Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

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UBC Thunderbirds forward, Chanreet Bassi. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds have an exciting rookie forward that’s looking to dazzle this season. Chanreet Bassi has brought speed and skill to the Thunderbirds lineup. Bassi’s positive energy and enthusiasm has helped UBC to a 8-5-3 first half record.

“Everything’s super good,” Bassi explained to Har Journalist. “I love the team. School is going well and we’re doing pretty well right now.”

In 16 games this season, Bassi has contributed two goals and two assists. The first goal in her UBC career came on the power play during the teams home opener on October 11 vs Calgary. It’s not everyday that a first-year player earns power play time, but Bassi has earned it.

“She has a very high hockey sense and hockey IQ,” Coach Graham Thomas explained. “She has a lot of skill. She sees the ice really well, and you match that with great skating ability. She’s still learning to be a consistent force in this league. She needs to continue to have that focus and intent all the time. She’s adapting to this level and the physicality. She’s done it pretty well. I think she’s going to get even better, and better as the season goes on.”

The Lake Country, B.C. native, has found herself on an explosive second line with Emma Hall, and Ashley McFadden. The trio bring tremendous finesse, terrific puck control, and blistering pace.

“Hallzy and Bassi played on Team B.C. together,” Thomas revealed. “They had a little bit of a connection. We didn’t try it right away, but we threw it out there. It’s really nice to see that they’re finding each other. You’re right, they’re very similar. They have a smiler skill-set and mindset. It’s good to see.”

As UBC looks for scoring by committee, the second line has the ability to carry the team and produce timely goals.

“Both Hallzy and McFadden great players,” Bassi said. “They support me on the ice and I love playing with them.”

Thunderbirds captain, Mathea Fischer has looked to pick up a few of Bassi’s puck handling tricks this season. The fifth-year centre is glad to have Bassi on her team and not on the opposition.

“She’s a very very dynamic player, Fischer said. “She has lot of skills. It’s always fun to watch her, she brings something different everyday. Even in practice, watching her and trying to learn some of the moves that she does. She’s a great player, and a great teammate. We’re lucky to have her here.”

The 21-year-old got into hockey at an early age. When you grow up in a family with an older sibling that loves hockey, naturally you want to be involved. Bassi knew that she wanted hockey to be a part of her life, and she quickly picked up the sport.

“I got into hockey when I was three or four,” Bassi explained. “I started playing it because I saw my brother would play it. I was just like, ‘oh, that’s like the coolest sport’. I wanted to get into it.”

Besides her brother, Bassi had a certain Montreal Canadiens player she also followed.

“As a youngster probably Brendan Gallagher,” Bassi said. “He’s just a feisty player, scores goals. and he works hard.”

If there is anyone on the Thunderbirds that knows Chanreet Bassi the best, that’s defender, Sydney Neustaeter.

Bassi and Neustaeter both grew up in Lake Country.

“I met her through hockey,” Neustaeter explained. “We had always kind of lived in the same places, but we went to different schools. We finally played together on the Kelowna Bantam A team. It was about six years ago. We’ve met through hockey, and have become close.

I committed before her, and I was really trying to push her to come here. I knew she was really interested in it, so I pushed her to get a commitment here.”

What’s the best way to shutdown Bassi one on one?

“I try and take the body as much as I can,” Neustaeter said. “I know her hands are pretty fast. If I take one look down, she’s already past me. I’ve got to take the body and hope for the best.”

UBC will be hoping to bounce back from a four-game losing streak when the second half of the Canada West season begins on January 3 against the Calgary Dinos. UBC has scored once in their last four games.

Spoken like a true veteran, Bassi is focused on the present. The Canada West playoffs, and possible USports Championship can wait. She isn’t about to be distracted by outside noise.

“We’re not going to think that far ahead,” Bassi said. “Yeah, just focus on the games ahead and just keep working at it.”

As a first-year player, what would it mean to make it to the national USports final?

“It would obviously be a dream, but once again, just have to work hard to get there. We’re just going to have to keep that up.”

The UBC Thunderbirds have a promising talent in Chanreet Bassi and the best is yet to come.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my story on the unusual Vancouver Canucks post-game victory song.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – After a terrific first season in Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper, Max Crépeau is determined to show that he can be even better next season. 2019 was a challenging season for 8-16-10 Whitecaps FC, but Crépeau was a bright spot. He kept Vancouver in several matches they had no business being in.

The 2019 BMO Whitecaps FC Player of the Year, set personal MLS career highs with 26 games started, seven wins, five clean sheets, and 114 saves. On August 24, Crépeau’s set an MLS record by making 16 saves in a match.

