Rams head coach Howie Zaron, seen here in a team training video, has been charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He says he is innocent. (Facebook image)

Lower Mainland football head coach faces drug charge

Howie Zaron charged with possession of cocaine, president saying team standing behind him

Head coach of the Langley Rams football team has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, Mounties confirmed this week. But he maintains his innocence.

Howie Zaron, 45, who coached the Rams to the Canadian Bowl in 2019, has been charged after a Langley RCMP drug section investigation led to a search of a home and vehicle in Brookswood in April.

“I strongly believe that the charge is not going to stick,” Zaron told the Langley Advance Times.

“My friends and family know who I am, and this is not it,” Zaron said.

The April searches by police turned up a small amount of cocaine, packaged in what Cpl. Holly Largy said was 17 “flaps,” some cash, packaging materials, and a small scale. It was a relatively small-scale bust, according to the RCMP.

Langley RCMP announced the charges a week ago, on July 16, but did not release Zaron’s name at the time. An anonymous tip advised the Langley Advance Times that Zaron had been charged.

Zaron said he has done nothing wrong, and he will not step aside from his coaching post unless he is asked to do so. He expressed concern about the damage his arrest will have on local minor football.

His lawyer, David Milburn, said Zaron just found out about the charge on Wednesday, July 22 and he hasn’t yet seen disclosure from Crown counsel.

READ MORE: Charges laid three months after Brookswood drug search

Zaron is expected to appear in Surrey Provincial Court to face the charges on Aug 4.

Dana Matheson, president of the Langley Rams, said he was unaware of the charge before he was contacted by the Langley Advance Times on Wednesday, July 22.

But, he confirmed, the club’s board of directors has clear protocols that any coach facing criminal charges is automatically suspended until the case is resolved.

“Our board, it’s probably worth noting, has decided that any time there’s a legal issue that comes up with any coaches, until the investigation is complete… I mean we’ve never been in this situation before, but this is how we operate as a board, any time something like this does comes up the coach is suspended until further notice – until the charges are either dropped or we get further knowledge of anything.”

Matheson said the justice system has to have time to run its course, and verified that this means Zaron is suspended until further notice.

“We had no prior knowledge of this…,” Matheson added.

“We have no details at all and really no comments about anything to do with it because we didn’t know. We were completely blindsided. We’ve never known coach Zaron to have any issues. He’s never caused us any problems. He’s been A1 as a football coach and he’s always said what he’s done, and done what he said. He’s had an unblemished record with us,” he said.

“Every season, we run a criminal record check on every coach who takes the field, so on that end, we definitely do our due diligence to make sure there’s no history of anything before we hire any coaches to work with kids,” Matheson elaborated. “That’s been done every single year – obviously. And his name was never associated with anything other than, I guess going way back into the ’90s.”

Zaron has been before the courts in B.C. before, but not for many years. In 1996, he was found guilty of a 1995 assault. Zaron would have been approximately 19 at the time of the incident.

“Nothing has been on our radar… Coach Howie has been with us the last two, two-and-a-half years now. He’s been a role model coach and he’s been a model coach and there’s been absolutely no red flags with him or no issue, no concerns, no problems, no nothing,” the president said.

A member of the B.C. football community for more than 20 years, Zaron joined the Rams in 2017 when he was named the new general manager, with Matt Blokker as head coach.

He’d coached with Langley Minor Football and North Surrey Minor, winning B.C. Community Football Championships.

A Langley native, Zaron was also head coach of the Valley Huskers from 2006 to 2009, and won back-to-back Ranji Mattu Awards as BCFC coach of the year in both 2007 and 2008.

By the 2018 season, Zaron had become interim head coach, a position that became permanent. He oversaw multiple winning seasons for the Rams.

“We are with our coach, and we believe in him,” the president added. “Hopefully nothing more comes of it, and we can get him back on the sidelines,” Matheson concluded.

READ MORE: How football players practice without breaking social distancing rules

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DrugsFootballLangleyLangley RamsLangley RCMP

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

Just Posted

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read