Squire Barnes to host Chilliwack Sports Dinner

Squire Barnes
Squire Barnes

Squire Barnes will host this fall’s first annual Chilliwack Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage.

The popular Global TV sports anchor returns to Chilliwack and a role he’s familiar with.

Barnes hosted several sports banquets when the Western Hockey League’s Chilliwack Bruins were here, moderating round-table discussions that included Harry Sinden, Brian Burke, Glen Sather, Trevor Linden, Ron McLean, Jim Robson and Jim Hughson.

This year he’ll share the stage with Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning, BC Lions GM/head coach Wally Buono and Vancouver Whitecaps president Bobby Lenarduzzi.

“Squire is engaging, witty and knowledgeable and the perfect guy to draw stories out of our special guests,” said Royal LePage’s Stuart Muxlow, who will emcee the Chilliwack Sports Dinner. “With Squire leading the conversation, it’s sure to be entertaining.”

The evening will also see the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame inducting its Class of 2016.

Longtime Chilliwack Chiefs boss Harvey Smyl is being inducted in the Judy Fitzsimmons builder category while two-time national ultimate frisbee champ Lara Mussell-Savage enters as an athlete.

The event will raise money for the CSHOF as it strives to expand the display that resides on the concourse at Prospera Centre.

The event will also contribute to the Chilliwack Chiefs scholarship fund, which helps players take post-secondary courses while they play junior A hockey.

For event info, email general@wheelercheam.com

Hall of Fame reveals class of 2016

The Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame welcomes two new members this October.

The inductees will be honored guests at the first annual Chilliwack Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage, taking place Oct. 27 at the Squiala Hall.

They’ll be officially inducted the following night at a Chilliwack Chiefs game at Prospera Centre.

Lara Mussell Savage

Lara Mussell Savage will be inducted as an athlete. A two-time world champion in Ultimate Frisbee, the Sto:lo Native was twice named BC’s top female Aboriginal athlete.

In 2005, Mussell Savage went a step further, winning the prestigious Tom Longboat National Award as Aboriginal Athlete of the Year. Mussell Savage joined Canada’s national team in 1998 and had an immediate impact. Her crew advanced to the World Championships that year, finishing third behind the United States and Japan.

She won gold in her next two trips to Worlds,  leading the Canadians to top spot in 2000 and 2004. She captured another bronze medal in her last trip to Worlds in 2008.

In recent years Mussell Savage has become a passionate advocate for gender equality in sport. An ambassador for ViaSport’s Level the Field program, she presents herself as a positive role model for young female athletes. Breaking gender barriers runs in the family. Her grandmother was the first female Chief of Skwah First Nation, elected in 1959. Her cousin is Kaila Mussell, the first professional female saddle-bronc rider in North America.

Since retiring from Ultimate Frisbee, Mussell Savage has been involved behind the scenes at several big events, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She served on the organizing committee as  Project Manager for Aboriginal Sport and Youth. Mussell Savage is currently a board trustee for the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

“Her athletic achievements alone would make Lara a slam dunk candidate for the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame, and what she’s done for females in sports only enhances her status,” said CSHOF spokesman Barry Douglas. “We look forward to honouring Lara at the Chilliwack Sports Dinner as she becomes our first female inductee.”

Harvey Smyl

Harvey Smyl’s name is synonymous with hockey in Chilliwack, and he enters the CSHOF in the Judy Fitzsimmons Builder Category.Smyl took the reins of the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs in 1993-94, embarking on a hugely successful 21 year run in which he missed the playoffs just once. 

Smyl’s Chiefs won the BCHL title in his second season and won two more championships on his watch (1999-00 and 2001-02). Smyl’s Chiefs claimed the Doyle Cup in 2001-02 as Western Canadian champs. Smyl led the Chiefs to the Royal Bank Cup in 1999-00 where they collected the bronze medal.

Smyl was named the BCHL’s coach of the year three times — 1996, 1998 and 2001 and when he left Chilliwack following the 2013-14 season he had the most wins of any coach in league history (554).

