WSS Storm take hockey championship

Also in brief: Storm track and field podium at zones, WB transitions to summer season

The Whistler Secondary School (WSS) boys’ hockey team has won the championship.

After ending the regular season ranked first in the B.C. High School Hockey League’s tier 3 - West division with their 3-0-1 record, the Storm beat the Magee Lions 5-2 to earn their spot in the finals.  

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The Storm faced off against the Robert Bateman Secondary School Timberwolves — the undefeated 2015 tier 2 champions — in the championship match last Thursday (May 18) at Planet Ice Coquitlam, where WSS managed to secure the championship title with a 6-4 win.

Tony Andrea opened the scoring with a rocket from the point, while Adam Corless took full advantage of a penalty shot, adding to the Storm’s total. Star players Cody Flann and Xavier Cadoret led the team, each contributing a pair of goals to the scoreboard.

Head coach Scott Patterson credited a “pugnacious” crew of defenders with successfully manning the blue line and making “life miserable for the Timberwolves all game,” while a series of showstopping saves by goaltender Drew Palm in the second period kept the Storm on top.

“Every single player battled hard,” wrote Patterson in a statement. “As a team your Storm bent but did not break. They rose to the occasion and finished as champions. The WSS Storm would like to thank all of the people who volunteered their time and efforts to make this season a great success.”

WSS track and field return from zones

Sixteen WSS athletes travelled to the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby last Tuesday (May 16) to compete in track and field zone qualifiers, with more than half of the local contingent qualifying for provincials and several cracking the podium.

Leah Brownlie won gold in senior girls high jump, while Luke Unruh finished first in senior boys javelin. The senior girls relay team also picked up a gold medal in their event.  

There were three silver medals, won by Adam Bell for senior long jump, Josh Marangoni for senior triple jump and Arnica Wight in the 100-metre sprint.

Wight also picked up a bronze in the 200m, while Kobe Burton placed third in the discus event, Emil Bakke earned third in the senior long jump and Nevada Knapton took home the bronze for the junior triple jump event.

The Whistler track team also picked up seven more fourth-place finishes. While the team finished 11th out of 16 teams for total points, the senior athletes had a particularly outstanding weekend: they finished fourth overall in total points out of the competing schools.

Whistler Bike Park opens for season, ski season comes to an end

Mountain bikers finally got to hit the Whistler Mountain trails for the first time of the year when the bike park opened for the season last Friday (May 19).

The Fitzsimmons Express chair will now be running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until June 9, with the last chair of the day extended to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Fitzsimmons Zone hours are scheduled to be extended daily to 8 p.m. on June 10. Although dependent on weather conditions, the Creekside Gondola and Garbanzo Express are slated to open for business on June 17 to provide access to the Creek Zone and the Garbanzo Zone.

While more than a few mountain biking enthusiasts were thrilled to finally get their wheels on dirt, many other locals spent their weekend on snow, cramming in a few final turns before Blackcomb Mountain officially closed for skiing with the traditional Gaper Day festivities on Monday (May 22).

However, it won’t be long until the public will once again be able to access Blackcomb — though visitors may find themselves heading uphill instead of down.

The Blackcomb Ascent Trails are set to be completed this summer with the addition of the final section, “Heart Burn,” to link the two previously constructed trails. This trail system will provide access from the valley to the Rendezvous Lodge, with timed hiking checkpoints at each of the three sections. Hikers can keep track of their times on the trails — which span 5.2 kilometres and feature a total elevation gain of 1,200 metres — to compare themselves with leaderboards that will be available on Whistler Blackcomb’s app.

The Blackcomb Ascent Trails are scheduled to remain open from July to September, while WB’s PEAK 2 PEAK 360 Experience will facilitate summer sightseeing and hiking beginning this Saturday (May 27).

“After a record breaking winter season, we want to keep the momentum going through the summer,” said Rob McSkimming, WB’s vice president of business development in a statement. “Guests will notice a lot of action on the mountains throughout the summer months as we begin a number of a notable projects. We are excited to upgrade existing facilities as well as add new experiences, like the finished Blackcomb Ascent Trails.”

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