The Delta Sports Hall of Fame will honour its class of 2022 during an awards banquet at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn on Saturday, Oct. 29. Top row: inductees Howard Tsumura, Laverne Theis, Jeff Skinner, Linda Jervis, Gerry White and Todd Clarke; sports champion Sophie Gower. Middle row: sports champions Syra Toor, Jacob Holt, Marika Lyszczyk, Tristan Jarry, Mark Pinkard, Lucky Toor and Linda Graham. Bottom row: sports champions Team Bowles, inductee Brian Candy of Meridian Farm Market, and sport champions SDSS Senior Girls AAA soccer team. Not pictured: sport champion Russell Howlett. (Photos provided by the Delta Sports Hall of Fame)

The Delta Sports Hall of Fame will honour its class of 2022 during an awards banquet at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn on Saturday, Oct. 29. Top row: inductees Howard Tsumura, Laverne Theis, Jeff Skinner, Linda Jervis, Gerry White and Todd Clarke; sports champion Sophie Gower. Middle row: sports champions Syra Toor, Jacob Holt, Marika Lyszczyk, Tristan Jarry, Mark Pinkard, Lucky Toor and Linda Graham. Bottom row: sports champions Team Bowles, inductee Brian Candy of Meridian Farm Market, and sport champions SDSS Senior Girls AAA soccer team. Not pictured: sport champion Russell Howlett. (Photos provided by the Delta Sports Hall of Fame)

Delta Sports Hall of Fame names its class of 2022

Inductees and sports champions to be honoured at gala banquet on Saturday, Oct. 29

Sports journalist Howard Tsumura, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and former Vancouver 86’ers/Whitecaps midfielder Jeff Skinner are among those set to be honoured as part the Delta Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2022.

Started in 2005, the Delta Sports Hall of Fame aims to “celebrate Delta sport achievement, recognize excellence and honour past, present and future role models.” Each year, the hall honours its past and current inductees and sport champions (athletes, coaches and volunteers who had outstanding performances that season) at a gala dinner and celebration. To date, over 200 Delta athletes have been honoured by the hall.

This year’s event, happening Oct. 29 at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn, will be the first since 2019, offering a chance to honour inductees and sport champions for the last three years, as well as the sponsors who support them.

“This is our 16th annual Delta Sports Hall of Fame of banquet and we are very please to honour over 30 athletes this year,” DSHOF board chair Rick Lewall said in a email to the Reporter. “We will have a very large cross section of athletes in 12 different sports represented this year.”

The gala banquet will also feature guest speaker Friba Rezayee, who represented Afghanistan in the sport of judo at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Rezayee fled Afghanistan in 2010 and now speaks on empowerment and gender equality through sports.

Tickets for the awards banquet are $85. For more information, e-mail Rick Lewall at ricklewall@telus.net.

The 2022 Delta Sports Hall of Fame inductees are:

• Builder: Howard Tsumura (football and basketball)

• Pioneer: Laverne Theis (curling)

• Athlete: Jeff Skinner (soccer)

• Athlete: Linda Jervis (golf)

• Coach: Gerry White (baseball)

• Coach: Todd Clarke (volleyball)

• Sponsor: Bryan Candy/Meridian Farm Market

The 2022 Sport Champions are:

• Youth Athlete: Sophie Gower (rowing)

• Youth Athlete: Syra Toor (basketball)

• Youth Athlete: Jacob Holt (basketball)

• Athlete: Marika Lyscziyk (baseball)

• Athlete: Tristan Jarry (hockey)

• Athlete: Russell Howlett (golf)

• Master Athlete: Mark Pinckard (track and field)

• Coach: Lucky Toor (basketball)

• Team: Curling- Team Bowles (curling)

• Team: South Delta Secondary Senior Girls AAA (soccer)

• Volunteer: Linda Graham (pickleball)

Read bios for each of this year’s honorees (provided by the Delta Sports Hall of Fame) below…

INDUCTEES

Builder: Howard Tsumura (football/basketball)

Early in his life Howard Tsumura discovered two things that led to a distinguished career in sports journalism: a joy and talent for writing, and a passion for sports. Ironically, Howard, a proud lifetime Delta resident, never played on a team but has spent almost four decades writing about those who did.

