Hope blasted their up-river rivals 5-3 in 2014 but were narrowly defeated, 9-5 in 2010. The two sides will meet for a grudge match in the coming weeks. Barry Stewart/Hope Standard

World Cup returns to the lower canyon

Yale and Hope to meet in grudge match, in third World Cup of Hope-Yale soccer

Like the Stanley Cup, the trophy for the best soccer team in the world (based out of Hope or Yale) needs to be kept under lock and key.

The Canyon Cup, as it has come to be called, was built in by neighbours Shelley Empey and Don Wiens in 2010. With exotic parts procured from other historic trophies and culinary collections, they fabricated a monument to soccer superiority. Soaring to nearly one metre in height, the cup is capped with a silver bowl, atop a five-tiered tower coated in pure simulated gold paint.

“It’s definitely not available in stores,” said Empey of the unique trophy.

The World Cup of Hope-Yale was started in 2010 and played every four years, so the other World Cup can coordinate its schedule and piggy-back its sponsorship programs. So far, the two have coexisted almost seamlessly.

There was a problem, though. With the local championship only a few weeks away, the location of the trophy remained a mystery.

Whose lock and key was it under? Surely, it had to be in the Hope area, as Yale had lost the rights to it after a crushing 5-3 defeat in 2014. Still, there was some suspicion that while the champions were basking in the glory of the decisive win, perhaps a Camp Squeah employee had squirreled the trophy away in the trunk of his car. It had been a cold and soggy day, so there were many blankets to use in a cover-up.

But sometimes, you just have to pick up the phone.

A call to Empey, a co-organizer of the 2014 event, helped clear up the mystery.

“Was it only four years ago?” said Empey. “It seems like it was so much longer.”

She didn’t have the cup but had an idea who might. She would call him right away and get back to me.

Ten minutes later: “Yes, Geordie Webber has it,” said a relieved Empey. “He said it probably hasn’t been dusted since 2014.

“There’s bad news, though,” she continued, a worried tone coming over the phone line. “Colin says he plans to play for Yale, because he’s working for Darwin and Sue Baerg this summer.”

Colin Webber and his brother Mark were solid defenders for Hope in 2014. Mark is now with the RCMP, stationed in Fort St. John, so at least there will only be one Webber forsaking the community he grew up in, lured by a lucrative contract to play for a team that isn’t even a team yet.

So Yale has one player. So what? They probably don’t even have a ball — or even a needle to pump it up with.

As of Wednesday morning, Hope already had three players confirmed. Make that six. Seven.

A private Facebook event has been set up, with the proposed date of Thursday, July 12, at 6:30 p.m. Location TBA. Twenty-six have been invited so far and invitees have the option of adding more to the list. Eligible players would be living and/or working in the area. Ex-pats welcome, too. No imported ‘ringers,’ please.

Those wanting to rekindle their skills and fitness (especially if you plan to play for Hope) can join the drop-in group at C.E. Barry field on Thursday evenings.

Players who are not Facebook users can contact Barry Stewart at barstewart@telus.net.

Disclosure: the author is a player and organizer of the Hope 2018 team.

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