“As a general manager, Harvey built the Chiefs into one of Canada’s top junior A programs and as a head coach he experienced unparalleled success behind the bench,” Douglas said. “He helped shape the lives of hundreds of young men and dozens of his players moved on to college and professional hockey. Harvey is truly an iconic figure and well deserving of a place in the CSHOF.”


The Class of 2016 is the fourth to be inducted.

The CSHOF welcomed its first class in 2013 with former National Hockey Leaguer Dave Archibald joined by legendary coach Joe Ogmundson and the national champion Turbo fastpitch team. The following year saw Canadian Football League star Rick Klassen inducted alongside members of the 1968 3-Field national military hockey champions. Last year’s class saw Jack Covey enter in the builder category alongside the 1993-94 midget provincial hockey champs.

Buono, Benning and Lenarduzzi to headline Chilliwack Sports Dinner

The general managers of Vancouver’s three major professional sports teams will be under one roof in Chilliwack Oct. 27.

The first annual Chilliwack Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage will include a round-table discussion with  Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning, BC Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono and Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi.

“Having these three in the same room telling stories, with all they have done, will make for an amazing experience,” says Stuart Muxlow, owner of Wheeler Cheam Royal LePage, the title sponsor of this event. “Any sports enthusiast would jump at an opportunity to listen to these guys speak.”

Royal LePage has partnered with the Chilliwack Chiefs and the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame to host this gala.

It will be held at the Squiala Hall and will include a catered dinner and silent and live auctions.

“Royal LePage is a community-minded office and we love being involved in a variety of local events,” Muxlow says. “We were very excited when we were asked to partner in this event.”

“Royal LePage agents are passionate, some may even say fanatical, about sports. This is going to be an incredible event and we’re proud we can bring it to Chilliwack.”

JimBenning

Chilliwack Chiefs president Glen Ringdal played the key role in getting Benning, Buono and Lenarduzzi for the event.

A former front office heavyweight with the Canucks, Lions and Whitecaps, he placed a few phone calls and the three men were happy to sign on.

Lenarduzzi’s participation isn’t 100 per cent locked in, but if he misses it will be for a good reason.

“If the Whitecaps are in the playoffs then he doesn’t quite know where he’ll be,” Ringdal notes. “But he said he will make every effort to be there.”

“I got immediate responses from all three of them and they were happy, happy, happy to be a part of this.”

Benning is in his second year at the helm of the National Hockey League Canucks and has a Stanley Cup ring as assistant GM of the 2011 champion Boston Bruins.

As a player, Benning appeared in 753 regular season and playoff games.

He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1981-87 and was a Canuck defenceman from 1986-90. Benning collected 91 goals, 362 assists and 564 penalty minutes, retiring in 1992.

“He was with the Canucks when I was there and I knew him as a ‘Steady Eddie’ on the defence,” Ringdal says. “He was calm, collected and thoughtful person who operates with a plan.”

“That’s what he’s bringing to the Canucks today and I think he and Trevor (Linden) are building what is going to be a very strong organization going forward.”

Buono is a legendary figure in the Canadian Football League as its all-time winningest coach.

WallyBuono

A four time CFL coach of the year, Buono has seven Grey Cup championships on his resume.

As a player, he was part of title teams with the 1974 and 1977 Montreal Alouettes.

As a head coach, Buono won three with the Calgary Stampeders (1992, 1998 and 2001) and two more with the Lions (2006 and 2011). Buono was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014 and he’s back on the BC sideline this year after a four-year hiatus.

“Wally is ‘it’ when it comes to football in Canada, but on top of that, what a gentleman,” Ringdal says. “He is a superb man in every aspect of his life, and he brings so much integrity, honesty and hard work to everything he does.”

“He is certainly a man to be admired.”

BobLenarduzzi

Lenarduzzi’s name is synonymous with the Whitecaps and Canadian soccer.

He represented his country 47 times in international competition, including the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

Lenarduzzi’s Whitecaps tenure stretches back four decades to the now-defunct North American Soccer League.

