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Canucks returning to resort for camp

Sports briefs: Iles wins in Switzerland; Crankworx seeks volunteers



The boys will be back in town.

The Vancouver Canucks announced on July 7 they'll hold training camp here in Whistler at the Meadow Park Sports Centre from Sept. 22 to 26. On-ice sessions begin the following day and will be open to the public.

According to a release on the team website, more information, including rosters, schedules and other events will be released at a later date.

The Canucks, who finished second-last in the Pacific Division last season with 75 points, last held training camp here in 2014 before preparing for the campaign in Prince George last season.

Vancouver has already made an offseason splash, though, adding former Boston sniper Loui Eriksson in free agency and trading for steady Florida defenceman Erik Gudbrandson. As well, the Canucks drafted defenceman Olli Juolevi with the fifth-overall selection.

However, because of the World Cup of Hockey tournament slated for September at the same time teams hold camp, several of the Canucks' big names will be otherwise engaged. Eriksson, the Sedin twins and goalie Jacob Markstrom have been named to Team Sweden while defenceman Luca Sbisa and forward Jannik Hansen will suit up for Team Europe.

Iles avoids Swiss miss with win

Nothing cheesy about it, Finn Iles poked holes in his UCI downhill competition in Switzerland on the weekend.

The 16-year-old bested Elliott Heap by over two-and-a-half seconds for his third World Cup win of the year in Lenzerheide.

"The bike was working really well for the whole weekend. We did a few changes to the bike on the first day of practice and after that everything just seemed to fire into place," he said. "My confidence was pretty high coming off a few good races earlier in the month. That was probably one of my best races this year. Everything just seemed to fall into place for the entire team."

Iles said the course was a bit different from most of the others on the circuit since it seemed more like a bike park, but having grown up in Whistler, that wasn't necessarily an impediment.

"I found that it feathered in pretty nicely and it was a lot more rough than I was used to. There were a lot of corners, and I'm pretty used to riding in Whistler, so it suited me and I really enjoyed it," he said.

Iles has won three times in four starts on the loop, taking second in his other UCI race, but feels challenged each and every time out. Knowing the competition is strong and taking care to avoid complacency, he noted he sometimes looks at how he'd fare a level up.

"I'm not really focusing on it this year, but comparing my times to the elite men's times, I've slowly been getting closer and closer. I think I've been improving quite a bit so far," he said.

Next up for Iles is the national downhill championships at Sun Peaks on July 23 and 24 before heading east to the sixth World Cup race in Mont Ste. Anne, Que.

Crankworx puts out call for volunteers

Crankworx is looking for roughly 150 volunteers to help out at this year's festival.

In a release on July 8, organizers put out a call for help for the event, which runs from Aug. 12 to 21.

Crankworx communications and marketing manager Jennifer Smith said in an email positions were filling briskly.

"We are looking to fill about 300 positions and already have half — so way ahead of the game, which is nice," she said.

Volunteers can apply to register athletes, marshal courses, time races and host expos, among other duties. Shifts range from two to eight hours. Though there is no deadline to apply, organizers plan on sending a preliminary schedule in the middle of this month.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, and those under 18 must also present a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Those who help out will be invited to a wrap-up party where a heap of sponsor prizes and even a GIANT mountain bike will be given away.

As well, volunteers get up close and personal with the riders, Crankworx Events Inc. general manager Darren Kinnaird said in the release.

"This is a chance to get a front-row seat to the action, meet the athletes, connect with those who love mountain biking, and help invest in building our sport," he said.

Pump track now open

Riders at Whistler Mountain Bike Park will have another option to ride as part of their day.

The GMC Pump Track opened last week at Olympic Station and includes berms and rollers for bikers to test their mettle.

The track will see its first competition action this weekend with the Kids Pump Track Challenge on July 16. A week later on July 23, the bigger kids will give it a shot at the GMC Pump Track Challenge, with a berth at the Crankworx Ultimate Pump Track Challenge on the line.

"I am excited to see the return of a pump track in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and am thrilled GMC has helped make that happen this summer," Whistler Mountain Bike Park manager Brian Finestone said in a release. "The new GMC Pump Track gives our guests a minimal-risk area to test out their skills, learn something new and warm up before heading out on the trails."

Routley competes at B.C. Superweek

Will Routley hasn't had the start he dreamed of at B.C. Superweek.

The local rider did not finish his first two races, the MK Delta Criterium and the Brenco Criterium, before placing 61st in the men's UCI race to cap the Tour de Delta.

Racing continues until July 17.

Squamish runner takes second at Mount Marathon

A little bit of B.C. interrupted Alaska's party.

Squamish runner and Canadian mountain running champion Nick Elson took second at the Mount Marathon in Seward, Alaska on July 4.

Elson posted the third-fastest time in race history, but was 100 seconds behind champion and new record-holder David Norris of Anchorage. Norris finished the roughly five-kilometre race with over 900 metres of vertical in 41 minutes and 26 seconds (41:26).

In an interview with, Elson said with a guaranteed entry next year, he'd consider returning to gun for a victory.

"It's a pretty awesome race and I feel like I still have some room for improvement so I'd like to go back," he said.


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