Howard’s journalism career began in 1983 as he took his first newspaper job in Houston, B.C. This was followed by short stints with the Delta Optimist and the Now newspapers. In 1986, he joined the sports department of The Province. For the next 27 years, he would ply his trade with this publication, earning several honours along the way. In 2017, he left the paper to create a new website, Varsity Letters, a platform he uses to chronicle high school and university sport.

While he covered both professional and amateur sport, his true passion was in writing about “the amazing student athletes I have encountered.” Even Howard had a difficult time explaining what drew him to high school sports, but he did realize, at an early age, the positive impact sport had on young athletes. As coverage of amateur sport in large publications declined, Howard prided himself on being a voice for high school and university sport. For several years, he was the only sports journalist in the country who wrote a daily column on high school sports.

Howard believes the world of high school and university sports is unique and needs to be promoted and protected. It was his mission to document and to celebrate student-athletes’ journeys and accomplishments, giving them the recognition they rightfully deserved. Howard’s special newspaper features like the “Head of the Class” photo gallery and the Annual High School Recruit List, as well as 20 years of broadcasting university basketball and football, are further examples of his commitment to and love for amateur sport.

The list of accolades for Howard is impressive. Two Hall of Fame inductions at SFU and Basketball BC, a lifetime membership in the BC Football Association, two Top Sport Writer awards from Canada West, a National Sport Reporting Award, and a basketball tournament named in his honour are all tributes to his outstanding writing skills. Perhaps though what is most important to him is summarized in his own words: “The appreciation I have received from both my subjects and loyal followers has been nothing short of a blessing.”

Pioneer: Laverne Theis (curling)

For over a quarter of a century, the name Laverne Theis was synonymous with the Delta Thistle Curling Club in North Delta.

Born and raised in Shaunavon, Sask., surprisingly Laverne was not exposed to the game of curling growing up. Her first exposure was when, in her early 30s and living in North Delta, she innocently walked into the North Delta Recreation Centre and enrolled in a Learn to Curl program. She was hooked! She loved both the competitive and social aspects of the game.

Inspired by her father/role model, Laverne has never been reluctant to volunteer. After just one year of curling, she agreed to serve on the board of directors at Delta Thistle. After eight years of curling and volunteering on the board, she was appointed club manager in 1991. She remained manager until her retirement in 2015.

Although it was always a challenge to maintain club memberships, the ever-present Laverne enthusiastically welcomed curlers to the club, provided instruction for all ages and skill levels, and did her best to make curling a positive experience. Curling draws were near capacity. Bonspiels were well attended and a model for others to follow. Learn to Curl programs were expanded and lessons offered to high school classes, junior curlers and wheelchair athletes. A certified coach, Laverne did some of the instruction but also trained others to provide the service.

Laverne noted two significant memories. Her proudest accomplishment was the introduction of the Special Olympics curling program. She established a Saturday league two decades ago that is still going strong. A number of the original Special O curlers are still curling.

Laverne also recalled a royal visit. Prior to the 2010 Olympics, Delta Thistle hosted the United Kingdom team. One morning, who should arrive to watch the UK team play but Princess Anne and her security team.

Under Laverne’s leadership, Delta Thistle Curling Club has successfully hosted a B.C. women’s championship (the “Scotties”), three BC High School Championships, as well as a number of other playdowns and annual bonspiels. To her credit, Curl BC enlisted her services to prepare a template on how to run bonspiels.

Even in retirement, Laverne maintains her connection to the game, finding time to curl three times a week. It is still her goal to qualify for the curling at the BC Senior Games.

Athlete: Jeff Skinner (soccer)

The Hall of Fame welcomes local, collegiate, provincial, national, international and professional soccer player Jeff Skinner. Growing up in North Delta, Jeff was an all-round athlete and enjoyed sports in each season (tennis, baseball, school sports). Encouraged by his parents, Sally and Reg, Jeff found a love for soccer and excelled as he participated in various training camps, clinics and tryouts as a youth player. Jeff also credits longtime Delta Metro coach John Mantei who accelerated his soccer development and would later become a mentor to Jeff professionally.

