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.
Open since 2005, West Coast Martial Arts promotes the spread of Mixed Martial Arts through the capable hands and feet of its expert instructors. From 23 locations, they train students of all ages and experience levels in the nuances of an international array of martial arts. Their fundamentals programs introduce tots, youths, and adults to some of the fastest-growing disciplines in North America, arming students with pragmatic self-defence skills that work as well in the heat of the moment as they do in the calm of the dojo. Instructors also lead an array of classes for more advance practitioners. Teaching the grappling and ground-fighting techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, they lead students in battling larger opponents with the holds and submissions of the Gracie street self-defence system. They round out their curriculum with the striking arts of kickboxing and muay thai, which is also called the "science of eight limbs." In this combat style, students unleash flurries of blows using their hands, feet, elbows, and knees, turning into a more fearsome opponent than Bruce Lee before he had his conjoined twin removed.
Nimble players send shuttlecocks flying in gravity-defying volleys across Ace Badminton Centre’s 12 courts, guided by a team of highly qualified instructors. The centre’s coaching staff overloads its collective mantle with a wealth of awards and trophies, such as Ximing Yao’s1986 US Open Doubles victory, or Shawn Zhang’s 2010 British Columbia men’s championship title. Trainees and players hone their skills on the courts’ floating-floor system, replete with a triple-layered PVC buffer and high-density foam cushioning for absorbing shock—much safer than floors cushioned by subterranean lava pits. After studying under a professional badminton coach or practicing against a worthy opponent, students can join the ranks of Ace’s trophy-bearing alumni, who sport medals from junior championships at both the provincial and national level.
A member on the PGA Tour Canada since 1998, Matt Daniel calls upon the experience gleaned from 14 years spent competing against some of the world’s best golfers to help fellow players improve their game. Daniel’s professional portfolio includes playing in a PGA Tour tournament and winning the Canadian Tour’s TELUS Edmonton Open in 2002 with a score of 21-under par, after which his scorecard burst into flames.
Matt imparts his pin-hunting prowess in lessons that focus on the mental, physical, and technical elements of the game. In addition, he joins students on the course for playing lessons that present the unique challenges and game-management strategies encountered in rounds, such as how to hit out of a bad lie or manipulate other groups into letting you pilot their cart into a pond.