For the first time in more than two years, most sports were able to resume at some point in White Rock and South Surrey in 2022, allowing sports lovers to return to full, or nearly-full schedules after COVID-19 precautions prevented regular schedules and games.
Athletes of all ages embraced the return, from hockey and swimming, to basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, pickleball, rugby or golf – and more.
While COVID-19 still interfered with the return of sporting events to some degree, most individuals and teams were happy to be able to play and compete again, and are looking forward to a full-schedule 2023.
Here’s a look back at just some of the sports highlights from the Peninsula in 2022, in no partiucular order.
We hope you enjoy.
White Rock’s Sommer brings home bronze
White Rock’s Ryan Sommer is now a bronze-medal bobsledder, after reaching the podium in Beijing with Canada’s four-man team.
The Elgin Park Secondary graduate, 28, earned his first Olympic medal with three teammates on Feb. 20, 2022, the final day of the Winter Games.
Sommer celebrated the medal win with his bride-to-be, women’s hockey gold-medallist Blayre Turnbull. After three months apart, the couple reunited during the Winter Olympics’ opening ceremonies and posed for photos.
On Tuesday (Feb. 22), Sommer and Turnbull returned to domestic life at their home in Calgary after a “whirlwind” couple of days.
“We went to the closing ceremonies, which was a great night, and then we did some celebrating on the plane home, so it’s been a fun – what is it, 48 hours? It’s still a bit surreal,” Sommer said.
Going into every race, of course the goal is to end up at the top of the podium, he explained, “but I couldn’t be happier with the colour of the medal we got, the one I have around my neck now,” Sommer added.
“We’re calling it rose gold – that’s just about the colour it looks like. It doesn’t look bronze to me, but it’s a nice colour and a medal I’ll cherish forever.”
South Surrey’s Adam Svensson gets 1st PGA Tour title at Sea Island
After finishing with his best-ever PGA result in January – a tie for seventh at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii – Adam Svensson handled the cold air on the coast of Georgia and the heat of contention as if he had been there before, closing with a 6-under 64 to win the RSM Classic in November at Sea Island for his first PGA Tour victory.
Svensson, a 28-year-old from South Surrey, was locked in a four-way tie for the lead on the closing stretch of the Seaside course when he poured in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, and then hit a tee shot to 10 feet on the par-3 17th for a birdie that gave him a nice cushion.
After his win, the Earl Marriott graduate told PGA media he just focused on his game.
“I knew I was playing great – I just had to stay out of my own way,” he said.
“At the start of the day I told myself, just don’t make a bogey. I just had to keep myself under control.”
Canada Cup to return to South Surrey in June
After being sidelined for two consecutive summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Cup Women’s International Softball Championship announced its return in 2022.
Organizers said they were “thrilled” to announce that the popular tournament would return this year.
“The response to the return of the Canada Cup has been beyond what we could have expected,” said Canada Cup chair Greg Timm.
Award created to remember Canada Cup Volunteer
The passing of longtime Canada Cup volunteer Frank Demaris in February inspired organizers of the South Surrey softball tournament to create an award in his honour.
Demaris was an integral member of the extended Canada Cup family since 1999, when he joined to help – “not because he had a daughter in the sport (he didn’t), but because he believed in community and wanted to volunteer to contribute to his,” tournament organizers stated Thursday (Feb. 24).
Demaris died of congestive heart failure on Feb. 6. He was 92.
Three medals for White Rock Renegades teams at B.C. softball championships
A trio of White Rock Renegades teams landed on the podium at provincial championships in August, bringing to an end a successful, if slightly abridged, softball season. The association’s oldest team, the Renegades ’02 – coached by Ted Birdsall, Softball Canada’s reigning coach of the year – won gold at its provincial tournament, held in Richmond, defeating Surrey Storm ’03 5-2 in the gold-medal game.
Whalers start 2022 with a win streak
The White Rock Whalers hockey team won three games in a row to start 2022.
After seeing their franchise-best seven-game win streak snapped just before the holiday break, the Pacific Junior Hockey League squad reeled off another string of victories to start the new year.
PJHL teams returned to the ice in January, with White Rock winning three in a row – matching its previous, pre-2021 mark for consecutive wins.
On Jan. 1, the Whalers defeated the Abbotsford Pilots 5-2 at Abby’s Minoru Arena, and on Jan. 2, they beat the Mission City Outlaws 4-1.
Surrey Eagles create roster flexibility after quiet junior ‘A’ trade deadline
The Canadian junior ‘A’ hockey trade deadline came and went quietly Jan. 10, with the Surrey Eagles choosing to make just a single move.
The BC Hockey League club sent 19-year-old forward Tio D’Addario to Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, in exchange for future considerations.
D’Addario, who is from Montreal, was in his second season with the Eagles – he joined the team in the 2020 off-season, and played 18 of the team’s games during last spring’s 20-game ‘pod’ season, scoring six goals and adding three assists.
This season, he suited up for 15 games, scoring once and adding an assist.
BCHL’s Surrey Eagles sold to new owners
The Surrey Eagles have been sold to new owners, the BC Hockey League announced in May.
