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Soccer star to enter Powell River Sports Hall of Fame

Larry Louie celebrated for his athletic and leadership contributions
Larry Louie started playing soccer with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 boys team and went on to win gold with Team BC at the 1963 Canada Summer Games.

Larry Louie started practicing how to kick a soccer ball as a child after school in Sliammon. His father made a bulls-eye on the bottom of the old school building, and Louie would kick the ball, aiming for the Xs.

One day, an employee from BC Hydro was working on a telephone pole nearby, watched 12-year-old Louie kick the ball and eventually asked if he wanted to learn how to play soccer.

“I said, ‘I have to ask my dad,’” said Louie, “So we both went over to the house and asked permission to have me come practice soccer, regular soccer. My dad said, ‘okay,’ and that’s how I started to play.”

The experiences in the sport that followed have resulted in Louie’s selection as a member of the second class of inductees into the Powell River Sports Hall of Fame.


Louie played on the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 boys team for a couple of years, and in 1963, helped lead the club to compete in the provincial championship, where he earned the most valuable player and golden boy trophy.

As an adolescent, Louie moved to North Vancouver, where he spent most of his time going to school and playing soccer with the Burdett organization. He started in juvenile and played up to division one in the Pacific Coast League. He also played high school soccer at the time.

“I was playing soccer pretty much seven days a week,” he said. “It was like a job.”

Louie competed in soccer trials and all-star games, and at the age of 16, was selected to try out for the Vancouver Royals.

“I was kind of young, naive. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, because my parents lived up here in Powell River, and I was down there on my own, basically.”

Playing for the Royals was his first taste of professional soccer, then he played in the Western Canadian League for a year.

Right around this time, his physical education coach helped him achieve a soccer scholarship. Thinking the scholarship was for a school in Vancouver, Louie accepted it, then realized it was in St. Louis.

Regardless, his coach offered to drive him there and get him all set up.

“That same month, I got the letter, I got accepted, my dad died, so that ended that,” said Louie. “I just came home.”

Golden games

In 1969, Louie tried out for the first-ever Canada Summer Games and was selected to play for Team BC. Under 21 years old, he played with soccer stars Sam Lenarduzzi and Buzz Parsons. He still remembers being given his fitted Canada Games blazer jacket.

“It was a great feeling, but that was the same week my father died, the same week I got selected, and then I was contemplating going or not going,” explained Louie. “People were calling me, ‘come on, you made the team, you’re going to come, right.’”

He decided to compete and his team played games across the country before the games, which were hosted in Dartmouth and Halifax, Nova Scotia. They won the gold medal and he dedicated the win to his late father.

“It was a good game, competitive, very competitive from both sides,” he said. “They wanted to win for their province because of the east versus the west type of thing.”

He also carried the torch to the parliament buildings in Victoria.

Difficult days

Louie was offered a job logging, which paid a lot more than professional soccer, and he accepted. He was still playing professionally on the weekends, his team flying him in and out each week. He said those were busy, difficult days.

He always wanted to play with his community team, sneaking in games when he came home over the holidays.

“All my years growing up, you could smell that soccer ball coming to the house,” he said. “My uncle was a player, and he was pretty much a hometown hero type of guy. He was a logger but tall, and he was graceful when he was playing soccer. I used to watch him all the time. Everybody respected him, and made him captain of the team. I always said ‘Oh, I want to be like that guy one day.’

“Les Adams was another one, another [sports hall of fame] inductee from two years ago. I wanted to play with him, but I was away for too long. When I got home, they were ready to retire.”

Once he moved back and stopped competing professionally, Louie started playing with the Sliammon Braves. Since then, he’s been a truck driver for more than 40 years, still driving on the weekends. He also served as a school councillor for nearly a decade.

Legislative leader

Now, he’s in his second term as a Tla’amin Nation legislator. He was involved in the Tla’amin Final Agreement in 2016 when Sliammon became the self-governing Tla’amin Nation.

Louie said he became involved to help improve his community's employment and education conditions.

“That was kind of my big thing back in the day,” he added.

To commemorate his athletic and leadership contributions, Louie will be inducted into the Powell River Sports Hall of Fame along with nine other inductees this June, a process he is familiar with. 

“I was involved with the hall of fame committee when the first set of inductees was presented, and they said, ‘you should be in there,’” explained Louie. “I said, ‘I don’t know about that.’ I’m not one to brag about myself.”