When Whitecaps FC kicked off training camp, Crépeau wasn’t a sure fire lock to be the number one goalkeeper in Vancouver. Zac MacMath was in contention, but it was Crépeau who quickly showed his talents and solidified his role as the number one.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Manager, Marc Dos Santos believes in Crépeau, and he wants to see him continue to push himself next season. In a competitive league like MLS, Crépeau will have to show that he can shine even brighter in 2020.

“He needs to challenge himself to stay at that level and keep pushing to play at that level,” Dos Santos explained. “If we were a playoff team, he would have been in the top three goalkeepers of MLS, in my opinion. He’s somebody that pushes himself a lot. He’s a goalkeeper with a lot of good qualities. He’s good at coming out on crosses, good shot-stopper, and good with his feet.

He needs to continue doing what he’s done this year, and keep it in a steady way. His last two years, if you’re talking about 2018, and being USL Goalkeeper of the Year, and 2019, being a key player for our club. If he continues in that path, he’s going to have a great future.”

Heading into his second full season in MLS, Crépeau wants to show that he isn’t just a flash in the pan. The best keepers in the world are able to take their game to another level. They’re always striving to be better each season.

What’s the secret for Crépeau next season?

“Yeah, you said it. The secret is to be consistent.” Crépeau explained.

“This upcoming year, I think is the consistency,” Crépeau shared with Har Journalist. “I need to erase those little mistakes in the game, that can’t happen a few times in the season. To become the face of this team as well. I know the mentality the core group wants to be. They want to have a good identity on and off. I can be one of those guys to lead people, to achieve that. It depends on how willing the group will be to come together in January, and February. I can be a guy that can step up in moments and talks through to have higher standards with the club.”

As well as consistency, part of being an elite shot-stopper means having that drive, and determination to succeed. Crépeau has an off the chart compete level that brings out the best in him.

Whether it’s a match, training, or just working out, he wants to excel.

Crépeau’s teammates know just what kind of competitor they have in net.

“Yeah, he’s a great professional,” Jake Nerwinski revealed. “He comes out here and he’s pissed off that he just lost a small sided game. I don’t think he’s over it yet. I think that shows his character, will, and drive. This is was his first year in MLS, and I think he’s still got a lot more to go, he’s still learning. He’s going to build off of this.”

If the Greenfield Park, Quebec native, is going to pick off where he left off, he’s going to need more help.

In 34 games, Whitecaps FC scored 37 goals, while surrendering 59 goals against.

Unless you’re Carey Price, it’s hard to win when you’re keeper has to keep a clean sheet.

“Yeah, he was huge this year,” Nerwinski said. “He was our most valuable player and we gave him that award, he deserves it. We hope that we don’t have to rely on a goalie like that. I think he doesn’t want to be relied on like that as well. He knows that he’s a big deal to this team. I think going forward we want to make it a little bit easier on him.”

As Whitecaps FC look to improve the team during the off-season, goalkeeper is one position where Vancouver doesn’t have to worry about. Max Crépeau is ready to lead Vancouver on and off the pitch next season.

 

 

 

 

VANCOUVER B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my exclusive with Vancouver Whitecaps FC Manager, Marc Dos Santos.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – José Yordy Reyna, he’s a mysterious footballer who does his talking on the pitch. The Whitecaps FC winger has quietly put together three solid seasons on the west coast. The Peruvian international, has an infectious personality. If he isn’t cracking a joke, he’s working on his penalty kicks well after practice.

On this particular cloudy morning at the National Soccer Development Centre at UBC, Reyna, and goalkeeper, Max Crepeau are the last players on the training pitch. Again, and again, Reyna lines up the ball, and looks to deliver a strike past the Caps keeper.

It’s that work ethic, that helped make 2019, an MLS career year for Reyna.

The 26-year-old, set career highs in several categories.

Games Started: 22

Goals: 7

Minutes Played: 1988

Shots: 60

Shots on target: 27

Despite all of the personal achievements, Reyna isn’t content with how the season unfolded.

“No, it’s not my best year,” Reyna explained to Har Journalist. “We don’t go to the playoffs. Maybe personally, but as a collective group. Individually it was my best year, but it’s better if the team goes to the playoffs. With new players, I have to give my best because we want to go to the playoffs. We want to do the best for the city, and the team.”

In a Whitecaps FC campaign that had plenty of ups and downs, Reyna had a pair of impressive streaks that provided some scoring and very brief momentum for Vancouver.

Reyna’s run of form twice featured him scoring three goals in a span of four matches.

June 22 – July 6.

August 17 – August 31.

Whitecaps FC went 1-3-2 in those matches, collecting five of a possible twelve points.

Even with his own personal success, Reyna is all about the team first.

