On September 9, 1979, more than 100,000 Whitecaps fans lined Robson Street to salute their hometown club. That day, the Whitecaps returned home after becoming Vancouver's first professional sports team to win a major North American championship: they had just defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies to claim the North American Soccer League title.
Since that first one, the franchise has won six additional titles–including four in a row from 1988–1991 while playing as the 86ers in the Canadian Soccer League. In fact, the club competed under that 86ers moniker until 2000. That year, spurred by public support and an unexplainable 'Caps logo beamed into the night sky, it re-emerged under its original Whitecaps identity. Today, the 21st-century incarnation of the club continues to battle for its first championship as part of Major League Soccer, where it began play in 2011.
Hockey Performance Centre develops the next generation of hockey stars using advanced training methods and decades of experience from former NHL players and veteran coaches. The facility relies primarily on the Benicky System, a training approach concocted by Dusan Benicky that zeroes in on individual skills and fundamentals. Having worked with dozens of the best NHL and international players, Benicky perfected his program by applying it within two environments: the gym and the skatemill. Players learn how to skate with power and shoot while in full stride.
Competitors in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Peninsula Panthers foster excellence in fledgling hockey players as they compete against some of Canada's finest young talent. With three Brent Patterson Memorial Trophies in their arsenal—including back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011—the Panthers have emerged as one of the league's premiere programs and a hotbed for future stars to move on to the next level. A handful of NHL players have matriculated through the Panthers system, including current Dallas Stars fixtures Jamie and Jordie Benn.
With two distinct layouts that bob and weave through groves of douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock trees, both Eighteen Pastures Golf Course and Tall Timber Golf Course invite clubbers for a day of challenging golf. The more difficult of the two layouts, Eighteen Pastures flummoxes stick-flickers with more than 6,800 yards of topsy-turvy terrain, where precipitous hillsides and bending fairways lined with arbors conceal upcoming hazards, which include 10 ponds and a multitude of sand traps. The course's front and back nines converge at the unique clubhouse, a bright red barn with a tall silo on one end said to contain the souls of every golf ball lost on the course.
An easier and shorter alternative to its grassy brethren, Tall Timber sprawls across 5,921 yards of kempt fairways cleaved through second-growth West Coast forests. The rippling waters of streams and ponds run throughout the course, attracting waterfowl and thirsty golf carts as clubbers hack through the 160-acre landscape.
In the perfect world, Aron Delucry would start his day with snowboarding in the morning, followed by an afternoon of wakeboarding and wakesurfing. At Rider Watersports, he and a team of veteran instructors can at least emulate this dream afternoon, towing water-sport enthusiasts across Green Lake behind a Super Air Nautique 210, a boat outfitted with more than 1,000 pounds of water ballast and a GPS. For newbie wakeboarders and wakesurfers, the team also offers introductory sessions, which cover the basics of boat safety, stance, board control, and how to politely ask seagulls to go fetch your sunglasses.
The extreme athletes at Feral Kiteboarding School harness and fuse the raw powers of wind and water to fuel kiteboarding sessions. Driven by a passion for the outdoor lifestyle, they have also studied the demands of their environment to design apparel and equipment for the sport. Lessons with a BKSA- and IKO-certified instructor take place along the sandy beaches and shallow waterways of White Rock. Wave-cresting staffers also specialize in introducing beginners to the pastime, organizing equipment packages complete with trainer kites, instructional DVDs, and jars big enough for students to trap their own gusts of feral wind.