He led the Whitecaps to the NASL title in 1979, winning the league’s player of the year award.

Lenarduzzi was the NASL’s all-time leader in games played (312) and, after retiring, became a successful executive.

He is a member of the North American Soccer Hall of Fame, the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and the United Soccer Leagues Hall of Fame.

“You can’t mention soccer in Canada without mentioning Bob,” Ringdal says. “He’s brought style, credibility and a terrific sense of humour to everything he’s done, and he’s been the perfect leader for the Whitecaps as they’ve   progressed in the MLS.”

The Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage will also recognize the 2016 inductees into the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame.

This year’s class will be announced in August and CSHOF spokesman Barry Douglas looks forward to honouring them on this very special night.

“This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate excellence in sports,” he says. “Our Hall of Famers have achieved great things representing Chilliwack and deserve a night in the spotlight.”

“We are thrilled to share their stories and give them a night to remember.”

“And then, to hear  from three men who’ve reached the absolute pinnacle of their sports, how could it get any better?”

See Friday’s Chilliwack Progress for information on his year’s CSHOF nomination process and follow @Chiefs_Hockey and @CHWKSportsHOF for updates on the Chilliwack Sports Dinner presented by Royal LePage.

For tickets and sponsorship info, email Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty at general@wheelercheam.com or phone 604-792-0077 and ask for Kyle Hislop or Stuart Muxlow.

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Thanks for the love, Promontory Heights Elementary!

In the 2015-2016 Chilliwack Chiefs season, the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame (CSHOF) provided game tickets to students at Promontory Heights Elementary School in Chilliwack through the Chilliwack Chiefs’ Adopt A School program. At a recent school assembly, CSHOF president Eric Welsh was on hand to receive this very cool surprise from the school. Thanks for the love, Promontory Elementary!

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To learn more about the Chiefs’ Adopt A School program, visit: http://www.chilliwackchiefs.net/adopt-a-school-program

Covey’s fingerprints all over local sports scene

The Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame welcomes its Class of 2015 this weekend.

The induction ceremony will be held during the first period intermission of the Saturday night Chilliwack Chiefs game vs Prince George. Jack Covey is being honoured as an inductee in the Judy Fitzsimmons Builder Category

Here is his story.

Whenever Jack Covey drives down Hocking Avenue and sees a full parking lot at the YMCA building, a little smile comes across his face.

“How that started, that’s always a story,” he says with a grin.In the early 1960s Covey was already getting involved in the local sports scene as part of a volunteer community recreational board set up by the city.“

As a group we sat down and said to the city, ‘We have full time jobs and this is becoming too much for us, so we recommend that you hire a recreation director,’” Covey recalls. “But, after a year the city didn’t do anything.”

A few years earlier, when he was a student at UBC, Covey had taught swimming lessons at the Vancouver YMCA.“So I had a few contacts there and I thought, ‘Why not have a Y?’”Under the YMCA banner, Covey and company ran an amazing range of programs — fishing, fencing, softball.“

We hired a young Chinese guy and he was very good with these, I don’t know what they were called,” Covey laughs, making nun-chuck moves. “Anybody who had an interest, we had people coming forward saying, ‘Yeah I’ll run that program.’”

“Eventually, we needed a building.”

Covey and crew looked at the piece of property the Coast Hotel now occupies, but couldn’t make it work.  The land on Hocking Avenue was plan B, purchased from Rod Cooper.“

He was only given the amount of money he originally paid for it, and people couldn’t believe he would do that,” Covey says. “He didn’t make any money on it at all.”

Covey credits Dr. Gerry Evans with helping him bring the YMCA to Chilliwack, and for developing the building concept that continues to work so well today.“

Gerry went around to some Y’s in Alberta and Saskatchewan and he came back saying, ‘What has to be done is, when people enter the building there has to be activity,’” Covey says. “That’s why the pool is where it is. When you come in you see activity right away. And, he wanted it to be a family place for people of all ages.”

“So, when I drive by now and see that parking lot full, I pump my fist and say, ‘Yeah! Good decision!’”

