The Haisla Braves in action against the Terrace Providers. (Photos Gerry Leibel)

The Haisla Braves in action against the Terrace Providers. (Photos Gerry Leibel)

Northwest soccer teams to compete in Kitimat tournament

Two women’s teams will play two exhibitions, with nine men’s teams committed to the tournament

Finally establishing some normalcy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Kitimat resident Paul Gray has put together a women’s exhibition soccer match as well as a men’s soccer tournament, known as the Every Child Matter Memorial Tournament, for Canada Day and Canada Day weekend.

Starting at 12 on July 1, the People of the Snow women’s soccer team will be hosting the Kitwanga Wildcats for an exhibition match, with an exhibition game between two Kitimat men’s teams right after, and the tournament starting at 7:00 p.m.

With a $500 buy-in, the men’s tournament will be a double-elimination tournament with the awards going to the first, second, and third-place teams.

Though there are roughly nine teams committed to the tournament, the amount per award is tentative based on how many teams actually show up to the tournament.

To promote Indigenous inclusion, the tournament will be held at both the Riverlodge Recreational Centre soccer field, as well as the Haisla Nation soccer field.

During the opening ceremonies, tournament organizers will be giving out 400 orange shirts to players, coaches, refs, and the fans who are present.

According to Gray, the last time any of the northwest teams competed against each other was in 2019.

“There’s a lot of excitement between the players, […] it’ll just be nice to do something normal again,” Gray said.

B.C. is entering phase 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan July 1, meaning the tournament may host up to 5,000 spectators.

The teams that have committed to the men’s tournament are Kitimat F.C., Haisla Braves, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Saskatchewan, Hazelton, Gyeet Weks, Nisga’a United, and Gitsagukla.

READ MORE: A soccer bonanza for local soccer fans