Jeff played professional soccer for eight years for the Vancouver 86’ers/Whitecaps (1996-2003). He played 113 matches and established himself as the team’s most consistent midfielder. During these years, Jeff prided himself on his selection to Team Canada, winning a gold medal at the CONCACAF U20 Championships in Mexico (‘96) and qualifying for the FIFA U20 World Cup in Malaysia (‘97). Jeff was a key member to Canada’s Pan Am Games squad, finishing in fourth place (‘99), and as a Canadian U23 player collected nine international caps. Jeff is quick to credit coach Bruce Twamley of Soccer Canada for the opportunities provided to play at such a high level. Jeff’s talent led to opportunities to play for Team BC and collegiately at Langara College and the University of British Columbia, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in human kinetics.

Jeff has now enjoyed a 20-year career with the Burnaby Fire Department. Youth coach John Matei, himself a Vancouver firefighter, also helped Jeff on this path. Jeff continues to be extremely fit and enjoys cycling, fitness and pickleball. He has given back to the sport, dedicating time to coaching youth soccer for South Delta and making an impact in the lives of his players. Soccer has given him much: opportunities to travel the globe, playing sport with the world’s best, obtaining an education, developing lifelong friendships and even meeting his sweet wife Paige. Jeff has temporarily stepped back from playing and coaching to enjoy watching his children Declan, Lincoln and Finlay find their own passions and successes in sport.

Jeff is a worthy candidate for his outstanding athletic achievements but also a model citizen, family man and friend in our community.

Athlete: Linda Jervis (golf)

Linda Jervis grew up in North Delta and started playing golf at 10 with her father Eric at Pitt Meadows Golf Club. She started with B.C. Junior Golf at 12 and by 14 Linda had to choose between softball or golf. When asked, Linda responded, “Golf chose me. I became skilled very fast and the benefits were lots.”

By 15, Linda was one of Canada’s top-ranked amateurs. Between 1976-1990, Linda was on the B.C. Junior team four times, B.C. Amateur team six times, and first alternate for the Canadian Amateur team twice. She won 11 Vancouver City and District Amateur Championships, was second three times at the B.C. Amateurs, and was the first girl to play in the B.C. Junior High School Boys Golf Championships. In 1988, Linda reached the semi finals of the U.S. Amateur and also competed in the Turquoise Open (1987) and Safeco Classic (1989).

Linda turned professional in 1991, playing on the Player’s West Tour. She had top-10 finishes in her first seven events and won the Bidwell Tournament. After winning two du Maurier qualifying tournaments, Linda then played in two Canadian Women’s Open. Linda was ranked fifth and third in Canada for 1991 and 1992, respectively, and finished 1992 as the lowest-scoring Canadian on the Player’s West Tour. In 1993 and 1994, she played on the Asian and Australian Tours only.

Since her playing days, Linda has been a teaching professional and corporate clinician. She trained with the LPGA and in 2021 received her 25-year pin. From 2007-2019, she was the lead coach in the ‘Playgrounds to Fairways” program for B.C. Golf, teaching over 10,000 elementary students. She has coached at the B.C. Summer Games, co-created the Northwest Women’s Golf Tour, been a teaching professional at Delta Practice Center and Surrey Golf Course; and since 2008 Northview Golf Club.

Her family, her golfing peers both female and male, Pitt Meadows Golf Club, Canadian Golf Hall of Famer, Jocelyn Bourassa and the LPGA had the most influence on her athletic and coaching achievements. Each provided Linda opportunities to excel at her sport as for those she teaches and coaches.

Coach: Gerry White (baseball)

The legendary baseball player and coach Yogi Berra once said, “Little league baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.” For Hall of Fame inductee Gerry White, baseball has not only kept him off the streets for decades, but he has been a part of developing some of the best young people in Delta through sport.

Growing up in Ontario, Gerry learned to love baseball as a youth and played for several competitive seasons there. Gerry made his way out west to call Ladner his home and he began coaching with his own kids. Baseball was a family affair for the Whites — Gerry actually started coaching his daughter Lauren and the South Delta Invaders (‘97-’01) and then his son Brad with Ladner Minor Baseball Mosquito A team (‘02).

For the past 25 years, Gerry White has been a head coach in baseball to some of Delta’s best players and teams. Gerry has been a key part of putting Ladner Minor on the baseball map, leading them to provincial championships in ’03, ‘05 and ‘06, Western Canadian gold in ’05, Western Canadian bronze in ‘06 and a Canadian Nationals silver in ‘07. During this period, Gerry saw a need to create an “excel” program of giving extra practice sessions and skill development to players and made these sessions available for casual house players as well as the most competitive. The effect was Ladner had more young people playing baseball than ever and at a higher level. The excel program Gerry initiated is a legacy with LMBA today.