“I’m not happy just because I score, and I give assists. I want to go to the playoffs. Yeah, I’d rather make the playoffs. It doesn’t really matter to me about the individual accolades. It just matters more about the team.”

As the season came to an end, Whitecaps FC had an important decision to make. If the organization wanted Reyna to return for next season, they would have to exercise his club option for 2020.

It turned out to be a quick decision.

“Yeah it feels good. I’m happy, I’m staying here one more year.” Reyna said.

Was there any worry that Reyna would not have his club option picked up?

“No, never, (laughs).”

The charismatic Reyna has a lot of trust, and belief in himself. It’s that understanding that helped him have a career season. Throughout the season, Whitecaps FC looked like a team that didn’t have a lot of confidence and self belief.

Reyna, doesn’t have that issue.

“I think it’s because I believe in myself,” Reyna explained. “If you believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want.”

It’s that attitude and confidence that Whitecaps FC need more of next season.

Heading into the offseason, Reyna plans to visit his family and friends in Peru. You can find him catching rays, and sitting on his favourite park bench near the water.

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‘Vamos a la Playa’.

“Yeah, I love the beach,” Reyna smiled. “In my city we have a beach. I’m happy because I can go with my friends to the beach, I like it.”

When Reyna returns from his off-season at the beach, he will look to lead Whitecaps FC to the playoffs next season.

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The UBC Thunderbirds at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. October 24, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds will be back on the ice on Friday night when they host the Manitoba Bisons at The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. There will be a lot more than hockey on the line when the Birds and Bisons battle.

The 2-2-2 Thunderbirds, will have their second annual Sexual Assault Awareness game. UBC forward, Shiayli Toni, is the force behind the initiative that will be looking to raise money for the British Columbia, WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre.

“This event is a student led initiative,” Toni explained to Har Journalist. “It’s meant to be a coming together of our community of allies, and supporters as a way to strengthen our community, and have a really positive response. We all know and love someone who has being affected by sexual violence. I think we all play a part in building a culture of consent.”

The fourth-year Thunderbird, has gone above and beyond to help make a change.

Toni’s work on campus extends to the Sexual Violence Prevention Response Office (SVPRO).

“I’m student staff, and I work closely with the education team working on campaigns, advocacy, helping design, and deliver workshop material and curriculum.”

Earlier this year, Toni helped create a special book that helps to raise awareness.

“This summer I designed a colouring book for survivors and allies,” Toni revealed. “It’s a campus resource that our office is distributing right now. They have them at different councillng centres on campus. It’s available for free, for anyone who would like one. It’s my favourite summer project that I’ve ever worked on.”

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Summer project now in print!! Here’s a sneak-peek ☺️ Whatever you are feeling right now is valid, normal and okay. Practicing self-care and paying attention to the feelings and emotions that act as our inner guides are good ways to honour ourselves while doing this important healing and resisting work. Everyone experiences and responds to sexual violence differently, and you have the freedom to do what is right for you, knowing that there are people and resources here for you if you want them. You deserve respect and support, and thats is what we are here for. You are not alone! We believe you! This book is meant to accompany you through your own process as a creative way to channel the complex feelings that may come up, or simply as a way to slow down, tune out, and provide a moment of calm in your day. Message me if you want one for yourself or a friend!

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The Saskatoon native, helped create a pledge poster that hangs outside the UBC Thunderbirds gym.

As Toni works her way back from tearing her ACL last season, she is determined to help others. Navigating the challenges that university life brings can be difficult. Knowing that there is support, and help if you need it, means everything. Having resources, and allies ready to lend a hand can make life a whole lot better for anyone struggling.

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Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office Pledge Poster: Photo: Har Journalist

“As women we know this is a gendered issue,” Toni said. “We want to use our platform to raise awareness and take leadership. We hope that other athletes, and people, in our community and on this campus will step up and join us.”

Universities are meant to be safe places for students, athletes, and faculty, but that’s not always the case. Campuses all over the world have had issues with rape culture, sexual violence, consent, and understanding that no, means no.

The UBC Thunderbirds Women’s Hockey team is the only team on campus that has Sexual Assault Awareness game.

Coach Graham Thomas, and his staff fully support their players making a difference on and off the ice.

“It’s something that our players, and I think some of our alumni, where it’s kind of close to home. It’s an issue that is very prevalent on campuses, but everywhere. It’s not like it’s a UBC thing. It’s something that’s in our culture, and all across the world. It’s a really great cause, and it’s something that we wanted to make a stand for and support.”

How can you help show your support?

“First of all, come out to the game on Friday. The more people, the better.” Toni said.

Fans in attendance are asked to wear teal, the colour of sexual support awareness.

“I definitely think we could all be doing more,” Toni explained. “Not just on this campus, but just in society in general. Anytime that people step up and take leadership, we’re moving in the right direction.

