B.C. athletes shot for the stars in 2022. Clockwise from top left: Melanie Vogal, Rio Crystal, Teagan Dunnett, Kimberly Newell. (Photos submitted)

B.C. athletes shot for the stars in 2022. Clockwise from top left: Melanie Vogal, Rio Crystal, Teagan Dunnett, Kimberly Newell. (Photos submitted)

From cross-Arctic treks to Olympic dreams, B.C. athletes made 2022 one for the books

Athletes didn’t shy away from adventure this year

It was a year of firsts and breaking down barriers for athletes across B.C., as they fought to make a mark on the world. Here are some of our top inspirational sports stories from 2022:

Comox teen wins world’s toughest, coldest foot race

An 18-year-old from Comox won an event that’s billed as the toughest, windiest, coldest ultra foot race in the world. Stretching from Dawson City to the Arctic Circle, Rio Crystal was among participants hauling their own sleds of gear over a grueling 250-mile expanse. The course took Crystal four days, 15 hours and 11 minutes. READ MORE

Rio Crystal of Comox is pictured during the Arctic Ultra Race from Dawson City to the Arctic Circle. (Facebook)

Rio Crystal of Comox is pictured during the Arctic Ultra Race from Dawson City to the Arctic Circle. (Facebook)

Introducing Mułaa, Canada’s first Indigenous surf team

It’s Friday afternoon at Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Surfers wait on the shore as the thick August fog burns off and the tide inches up.

Looking north of Lovekin Rock towards the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation community of Esowista, a group of brown faces clad in wetsuits play freely like seals in the lineup, bodysurfing friendly summer waves and taking turns paddling a lone green soft top surfboard. READ MORE

Mułaa surf team members throw shakas in front of their new surf shed at Esowista at the north end of Long Beach. (Nora O’Malley/News Staff)

Mułaa surf team members throw shakas in front of their new surf shed at Esowista at the north end of Long Beach. (Nora O’Malley/News Staff)

From the burn unit to the NHL: Revelstoke man recounts unique hockey journey in new book

Former NHL player Aaron Volpatti never considered himself something special growing up. It wasn’t until a camping accident left him with severe burns across 40 per cent of his body and he was faced with the prospect of never playing hockey again, that he realized exactly what he was willing to do to prevent that from happening.

Volpatti fought his way through recovery and eventually into the NHL, where he played for the Canucks and the Washington Capitals. READ MORE

Aaron Volpatti spent nearly six weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital Burn Unit following an accident in Vernon that left him with third and second degree burns on 40 per cent of his body. (Contributed by Aaron Volpatti)

Aaron Volpatti spent nearly six weeks in the Vancouver General Hospital Burn Unit following an accident in Vernon that left him with third and second degree burns on 40 per cent of his body. (Contributed by Aaron Volpatti)

Woman completes five-year trek across country on the Trans Canada Trail, finishing in Victoria

Melanie Vogel’s nearly 20,000- kilometre through-hike took her to the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, before landing her in Victoria at the Pacific. She said the trek was a solo one, but the kindness of the people she met along the way meant she never felt alone.

“Life gives you the opportunity that you can be everything you want to be. I decided a long time ago I wanted to be free.” READ MORE

Melanie Vogal becomes the first woman to complete a coast-to-coast-to-coast through-hike of the Trans Canada Trail. (Hollie Ferguson/Victoria News Staff)

Melanie Vogal becomes the first woman to complete a coast-to-coast-to-coast through-hike of the Trans Canada Trail. (Hollie Ferguson/Victoria News Staff)

At the Beijing Games, B.C. goaltender Kimberly Newell is a Chinese sensation

Kimberly Newell thought she had skated away from hockey, and that the sport had left her behind as well.

It had been nearly two years since she played after graduating from Princeton University, and in 2016 when it came time to choose a career she didn’t see a path to one day playing goal for Team Canada at the Olympics. READ MORE

British Columbia’s Kimberly Newell, in her distinctive pads and helmet, was a star in net for Team China at the Beijing Games. (Photo: Submitted)

British Columbia’s Kimberly Newell, in her distinctive pads and helmet, was a star in net for Team China at the Beijing Games. (Photo: Submitted)

Hockey clubs’ support for Ukrainian goaltender ‘brought tears’ to father’s eyes

Though the details and reasons for a war halfway across the world can be easily lost on children, the current Russian invasion of Ukraine hit much closer to home for members of a Ridge Meadows hockey team.

The minor hockey squad’s goaltender, Dmytro Makogonsky, is Ukrainian.

In March, the team and its rival acted together to show Makogonsky their support. READ MORE

Members of the Semiahmoo and Ridge Meadows U11 A1 teams come together at centre ice prior to their game Saturday to show support for Ukraine, and Semiahmoo's Ukrainian-born goaltender, Dmytro Makogonsky. (Contributed photo)

How Teagan Dunnett made history and became the 1st female to play for the Langley Lacrosse Thunder

Does it matter?”

That has been Teagan Dunnett’s response when people question why she chooses to play box lacrosse on a boys’ team rather than with the girls.

Dunnett first began playing box lacrosse at age eight – following her best friend into the sport – and was immediately smitten with the sport. READ MORE

Teagan Dunnett made her BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League debut for the Langley Thunder this season, becoming what is believed to be the first female lacrosse player to suit up in the league’s history. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Teagan Dunnett made her BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League debut for the Langley Thunder this season, becoming what is believed to be the first female lacrosse player to suit up in the league’s history. (Ryan Molag, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)


@janeskrypnek
jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca

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