UBC Thunderbirds' fourth-year guard James Woods (left) turns a corner on UNLV's Elijah Parquet en route to a 33-point performance and 'Birds win in the team's season opener in mid August. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2022. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball University Men's Basketball

Buchanan Cup 2022: For UBC’s James Woods, a career defined by beating the odds makes ‘Boy Wonder’ a well-earned nickname!

VANCOUVER — Deep down in his basketball soul, James Woods has always been Boy Wonder.It’s the nickname he picked up before he was old enough to shave, before he even started to play high school basketball for Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators.And on Friday night (7:30 p.m.), when he pulls on his No. 11 UBC jersey […]

Simon Fraser forward Jahmal Wright is one of only three returning Red Leafs with substantial playing time in 2021-22. SFU unveils its new team on the road Friday as it visits War Memorial Gym to face the UBC Thunderbirds in the Buchanan Cup classic. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of SFU athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball University Men's Basketball

Buchanan Cup 2022: “Coach, you’ve got a lot of new guys…” Simon Fraser Red Leafs face host UBC Thunderbirds on Friday with a new-look team intent on finding some instant karma!

BURNABY — A reporter takes a seat last week in the Burnaby Mountain office of Simon Fraser head men’s basketball coach Steve Hanson, offering an apology ahead of what must be the most obvious observation of all.“Coach, you’ve got a lot of new guys…”Willing to indulge his inquisitor in the playful manner in which the […]

Ready to sling it at home, Simon Fraser quarterback Justin Seiber has a cadre of sure-handed receivers to work with Saturday against Western New Mexico in the form of Ethan Beselt, Sam Davenport and Rob Meadors. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Simon Fraser athletics 2022. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football

SFU Football notebook 10.20.22: Red Leafs filled with emotion ahead of Saturday’s unplanned homecoming to Fox Field! Coach Rigell says team “…ready to push the envelope”

BURNABY — Mike Rigell says he knows how much better his winless Red Leafs football team is than the one which dropped its conference opener to Central Washington 40-7 back on September 17.That game, of course, was played at Terry Fox Field within the friendly confines of SFU Stadium, and upon its completion came the […]

UBC offensive lineman Giovanni Manu has proven himself to be a plug-and-play standout at both tackle and now guard this season. (Photo by Bob Frid property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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UBC Football Notebook 10.19.22 edition: An O-line overhaul sparks ‘Birds run game ahead of Huskies’ Saturday visit, plus more football Thunder Bolts!

VANCOUVER — A UBC football team able to define its identity through the ground game.As easy as it is to over-complicate the modus operandi, it’s always been that simple when it comes to predicting success or a lack thereof for the 2022 edition of the gridiron Thunderbirds.Today, as we open up the notebook from the […]

Simon Fraser quarterback Justin Seiber passed for 394 yards and three touchdowns as the Red Leafs suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss in Texas to the host Permian Falcons. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Simon Fraser athletics 2022. All Rights Reserved)
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A SUNDAY READ: Why Simon Fraser football is inching closer to winning games in Texas! Saturday’s heartbreaking 31-24 OT loss at Permian shows the Seiber-Beselt duo at its best!

A lot of great things can be disguised by a loss.Yet if you witnessed the performance turned in Saturday night in no less a football town than near-mythic Odessa, Texas, you might be inclined to agree that not all ‘L’s’ are created equally.“It was a great momentum builder, a great step moving forward, but again, […]

SFU Red Leafs' receiver Ethan Beselt (top, 4) celebrates with teammates Somto Anyadike (23) and Brandon Johnson Sept. 17 at Terry Fox Field. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Simon Fraser athletics 2022. All Rights Reserved)
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Red Leafs Football Notebook 09.21.22: The return of senior receiver Ethan Beselt, the impact of junior corner Jerrell Cummings, and more as Simon Fraser heads to Texas off CWU loss!

BURNABY — Ethan Beselt had long since stopped counting the days since his last football game.All the unflappable Simon Fraser Red Leafs’ receiver knew was that it had been a long, long time.For the record, it was 1,037 days, which within the window of eligibility for an NCAA student-athlete is indeed nothing short of an […]

Simon Fraser safety Gideone Kremler will bring his No. 1 Red Leafs' jersey along with a singular focus into action Saturday as the locals open the 2022 season against visiting Central Washington. (Photo by Garrett James property of SFU athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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For Simon Fraser Red Leafs’ defensive back Gideone Kremler, finding his inner ‘safety’ comes after a pain-stamped journey to the top of Burnaby Mountain!

BURNABY — A framed photo sits on the dresser drawer of his room in the Burquitlam rental he shares with six other housemates, and for Simon Fraser sophomore safety Gideone Kremler, all it takes is a simple daily glance back at his 12-year-old self to understand — despite all of the pain and disappointment — […]

UBC Thunderbirds' linebacker Ryan Baker has his focus set on the U SPORTS' No. 2-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday night in Saskatoon. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2022. All Rights Reserved)
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From offence to defence, UBC’s Ryan Baker now the ‘tackle maker’ … Thunderbirds’ linebacker records 13 tackles in opening win! No. 9 ‘Birds at No. 2 Sask Huskies on Friday!

VANCOUVER — Ryan Baker came to UBC four years ago with a football resume seemingly as vast as the geographic dimensions of the school’s sprawling Point Grey campus.Now, five seasons into a gridiron career punctuated by not only the pandemic, but by a switch from one side of the ball to the other, the prowess […]

UBC quarterback Garrett Rooker is equally at home these days with both the Canadian and U.S. versions of the game. (Photo by Don Voaklander property of U of Alberta athletics 2021. All rights reserved)
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UBC Football 2022: The ‘Canadianization’ of ‘Birds Texas-born quarterback Garrett Rooker takes flight! Reigning CW Rookie of the Year leads Blue-&-Gold into Saturday opener vs. visiting Alberta!

VANCOUVER — If you’re a fan of B.C. football, I am sure you’ll agree that the summer of 2022 has been blessed by a thick coating of something best described as quarterback karma… the likes of which we have never seen.Of course, you can start with the previously unthinkable: Canadians Nathan Rourke and Michael O’Connor […]

Your author, presenting with pride, the MVP trophy at the 2015 Tsumura Basketball Invitational, to McMath Wildcats' Jessica Jones. (Photo by Wilson Wong 2015 All Rights Reserved)
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A message from Howard: After 40 years, I’ll bring a new writing direction to Varsity Letters for the 2022-23 high school and university sports season!

NORTH DELTA –  Heartfelt greetings to all of you, my loyal, longtime readers.It’s been five months since I decided to take a break from my writing life.As was the goal from the very start, my decision to take sabbatical after 40 years of daily practice — first from my typewriter, and of course later, in […]