I think just given our platform as student athletes and the fact that we can host an event like this. It’s an easy way to get other people to buy in and to make a statement that, ‘We do not stand for this’.”

The Manitoba Bisons knocked UBC out of the 2019 Canada West semifinals playoffs, but redemption isn’t at the forefront of this weekend’s series. It’s more than just power plays, slapshots, defensive zone coverage. Toni and her teammates are motivated to lead the way, and help raise support for sexual assault awareness.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – It’s been three weeks since Whitecaps FC’s season concluded, and the team is already looking forward to the future. In a flurry of activity last week, Whitecaps FC picked up three player options, while also saying goodbye to seven players..

Jake Nerwinski had his option picked up, and he will be back for the 2020 campaign.

“Yeah, I’m happy,” Nerwinski explained to Har Journalist following training on Tuesday. “This is the first club that I’ve been at professionally. It means a lot that they value me as a player, want me back, and see growth in me. I’m in their plans going forward. It means a lot. I want to see this club succeed.”

In his third full season with Vancouver, Nerwinski started 24 games, and he scored his first career MLS goal.

It wasn’t an ideal season for Whitecaps FC. Vancouver finished with an 8-16-10 record, and last place in the western conference. The tactical adjustment period for Nerwinski and his teammates under first year MLS head coach, Marc Dos Santos was a battle. Vancouver struggled with consistency, chemistry, and building confidence.

Having gone through ups and downs this season, Nerwinski believes next season will be better.

“I always have room for improvement in my game.” Nerwinski explained. “I have a lot of things that I want to work on. I want to work on getting forward more effectively. I didn’t think I did that well this year. I know it was tough with how our season went. I think that I could be more effective like I was in my first year. As the season went on, I was a lot better defensively. I want to keep growing in that respect, because, defence first for a right back. I want to be able to lock down my side.”

The former University of Connecticut standout, made 19 appearances in his 2017 rookie campaign, and picked up five assists. Nerwinski was an offensive threat on the right flank under former Whitecaps FC Manager, Carl Robinson.

Heading into his second season with Marc Dos Santos, Nerwinski feels he has a better understanding of what the coaching staff wants to do tactically.

“It was definitely a completely new system from my first two years,” Nerwinski talked tactics. “I think it was a little bit of a learning curve. I think as the season went on, they were very good with helping me out. Going over film and seeing what I can do better. After a while, I definitely started to get it. There’s always still room for improvement.”

The process to re-up Nerwinski for the following season was a speedy operation.

“It was done pretty quick,” Nerwinski said. “Right after the season ended. I met with Marc (Dos Santos), and Greg (Anderson). They said that they were picking up my option. They wanted me to be a part of the team next year. They see me as part of the future going forward.”

In the world of professional sports, job security comes and goes. You can be comfortable one day, and packing up your belongings and moving to a new city, the next day. That’s what former Whitecaps FC players, Brett Levis, Scott Sutter, Sean Melvin, and Brendan McDonough are facing. Nerwinski is glad to have his future sorted for next season.

“A lot of options were declined,” Nerwinski said. “You never really know if you’re safe or not. I’ve had conversations with Marc, prior to the end of the season, they were all good ones. I wasn’t worrying too much, but you can never be too sure.”

It’s been a fantastic few weeks for the Lawrenceville, New Jersey native.

Nerwinski proposed to his long time partner, Allie Auletta. They’re planning a lovely wee holiday across the pond, he has a new contract, and his beloved Oakland Raiders are in the hunt for a AFC playoff spot.

“I’m going to finish training here, and then I’m going to go home to New Jersey for a month and a half. Then a little vacation with my fioncee. It’ll be nice. We’re going to Ireland for 12 days. Beautiful Ireland, in December. I’m making my missus happy.”

Everything, is coming up, Jake Nerwinski.

“My birthday was last week, so it’s been a big month for me,” Nerwinski laughed. “The Raiders aren’t terrible, so it’s going pretty well right now. I have nothing really to complain about. All good on my end.”

The 25-year-old, Nerwinski, knows he isn’t going anywhere, he can put down roots in Vancouver.

In terms of buying a house in Vancouver, that’s still a bit of a challenge.

“I have not bought a house. In Vancouver? C’mon, you know how much I make.”

“I’m saving as much as I can right now.”

Heading into next season, Nerwinski is due a pay increase from his 2019 salary of $124,125.

“That’s public knowledge, so yes, I do have a bit of a pay raise.”

On and off the pitch, Jake Nerwinski has a promising future ahead of him. He’ll enjoy some rest, and relaxation with his bride to be, and he will be ready to help Vancouver Whitecaps FC strive forward next season.