From 2008-2017, Gerry was a head coach with the North Delta Blue Jays of the BCPBL and led them to a BCJPBL championship in ‘11 and ‘14. During this time, dozens of players went on to receive university scholarships and the (North) Delta Blue Jays program has had three players play in Major League Baseball. As Gerry reflects on his time as a coach, the most meaningful contribution isn’t the wins and losses or championships, but being a part of the development of youth, watching them achieve, grow in confidence and become responsible and accountable people.

While Gerry is no longer coaching,but he is the general manager for the Delta Blue Jays program, which is still keeping him “off the streets.”

Coach: Todd Clarke (volleyball)

Like father, like son. In 2013, Ron Clarke was honoured with his induction to the Delta Sports Hall of Fame. This year we are pleased to add his son, Todd Clarke.

Known for his tireless energy and infectious personality, his devotion to sport cannot be understated. In this era where finding people to coach teams, or serve in an executive position, is often a challenge, individuals like Todd are both a blessing and a rarity. He has a long history in coaching and serving on sport executives.

For more than 30 years, this Delta teacher has devoted countless volunteer hours to coaching school teams. Inspired by a quartet of his own youth coaches — Paul Pederson, Bill Stebbings, Gord Parsons and his dad, Ron — Todd eagerly threw his hat into the coaching arena. His coaching resume is extensive but topping the list are 30 years coaching volleyball and 25 years coaching basketball.

Without a doubt, Todd’s main focus over the years has been on his senior girls volleyball teams, both at Seaquam Secondary and in the community. He speaks with great pride and humility of the successes of his Seaquam teams over the years. A provincial gold medal in 2011 followed by two silver medals are certainly notable, but the fact that his Seaquam teams have qualified for almost every provincial tournament since 2007 is testament to the long-term success of the program.

Ironically, Todd takes the most satisfaction not from the winning but from the opportunity to provide a positive and competitive environment for his players. He views each team as a family, a special group that works together to become the best they can be. Some of Todd’s fondest coaching memories are the 17 school volleyball “family” bonding trips he took with his teams to locations around North America. No high school team travelled more extensively.

Often overshadowed by his coaching renown is his commitment to the growth and development of high school sports locally and provincially. This is demonstrated by the number of years spent in executive positions on sport bodies: 17 years as a school athletic director, multiple years as president of the Delta and Fraser Valley Athletic Associations, over 12 years on BC High Schools Girls Volleyball Commission’s executive, and tournament director for 14 girls provincial volleyball tournaments are just part of his legacy.

Sponsor: Bryan Candy, Meridian Farm Market

Starting from an old-fashioned butcher shop with just four employees in 1989, Meridian has remained a family-owned business for over three decades.

In 2019, it was decided to celebrate their 30th anniversary by offering 30 per cent back through their fundraiser program. The new program was launched in the fall of that year but was hampered by the pandemic in early 2020. When it was able to resume, the program took off as many teams and clubs were not able to host in-person fundraisers during COVID.

While the 30 per cent was part of the 30th anniversary, Meridian recognized that the demand for fundraisers like this was much greater than anticipated, which led them to make the 30 per cent offering a permanent fixture.

Now with practices, matches, games and tournaments resuming, the program is seeing even more growth. Meridian has connected with sports teams, churches, schools, swim and dive clubs, organizations such as Scouts Canada, the Special Olympics, the Canucks Autism Network, Cops for Cancer, Rotary Clubs, the Lions Club and, of course, long-standing fundraiser customer the Tsawwassen Lawn Bowling Club.

Since it’s relaunch in late 2019, Meridian has connected with over 50,000 people across the Lower Mainland as well as over 600 organizations. The program has also given back more than $1,000,000.

Today, Meridian has eight locations, over 500 employees, and specializes in grass-fed beef, fresh and local produce, and exceptional grocery products, and boasts a one-of-a-kind bakery and deli at each store.

Their support of sport and community groups makes their induction into the Hall of Fame a well deserved honour.

SPORT CHAMPIONS

(Editor’s note: a bio and photo for Sport Champion honoree Russell Howlett was not available at the time of publication. They will be added as soon as they are received.)

