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VIDEO: Memorial match hosted by Powell River Villa showcases region's soccer’s past and present

Charity event raises $1,600 for food bank, Salvation Army
Powell River Villa_Steve_Steele match_IMG_7483
Stevie's Steelers captain Dave McMaster [left, in white] and Powell River Villa captain Niko Cristante battle for ball possession during the annual Steve Steve Memorial Boxing Day match, which was held March 26, three months late due to snowy conditions at Timberlane Park on December 26.

The long-delayed Boxing Day charity soccer match between Powell River Villa and Stevie’s Steelers took place on Saturday, March 26, in front of a big crowd that braved the drizzly weather to support both the players and people in need in Powell River. Snow prevented the annual event from taking place on December 26.

“It was a fantastic day, and not only were we able to raise money for two really wonderful charities, the food bank and the Salvation Army, but we were able to honour two people who have been instrumental to the sport here in Powell River,” said organizer Steve Robertson. “It was great to have Paul Liknes and Jim Veenhof coach the teams for the game, and to honour them for their contributions to soccer.”

Liknes coached Stevie’s Steelers, a team made up of veteran qathet region soccer players.

“The Steelers team was filled with many players who have had a lot of soccer success for many years in this town,” said Dave McMaster, who captained the Steelers. “It is an honour and privilege to play for the Steelers in this game; you almost need to earn your right to be on the team.

“We of course expected Villa to win. The Villa players are young, and have great speed and skill. We are all proud of their success this year in [Vancouver Island Soccer League] Division 1, thanks to good coaching by Tony Leach and Chris McDonough.”

Villa, coached for this game by Veenhof, won the game 4-1.

“We planned to keep Villa off the score sheet for the first 10 minutes, which we were able to do,” said McMaster. “The score was 1-0 at the half for Villa, and in the second half we had to defend more when Villa stepped up their game. We were happy to get on the scoreboard, and even though we don’t normally like to lose, we feel that we all won by being part of a special and successful event.”

The most valuable player trophy was awarded to Steelers’ keeper Rick Bombardir, who made some incredible saves during the game to keep the score close. Robertson also wanted to thank referee Bob Bogoslowski and linesmen Rupert Thoms and Evan Behan for their work during the game.

“An event like this doesn’t happen without a lot of people’s time and effort,” said Robertson. “Thanks to the volunteers, the sponsors and the players. I want to send special thanks out to Ian Richmond, who led the players and officials onto the field with his bagpipes, and Gitta Nielsen for singing the national anthem. It was a fun day of soccer and a good social event.”

People in the crowd were big participants in the game, from cheering on the players on both sides to purchasing extra door prize and 50/50 tickets. The 50/50 prize of $500, sponsored by River City Mini Excavating, was won by Veenhof’s sister Annie, with the U13 boy’s soccer team raising $345 for their travel expenses.

“One of the best moments for me was when a young boy came up to me with a door prize ticket, asked me if it was a winner, and I said it was,” said Robertson. “He went over to the table and picked out a beautiful soccer ball valued at $200. He was all smiles for the rest of the game.”

Proceeds from the game will be donated to Powell River Action Centre Food Bank and the Salvation Army, coming to $800 for each charity.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

Organizers are already planning for the next match, scheduled for Monday, December 26, 2022. Everyone is already crossing their fingers for no snow.