Throughout the final week of 2011, the Trail Daily Times will look back at some of the sporting highlights, in word and pictures, for the calendar year. Each day will cover a glimpse of a four-month span beginning with January to April.
From skates to skis and in between, Greater Trail athletes started the winter season off on a winning note, beginning with Rossland’s Leah Evans’ gold medal run on the Freesking World tour in Revelstoke and ending with the retirement of national cross-country skiing icon George Grey who went out on top.
After two Olympic appearances, the Rosslander retired from the national cross-country ski team, capping off a great career with a gold medal at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore.
Meanwhile, Halifax, N.S. hosted the Canada Winter Games and Rossland’s Rebecca Reid and Geoffrey Richards joined Fruitvale’s Ella Matteucci, Luke Bertolucci of Montrose and Warfield’s Tommy Pitman on the Provincial squad. While Bertolucci helped Team B.C. to gold in hockey, Reid and Pitman won gold in cross-country skiing and snowboardcross respectively.
Pitman would also finish first with his brother Mitch hot on his heels at the Canadian snowcross championships in Lake Louise a month later.
And as the snow begins to melt, Trail athletes abroad make their mark as Pat Iannone and Trevor Johnson lifted Italy to a gold medal at the IIHF Div. 1A hockey championship ensuring the team a spot at the 2012 Worlds.
In the same month, Matteucci helped the Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask. win the Esso Cup, the Canadian women’s national championship.
In addition to great finishes, the year also had its share of sudden and sad endings.
An exciting playoff run by the Trail Smoke Eaters ended prematurely as the Westside Warriors take an exciting seven-game series, followed by the resignation of coach Jim Ingram and the installation of assistant Bill Birks as head coach.
The KIJHL’s Beaver Valley Nitehawks also powered out in the playoffs getting bumped by Castlegar in five games of a best of seven series.
And a profoundly sad farewell to Trail’s Frank Emery who passed away shortly after winning a gold medal at the Canadian Masters Badminton Championships.
7 – Fruitvale’s Ella Matteucci commits to a scholarship offer to play Division I women’s hockey at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.
9 – Red Mountain Racer graduate Sasha Zaitsoff makes his World Cup debut in a slalom race in Switzerland finishing 47th.
10 – Rossland’s Leah Evans claims first place at the Freeskiing World tour stop in Revelstoke.
14 – Trail native Dallas Calvin of the Beaver Valley Nitehawks was named the Kootenay Conference MVP at the KIJHL”s Prospects Game in Fernie.
17 – Cullen Bradshaw of the Trail Smoke Eaters is named the BCHL’s Player of the Week for the second time this season. Bradshaw had nine points in three games and was first star in each.
23 – For the ninth consecutive year, the Beaver Valley Figure Skating Club won the Barclay Team Trophy at the Kootenay Regional Championship held in Fruitvale this year.
11 – Local athletes Rebecca Reid, Geoffrey Richards, Ella Matteucci, Luke Bertolucci and Tommy Pitman compete for Team B.C. at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
18 – Luke Bertolucci scores as Team B.C. defeats Quebec 7-4 to win the gold medal at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax.
25 – Trail Smoke Eaters goaltender Kiefer Smiley and forward Scott Jacklin are named to the BCHL’s Interior Division first all star team.
26 – Rebecca Reid and Tommy Pitman both win gold medals on the final day of competition at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax. Pitman wins the male snowboardcross event while Reid is part of B.C. women’s cross-country skiing relay team.
7 – The Trail Smoke Eaters playoff ride comes to an end after the Westside Warriors win 4-0 in game seven.
11 – Trail Smoke Eaters coach and GM Jim Ingram resigns, replaced by assistant Bill Birks.
12 – The J.L. Crowe boys’ curling team wins silver medal at the B.C. High School Curling Championship.
12 – Barb and Neil Craig, Glenn Wallace and Terry Jones Jr., are honored by the Trail Kiwanis Club as the latest recipients of the Jimmy Morris Award as Sportsman of the Year.
14 – Close to 400 fans joined members of the 1961 Trail Smoke Eaters at the Royal Theatre for a showing of “For the Love of the Game: a Century of Hockey in Trail, B.C.” with additional rare footage of the Smokies’ 7-4 win over the U.S. and the 5-1 final against Russia.
19 – After 10 years and two Olympics, Rossland’s George Grey retires from national cross-country ski racing with a victory in the 50-km race at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Canmore.
30 – Trail’s Travis Gawryletz of the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters is named the team’s Man of the Year for his community work in Cleveland.
9 – Thomas and Mitch Pitman finish one-two at the Canadian snowboardcross championships in Lake Louise, Alta.
18 – AM Ford Fight Night delivered a cavalcade of blows as Stefan Fricta of Chilliwack defeats Pride Gym’s Del Melnyk in the main event.
19 – Trail native Gary Picone was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Athletic Director of the Year at the 70th annual NAIA convention in Kansas City. Picone is the athletic director at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho
20 – Trail’s Frank Emery won gold in doubles at the Canadian Masters Badminton Championship.
23 – Fruitvale’s Ella Matteucci wins Esso Cup, the Canadian women’s national championship with the Notre Dame Hounds.
27 – Pat Iannone and Trevor Johnson helped Italy to the gold medal in the IIHF Div. 1A hockey championships.