Youth Athlete of the Year: Sophie Gower (rowing)

Gower became a rower just over four years ago with the Delta Deas Rowing Club. While rowing with Deas, Sophie finished first in Beat the Beast 2019 & 2020 in the U17 Openweight Women’s category, competed in the Shawinigan Lake Regatta 2019, and the Royal Canadian Henley 2019.

Even though COVID interrupted competitions in 2019, Sophie continued to train and challenge herself. She was part of the RCA Next Gen HUB program (June 2019 to Dec. 2020), the RBC Training Ground Top 100 Final (September 2019), a member of Team BC in 2019 and 2021 at the National Rowing Championships (Burnaby Lake and Elk Lake), and a member of the Canadian Junior National Team 2021 at the Junior World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In February 2020, she switched clubs to Thunder Rowing Club in Richmond.

Sophie exploded from COVID lockdown with a new determination and dominated in regional regattas: 1st place in the U19 Openweight Women’s category at Beat the Beast 2021 and 2022, 1st in the U19 Women’s 4x Head and 2nd in the U19 Women’s 4x Tail at Head & Tail of the Gorge, 1st in the U19 Women’s 4x category at the Brentwood International Regatta 2022, 2nd place at the Windermere Cup Regatts 2022, 1st place in the Women’s 4x category at the Shawinigan Lake Regatta 2022, and and 1st place in the U19 Openweight 1x category at the CanAmMex Regatta 2022.

All of this while trying to graduate from South Delta Secondary with a double dogwood diploma, as well as being a member of the Delta Mayor’s Youth Council, the Delta Youth Advisory Council and co-president of SDSS’s student council.

Sophie is very appreciative of all of the people that she has worked with throughout the community. From the Thunder Rowing Club, Sophie enjoyed the range of coaching that was available. Coaches Vince Amodeo and Mike Lattimer were instrumental in her continued gains on the water, while being coached by an Olympian during the CanAm Mex regatta was also an amazing learning experience.

One of the accomplishments that Sophie is most proud of is earning her scholarship to Duke University, where she is currently a freshman. A close second was participating in the World Championships in Bulgaria in 2021.

Youth Athlete of the Year: Syra Toor (basketball)

Sport Champions celebrate an exceptional year of athletic achievement and for Syra Toor, that was just the case in 2021-22.

As an eighth-grade player, Syra started all 28 games and led the Seaquam Seahawks Junior Girls team to a provincial championship. This is the first provincial title for any Seaquam basketball team and the Seahawks have once again created a culture of basketball excellence.

Of particular note, Syra not only contributed 22 points in the championship game, but was also named tournament MVP. This made Syra, at 13 years old, the youngest player to ever win the award in the 40 year history of the tournament.

Syra was her team’s leading scorer throughout the season and top-three point shooter. She was named as the Seahawks’ Team MVP and was recognized as an all-star on multiple occasions in tournaments and leagues throughout the year.

Syra has been playing basketball with her sister Priya (also named Provincial Junior Girls Outstanding Defensive Player) since she was three years old and has loved basketball ever since. She enjoys the friendships, teamwork, connections to families, competition and fast-paced nature in basketball. Syra considers herself blessed to be coached by her dad and to play alongside her sister. She is grateful for her club coach from AthElite, Aman Heran, for helping to teach her the game. As expected, Syra excels in dance, ultimate and school volleyball, and plays soccer for the North Delta Football Club U14 Gold team.

Syra is also a dedicated student and has achieved straight As this past year. Syra’s love for basketball comes from her love for her teammates, coaches and family who have helped her reach high places at such a young age. She has ambitions to continue with basketball following high school and would love the opportunity to play at the university or national team level. For now, she is looking for more of the same in helping the Seaquam Seahawks basketball carry on its winning ways.

Youth Athlete of the Year: Jacob Holt (basketball)

Jacob Holt has had amazing success in the basketball world and it seems as though things are just rising. This versatile 6’ 10’’ standout recently completed his freshman season at Santa Clara University in California. While most freshman redshirt, Jacob was called on early to be a rookie contributor in the competitive West Coast Conference against teams like basketball power Gonzaga University.

Jacob is proud to call Ladner home. In fact, it was at home with his brothers and friends where he learned to love the game of basketball and where they would play for hours. Jacob also grew up playing minor hockey but found basketball to be a great fit. By Grade 6, Holt had joined the Steve Nash Youth Basketball league in Ladner, unaware then that he would attend the alma mater of the two-time NBA MVP upon graduating high school.

