PROFILE PHOTO COURTESY OF KIMBERELY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY / Sports Talk with Tyson is a column that covers all things sports related in the North Island. Have some thoughts about Sports Talk with Tyson? Email a letter to and we will publish it online and in print.

High school wrestling is back at PHSS

I’ve had a couple people ask me “Tyson, what have you done for the local youth” after reading my previous editorial about Port Hardy needing a community recreation centre.

Well, I’m glad they asked. Not only have I spent four years here at the North Island Gazette writing about youth sports, I’ve also recently made the decision to donate my free time in the evenings to coaching high school wrestling this season. That’s right. I’m giving back to the youth by teaching them about the sport at my old stomping grounds where I first learned takedowns, pins, escapes, and reversals.

I can’t take all the credit for the decision. Mike Cleary was the one who stepped up to the plate and invited me to attend his PE class to show some techniques and wrestle some matches, and he quickly agreed to be the teacher sponsor after we saw how enthused the kids were.

I have lots of great memories from my time spent at Port Hardy Secondary School, and after 17 years I finally got back on their old wrestling mats. I’m a little banged up and sore as I’m typing this (I haven’t wrestled or trained jiu jitsu in about four years), but it still feels good to have made a comeback after a bit of a lengthy layoff.

Anyways, my first impression is that the talent level here in Port Hardy is quite high and there are definitely a few beasts who are more than ready to do what it takes to get good at the sport.

I’m looking forward to the season starting up and hopefully we get a good turnout of students on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (we might go till 6:30 if an hour isn’t long enough).

If we get enough kids out participating, we’ll then form an official team and go compete down island in places like Campbell River and Port Alberni.

With that out of the way, the most important thing to me isn’t winning. I really just want the kids to have fun, learn something new, build confidence, get in better shape, and understand what it takes to persevere under pressure.

Wrestling teaches you about personal responsibility and mental toughness, because it’s only you out there on the mat. There’s no one else backing you up. Your teammates can’t step in if things aren’t going your way. You have to be ready to go every single match, and if you’re not, you’re going to have a bad day on the mats.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t of wrestled, and I like to think my work ethic and drive to succeed comes from that experience.

Tyson Whitney is an award-winning journalist who was born and raised in Port Hardy. His family has lived in Port Hardy for more than 40 years. He graduated with a degree in writing from Vancouver Island University in 2008. Email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everyone should be aware of the Labour Day movement

My hat is off to Tyson Whitney for his article on Labour Day.

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Transformative ‘Centre of Hope’ coming to Port Hardy

With the new building, the Salvation Army will be able to run the shelter year long.

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read