A look back at the top sports stories in 2011

We start our review in this issue, from January to June.


• The calendar year begins on a sour note for Canadians as Team Canada has to settle for a silver medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Team Canada features Kelowna Rockets player Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Minor Hockey product Curtis Hamilton and Rockets coach Ryan Huska.

• Kelowna junior curlers Justin Nillson and Jenn Gerow both place third at the B.C. Junior Curling Championships held in North Vancouver.

• Kelowna curler Bob Ursel is sidelined due to injury after a knee ailment keeps him from being able to curl. Jim Cotter replaces Ursel as skip at the B.C. Championships.

• The Notre Dame Argos win the Kelowna International Midget Tournament with a 4-0 win over the Okanagan Hockey Academy, which was making its first appearance in the tournament final.

• Kelowna native Josh Gorges has his NHL season with the Montreal Canadiens end when he is forced to undergo knee surgery for an injury initially suffered in his junior playing days.

• For the first time ever the UBCO Heat men’s volleyball tops the rankings as the best men’s volleyball team in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.

• Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal at a World Cup ski cross race in L’Alpe D’Huez, France, emerging as a medal hopeful for Canada at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.

• KSS graduate Natalie Sourisseau is named Canada West All-Canadian, Canada West and CIS Rookie of the Year and a CIS second team all star after her first year of field hockey with the UBC Thunderbirds.

• 17-year-old West Kelowna teen Julia Ransom competes for Team Canada at the World Junior and Youth Biathlon Championships in the Czech Republic.

• Kelly Scott captures her fourth B.C. Curling Championship since 2005, winning the B.C. Scotties Championships in Cloverdale.

• Kelly Wolverton is named the new head coach of the Okanagan Challenge men’s soccer team.

• Former Kelowna Rockets player Luke Curtin is inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame after an illustrious minor pro career.


• The KSS Owls senior girls basketball team hosts and wins its Best of the West Basketball Tournament beating Vernon in the tournament final.

• The KSS Owls senior boys basketball team finishes second at the Western Canada Basketball Tournament after losing the final 81-69 to Burnaby South.

• Kelowna athlete James Turner is named the male athlete of the year in the youth category by B.C. Athletics for his strong performance in track and field.

• Chris Neykov wins four bronze medals at the Canadian Age Class Long Track Speed Skating Championships in Winnipeg.

• The Telemark Cross Country Ski club plays host to one of the largest cross country events ever to come to B.C. at a Western Canadian/Nor-Am/B.C. Cup event featuring some 460 skiers.

• Eighty-nine teams and more than 1,200 players arrive in Kelowna for the annual Sweetheart Ringette Tournament.

• Lake Country moto cross racer Trevor Pearson wins the Canadian Off Road Racing Championship for his age class.

• UBCO Heat volleyball players Caitlin Nyhus and Preston Tucker are named BCCAA players of the year while women’s coach Steve Manuel is named the coach of the year.

• Four Kelowna hockey players help Team B.C. capture gold at the Canada Games. Jackson Whistle, Luke Harrison, Ayrton Nikkel and Brennan Clark all bring home gold from Halifax.

• Fifth year UBCO player Jenna Kantz is honoured by her teammates for playing her final regular season game and ending her career as the UBCO Heat’s all time leading scorer.

• Westside Warriors player Grayson Downing is named the BCHL Interior Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player.


• As the BCHL playoffs begin, Westside Warriors captain Alex Grieve is named to the BCHL Interior Conference All Star team.

• The UBCO Heat men’s volleyball team wins the gold medal in the provincial final, their last tournament in the BCCAA before moving into CIS. The Heat women also claim provincial gold.

• The Kelowna Chiefs first season in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League comes to an end with a four game sweep at the hands of Osoyoos in the second round of the playoffs.

• Kelowna figure skater Jayda Jurome wins silver while Haley Sales earns bronze at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.

• The KSS Owls senior boys basketball team wins the Valley Championship, serving notice the current group will be a basketball force over the next 12 months.

• The Dr. Knox Falcons claim Kelowna’s first ever provincial championship for Grade 9 girls basketball, winning the title as tournament host.

• The WHL honours Kelowna Rockets director of player personnel Lorne Frey with the league’s distinguished service award for his 25 years of service within the league.

• The Rockets clinch the WHL BC division title, a remarkable feat after the club starts the season at 4-10.

• The KCS Knights win their third single-A basketball B.C. title in the past four years, claiming the title in Langley.

• The UBCO Heat men are 4th and the women are 2nd at the CCAA national volleyball championships in Quebec. The event is overshadowed by the tragic death in a car accident of Heat player Jordan Young before the tournament.

• The Westside Warriors season comes to an end in the second round of the BCHL playoffs, losing in six games to the Vernon Vipers.

