New Surrey climbing gym takes kids to lofty heights
Photo: Ty Rosenke, 13, is a youth climber training at Project Climbing in Cloverdale. Adrian MacNair photo.
When I moved to Vancouver from Toronto in the winter of 2005 I didn’t have much of a plan. I didn’t have a job lined up and I hadn’t yet gone to school to become a journalist.
So I drew upon my experience working as a rock climbing instructor for four years in Toronto to apply at the Cliffhanger climbing gyms in the rundown industrial area of pre-Olympic Village Vancouver and its suburban sister in Coquitlam.
It was there that I met Adam Diamond, chief route setter for the gyms, and a mentor of sorts in my progress as a climber. Adam and I had more in common than growing up in Toronto. He took his first climbing course in 1990 at the age of 21 inside Canada’s first climbing gym, Joe Rockhead’s. It’s the same gym where I “learned the ropes” of climbing (10 years later), fostering my own 17-year obsession with rocks and mountains, and the main reason I hitched my proverbial wagons west and headed over the Rockies.
Twenty-seven years later, Adam is now a co-owner of his own climbing gym, Surrey’s second official gym, located at 64th and 176th Streets in Cloverdale. I hadn’t seen him in at least 10 years when I wandered into the new building earlier this summer and after I collected my jaw from the floor I asked him how life was treating him.
As safe or extreme as you want
Rock climbing has had an extreme sport label for decades. Those in the sport (some call it a “pasttime”) are fully aware of the first ascent of the epic 570 metre cliff face of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish in 1961 by Ed Cooper and Jim Baldwin.
People less familiar with climbing are at least aware of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay heroically surmounting the tallest mountain on the planet, Everest, in 1953.
But these days you’ll find fewer people on those windswept peaks and more clambering over rock holds affixed to walls in a gym. In fact, more and more children are getting into the sport at a young age.
So, is it still dangerous?
“I think it would still fall under the label of an extreme sport but where it’s different is it’s no longer on the fringe,” says Adam. “So, just like snowboarding, you can be extreme or not extreme. You can go in the backcountry or just ride on the lifts and do your average day at Whistler. And in climbing it’s the same sort of thing.”
A team for kids without the team sport
Just what precipitated this interest in rock climbing for kids? The answer can be found in the proliferation of climbing gyms throughout Canada, whch has given kids who aren’t in love with traditional team sports like soccer and hockey, an opportunity to learn how to climb from coaches like Adam.
“This sport has got everything,” he says. “The physicality, the outdoor adventure, travelling to amazing places. It’s got something for everybody.”
This access to relatively safe climbing and bouldering (ascending artificial climbing walls without ropes but without going high) has given rise to an entirely new generation of young, extremely strong kids.
Twenty years ago the World Cup of climbing scene would have been dominated by experienced climbers in their twenties and thirties. Today, adult champions can be as young as 16.
With more and more eyeballs on the YouTube channel for the International Federation for Sport Climbing (IFSC), even the Olympic committee took notice, allowing climbing to be entered as an official sport in the 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan.
Adam could be training the next group of Canadians eying that lofty goal.
Surrey gym building future competition climbers
Just as I was losing touch with Adam a decade ago, he became a coach at Cliffhanger in Coquitlam. He spent the ensuing years coaching kids to compete in “what I would characterize as one of the best teams in Canada.”
In summer of 2016 he left Coquitlam to build his own gym in Cloverdale with partner and former competition climber Brock Tilling. Now he’s building his own team here on Surrey soil.
Adam says coaching kids to climb is like coaching any other sport. It’s a slow, day-to-day progression, but ultimately one that can really pay off in competition climbing.
“Often as a coach I feel like the kids learn more from their peers than they do from me,” says Adam, smiling. “I probably provide that extra 15 percent to top it up.”
Although competition are a small subset of the overall interest in rock climbing, there is a very well developed curcuit for climbers and boulderers in British Columbia and Canada.
“The hardest part is the stress of watching them compete because there’s always going to be successes and there’s always going to be… not successes.”
Although Canadians do not traditionally dominate on the global stage—that reputation goes to Japan and the Alpine European countries—North Vancouver’s Sean McColl, 30, has turned competition climbing into a career, winning five gold medals, 14 silver medals, and 14 bronze medals in a career spanning 10 years on the IFSC World Cup curcuit.
On December 16, 2017, three of Adam’s students represented Surrey by attending their first ever sanctioned competition in Project Climbing’s Abbotsford location.
