- Elsay Performs SaturdayPosted 4 hours ago
- The Austerity Trap … It Doesn’t WorkPosted 18 hours ago
- More Than Two Thousand Graduate From UFVPosted 18 hours ago
- George Murray Responds To Questions On Chicken Manure Homeless InicidentPosted 2 days ago
- Books: New Research Institute Explores Works Of Lewis And TolkienPosted 2 days ago
- Our Collective SilencePosted 4 days ago
- Ernie’s ChallengePosted 6 days ago
- Free Mental Health Training Program Receives Extended Life From Local DoctorsPosted 7 days ago
Columns: Abbotsford, Basketball And A Bunch Of Firsts
By David Murray. When I was 12 years old I caught a bus on Renfrew Street in Vancouver. It dropped me off in front of the Pacific Coliseum. I was about to embark in watching my first high school basketball game. I remember that the crowd was quite big, over 10,000.
The game was a semi final playoff match which the Abbotsford Ã¢â‚¬Å“PanthersÃ¢â‚¬Â were involved in. I was very excited and quickly picked the black and red squad as my favorite team to win the game. The star player for Abby was 6’7Ã¢â‚¬Â Werner Spann. He was an awesome player, tall and athletic. At half time I read my cherished souvenir , a nice program that depicted the 25th anniversary year of the B.C. High School Boys tournament .
I read about a player by the name of Sam Vandermeulen who as you might have guessed was also from Abbotsford. I read about his feat of scoring 58 points in a single game which I thought was amazing. (his record still stands today) . They played 8 minute quarters back then. Senior teams now play 10 minute quarters.
I often look back at this experience and the excitement which launched my interest in basketball which has lasted for over 40 years.When playing high school basketball at Vancouver Tech , I developed friendships which have stood the test of time. Among the friends I met was Killarney’s Arnold Ã¢â‚¬Å“ArnieÃ¢â‚¬Â Dick (Longtime coach of the MEI Eagles) and Windermere’s Norm Bradley (Former Coach at Abbotsford Senior). When we were all in grade 9 we attended a basketball camp coached by Rob Slavik at Killarney High School. It was at this camp the three of us won our first basketball trophy for being selected to the camp all-star team.
I went to Britannia High School in Vancouver for grade 11 and 12 where my coach Denis Kelly (WJ Mouat) was coaching his first high school basketball team.
I went down to the State of Washington to play college basketball and upon my return to Canada immediately got involved with coaching. I coached a Dogwood League team and played Trinity Western Coach Jake Braun (Former coach at MEI) in his first season.
I started coaching college basketball at Douglas College and coached my first college game against the Columbia Bible College at the old MEI gym. In 1986 as an assistant coach at Capilano College in North Vancouver we played Fraser Valley College in their first ever basketball game. The score was Cap College 122- Fraser Valley College 118. Kenny Braich scored 39 points for FVC that night .
My wife Sharon and I have two kids, a boy named Ryan and a daughter named Shannon-Lee, of course they were very involved with basketball. Ryan started playing high school basketball in grade 5. My daughter in grade 7. By the time Ryan was in grade 7 he was a starter on the grade 9 boys team at Terry Fox.
In 2002-03 at Columbia Bible College, Ryan playing for the Terry Fox Ã¢â‚¬Å“RavensÃ¢â‚¬Â saw his team in the Fraser Valley final in front of a packed gym on Clearbrook Road. He was only in grade 9 and only 5’8Ã¢â‚¬Â and very slight. Coach Rich Chambers put him in the game with just over a minute to go . Fox was down by 6 points . Ryan was able to hit two threes to tie the game with approx 10 seconds to go .
Tyrell Mara who was in Grade 10 and was the star of the White Rock Christian team was able to keep the ball in bounds, flung the ball to Jordan Craig who was standing almost at centre, he shot the ball and it went in off the backboard with 2 seconds left in the game. Coach Chambers called a timeout and called a play for Ryan to take the last shot. Ryan was double teamed, made a move and got open , he was able to get a shot off from around 22 feet which hit the rim and rolled out. I guess that was another first, a grade 9 taking the last shot in the Final of the Fraser Valley tournament.
In 2006 Ryan became the first player in B.C. High School boys basketball history to score 5,000 points in his career. He did it in a home game vs the MEI Eagles.
David Murray is the Federal NDP candidate for Abbotsford. He writes an occasional column for Abbotsford|Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be found at www.DavidMurrayndp.ca.