It can be safely said that 84 year old Covey’s fingerprints are all over Chilliwack sports landscape, with the YMCA just one example.You can, for instance, make a case that he is the grand-daddy of local football.

He brought the first high school program to Chilliwack secondary school in the early 1960s, coaching his crews to three Fraser Valley championships.That was as far as you could go in those days, with no BC championship.“

We kind of lucked into that because there was a juvenile program here that couldn’t survive and we took all the equipment,” Covey says.Men from Covey’s teams went on to create Chilliwack Minor Football, which has evolved into one of BC’s top youth football associations. They also helped found the junior football Huskers.

“John Halsell was in Grade 11 or 12 when he started with us on one of the original teams,” Covey says. “He says to me now, ‘Jack, those were the best two years of my life.’”“He wasn’t one of the best athletes, but he was part of a team and felt like he was part of a school.”

Jack Covey

The program went away when all of its rivals folded. Transportation costs shut down programs at Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Langley and Maple Ridge, leaving Chilliwack with no local foes.“

When they dropped the team I was devastated because of all those years and all that energy put into it,” Covey says.

Covey had an equally large impact with Chilliwack secondary school’s biggest rival, Sardis secondary school.It was Covey who brought that school’s athletic department into existence in 1956 when it was still called Sardis junior secondary school.“

What an opportunity when you talk about doing something,” Covey says excitedly. “I established the colours. I got the uniforms and the crest.”

“I taught and coached 150 boys in that school,  and coached soccer, basketball and track and field.”

A few years ago, Covey proudly watched his grandson Michael don Falcon green in high school as he starred for the Sardis senior boys squad. A highlight for sure.If there’s one more thing Covey points to as a career highlight, it’s bringing swim lessons to Chilliwack in the early 1960s.

While still going to UBC, Covey worked summers as a lifeguard at Cultus Lake’s Main Beach.He started swim lessons then, and went next level when he arrived in Chilliwack full time.

“I used to go around the community to people I know who had kids and a private pool, and I said to them, ‘Look, I’ll teach your kid to swim for free if you let me use your pool every morning. They said, ‘No problem Jack. Come on in.’ So I ran five kids per class and five classes every morning for the month of July. A lot of kids I taught in those first programs are coming up on retirement now.”

Jack Covey

Everything Covey accomplished was done with one goal in mind, to bring more activity to Chilliwack.

He expressed that succinctly during a YMCA board meeting decades ago.“At one point the YMCA board was getting annoyed that some of the people we were training as instructors were leaving us and going to Greendale to start another program,” he says. “I said, ‘Great! We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re adding activity to the community.”

These days Covey is still active, pounding the pavement on behalf of the BC Football Conference Valley Huskers. Though the team has experienced hard times over the last decade, he’s never stopped being their biggest booster.

“I hope my former students and players would say I’ve affected their life in a positive way and made them feel part of a team,” he says. “You never know what’s going to happen when you drop that stone in the puddle.”

Jack Covey

Provincial hockey champs reunited for Hall of Fame induction night

MidgetHockeyPicMore than two decades have passed since a Chilliwack hockey squad won this city’s one and only midget AAA provincial title.

