Orcas were making great waves, breaking records and personal bests during a meet in Victoria. February also marked a momentous occasion for the Bouma family, who watched family member Lance Bouma take his first strides on NHL ice with the Calgary Flames, in a game against the Los Angeles Kings.
In March, it was an exciting month in sports as the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey League’s Novice C-4 Stormriders were invited to play in front of a Canucks crowd at Rogers Arena.
The Ladysmith Dragonboat team put out a call to the community for more members, and two local swimmers, Darby Rae and Faith Knelson blew everyone out of the water at the B.C. AA Championships in Chilliwack. Rae made the podium in six out of seven events, while Knelson won a silver medal in 100m breaststroke and was ranked No. 1 in Canada among nine-year-old girls.
Ladysmith also hosted a geocaching event, where dozens of avid adventurers set off to find hidden containers of information and treasure using their GPS.
The Cowichan Valley Warriors atom team and Cowichan Valley Vipers novice team celebrated victories in their playoff games, while locals remembered goalie Ryan Clarke at the Ryan Clarke Memorial Hockey Tournament at Fuller Lake Arena.
At the end of March, local youth soccer teams wrapped up the season, and it was announced that Ladysmith would be getting a new high-calibre soccer team, the Mid-Isle Highlanders FC, an expansion team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League’s premiere men’s division.
In April, it was officially announced that Jim Ingram would be leaving the Trail Smoke Eaters and returning to the Cowichan Valley as GM and associate coach of the Capitals.
The LSS senior and junior boys rugby saw continued success in the season while baseball got into full swing. Ladysmith and Chemainus had plenty of diamonds to keep fans cheering and bats swinging.
April also marked the grand opening of Forrest Field, formerly known as Lot 108. The state-of-the-art artificial turf field, with its interwoven fibres reinforced with silica sand and cryogenic rubber was said to be the best on the Island.
In May, local teams got busy using the new Forrest Field, while the LSS senior boys rugby team continued to remain undefeated and on top of the standings with an 80-0 win against Comox.
It was also announced that Black Press, parent company of the Ladysmith Chronicle, had entered a four-year partnership with the B.C. Games.
On May 3, construction students from LSS began foundation work on the Ladysmith Skatepark, a partnership between the town, LSS and Leadership Vancouver Island.
Students at Outreach Martial Arts brought home the hardware, an outstanding 20 medals, from the Island Taekwondo Championships at Vancouver Island University. The David Forrest Memorial mosquitos baseball tournament brought May to a close over the long weekend.
The LSS senior girls had a strong finish in early June at the provincials where, after losing their first two games, they beat Valleyview to take seventh spot in the Tier 2 division. The senior boys rugby team finished its season with 11th place at the provincials in Abbotsford.
Mount Brenton Golf Club announced two of its pros, Cash Reumkens and Jan Best, would be teeing off in the fight against ALS with a Golf-A-Thon on June 18. To raise money, the pros played as many rounds as they could from sun up to sun down.
Local rugby player Casey Cavers took his game to an international level when he had the opportunity to play in the country Georgia, with the Canadian team at the U20 Junior World Rugby Trophy.
The Cowichan Valley Mustangs had a hard ride during a doubleheader with the North Delta Astros June 25, losing both games, while the Mid-Island Midgets had mixed results in their two double headers that weekend.
Stay tuned to the Jan. 3 issue of the Chronicle for more sports headlines from 2011.