He spent his high school years doing two things: growing, and playing basketball at Vancouver College. Jacob earned first team provincial all-star awards in Grade 9 and Grade 10. He was selected to the U17 provincial team (‘19-’20) and invited to the Canadian national team tryout. In 2020, Jacob led his Vancouver College team to a third place finish at the provincial 4A tournament, averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 4.8 blocked shots, and shot 59 per cent from three-point range. That year, he was named provincial 4A first team, all-provincial and best defensive player of the provincial tournament. Jacob also played in the North Pole Hoops Showcase in 2020 and was tournament MVP. This exposure earned him an invitation to tryout with the Canadian national team.

Jacob acknowledges his parents, Rene and Sandra, for helping him achieve his goals physically and to be emotionally motivated, focused and driven. He credits club team coaches from Richmond’s Drive Program like Karn Sharda for helping learn the fundamentals of basketball.

Currently studying business management at Santa Clara, Jacob hopes to leave a lasting impression at the school, on and off the court. He has dreams of playing for the National team and one day playing professionally.

Athlete of the Year: Marika Lyszczyk (baseball)

Marika Lyszczyk has broken gender barriers since she started playing sports. Growing up in Tsawwassen, Marika started her baseball journey with the local softball association. In Grade 2, she switched to boys baseball, where she played until Grade 7. By Grade 8, Marika was playing Bantam AA for the Delta Tigers. During this time she was approached to play for the Whalley Chiefs in the B.C. Premier Baseball League. She played for the Chiefs from 2016-19 in the dual role of pitcher and catcher. Marika was the first female to play for the Delta Tigers and in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.

After graduating from South Delta Secondary in 2019, Marika joined the Canadian women’s baseball team, winning a bronze medal in the World Cup qualifier. She was recruited by Division 3 Rivier University and in 2020 became the first female catcher to play NCAA men’s baseball. Marika played the last two summers in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, becoming the first female to play in this league. Marika has been offered the opportunity to pitch at Sonoma State University for the 2023 season. Once again, this will be a first, playing on a NCAA Division 2 team.

Recently, Marika was chosen as one of nine individuals in North America by Major League Baseball to be part of the 2022 Creator Class, which produces social media on behalf of the MLB. This has given Marika the opportunity to promote women in baseball as well as attend the 2022 MLB All-Star Game, the Field of Dreams and this year’s World Series.

Marika has also volunteered her time and skills to the Tsawwassen Baseball community. In 2020 and 2021, she was a volunteer coach for the Delta AA Tigers team and the Tsawwassen Pee Wee AA team.

Marika’s goal is “to continue to break additional gender barriers at the highest levels of baseball, while showing other women they to can achieve their dreams.”

Athlete of the Year: Tristan Jarry (ice hockey)

As a hockey goalie, Tristan Jarry knows how to be patient and how to seize every opportunity to make a difference. Tristan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013 (second round), and had to hone his skills for a few more years in the WHL and the AHL before being called up to the NHL.

During the 2021-2022 NHL season, Tristan Jarry played 58 games, posting a 34-18-0-6 record with a .919 save percentage. It would appear that his hard work and patience has paid off as he is set to be the Penguins’ number one goalie this season.

With only a few seasons in the NHL, Tristan has played in his first All-Star Game (2020 in St. Louis) as a last-minute injury replacement, accrued two Stanley Cup rings, and worked his way into the starting rotation. His stats for the past three seasons highlight the consistent high level of play that Tristan brings to the rink every day. During the 2019-2020 season, Tristan played in 33 games with a 20-12-0-1 record and a .921 save percentage. The next season, Tristan saw more games and posted a record of 25-9-0-3 and a save percentage of .909.

Tristan grew up in North Delta, working alongside his family at Jarry’s Market, playing hockey as often as he could and attending Burnsview Secondary School. During his junior hockey years, Tristan was a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings, winning the 2013-2014 WHL title as Tristan posted a regular season record of 50-9-3-1. Tristan and the Oil Kings also went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014. From Edmonton, Tristan spent two seasons in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. At each level of hockey, Tristan has worked extremely hard, stayed consistent and proved himself to be an elite goalie.

Master Athlete of the Year: Mark Pinckard (track and field)

Growing up in Victoria, B.C., Mark competed in many sports, including track and field. But it wasn’t until much later in life that Mark got serious about running, after his first marathon at the age of 46. At 50, Mark returned to his track and field roots; earning a multitude of provincial and national track and field titles over the next 10 years.

