Many young athletes of BC Games past have gone on to attain professional sports careers and university scholarships.
In 2008, Cloverdale Minor Hockey product Tyler Wotherspoon and his Fraser Valley zone teammates took gold at the BC Winter Games in Cranbrook. That same year, a then-16-year-old Wotherspoon was drafted by the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks.
It was no coincidence. The strong competitive spirit of the BC Games offers blossoming athletes a motivational push, Wotherspoon says.
“It was kind of one of the first times I played [hockey] against the best guys around the province – a bar setting for where I stood, even at that age,” he says.
Wotherspoon and a goalie from his winning BC Winter Games team, fellow Surrey native Laurent Brossoit, have since been drafted by the Calgary Flames.
Other local-based graduates of the BC Games program – considered a stepping stone to national and international competition – have seen similar success.
Guilford Park Secondary’s Isaac Bernard, who competed in the BC Summer Games in Kelowna in 2008, has won five straight provincial wrestling titles – only the forth wrestler in B.C. high school history to do so. Bernard is now a member of the Canadian junior wrestling team, and was chosen to carry the B.C. flag into the opening ceremonies of the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island.
Meanwhile, North Delta softball pitcher Jocelyn Cater, who was also in Kelowna in 2008, will take the mound for the University of Washington in Seattle this fall.
The most recent BC Winter Games, held in Vernon this past February, was a re-introduction of sorts to gymnastics for Panorama Ridge Secondary’s Duncan Losin. The 14-year-old had taken the previous year off from the high bars and was looking for some extra competition.
“It was great, the [BC Winter Games] was fun,” says Losin. “Next year I’m trying out for the Western Canada Games.”
Another fringe benefit of the Games is new friendship. Wotherspoon has kept in contact with some hockey alumni from the 2008 BC Winter Games.
He also has some advice for athletes competing in the upcoming 2012 BC Summer Games in Surrey.
“You know I think that everyone always gets caught up in the publicity. Play as hard as you can – that’s all you can control,” says Wotherspoon.