To Derek Cranfield and his teammates, it feels like a lifetime ago since they dispatched Cowichan 7-1 to hoist the trophy.
But when Cranfield, one of the goalies on that 1993-94 team, starts reminiscing the memories flood back.
“It’s the way that we came together that stands out to me,” Cranfield recalls. “The cohesiveness and the bond we all had, playing for that one goal. That’s the way our group was and what I still remember all these years later.”
Chilliwack’s midget teams were consistently among the best in that era, but they always seemed to be a player or two short of greatness.
That year the team added Jeremy Lapeyre from Port Hardy, a player who’d go on to net 52 goals and 108 points in 51 games.
He bolstered an attack that included 30-goal men Mark Knight (52-42-64-106), Brandon Tournier (51-36-40-76) and Mike Pfeifer (54-30-37-67).
“Adding Lapeyre gave us that push we needed to compete with some of the bigger associations,” Cranfield said. “We were always on the cusp, and with him coming in at the beginning of the season we thought we might have something special.”
The team went 6-2 in preseason and 5-1-2 in tiering games.
They lost in the final of the Cowichan tournament in mid-November, then launched into an 18 game regular season slate.
“The goal from the onset for the coaches (Neil Murphy and Marny Pfeifer) and the team was that this was the year we had the potential to do something,” Cranfield says. “I don’t think we ever said, ‘Hey, let’s go to provincials.’ But it was always in the back of our minds.”
The team went 13-4-1 in regular season play, establishing an identity as a hard-working and hard-hitting group.
Captain Chris Larsen set the tone with bone-crushing checks.
Jim McCarron, Dean Goodey, Aaron Hoggan, Trevor Schulz, Kelly English, Kyle Murphy, Ian Clark, Shane Stoneson, Jody Lapeyre, Nigel Perras and Chad Martz — the team never stopped hustling and had the skill to make opponents pay.
“We could play tough against the tough teams  and could out-finesse finesse teams,” Cranfield explains. “We had the ability to adapt and change, but at the same time take it to teams.”
“We had some pretty big boys on that team, especially on defence who weren’t too timid to play that aggressive style.”
Cranfield and Derek England were the goalies, backstopping the team in zone playoffs in February of 1994.
“We beat Abbotsford in a best-of-two, which was great because they’d been our rivals for years,” Cranfield says. “Then we moved into a final four scenario where the team with the best record moved on to provincials.”
Chilliwack beat South Delta 5-2 and Coquitlam 4-1 and lost 7-6 to North Delta.
“It was an unreal feeling coming out of that, knowing we’d booked our ticket to Fort St. John,” Cranfield says.
Provincials were three weeks later.
Chilliwack started March 20 with a 6-5 win over Richmond.
“It was a 5-5 game and we had all the pressure in the world on them in the last minute,” Cranfield says. “One of their players put his hand on the puck in the crease, and the refs had indicated a penalty shot, but there was all sorts of mass confusion at the benches.”
“Jeremy (Lapeyre) wasn’t on the ice during the play, but someone on our team nudged him and said, ‘Get on the ice now.’”
“The refs said someone on the ice needed to take the shot, and he did.”
“He shouldn’t have, but he ended up scoring the winning goal, and in a small tournament like that, the first win was so important.”
Chilliwack dumped Williams Lake 4-1, Whitehorse 3-2 and Vernon 2-1.
They reached the final where they destroyed Cowichan 7-1.
“I would never say it was anti-climactic, but we took it to them and ran away with it in the end,” Cranfield says. “We had pretty much the whole third period where we knew we were in total control.”
“The tough part is Chad (Martz) took a tough hit and was actually concussed at some point.”
“I still remember that final buzzer going and the euphoria of winning, but then it was, ‘Where’s Chad? How’s Chad?’”
Cranfield remembers a team trip to Boston Pizza and staying up till the early hours of the morning.
“We were at the age where we were only drinking root beer, but it was still a memorable time,” he said. “The bus ride home was really fun and we weren’t done yet.”
The team would move on to the inter-provincial playoffs where they’d fall in two games to Red Deer. But that loss didn’t take the shine off of what they did.
“We competed hard against them and had some circumstances that didn’t help us, like Chad’s injury,” Cranfield says. “I never regretted ending the season that way because we still had that provincial highlight.”
“We hosted Red Deer at the Chilliwack Coliseum and we got to come out of that corner tunnel like we’d all seen the Chilliwack Chiefs do.”
“Coming out to 2500 fans was a special moment and I still  remember the appreciation we got from our hometown.”
Though many members of the team still live in and around Chilliwack, they haven’t been together as a group since 1994.
Larson lives in Kamloops.
Another is coming out from Edmonton.
“I’ve talked to quite a few of the guys that last month or so,” Cranfield says. “Pretty much everyone is going to be there and it’s going to be fun.”
“It’ll be interesting to swap stories and see what 20 years has done to each of us.”
“We’ll have some pops and see where life has taken us and share the stories we remember.”
1993MidgetHockeyChamps