The junior ‘A’ league’s board of governors approved the sale of the team from local real-estate developer Chuck Westgard – a longtime fixture on the Semiahmoo Peninsula sports scene – to Surrey businessmen Ron and TJ Brar, who are owners of Evergreen Herbs, a company described as “a leading provider of fresh herbs and vegetables to grocery stores across the country.”
“My brother and I were born and raised in Surrey and that’s where our passion for hockey first started,” said Ron Brar.
“Our love for community and family has always played a significant role in our lives. The Surrey Eagles will allow us to continue to grow and to give back to our cherished community.”
“We want to encompass our priorities around hockey, academics, community and most importantly, building new leaders,” added TJ Brar. “We are grateful to Chuck Westgard and the BCHL family for allowing us to be a part of the best junior hockey program in Canada.”
Semiahmoo minor hockey announces rebrand, partnership with SFN
The Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association has undergone a rebrand in partnership with Semiahmoo First Nation.
In May, the association announced that going forward, it would be called Semiahmoo Ravens Hockey, while also releasing updated logos and uniforms.
“By updating and modernizing the look, while respecting our tradition, we hope to project this same symbol of leadership, quality programs and success into the future,” said Dave Newson, executive director of the organization.
The partnership with Semiahmoo First Nation surrounds the creation of a third jersey – in addition to the Ravens’ traditional home and away sweaters.
While the primary logo and jerseys were designed by South Surrey marketing agency Search + Rescue Marketing, a third jersey will be released that was designed by SFN artist Roxanne Charles.
South Surrey’s Mason Beaupit drafted by San Jose Sharks
Former Semiahmoo Ravens Hockey goalie Mason Beaupit is one of the newest members of the San Jose Sharks organization, after being selected in the National Hockey League Entry Draft July in Montreal.
The well-travelled goaltender – who lives in Crescent Beach, and has also played for the Okanagan Hockey Academy, Valley West Hawks of the BC Major Midget League and the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs – heard his named called by the Sharks in the fourth round, 108th overall.
South Surrey-based U16 Sharks team are provincial rugby champions
The Bayside U16 Sharks boys are the province’s best rugby players.
The South Surrey-based club captured the gold after defeating Vancouver Island champions Castaway Wanderers 38-21 Dec. 4 at Windsor Park in Victoria.
Head coach Nick Wright and new Bayside coaching co-ordinator Vic Kaidatzis were both extremely proud of how the team played, said team manager Grant Hodgson.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year. The boys played amazing!” he said, noting Wright first started playing for Bayside in kindergarten and also won the B.C. championships at the U16 level as a player, and has now come back to win it as a coach.
South Surrey junior boys Orcas bring home provincial championship title
The sweet taste of victory was savoured by Elgin Park Secondary junior boys’ volleyball team after a weekend tournament in November.
It marks the first time in a quarter of a century that the junior Orcas have won a provincial championship, noted Elgin P.E. teacher and Orcas coach Mike Jamieson.
A former Elgin Park grad, Jamieson remembers the last time the junior boys (Grades 9 and 10) volleyball team won a provincial title, he was still a student at the school.
Earl Marriott junior girls Mariners win provincial volleyball championships
The Earl Marriott Secondary junior girls volleyball team are provincial champions.
After 24 teams from around B.C. took to the courts at Pacific Academy and Salish Secondary at the end of November, the junior Mariners capped their 47-1 season with a two-set win (25-20, 25-21) over Vancouver’s Crofton House to win the Provincial banner.
Semiahmoo Secondary grad Sean Whyte returns to CFL’s BC Lions
White Rock-raised kicker Sean Whyte has signed a contract extension for another year with BC Lions, the team announced Dec. 8.
The CFL franchise considers Whyte “an integral piece to their puzzle” in its pursuit of a Grey Cup next football season.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the Lions organization for allowing me the opportunity to continue playing with my hometown team,” Whyte, 37, said in a news release.
Surrey-raised Paul McCallum kicks way into Canadian Football Hall of Fame after 23-year CFL career
Surrey-raised Paul McCallum is among Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees announced Tuesday, June 21.
His career in the CFL stretched 23 years, including 11 seasons with the Surrey-based BC Lions, with whom he won two Grey Cup championships.
Earl Marriott alum wins wrestling silver at Commonwealth Games
A South Surrey wrestler brought home a silver medal from the Commonwealth Games after landing on the podium.
Ana Godinez Gonzalez – an Earl Marriott Secondary alum who wrestled at both Simon Fraser University and the University of the Fraser Valley after high school – earned a silver medal in the women’s 62-kg division.
She advanced to the title bout after earning victories over Scotland’s Abbie Fountain – a win that came via ‘technical superiority’ – and Nigeria’s Esther Kolawole in a 10-4 decision.
Former Semiahmoo Secondary hoops star to return to Fraser Valley Bandits
Former Semiahmoo Secondary basketball star Adam Paige is back for a second season with the Fraser Valley Bandits.
In April, the Canadian Elite Basketball League squad – which now plays out of the Langley Events Centre after moving from Abbotsford last year – announced that it had re-signed Paige as its U Sports Development Athlete for the upcoming season.