I am the singular regular Tenth to the Fraser contributor who loves sports. I’m a hockey fan – primarly Vancouver Giants but I’d take tickets to the Canucks, the Chillwack Bruins, the Abbotsford Heat, or more or less anything at our local arenas. I’m also a former soccer player, coach, and referee of both women’s and girls’ soccer here in New Westminster. I like organized sports – I think they build valuable skills like working with a team, being cooperative, attaining goals, and friendly competition. New Westminster offers many options in the way of team sports at the youth and adult level, and our great climate and numerous facilities mean there is rarely a Saturday or Sunday where the fields in New Westminster are not being utilized. Pretty much all sports teams take a break at the holidays (except those Junior Hockey boys with their annual Boxing Day tournament start) but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a team fix under the tree.
- Salmonbellies Season Tickets: Behold the awesomeness that is lacrosse. Despite a heartbreaking overtime loss in game seven of the Mann Cup final, the ‘Bellies are a New Westminster institution. I see tonnes of Salmonbellies logo stickers on cars here in town, and I love the fact that if you aren’t from New West or a lacrosse fan, you probably have no idea what that unmarked W with a salmon swimming through it means. It’s like a secret handshake. Even if you’re not a sports fan, if you are from here, you probably know what it stands for. 2010 Season tickets, which include 9 games, are a measly $55 for adults, $50 for students and seniors, and $35 for kids. Total. That means at most you are paying just over six bucks a game for an adult for top level, homegrown lacrosse. Um, hello, awesome much? Also, why not complete the gift with a trip to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, located in Centennial Community Centre. We’re talking about a national hall of fame about our national sport. Admission to the Hall of Fame is free – and they are open Monday – Thursday, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday, 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday, 8:30 am – 1:30 pm, Sunday, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. (And PS: the Mann Cup and the Minto Cup reside there.)
- Portable BBQ for Hyack Football Tailgate Parties: I didn’t really grow up with youth level football as the sport of choice (it was soccer and rugby in my hometown) so this whole GO HYACKS thing is a bit foreign. Football has always felt a bit American High School to me – like cheerleaders and prom – but this past season, I’ll admit I’ve been paying attention ever since I happened to catch a piece on the evening news talking about how the AAA Hyacks were No 1 in their league and how most of the players (and coaches) are destined for greatness. (the Hyacks fell in the finals to the Centennial team this past weekend and are 2nd in the province but we love them anyway). You can buy Hyack Merch at the school and also at Prime Time Sports, but also consider a little BBQ from the Army and Navy for a tailgate party to do it up right.
- Batting Practise at the Bullpen Batting Cages: I’ve played a few seasons of slo-pitch, although admittedly it was more of an excuse to drink contraband beverages outdoors in the summer than anything. But the first few games of the season I have to shake some serious cobwebs off the ol’ muscles to re-learn how to hit properly. I’m not exactly Justin Morneau here, but I would think any ball player could use a bit of batting practise during the off season. Fortunately, New Westminster has a hand-fed batting cage that can chuck you pitches at baseball, softball, or slo-pitch speed. Remember, the machines are hand fed, so your gift also needs to include you as the machine feeder. $30/ hour.
- Footie Gear from Sherlock’s: This is one of those awesome shops that puts two things together that might go but just might not. Sort of like chocolate and peanut butter. British sweets and groceries, and authentic, reasonably priced English Premier League clothes and accesories to show your allegiance. You can buy online (follow that link) or you can pop by the store located at 659 Columbia Street.
- Sports Gear from Prime Time Sports – This little family owned sports store has long been a favourite of mine. Here’s a quick story – I have small feet (size 6 women’s) and most sports stores do not carry soccer cleats that are real leather in such a small size, the theory being that most people with feet that small are kids, and vinyl soccer boots will be a smarter choice since they are cheaper, more durable and likely to be grown out of quickly. I have never been disappointed shopping at Prime Time Sports and have bought no less than three pairs at PrimeTime Sports at excellent prices with good service. I think this shop is truly underrated tucked away in Royal City Centre. Granted, their hockey gear selection is more or less nil, but the fact that you can choose from more than one pair of shin guards makes them a-ok in my book.