Hockey champs join Covey in Class of 2015

1993 CMHA Midget Champs

One of the finest teams in Chilliwack Minor Hockey history will join local coaching legend Jack Covey in the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame this fall.
Covey will be the first inductee in the newly-named Judy Fitzsimmons Builder category. Involved for decades in local sport, Covey is best known for his work on the gridiron. As a coach at Chilliwack secondary school in the 1960s, he led the Frontiersmen to three Fraser Valley championships. Covey was also responsible for launching the athletic program at Sardis secondary school (which was a junior high when he got things rolling).
In recent years, Covey has been the biggest advocate of junior football in Chilliwack, pounding the pavement on behalf of the BC Football Conference Valley Huskers. If not for Covey’s tireless work raising funds, the team may have ceased to exist.Jack Covey
“Jack was also part of the original group brought together by Judy Fitzsimmons to start the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame,” says CSHOF spokesman Barry Douglas. “His name is synonymous with sports in Chilliwack and I think Judy would be very proud to see him inducted in the category that now bears her name.”
Chilliwack’s 1993-94 provincial midget AAA hockey champions will come together for the first time in two decades as they celebrate induction. The team was captained by Chris Larsen. Assistant captains were Jeremy Lapeyre and Mark Knight.
The Dereks, Cranfield and England, formed an unbeatable goalie tandem. They backstopped a roster that also included Jim McCarron, Shane Stoneson, Mike Pfeifer, Aaron Hoggan, Kyle Murphy, Chad Martz, Brandon Tournier, Jody Lapeyre, Nigel Perras, Ian Clark, Trevor Schulz, Kelly English and Dean Goodey.
They were coached by Neil Murphy and Marny Pfeifer and managed by Don Clark.
Chilliwack went 5-0 at provincials that year, capturing the title with a 7-1 drubbing of Cowichan.
“Many of these men still live in Chilliwack and it’s always great to hear them reminisce about that team and that championship,” Douglas said. “We hope they come together once more on induction night and have a very special reunion.”
This year’s induction night is Nov. 14. A special reception will be held at the Chilliwack Museum for the inductees and their families. The official induction ceremony will be held during the intermission of that night’s Chilliwack Chiefs game against Prince George.
“It was a special experience seeing the 1968 3-Field boys reunited last year and from what I’m hearing the guys from the 1993-94 team are just as excited to see each other again,” Douglas says. “We hope Chilliwackians will  come to the arena and share in their experience on induction night.”
The soon-to-be-expanded CSHOF display is located on the concourse at Prospera Centre.

Stars Aligned for 3-Field Squadron

3-Field SquadronIt’s the spring of 1968.

Carl Marsh and some of his 3-Field Squadron teammates are in the stands in a frigid rink in Petawawa, ON.

On the ice, another hockey team is doing line rushes.

Up and back

Up and back.

Up and back.

CFB Rockcliffe has the ice for two hours and they use every minute.

Their boys are winded grabbing water at the bench, and the Chilliwack boys just shake their heads.

When it’s their time to hit the ice, they only use 45 minutes.

Some casual line rushes. A little passing and shooting and off to relax.

They are watched from the stands by another opponent, and Marsh hears the disparaging remarks.

“What are these guys doing?”

“What a joke.”

Going into the first-ever Canadian Armed Forces Hockey Championship, 3-Field was a nobody from nowhere.

Picked from a unit of 250-300 men, going up against bases of 5000-7000 men, they were seen as an oddity — a team that would be quickly dispatched and sent back to the sticks.

“They never expected us to win it,” said Max Brennan, one of the key forwards on the team. “They didn’t think we’d come close to them. But the thing is, we weren’t their calibre. We were stronger than all of them.”

The core of their team came from the 3-Field Western Amateur Hockey League team, which snapped up every good player that came through town, and 3-Field had been getting better and better each year.

They would have been even more formidable had they been able to bring their full contingent. But because they were travelling to a military tournament, they couldn’t bring civilians.

