The Vancouver-Squamish zone placed third out of eight regions in the province at the annual B.C. Winter Games this past weekend, led by strong performances by Whistler Mountain Ski Club athletes.
In alpine skiing, the B.C. Winter Games are open to K1 level skiers aged 11-12.
In biathlon, Hollie Sones of Squamish won the bronze medal in individual junior girls; Whistler’s Emma King won silver and gold medals in the women’s slalom, as well as silver in the women’s giant slalom. Pemberton’s Logan Pehota was sixth in the first men’s slalom, and first in the second race. Brodie Seger and Blake Ramsden, who race for the Whistler Mountain Ski club, won silver and bronze respectively in the first race.
Sam Daniels, competing in the para alpine races, was first in the seated slalom male category.
In figure skating, Whistler’s Lisa Nakajima was second in Pre-Novice Women freeskate, and fourth in the short program. Broderick Thompson was sixth in both events.
In hockey, Whistler’s Matt Bonin helped the Zone 5 team to a third place finish. Bonin had just returned from an international Under 16 tournament in Nagano, Japan to mark the 10 th anniversary of the 1998 Winter Games.
The B.C. Team finished second in that tournament to a surprising Japanese team, but beat out a strong Russian team.
“It was really interesting, Japan is a very different culture,” said Bonin. “I didn’t think the Japanese team would be that good, but it turns out they beat us.”
As for Russia, he said, every member of the B.C. Team was up for that game.
“We were completely psyched up for that game — Canada versus Russia, everybody wants to play in that game, it’s kind of a drama for hockey players,” said Bonin.
The B.C. Games was also very high in calibre.
“It was really fast hockey,” said Bonin. “Really hard hitting and really quick, and a fun experience. We wanted to do better, but it was literally the best players in the province in every game.”
Bonin’s next test is the midget provincials in Trail in two weeks, along with his Whistler Winterhawks teammates. Both the midget and peewee teams have qualified for the provincial tournament by winning league championship titles.
Bonin is a bantam-age player, but joined the Whistler Midget rep team this year because the Winterhawks weren’t able to field a rep Bantam team because they lacked a goalie.
A centre, Bonin is looking into possibly joining a major midget team in the Lower Mainland next winter, qualifying for a Junior A team in the following years, and earning a scholarship to play in the American collegiate system.
“I love hockey,” he explained. “I’ve played a lot of games lately, but I wish I could play more.
“I’ve had to play up a level this year, but it’s been great. I think the caliber of hockey is getting higher every year as we go for Whistler teams.”