My formative years with the Advance predate the rise of digital photography, email, Facebook, and Twitter.
I started at the Advance in March 1995 – hard to believe 21 years has passed since I landed a job with this newspaper.
In my role as the Advance’s primary sports reporter over the past two decades-plus, I’ve see Canadian and provincial championships won on Langley soil, teams come and go (remember the Titans? As in the B.C. Titans pro basketball team that played in the International Basketball League from 2008 to ’10? Judging from the fan turnout during games, probably not).
And through the years, the way we cover community sports on a daily basis has changed to reflect rapidly shifting industry trends.
On the topic of change, I’ve seen no fewer than four incarnations of junior A hockey teams.
The Langley Thunder changed their names to the Hornets, who moved to West Kelowna in 2006, and were promptly replaced by the former Chilliwack Chiefs.
In March 2006, the Chiefs announced their intention to relocate to Langley and become the Langley Chiefs starting in the 2006/07 season.
The Chiefs returned to Chilliwack in 2011. In the blink of an eye, the community was introduced to the Langley Rivermen in June 2011.
Just recently, the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants (who played a few games here in 2010 during the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics) officially announced their move to the Langley Events Centre, bumping the Rivermen out of their home and back to the birthplace of junior hockey in Langley – the George Preston Recreation Centre.
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PHOTO: The Langley Hornets were one of the junior A hockey teams in the community. The team left for West Kelowna 10 years ago. (Langley Advance files)
Then there’s the Langley Events Centre, the multi-faceted facility that opened in 2009 and has since been sports hub for reporters and high profile sporting events and championship tournaments.
Among the most recent highlights were the World Junior A Challenge in December 2011 and, just a few months earlier, the arrival of the Olympic flame followed by a pre-Olympic exhibition game involving the Slovakian and Russian womens’ hockey teams.
The Langley Thunder senior A lacrosse team hosted the Mann Cup national championship at the LEC in 2011, the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Stealth has played there the past three seasons, and starting in 2011 became the official home of the B.C. high school basketball championships. As well, the LEC hosted the World Financial Group Continental Cup men’s curling competition in January 2012.
On a personal note, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing several Olympic athletes from Langley, future pro baseball players, future NHLers, and other athletes who have gone one to stardom.
Brett has since gone on to become a Major League Baseball infielder, suiting up for the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A’s, and Chicago White Sox. Older sister Danielle pitched for the Canadian national women’s softball team and then with the Toyota Shokki in Japan’s elite professional softball league.
Olympians from Langley I’ve met through the years included pistol shooter Dorothy Ludwig and equestrian rider Lauren Hawley-Bennett, the Lawrie siblings (baseball and softball), cyclist Svein Tuft, pentathlete Monica Pinette, equestrian dressage rider Leslie Reid, women’s soccer players Randee Hermus and Katie Thorlakson, swimmer Jake Tapp, and Para-equestrian dressage riders Lauren Barwick and Eleanore Elstone.
And just in the past few years, I, along with the Advance team, have covered the provincial summer, Special Olympics, and seniors games, all hosted by Langley Township.
PHOTO: Troy Landreville