Ten of their regulars had to stay home, and even coach Orv Litchfield had to step aside.

The roster was augmented with servicemen from a nearby base in Aldergrove, including Wally Grant.

“We weren’t familiar with Wally at all, but he was good,” Brennan said. “He didn’t like playing with me and Boots (Don Boutilier) though because we passed the puck between the two of us all the time.”

3-Field knew they had the talent to spare, with guys like Brennan, Boutilier, Marsh, Wayne Jones, John Healie and team captain Bob Fiddler.

Doug ‘Smokey’ Grossart was in his early 1940s, a rock on defence who acted as a player-coach.

Jones was a talented rushing defencemen, helping to get the puck up ice time after time.

Manager Gus Collins and trainer Butch Goodey always made sure they were well prepared, and the team proved their worth as they steamrolled their way through a zone qualifier in Comox.

3-Field brought two goalies to Petawawa. Larry Anderson was a butterfly style netminder.

Larry Jensen played more of a stand-up style, and the team interchanged them effectively to throw off opponents.

What 3-Field lacked was depth.

The big bases could roll three or four lines, while 3-Field played most of the time with two lines and four defencemen.

But after 3-Field bombed CFB Bagotville 8-4 in their opening game, everyone knew the Westerners were no joke.

Brennan had four goals.

And if any doubt remained after that, it dissipated after 3-Field pummeled the pre-tournament favourite Trenton Flyers.

The final score was 6-2.

“A guy from Trenton told us afterwards, ‘You guys just won the cup,’” Brennan said.

Another pre-tourney favourite had already been sent packing by someone else, leaving 3-Field to face CFB Rockcliffe in the final. The score was close (4-2), but the ice was heavily tilted in 3-Field’s favour.

“The reason the score against Rockcliffe was close was because of their goalie, and we were losing that one 1-0 after two periods,” Brennan said. “Sheez! We were in their zone the entire time, but we couldn’t score on that guy!”

“Rockcliffe gave us a real hard time, and it was still 2-2 around the 12 minute mark of the third period,” added Marsh, who scored the winning goal.

Not one of the team’s biggest guns, Marsh never scored a bigger goal.

“There was a faceoff in Rockcliffe’s end, and Bob (Fiddler) re-arranged me a bit,” Marsh said. “The puck came back pretty fast and I raised my stick. They thought I was going to let it through to Jones, who was behind me, but I caught the goalie off-guard with a shot that he didn’t see.”

Jones iced it a few minutes later and the title was 3-Field’s.

The team may have won again had the unit not been scattered the year after.

Brennan, Grossart and several of the stalwarts were posted out, gutting the team.

“If we could have kept it together, we would have won it year after year, I know,” Brennan said. “The stars lined up for one year.”

Few people truly appreciated the gravity of 3-Field’s achievement at the time, and over time they slowly faded from memory.

But the Western Hockey League Bruins honoured the team a few years back, and now the spotlight shines on them again.

Marsh will be at Prospera Centre Saturday night.

So will Grossart, who’s 91 years old now.

Gus Collins is traveling down from Lone Butte and Don Fiddler is making the trip to represent his brother.

It promises to be a special night.

“Who’d have thought that anyone would remember us 46 years after we did this,” Marsh marvelled. “Someone thought to nominate us and I think that’s really great.”

Klassen: From Sardis Secondary to BC Lions

KlassenIf you didn’t know Rick Klassen’s history before meeting him, you could make a very reasoned guess based on the first five minutes.

First, the handshake, a crushing embrace of hands that you need to be ready for.

Then, the air of intensity that surrounds Klassen wherever he goes and whenever he speaks.

Sitting in a chair across the table, he gives the impression that everything he’s saying is hugely important and you’d better be listening.

If you didn’t know who he was, you’d guess the 55 year old was a former military man, probably special ops.

If not that, then a retired athlete of some sort.

And there you’d have it.

Klassen, if you didn’t know, was a former professional pigskin player in the Canadian Football League.