In 2021, Mark broke a 19-year-old 800 m Canadian record previously held by Harold Morioka at the BC Masters Track & Field Championships. His time of 2:10:77 ranked him first in the world.

In March of 2022, Mark won the 800 m at the US Masters Indoor Championships in New York City with a time of 2:14:42, tying the indoor Canadian M60 record. The following day, he won bronze in the mile event, breaking the Canadian record with a time of 5:05:21.

Later that same year at the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Tampere, Finland, Mark achieved a life-long goal by earning gold in the 800 m with a time of 2:13:75 and bronze in the 1500 m in a time of 4:33:19, which broke the Canadian record. Standing on the podium and hearing the Canadian anthem in Finland was an experience he will never forget.

In 2022, Mark is ranked first in the world in the 800 m indoors and outdoors, fifth in the world in the 1500 m and first in the world in the mile.

The competition is far from over for Mark, who looks forward to many more events in the future.

Coach of the Year: Lucky Toor (basketball)

Leading the Seaquam junior girls basketball team to a provincial championship in 2022 warrants recognition. After all, this was the first North Delta-based girls basketball team to win provincials and the first Seaquam basketball team to ever win the B.C. championship. Not only did Lucky Toor do just that, but simultaneously he was the head coach of the Seaquam senior girls basketball team, taking them to the AAAA BC Senior Girls provincial tournament where the Seahawks held a top-10 ranking all season.

To say Lucky Toor is passionate about coaching basketball in Delta is an understatement. Lucky is a lifelong North Delta resident and embraced the basketball culture as a Husky himself under the direction of Bill Edwards, Tyler Kushnir and Al Haynes in the late 90s.

Basketball was a huge part of Lucky’s life growing up and he wanted to give back to his community, including his old junior high school. As a result, he got his start in coaching by responding to an advertisement outside of Burnsview Secondary, coaching the school’s senior boys (‘07-11) and girls (‘06) for five years. Lucky then moved on to coaching Seaquam’s Grade 8 and junior girls teams (‘16-’20), qualifying for provincial championships three out of four years and winning the Delta city championship all four years as well as multiple other tournaments.

Lucky has been a key coach in the community AthElite Basketball club program, winning multiple championships in B.C., Washington and Oregon (‘16-present). Perhaps what makes him most passionate about coaching are his daughters, who are impressive in their own achievements. Syra Toor, a Grade 8 starter on the junior girls championship team, won tournament MVP at the B.C. championship, and Priya Toor won Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the tournament this year.

Lucky credits Amy Serres for her dedication in girls basketball at Seaquam and Aman Heran at AthElite as a mentor. He also knows this previous year of success at Seaquam would not have been possible without his assistants Jim Sidhu and Taylor Kelly. He recognizes that success of this kind “takes a village” of supportive parents, players, support staff, friends and coaches. Lucky emphasizes that helping these young women succeed in our own community is very special and a great honour to be a part of. Lucky Toor is a strength in our community building friendships, relationships, conifdence and strengthening families and individuals through sport.

Team of the Year: Team Bowles (curling)

To say curling is in the DNA of Elizabeth, Emily, Kate, Taylor and Morgan Bowles would be an understatement. They are the fourth generation of the Bowles family to curl at the Delta Thistle Curling Club. According to Elizabeth, “we grew up at the Thistle Curling Club,” first watching their parents and then, by the age of nine, curling in the junior programs and eventually in leagues. The guideline given to the girls as to when to start curling was “to weigh as much as the rocks, 44 lbs.”

Team Bowles won three banners for Sands Secondary School (two regional and one provincial championship). In 2020, they won the South Fraser Zone and came second at the provincials, losing on the last shot of an extra end. With no championships in 2021, the team was keen to win in 2022. Team Bowles again won the the South Fraser Zone and followed it up by winning the B.C. championships, going undefeated. The 2022 team feels winning was their biggest accomplishment. “We had been working at winning this event since entering high school together.”

Team Bowles also competed at the BC Winter Games in 2020. After tying for first place in their pool, they were defeated in a playoff game and eventually finished fifth. Elizabeth, Emily, Kate, Taylor and Morgan have also played on other teams at different provincial and national events.