“Surrey is just growing in leaps and bounds and these gyms appeal to a lot of people but you definitely need a population base to find people who are into it. Surrey, the way it’s growing with young families, it’s a vibrant city and it’s got a lot going for it.”
Project Climbing’s Youth Climbing Team is accepting registrations for their next camp (beginning Jan. 8) for ages nine and up. Kids can choose to train between one and three days a week for 12 weeks. Visit projectclimbing.ca for more info.
City Of Surrey To Host 2022 and 2024 Canada Soccer Toyota National Championships
City of Surrey, in partnership with Surrey Football Club, has been announced host of Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championship in 2022 (U-17 Cup) and 2024 (Jubilee and Challenge Trophy senior women’s and men’s competitions competitions).
The competitions will take place October 5–10, 2022 and October 9–14, 2024 at Newton Athletic Park and will welcome more than 3,000 athletes and their supporters over the course of the two events.
“Through our Sport Tourism Strategy and commitment to word-class sport hosting, Surrey is emerging as a premier sports destination in the Pacific Northwest and Canada,” said Mayor Doug McCallum.
“We are very proud to host this national sporting event and look forward to welcoming some of the finest soccer players in Canada.”
“The Toyota National Championships are the largest amateur team sport competition in Canada, and we are proud to bring a meaningful sporting opportunity to the nearly 600 clubs and 1,500 participants each fall,” said Dr. Nick Bontis, Canada Soccer President.
“Congratulations to the eight municipalities with whom we will collaborate to ensure the best participant experience for the players, coaches, referees and families.”
Surrey will host Canada Soccer’s Toyota National Championships Jubilee and Challenge Trophy competitions this October 6–11 at Newton Athletic Park. The 2021 male and female U-15 Cup will be held in Ottawa and U-17 Cup in Montreal.
Since 2017, Surrey has hosted over 166 sport tournaments, including five international, six national and 17 provincial events. This will be the third and fourth time Canada Soccer has selected Surrey to host its National Championships in Surrey since the organization’s inauguration in 1912.
For information about sport tourism in Surrey, visit.
Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament Games To Be Broadcast On Cbc And Streamed On Dazn, Championship Floor Unveiled
With under three months until the start of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Friends of Victoria Basketball, along with their partners at Canada Basketball, are on track to host one of Canada’s most important basketball tournaments ever.
“On behalf of Canada Basketball, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Friends of Victoria Basketball and the entire local organizing committee for their continued commitment and tireless efforts to host the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Victoria this summer,” said Glen Grunwald, President & CEO of Canada Basketball.
“Everyone has demonstrated a tremendous sense of flexibility and resolve as we continue to navigate the shifting pandemic conditions on a daily basis. They are a special group of people.”
“Additionally, we are committed to our strategy of hosting best in class domestic and international events to leverage the power of the game to unify our basketball nation,” Grunwald said.
With the Tokyo Olympic Games moving forward this summer, the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament is scheduled for June 29 – July 4, at the Victoria Memorial Arena in Victoria, B.C.
For basketball fans across the country, Friends of Victoria Basketball is excited to announce that the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be broadcast by the CBC across its various platforms, both on television and online, as well as streamed on DAZN.
The partnerships with CBC and DAZN will give Canadian basketball fans access to Team Canada’s quest for Gold at the Olympic Games from the first tip-off through the tournament and into Tokyo 2020.
“We continue to plan for a world-class qualifying tournament this June 29 – July 4,” said Clint Hamilton of Friends of Victoria Basketball.
“All six nations are coming to Victoria with the goal of securing an Olympic berth so the stakes will be high and we expect to see some tight, hard-fought games. It’s exciting that both the CBC and DAZN will be broadcasting the tournament so fans across the nation can support our Senior Men’s National Team from afar.”
In-person attendance for the games is still to be determined, in accordance with evolving local and provincial health orders.
Friends of Victoria Basketball is currently planning for multiple scenarios, from a bubble with no spectators, to a percentage of spectator capacity. Updates will be sent directly to ticket holders as information becomes available.
Friends of Victoria Basketball is also honoured to announce, as published in the New York Times earlier this week, that the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be held on the same floor on which the Raptors won their 2019 NBA Championship. Team Canada head coach Nick Nurse is looking to make history once again, on the same hardwood.
“Acquiring this iconic basketball floor, and the incredible Canadian basketball history that unfolded on it, is already an important legacy from our local efforts to secure the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament,” said Hamilton.
“I have no doubt that future Canadian success stories will unfold on this floor for years to come.”
