September 28, 2022

Sugar Cane Ball Diamond will be named after late player and tournament organizer Byron Louie

Williams Lake First Nation will unveil a sign at the Sugar Cane Ball Diamond on Saturday, August 13, dedicating it to Byron Louie Memorial Park. (photo by Willie Sellars)
The Williams Lake Indian Band's Sugar Cane Ball Diamond will be renamed in honor of the late Byron Louie on Saturday August 13th.  (Photo by Anna Kalalest)The Williams Lake Indian Band’s Sugar Cane Ball Diamond will be renamed in honor of the late Byron Louie on Saturday August 13th. (Photo by Anna Kalalest)

The Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) Sugar Cane Ball Diamond will be named after the late Byron Louie, who died in January 2021 of COVID-19.

“Byron played ball and built our ballpark,” said WLFN leader Willie Sellars. “He organized tournaments there. He was a solid guy, liked and known in the baseball circuit.

A new sign that reads “Byron Louie Memorial Park” will be unveiled on Saturday, August 13 at a fun, family-friendly ball tournament hosted by Byron’s family.

Sellars said it would be an emotional day for sure.

“He was a good friend to all of us.”

Byron, who was the son of former chief Ann Louie, was almost 47 when he died.

She said that last year a golf tournament was held at Coyote Rock in her memory.

“My youngest son, Will Louie, organized the events in conjunction with WLFN. The group has been very supportive and very respectful in honoring our son, father, uncle, brother and friend.

Louie described Byron as a “very nice and special young man” who was taken too soon.

He made many friends and worked in various fields for the band, including haymaking, logging, mining, treaty negotiations and was the manager of the Chief Will Yum gas bar.

Bryon loved his sports, played hockey and was an excellent hockey player.

“A lot of people still talk about the way he played. He played ball, golf, poker and held bingo for our elders who loved him.

He leaves behind three adult sons – Malcolm, Jaron and Daniel Sellars – who reside in Kamloops with their mother.

Chief Sellars said an invitation was sent out to anyone who wanted to take part in the tournament and enough people signed up to form five teams which were randomly drawn.

“We’ll even have 70-year-old seniors playing,” Sellars said, noting he’s also playing with his first game scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday morning. “It won’t be too competitive.”

The sign, which will be unveiled at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, was crafted from wood by community member Joey Alphonse at Sugar Cane’s operations and maintenance shop.

In 2017, Byron spoke with the Grandstand when WLFN received a $90,000 investment through the Toronto Blue Jays Care Foundation and local support to upgrade the ball diamond.

At the time, he said having a thriving sports community can be a big deterrent to keeping kids out of trouble.

“The most important thing is to try to keep the kids out of town all the time,” he said. “A lot of them are also comfortable with electronics. Trying to upgrade the field and be able to use it for something other than baseball is something that is being considered when all the work started there. few years, so hopefully all of this can be tracked as well.

READ MORE: Ribbon cutting in progress at Sugarcane for a new ball field

READ MORE: The Late Summer Madness slo-pitch tournament is set to take the spotlight at Sugar Cane this weekend

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