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Builder - Dan Kulai

Born: Yugoslavia, November 10, 1907.
Died: Vancouver B.C., August 22, 1980.Dan Kulai

Dan was brought to Canada from Yugoslavia by his parents when he was very young and he grew up in the mining town of Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. His soccer career began in Ladysmith where the local team was made up of miners and he played for that team which was a power in B.C. soccer in the 1920s.

An outstanding inside forward in May of 1928 he was a member of the team which won the Province Cup, the championship of British Columbia, playing at inside left. Later that same year he crossed the Georgia Straight and joined Westminster Royals, who had won the national championship the previous season. He made his debut for the Royals on December 8, 1928 and won the Province, Mainland and O.B. Allan (Injured Players) Cups with the team in the spring of 1929. However, the Royals were upset in the B.C. final for the national championship when surprisingly defeated by Vancouver St. Saviours. Kulai's time with the Royals was short lived and by the time the 1929-30 season started he was playing for Vancouver St. Andrews and in the spring of 1930 was at inside right when St. Andrews were beaten in the Province Cup final, but won the Mainland Cup.

By 1935 he was back on Vancouver Island playing for Nanaimo and was a member of the team that was beaten in the Province Cup final in that year. Back in the lower mainland in 1936 he was a member of the Vancouver North Shore team that won the Mainland Cup. However, around that time an injury forced him to stop playing in the forward line and turned him into a goalkeeper with great success. He joined the Vancouver St. Saviours team and played in two more Province Cup finals 1938 and 1939 and in three more Mainland Cup finals 1938, 1939 and 1941. In 1939 he was a member of the B.C. AllStar team that competed in the soccer competition at the San Francisco World's Fair and later that same year represented B.C. against the touring Scottish F.A. team. 

When his playing career was over he turned to refereeing and was one of the leading officials in B.C. soccer for 25 years. Dan was named to the prestigious FIFA list in 1956 and in 1960 refereed the World Cup qualifying game between the United States and Mexico. In 1967 he was one of a panel of officials who handled games in the Pan American Games competition held in Winnipeg. He also refereed at least 27 games between B.C. All-Star teams and touring teams between 1949 and 1966. On his retirement from the Vancouver Fire Department became a referee instructor. He was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.