Canada is in Group A for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and will face Greece and China in the Group Phase, while Uruguay, Czech Republic and Turkey have been drawn into Group B for the Victoria FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Click here for a full tournament schedule.
Each team will play the other two teams in its own group (two games for each team). The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals. The two semi-final winners will advance to the Final, with the winner qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
More details surrounding the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament will be made available in the coming weeks and all event updates will be published on wethewestfest.com.
Friends of Victoria Basketball gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia, City of Victoria, District of Saanich, and University of Victoria.
9 Surprising Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids
As a sport, martial arts is something that attracts many kids. The very nature of martial arts requires that in order to be any good at it, students work at it for long periods of time. Thus, parents who want their kids to be excellent martial artists will put their kids in the sport often far earlier than is typical for other sports.
This is for good reason — there are many excellent benefits of martial arts for kids. Martial arts offers development for kids in a way that no other sport can quite parallel. In this article, we’ve listed nine such benefits, with explanations of how kids achieve each of those benefits.
1. Excellent Coordination
One of the best benefits of martial arts for kids is the coordination that is sure to result. As a child, one is still learning how to use one’s body and coordinate it. Any kind of martial arts imparts excellent coordination skills.
This is because the punches, kicks, and defenses that are required in martial arts are very varied, but all rely greatly on timing and precision. A punch has to be thrown precisely, and the same goes for a kick and any type of defense.
Thus, the kid learns how to control his or her body, and also gains excellent hand-eye coordination.
2. Mental Strength
One of the key attributes that one requires to be good at martial arts is mental strength. After all, when one is in a sparring match, think of what that entails. At the end of the day, someone is trying to impart physical hurt on you!
To be able to understand that, absorb that, and still perform at a high level physically under that mental pressure will no doubt develop intense mental strength in your child. This mental strength will crossover into many other things later on in the child’s life, be it with regard to tough schoolwork or major life decisions.
Martial arts for kids is an excellent choice because like any other sport, it requires the child to be extremely teachable. No martial arts coach will allow any nonsense or tantrums from your kid. In order to at better at it, your child must approach the sport with a teachable spirit.
If your child is not willing to be coached, chances are the martial arts coach won’t allow him or her to pursue the sport for very long!
Once your child learns this teachability, you’ll find that parenting him or her home becomes much easier as well!
4. Physical Progression
Martial arts is easily one of the most demanding sports out there. Just try punching or kicking a bag for several three-minute rounds. It isn’t easy! In addition to being excellent cardiovascular training, it will also physically progress and train your child in other ways.
The net result is that your child’s muscles will grow faster, they will have greater core strength, and they’ll be able to perform far better at any other sports that they may decide to play down the road.
You might be scratching your head at this one. Teamwork? Isn’t martial arts an individual sport?
Yes it is — however, martial arts is still able to teach kids great teamwork. This is because in order to get better at martial arts, one has to spar with other students frequently. Thus, the students have to be able to communicate with each other after these sparring matches in order to learn what they could do better and how they can improve.
Consequently, your child will learn one of the most fundamental skills of teamwork: how to give and take constructive feedback. In addition, many martial arts competitions are team-based, and your child is sure to form extremely close friendships that will stay with him or her for years.
Martial arts teaches compassion. Whether one is in a true competition or in a simple sparring match, one will learn to never take his or her opponent past their limit. It suffices to beat their opponent; they never need to mercilessly crush them.
With the right coach, your child will learn to be compassionate on those who may not be as good as them and will learn to be careful to use their own strength in a way that doesn’t physically damage another child in the long-term.
7. Fighting Skills
At the end of their martial arts training, your child will be a better fighter!
The skills that they have will come in handy if there ever should arise a situation where your child has to stand their ground against a bully or needs to employ self-defense tactics while getting robbed at night.
These skills are extremely valuable and will no doubt be given to your children if they train for martial arts.
Being good at martial arts, due to the very physical nature of the sport, will inspire your child with much confidence growing up. Being good at any sport gives your child something to take pride in, and the very nature of martial arts will allow your child to hold his or her head high among their peers.
9. Athletic Competition
Competition is good for a child so that they can learn how to compete graciously and exhibit sportsmanlike behavior. If your child ends up having a natural ability for martial arts, he or she may be able to participate in some competitions.
Not only will this teach them work ethic as they train for these competitions, but it will teach them how to be a good winner, if they are fortunate enough to win, but also how to be gracious in a loss if they ever miss the mark at a competition.