Even though the team spend many hours at the rink working on their skills, Team Bowles give credit for the success to their grandfather, Art Bowles, and especially to their coach, Mike Bowles. Not only did they instill a love of curling but also the importance of giving back. Each of the Bowles girls has spent countless hours coaching in a number of junior programs at the Delta Thistle Curling Club. When asked why, Taylor said, “I coach the younger kids to help the community and watch generations grow.”

It is amazing to see a team stay together for so many years, and Morgan sums it up this way: “I enjoyed our team because it was family and closest friends.” They are now going their separate ways as all but Morgan have graduated from secondary school. Elizabeth, Emily, Kate, Taylor and Morgan will continue to curl, but not necessarily on the same team.

Team of the Year: South Delta Secondary Senior Girls AAA (soccer)

Under the coaching of Stephen Burns, the SDSS Girls Soccer team has gone to the high school provincials for 19 straight years. Coaches Stephen Burns and Brent Sweeney had high hopes for this year’s team after losing the past two seasons to COVID. They knew that they had a very competitive group, and that many of the girls were eager to have a great season. And a great season it was: 21 wins, two draws and one loss, with 100 goals for and 18 goals against. South Fraser champions. Provincial champions.

The team regrouped early in the season after losing one of their top players to a season-ending injury. Quickly, the versatility of many of the players on the team became evident as Burns and Sweeney asked many players to play various positions from game to game. The coaches credit the Grade 12 veterans on the team as being the difference makers throughout the season, as well as being the four co-captains. They brought the team together and led by example on and off the pitch. The team had great chemistry and all wanted to work hard for one another, believing in each other’s skill and that each player would give their all for the team in whatever role they were asked to play. The coaches worked very hard to allow all of the players to enjoy playing, to play loose and free, going so far as to dress in costumes for each game in the provincial tournament.

“We never stop” was the rallying call for the team. There was never any element of panic amongst the team, even when they were down in both the semi-final and the final game at provincials. Brianna Jassmann was named the tournament MVP, with Teila Noble being named to the Commissioner’s 16.

Members of the 2022 AAA provincial champions are: Teila Noble, Brianna Jassmann, Jane McDonald, Kate McDonald, Tomke Bauer, Grace Grannary, Julia Fechter, Mackenzie Campbell, Gemma Dumas, Rachel Rosser, Niki Long, Eva Unger, Izzy Burtini, Angelina Burtini, Kayla Wicks, Maddie Dier, Lucy McCart, Madi Dahl and Lily Yesowick.

Volunteer of the Year: Linda Graham (pickleball)

Linda grew up in Delta playing many sports, leading to her giving back to the community through coaching and volunteering. Before her involvement in pickleball, Linda coached and was on the executive of local softball, soccer and hockey associations. She was a Sun Run coach from 2000-2014 and then a run leader for The Run Inn from 2014-2017.

An injury in 2018 had Linda looking for a new activity to try, and pickleball was the sport. After one lesson, Linda proclaimed, “I love it!” Not only has Linda improved her playing skills, but her focus is now giving back to pickleball.

With her “get ‘er done attitude,” Linda has helped promote pickleball. She is very resourceful and if she can’t do it, she will find someone who can. Linda was on the Delta Pickleball Association executive from 2019-2022. According to one member, Linda was invaluable helping while on the DPA board and has continued to assist. Many people seek out her advice and insight on court maintenance, round-robin play, coaching and player concerns.

Linda received her Level 1 Coaching certification in 2019 and has been coaching ever since. After helping Anne Kennedy with the ladies beginners’ lessons, Linda created a skills-based program for women of different skill levels. A Friday morning program that started with one group has now expanded to include several skill groups, averaging 50 players. Even when lessons are finished, Linda always makes herself available to mentor players, and not only in B.C. On a trip to Mexico, Linda took 100 pickleballs and a dozen paddles and volunteered her time to teach young athletes.

The Delta Pickleball Association has grown to over 650 members due in large part to the quality of our courts. Linda has been instrumental in court development in Delta. Her belief on new courts was, “I wanted great courts, not just good ones.” Delta now has some of the best courts in the Lower Mainland.

When asked what she is most proud of Linda said, “Taking away barriers for people and seeing people enjoy the sport.” Linda has been — and continues to be — a great ambassador for pickleball. She still finds herself a student of the game and her future goals are to make herself and those around her better pickleball players.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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