Ladner has lost one of its greatest lacrosse players.
Mike Kettles passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 24 at the age of 55, leaving behind his large family and a province-wide lacrosse community that greatly respected what he brought to the game.
A proud member of one of Ladner’s pioneer families, Kettles decorated career included helping the New West Salmonbellies win the Mann Cup national senior “A” championship in 1989 and 1991.
The 6-foot-3 defender, nicknamed “Spud” by his teammates to reflect his family’s farming background, was known for his tireless work ethic on the lacrosse floor.
Most nights he was matched up against top scorers from opposing teams in a shutdown role.
K.C. Cook was the Salmonbellies president and GM at the time. He last saw Kettles in the fall when the New West team was officially inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
“This comes as a shock and I am deeply saddened by the news,” said Cook. “Mike was such a beauty. Solid values, a rock in life and on the lacrosse floor. He was liked and respected by all who knew him or met him. Mike’s smile is engrained in our memories.”
The youngest of Jack and Sharen Kettles’ four children, Mike had many opportunities to spend time in nature growing up in Ladner, where he developed a love for hunting and fishing that he continued into his adult years.
He teamed up with his brother Darren to help the Delta Farmers team win the annual Tug O’ War Trophy, a feat their grandfather and great-grandfather also accomplished.
After his decorated run with the Salmonbellies, Mike eventually moved to Vernon where he continued to play senior lacrosse and led his team to a number of Interior League titles. He also got to hoist the President’s Cup national senior “B” lacrosse championship in 1990 when he and longtime Ladner friend Scott Anderson were added to the host Burnaby Bandits’ roster. He concluded his playing career in Prince George.
Mike was predeceased by his dad in 2020. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Tracy, his three daughters, Taylor (Ben), Danika (Greg), Hayley (Braedon), his grandson Jake Michael, his mom, his siblings Tracey (Lorne), Shelley (Robert) and Darren, along with many extended family members and great friends far and wide.
A celebration of life will be held at later date.