The Best Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids
At the end of the day, it is clear that the benefits of martial arts for kids simply cannot be ignored. If you’re on the fence about putting your child in martial arts training, think about these benefits that your child is sure to gain!
9 Niche VOD Channels Every Sports Fan Will Love
Cutting the cord is a touchy subject for most sports fans. Most sports fans would love the idea of cutting the cord and have one service that caters to sports fans.
For years, cable has had a death grip on sports fans with their expensive ala carte sports packages. Oftentimes, extra channels are thrown in to jack up the price. This frustrates sports fans, but what can they do?
Are you tired of paying for a bunch of channels that you’ll never watch? You may want to consider the growing list of video-on-demand or VOD channels that cater to sports fans.
Here is a list of 9 VOD sports channels to satisfy your biggest sports cravings
1. YouTube TV
$49.99 per month
Is cutting the cord is a difficult pill to swallow for your family members? If not, save some money on channels no one watches. YouTube TV may be a service that is perfect for you.
YouTube TV has a ton of news and entertainment channels lumped into its monthly rate. YouTube TV has over 70 channels to satisfy your family. Some channels include ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and other popular channels, such as HGTV, AMC, and Disney Channel.
For sports fans, YouTube TV offers a lot of options to help you cut the cord. Sports fans get channels like FOX Sports, FS1, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports, and more.
YouTube TV subscribers also get unlimited cloud DVR storage! The service keeps your recordings for up to 9 months. You can stream on up to three devices at once in case your family wants to watch different programming at the same time.
YouTube TV is a great option for the family. Consider cutting the cord without sacrificing quality programming and sports.
$5.99 per month; $54.99 for Hulu and Live TV
Hulu is another great option for families who are looking to cut the cord. Especially if you don’t want to sacrifice your favorite channels and programming. Although the service is a little more expensive than YouTube TV, it does offer some other advantages.
First, Hulu has a large library of on-demand programming for popular television series and popular movies. Next, Hulu also offers families to watch on unlimited screens as an upgrade. Last, you can watch Hulu on many different devices from computers, tablets, phones, Roku, FireTV, Chromecast, Apple TV, and more.
For sports fans, they offer BTN, CBS Sports Network, seven ESPN channels, FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, and NBC Sports Network. It is missing a few league channels, like the MLB Network, NBA TV, and NFL Network.
3. fubo TV
$54.99 per month
Like YouTube TV and Hulu, fubo TV offers an impressive array of channels for the family and sports fans alike. With over 100 channels and over 130 evens in 4K, it offers crystal clear programming. Your cord-cutting family won’t miss their cable box with channels like USA, Food Network, HGTV, TBS, TNT, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr.
For Sports fans fubo TV has a wide array of sports programming and channels. Some sports channels included are CBS, FOX, Golf Channel, NBA TV, NBC, and NFL Network. It also offers add-ons for international sports channels.
One drawback to fubo TV is that it only offers 2 screens available at a time. To have more screens available you’ll have to upgrade to a more expensive option.
4. Amazon Prime Video
$8.99 per month
Amazon won’t have you throwing away cable boxes like YouTube TV or Hulu. However, it does offer some good content for the subscription price. It has a large library of shows and movies to watch on-demand.
For sports fans, they offer the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football games. As part of its on-demand sports content, it offers the popular All Or Nothing series. It focuses on sports teams and covers them from behind-the-scenes. For an additional cost, sports fans can add CBS All Access, NBA League Pass, and PGA Tour Live.
A cheaper option than YouTube TV and Hulu and Live TV, but it may have you missing your cable box.
5. CBS All Access
$5.99 per month
Similar to Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access offers on-demand options through its channel programming. However, it also offers local sports programming from CBS. This would include some NFL games, NCAA March Madness, and select PGA Tour events.
If you’re only interested in replacing local sports programming, this is a cheap option for cutting the cord.
$19.99 per month
Similar to CBS All Access, Dazn offers some options for sports. It doesn’t offer the convenience of a cord-cutting cable service though. Dazn caters to sports like Boxing and MMA. They also offer sports like cricket, fishing, darts, gymnastics, and Japanese soccer.
Dazn doesn’t offer NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL games in the United States. Additionally, they offer streaming on 2 screens at a time. This is more of the single bachelor’s streaming option who is into boxing and MMA.
$4.99 per month
It’s important to mention that ESPN+ does not include normal ESPN programming. It won’t offer SportsCenter, SportsNation, Around The Horn, NFL Live, First Take, Outside The Lines, or Pardon The Interruption. It also won’t offer Monday Night Football.
