Sports reporter Ben Lypka has been following every major sporting event in Mission over the past 12 months.
Here are his top four stories in local sports for 2019:
UP THE ICE
Mission’s Green siblings had an incredible 2019 year, winning medals across the country and establishing themselves as future figures on the national speed skating scene.
Speed skaters Jane and Annabelle Green were both a part of the Team BC squad that earned a bronze in the 3,000 metre relay event at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer back in February.
The pair also competed in individual races, with Jane finishing 15th in 1,500m, 18th in 500m, 19th in 1,000m and 19th in 3,000m. Annabelle placed 22nd in 500m, 22nd in 1,500m, 26th in 3,000m and 26th in 1,000m.
Their brother Samuel Green kept pace, finishing first in his age group at the provincial longtrack championships in Fort St. John and then scored three gold medals at the Canadian championships in Winnipeg on Feb. 8. Samuel finished first in the 300m, 500m and 3,000m mass start events. He was also awarded the overall Canadian champion title for the 13-year-old boys age class.
Samuel followed that up with wins in three different distances, en route to a first overall finish in the 13-year-old boys division at the Canada West Short Track Championships in Grande Prairie, Alta. in March. He won the 200m, 1,500m and 2,000m races at the event.
Samuel also impressed at the Canadian Short Track (ST) Junior Championships that were held Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at the Calgary Olympic Oval.
He had a fantastic meet, finishing 16th overall and breaking two BCST speed skating records in the process (500m in 42.191 and the 1000m in 1:26.453). He also broke the 1,500m in 2:13.434 at the ST Single Distance #2 in Calgary on Nov. 16.
BANTAM STARS THREE-PEAT
The Mission Minor Hockey Association again had a strong year, highlighted by the Mission Stars Bantams taking home a provincial title for the third year in a row.
Mission defeated Tri Port 5-2 on March 20 in the bantam tier 3 final on Vancouver Island to earn the title. The locals managed to control the play despite playing shorthanded 14 times, as opposed to just three times playing with the man advantage.
Mission lost only once at the tournament, also defeating Whistler 11-5 in the semifinal to qualify.
The bantams weren’t the only local team to battle for a provincial crown, as the Midget Tier 3 team travelled to Cranbrook for the finals but came up a little short.
The midgets lost 4-2 to Terrace in the provincial final on March 20, and it was the only game the club lost at the tournament. Mission took home a silver medal for its efforts.
Outside of local hockey, Mission product Gage Goncalves continues to impress with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Goncalves has collected 32 points in 29 games for Everett, and the team is ranked first in the WHL. Goncalves played previously both for the MMHA and the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.
TALENTS SCOOPED UP
The Mission Lacrosse Club had a banner day at the 2019 British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League entry draft, which occurred at the Langley Events Centre on Jan. 5.
A total of five MLC products were chosen at the event, which saw the eight clubs in the BCJALL select a total of 48 minor lacrosse players from across the province.
Mission’s Trase Recsky was the first MLC player selected, going seventh overall to the Delta Islanders. The MLC’s Cody McMahon was next, going 14th overall to the Port Coquitlam Saints. Also selected were: Kai Maenpaa (28th overall, Langley Thunder), Nathan Jensen (36th overall, Langley Thunder) and Ayden Lane (Port Coquitlam Saints).
Recksy played parts of two games with the Islanders in 2019, and is expected to play a larger role with the organization in 2020.
SEAL ENDS HIGH
SCHOOL IN STYLE
Wrestler Victoria Seal closed her high school career on top, winning her fourth consecutive gold medal and also being named the most outstanding female wrestler at the provincial championships in February.
Seal didn’t allow a single point at the event, which was held at the Langley Events Centre, earning shutouts in all four of her 57 kilogram division matches.
Victoria and her sister, Alexia Seal, then went on to win gold medals in their respective weight classes at the 2019 Junior Canadian Championships in Saskatoon in March.
Alexia took home top spot in the 50 kilograms division, while Victoria earned gold in the 53 kg division.
Both Seal sisters now compete on the Simon Fraser University wrestling team.