Basketball was played at the Sooke Community Hallback in the 1950s.

Sooke has always been a sports oriented town

Historian Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Recent mention in a Victoria daily of Brian Banner, starting to become known nationally as a fastball catcher, one of a 40-man roster selected for Team Canada, reminds us that since our first Sooke soccer team photo was taken in 1907, Sooke has been outstanding as a sports community.  That our many sports fields are maintained by volunteer effort is an example of the dedication of coaches and supporters in encouraging our youth.

Another example is the Sooke Community Hall, built in 1937 not only as a structure to accommodate dances and public events, but especially for basketball, with a court that was one of the largest on Vancouver Island in that era.

One of the basketball coaches in this 1952 photo is still well-known in Sooke today, Rod Sullivan, far right, who earned his living as a boomman, but was out fishing when I called his house just now. The coach on the left is Ray Pimlott, who spent his working life in Sooke as a forest company manager, and is now retired at Chemainus.

While sports were important for the young boys in the photo, their careers carried them elsewhere, and we’ve heard the following notes about their working lives. Standing, rear is John Kendrew who became an educator in northern BC; Tim Goudie who worked as a loader operator in the woods; George Pedneault, now retired from carrying out logging for the Water District; Frank Carosella who became a towboat skipper on the Fraser and upcoast; and Everett Sandberg.

Seated, Billy Perry, now retired from a career with BC Hydro; Len Morris who became a saw filer (Art Morris Park was named for his dad);  Gordie Eve – while he’s now retired in Victoria he was a log scaler who flew his own plane to work.  Glenn Bullen, end of the row, spent many years pitching fastball, though he earned his living in management at the local sawmill. Sadly, Tim Goudie, Len Morris and Glenn Bullen have passed on.

The bench the boys are sitting on is one of many still doing duty for Sooke Community Association, and the big old hall is still in use for many community activities and sports, though  basketball is no longer in vogue.

Elida Peers, Historian

Sooke Region Museum