They said it: athletes, teams and the goal, in their own words

What they said; in gathering the stories and lists of accomplishments in 2018, the NOW was privileged to garner some choice words from many of those involved in the action. Here is just a select few of the many pearls we look to build our world around:


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“One of my teammates, Noah Pastrana, was joking around I think in the quarter-final. He was like, ‘You know that if we win you’re going to win MVP, right?’ I just kind of brushed it off.” Burnaby South post player Jusuf Sehic, who converted 50 per cent of his shots from the field, led his team to the 4-A provincial title in March.


“It’s such a shock to the system. I think I forgot to breathe and definitely remember feeling G forces in my back through the final corner.” – Burnaby-based bobsledder Julie Johnson on her first-ever ride at the Whistler sliding centre.


"Dan was pretty calm and not one of those yellers or screamers. He had plays and strategies we’d work on in practice, but when it came to game time he’d just open the gates and let us play.” -- one-time Burnaby Cablevision player Derek Dickson, recalling the method that coach Dan Mattinson used during the team's reign in the late 1970s. The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inducted the coach this year, along with the 1996-2007 Burnaby Lakers dynasty.


“I don’t need to motivate my guys – it’s a final. They know how good McMath is, and if we’re not motivated we’re going to get our butts kicked.” -- Byrne Creek senior boys basketball coach Bal Dhillon prior to his team bested McMath 73-63 in the 3-A Lower Mainland final.


“I’d say (hockey is) everything about me. When I was young I was obsessed with the game; you grow out of that a little bit but at the same time I’m always that kid at heart.” Burnaby Winter Club prospect and 2017/18 NHL rookie of the year Mathew Barzal, in an interview with the NOW in March prior to the New York Islanders’ game against Vancouver.


“It was an insane feeling. I couldn’t stop smiling until I got on the bus to go back home.” St. Thomas More’s Gabriella Bellini, after capturing the senior girls 64-kilogram provincial wrestling title.


“I don’t think our guys bounced back well after the loss in the semifinals. Claremont came out strong and their block-defence gave us a lot of trouble. They served and passed better than (we did) as well, and they deserved that win.” -- Moscrop senior boys volleyball coach Jerry Yan on his team's performance in the provincial semifinals. The team would finish fourth.


“Swimming is my talent. I don’t want to waste this chance.” Burnaby’s Peter Huang, after establishing three new national records for 12 year olds at the Swim B.C. Tier 2 provincial championships.


“I did a little stutter-step back and landed on my butt. I just laughed, I looked at him and he ran up to my face.” Burnaby’s Robert Couzens of being temporarily put on the canvas at the Canadian welterweight boxing championships, which he won.


“I think of this team like a family. Everybody knew what it would take, that there’d be a lot of hard work and commitment. We got on a roll and played like we wanted it more.” EDC Burnaby Over-35 premier men’s soccer coach Rodrigo Alvarado on his team’s successful debut in the Masters A league, ending with a provincial cup title.


“It forces us to learn patience. We’re coaching Grade 8s and we’re teaching them the game and it’s important to give them the fundamentals. You have to be gentle, have to compose yourself and I think it gives us a new perspective on the game.” -- Moscrop middle hitter Alana Leung, on taking on a coaching role with the school's younger teams.


“We have a philosophy – we do not turn any kids away. We certainly pride ourselves on being a real community organization.” – Larry Hayes, executive administrator with Burnaby Minor Hockey Association, which was named the Association of the Year by the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association.


“We were just going to play some new cards and I don’t think anyone expected that we would be sprinting for me tonight.” – Summer Moak, the 19-year-old cyclist with the Rally Cycling team that spirited away the Giro di Burnaby title.


“When you get to 85 and go to the doctor, he looks at you sort of funny – ‘You’re 85 years old and you want to race cars? You’re nuts, you’re already half-dead.’” – Burnaby’s Al Ores, recalling some of the obstacles and quirks of continuing his passion in auto racing.


"We could (challenge) for first but I don't know if we can get there this year. What we're looking to get from this season is experience and chemistry. You never say never, because crazy things can happen, but with the Mann Cup (hosted by Ontario) this year it's always difficult." -- Burnaby Lakers veteran Dane Stevens, on the team's rebuild-on-the-run that saw them falter in their defence of their 2017 regular season league title, falling all the way to sixth place.


“In my first year I felt there were a few moments where I was indecisive, but I worked with my coaches on being able to make better decisions.” – St. Thomas More quarterback Dario Ciccone, who was voted B.C. High School Football’s AAA MVP after leading his team to a 6-2 record.

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