After a long and hot action-packed weekend, Terrace was crowned the official winners of the Every Child Matters Soccer Tournament in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village on Canada Day weekend, taking home a $2500 prize payout.
The Hazelton soccer team took second place, winning a $1000 prize payout, with Prince Rupert sliding into third and receiving a $500 prize.
The tournament was double-elimination with a $500 buy-in and awards going to the first, second, and third-place teams.
Individual players were also given awards based on their individual achievements, with the awards going to:
Tommy Puglas from Terrace for best goalie, Tyler Missere from Terrace for best defensive player, Frazer Dodd from Hazelton for best forward player, Cecil Paul Jr from Haisla Braves for most inspirational, and Luke Whittaker from Terrace for best halfback and tournament MVP.
Tournament organizers also nominated eight players to be selected for the tournament all-star team, who were:
Aaron Anderson and Jake Heights from Terrace, Brendan Eshom and Eric Lee from Prince Rupert, Wyatt Mowett, Keegan Jack and Jonathan Melia from Hazelton, and Demetre Darvoudis from Kitimat F.C.
With local hotels booked up for the weekend, the tournament had a major turnout of players and fans.
“I haven’t seen the Haisla Braves July 1 soccer tournament soccer so packed since the early 90s,” Paul Gray, tournament coordinator said about the number of cars scattered across Kitamaat Village.
Gray also emphasized his gratitude to the District of Kitimat and the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers for sponsoring the tournament.
“This tournament wouldn’t have happened without those two,” he said.
Gray also wanted to thank Alex Grant Jr. for his commitment to the tournament as head ref and organizer, as well as Brett Amos who was a huge help organizing the games at both fields.
To promote Indigenous inclusion, the tournament was held at both the Riverlodge Recreational Centre soccer field and the Haisla Nation soccer field.
During the opening ceremonies, tournament organizers gave out 400 orange shirts to players, coaches, referees, and the fans who were present.
According to Gray, the last time any of the northwest teams competed against each other was in 2019.
Looking to expand next year, Gray said he’s considering men’s, women’s and youth tournaments for 2022 and starting up a soccer committee in Kitimat to help organize events in the near future.