From 1981 to 1990 he terrorized offensive linemen and opposing quarterbacks with the BC Lions (mostly) and the Saskatchewan Roughriders (one year).

Before that he was a member of the university powerhouse Simon Fraser Clansmen.

Before that, he was a Sardis kid learning the game on local fields.

“I think I was 11 or 12 years old when I first started playing in a community league organized by people who were involved with the Chilliwack (secondary school) Frontiersmen,” Klassen recalled. “The first team I ever suited up for was the Sardis Smugglers, and I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Klassen was the middle linebacker on defence and quarterback on offence his first year, and he had a blast.

“I loved it because it was in the rules of the sport to knock people down,” he grinned. “What I remember most was the purity of the game. It was all about fun.”

Klassen came from an athletic background. Dad George was a very good baseball player and a high school basketball star. Mom Anna played baseball and danced.

They were young parents when Rick was born (19 and 16 respectively), but wise enough to recognize the importance of sports in a young man’s life.

“They gave me an opportunity to play any sport I wanted, and back then you could play four or five different sports,” Klassen said. “Nowadays they want so much commitment from one sport. Back then I remember days in high school where I played four sports in one day.”

Klassen got his work ethic from George, who came to Canada from Germany and built a life through hard work. At 75 year sold, George still puts in hours at his family-owned shake and shingle mill in Maple Ridge.

“He’s up at six every morning and off to the office,” Klassen said.

George and Anna used sports to keep their son on the right academic path.

If he didn’t get grades he didn’t play.

“It was my passion for sports that enabled me to get an honourary degree in business administration from SFU,” he said. “And that’s been super useful in my life.”

Klassen moved away from Chilliwack after graduating from high school, leaving behind a small town that today’s younger Chilliwackians would be hard-pressed to imagine.

“You had the Chilliwack side and the Sardis side, which is all blended together now, but they were quite separate,” he said. “I remember I was 15 when Cottonwood Mall was built and it was a big thing when we got a McDonalds.”

Klassen’s high school head coach was John Tymoschuk.

“He was my coach from Grade 8-12, and he’s very much like a second father to me,” Klassen said. “Him and his wife, they were both teachers and they didn’t have any children of their own. So all of John’s players were like his surrogate sons, and we have a real neat relationship even to this day.”

On of Klassen’s best friends in high school was George Chayka, who’s now the vice-president of business for the CFL’s Lions. Chayka was the best man at Klassen’s wedding.

The Lions were Klassen’s dream as a teenager.

“Back then, the Lions were like Hollywood, and to go to one of their games was a huge deal,” he said. “It was a really long drive, and in high school a bunch of us would make a road trip of it.”

Klassen moved to Vancouver in 1977 when he started going to SFU.

When he joined the Lions to start the 1981 season, the dream came true.

“Not many athletes get the opportunity to play in their hometown,” he said. “

Klassen entered the league as an offensive linemen, but about halfway through his rookie season, Lions head coach Vic Rapp switched him to the defensive line.

Angry and disappointed at first, Klassen got his chance to shine during a game in Ottawa, and from that point on became one of the best defensive linemen in franchise history.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was doing it in such an intense way that I pretty much didn’t leave the field much after that,” he said. “I made some plays, created some havoc and caused a fumble and I was never going back to the offensive line.”

Klassen was named to the Lions 50th Anniversary Dream Team in 2004.

Klassen helped the Lions to the 1983 Grey Cup game.

They lost 18-17 at BC Place to the Toronto Argonauts, with Klassen earning Canadian MVP honours.

He got a brand new car, and the Grey Cup was handed to his good friend, Argonaut Dan Ferrone.

“I asked him to trade the car for the Cup later, and you know what he said, right?” Klassen laughed.

Two years later, Klassen and company won the Grey Cup, topping the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-24 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The 1985 win snapped a 21 year championship drought for the Lions.

“It was a little surreal, a magical day that I’ll never forget,” Klassen said. “I was just a kid from Sardis who grew up watching the Lions. And I had a role in helping put the team back on the map. I’m very proud of that.”