It does offer extra programming like the popular 30 for 30 and E:60 documentary series. They also offer live sports from MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA Tour, and various college sports.
8. Sling TV
$25 per month
Sling TV divides its sports content between two packages. The orange package offers ESPN channels. The blue package offers NFL Network and NBC Sports.
To get all the sports, you need to purchase both packages. You can also add beIN Sports, ESPN U, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network for an additional $10.
Sling also lost all its live sports programing with FOX and CBS, which means you’ll need an antenna to watch Sunday Football.
9. AT&T TV Now
$55 per month
AT&T TV Now, formerly Direct TV Now offers a wide array of sports programming. However, you will have to shell out some extra dough. For $70 per month, you can get CBS Sports Network, four ESPN channels, FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel, and SEC Network.
You can watch on two screens simultaneously and add additional screens for $4.99 each. They also offer capabilities to rewatch old aired content (up to 72 hours) and offer a rewind feature that sports fans truly enjoy.
What VOD Channels Will You Choose
With all of these VOD channels for sports, it may be tough to decide. Think about what works for you, and look into the options that make sense for your area. Each area may have slightly different programs or packages.
VOD is the future of sports. Consider this, sports streaming for Super Bowl LIII was up 20% from the year before.
If you aren’t ready to cut the cord yet, refer a friend.
Be sure to check back for more content like this on our blog.
Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund To Provide $1 Million To Help Young Canadians Return To Hockey
Canadian families impacted by COVID-19 can apply now for registration fee subsidies
The Hockey Canada Foundation has launched its new $1 million Assist Fund to provide registration fee subsidies for qualified Canadians who are registered with Hockey Canada-sanctioned associations for the 2020-21 season.
“As a prominent national sports organization in the country, it’s Hockey Canada’s mission to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “It’s a goal that’s more important than ever, as COVID-19 has had a challenging impact on so many young people from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”
The Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund allows Canadians who meet the criteria and need a financial hockey assist to apply for up to $500 in registration fee reimbursements per player, provided the registration is with a Hockey Canada-sanctioned association.
To enhance the impact and support for local communities, Canadians can also donate to the Assist Fund, with 100% of all donated funds reaching young Canadians. The Hockey Canada Foundation will absorb all administration costs associated with the fund. Donations can be made at HockeyCanada.ca/AssistFund.
A line-up of hockey heroes is championing the Hockey Canada Foundation Assist Fund. All three have provided and known the importance of assists and community support, on and off the ice.
- Jarome Iginla (St. Albert, Alta.) – Hockey Canada alumnus, member of the Class of 2020 for the Hockey Hall of Fame, two-time Olympic gold medallist (2002, 2010), gold medallist at the 1997 IIHF World Championship, gold medallist at the 1996 IIHF World Junior Championship and provider of one of the most famous assists in Canadian hockey history, on the Golden Goal by Sidney Crosby at 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver
- Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que.) – Captain of Canada’s National Women’s Team, two-time Olympic gold medallist (2010, 2014) and gold medallist at the 2012 IIHF Women’s World Championship
- Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) – Member of Canada’s National Para Hockey Team, gold medallist at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games and four-time gold medallist at the IPC World Para Hockey Championship (2008, 2011, 2013, 2017)
The Assist Fund was born from the ongoing commitment of the many partners of Hockey Canada and the Hockey Canada Foundation, including Bauer, BDO, Berkshire Hathaway, BFL CANADA, Canadian Tire, Chevrolet, CN, Hankook, Nike, OK Tire, Premium Brands, Scotiabank, TELUS, TIMBER MART, Tim Hortons, TSN and RDS.
“With job losses and reduced incomes affecting so many, young Canadians need our help more than ever to get back into hockey,” said Donna Iampieri, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation. “Our Assist Fund and the support of our amazing athletes and sponsors represents our combined ongoing commitment to providing access to the game.”
For more information about the Hockey Canada Assist Fund, or to apply or donate, visit HockeyCanada.ca/AssistFund.
About Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada is the governing body for hockey in Canada and a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), with a membership through its 13 member associations of over 750,000 players, coaches and officials.
Hockey Canada is a not-for-profit organization that creates leading-edge hockey development programs for its members to deliver in communities across Canada; provides consistent rules and regulations and various other membership services from coast to coast to coast; manages numerous regional, national and international hockey championships and events; and leads the operation of all teams that represent Canada in international competition.
Hockey Canada’s mission is to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences. For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter.
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