• Sprinter Keefer Joyce, 17, wins the 50 metre race in the men’s open category at the annual Harry Jerome Indoor track meet in Vancouver.

• The Kelowna Chiefs ringette team wins the provincial title in the open B division at the B.C. ringette championships in Burnaby.

• The Kelowna Track and Field Club merges into the Okanagan Athletic Club, changing its structure to increase opportunities for young track athletes.

• Goalie Adam Brown is named the Kelowna Rockets MVP as the team gets set to kick off the WHL playoffs.

• Speed skater Jesse Keca becomes the first member of the Kelowna speed skating club to win a national medal after winning the overall title in the junior girls event at the Canadian Age Class short track championships.

• Soccer player Alexa Kennedy opts to continue her soccer career in Sweden signing to play semi pro soccer overseas.

• Julia Ransom wins four medals at the Canadian Biathlon Championships in New Brunswick.

• Keddi-Anne Sherbino wins the annual Campus to Campus Half Marathon while Penticton’s Jeff Symonds wins the men’s side.


• The Kelowna Rockets advance to the second round of the WHL playoffs by sweeping Prince George in four straight games in the opening round.

• The Thompson Okanagan female AAA Rockets win the B.C. Female Midget Championship defeating Kootenay in the league final.

• The Garry Gelowitz rink wins the 2011 Canadian Masters Men’s Curling title with a 6-3 win over Manitoba in Winnipeg.

• The Bike Barn wins the annual Ski2Sea race with mountain biker Evan Guthrie pedaling his team to a healthy lead in the race from Big White to Okanagan Lake.

• Field hockey player Jonel Boileau signs an NCAA scholarship to Div. I school Hofstra in the NCAA.

• Snowboarding sisters Jade and Tess Critchlow both medal at the Canadian Snowboard Nationals, dominating the Under-20 division.

• The Kelowna Rockets are ousted by the Portland Winterhawks in the second round of the WHL playoffs.


• Mixed Martial Artist Rory MacDonald improves to 2-1 in the UFC, winning a dominating performance over Nate Diaz at UFC 129 in Toronto.

• Running in just her second marathon ever, Keddi-Ann Sherbino, 21, wins the Vancouver Marathon in 2:43:40.

• Field hockey’s Abigail Raye moves in on a milestone with Field Hockey Canada as she gets set to play her 50th match, the youngest player ever to hit the milestone.

• Kelowna’s Josh Blanchard (Portland) and West Kelowna’s Michael McEachern (Medicine Hat) are the only local players selected in the WHL bantam draft. The Rockets take Saskatoon’s Rourke Chartier in the first round.

• Female hockey player Kristin Huber signs a scholarship deal to attend Bemidji State  University in the fall of 2011.

• Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson of Naramata is announced as a 2011 inductee into the B.C. Rugby Hall of Fame.

• Kelowna Minor Lacrosse players Josh Dubrett, Keaton Brownlee, Ryan Hughes and Matt Alcorn are named to Team Interior to compete in the B.C. provincials.

• The KSS senior girls soccer team wins the Okanagan Valley AAA girls crown with a 3-0 win over South Kamloops.

• A big group of trampoline and tumbling athletes from the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre head to Canadian championships in Prince Edward Island.

• North Caroline native George Bowland travels 4,300 kilometres and then wins the annual Knox Mountain Hill Climb in 1:42.89.

• KSS wins its third straight senior boys Okanagan Valley rugby championship beating Kamloops 15-8 in the tournament final.


• B.C. Hockey announces that James Eccles will be the head coach of the Okanagan Rockets in the B.C. Major Midget League, replacing Misko Antisin.

• Kelowna golfer Haley Cameron is named to the NAIA first all star team in her rookie season as a member of the UBC women’s golf team.

• KCS claims a bronze medal at the B.C. high school girls single-A provincial championships.

• OKM athlete Aaron Stroda wins a pair of golds medals at the B.C. High School Track and Field Championships in Burnaby.

• Over 700 up and coming track athletes gather at the Apple Bowl for the elementary track and field championships.

• Gudmond Lindbjerg of Port Moody continues his domination of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club seniors open, winning it for the third year in a row.

• Kelowna lacrosse legend Bill McBain passes away in Kelowna, leaving a legacy of development for the sport of lacrosse.

• The CIS accepts UBCO into the fold, approving its application for basketball and volleyball to play at the highest level of university athletics in Canada.

• The Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame announces the five inductees for 2011 are Lawrence Nagy, Eric Tasker, Joan Campbell, Dan Bertoia and Aundrea Bertoia.

• Kelowna Rockets forward Shane McColgan is selected by the New York Rangers in the 5th round of the annual NHL Entry Draft.

• Rutland graduate Daylor Pommier accepts a football scholarship offer from Concordia University in Montreal.

• Kelowna-born baseball pioneer Allan Simpson is inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.





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