Celebrating a Voice of the Vikes

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Aug 21,2014(ISN) – VICTORIA – Long-time University of Victoria Vikes broadcaster, game official and supporter Peter Songhurst passed away on Jul. 27 following a courageous battle with cancer.

Songhurst, who retired from a career in education in 2005, also performed numerous community and sports services around the Capital Region for decades. Everyone involved with Vikes athletics along with the entire community, is saddened by the loss of Peter, but are grateful for the time and influence he had on us.

A Victoria native, Peter graduated from Oak Bay High School and went on to earn his BA from UVic. Songhurst’s long tenure in sports included major successes in his own playing days, as he was a member of 1975-76 Bate Construction fast pitch team. That team won the 1976 Canadian title and represented Canada at the World Championships in New Zealand. The Victoria squad was named co-champions along with the US and New Zealand and was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

During his career as a teacher, Songhurst worked mostly in District 62 in the Western Communities for Spencer Junior High and then at Belmont Secondary. In 1990, Songhurst was the head coach of the Spencer Wildcats junior boys’ basketball team and led them to the BC Championship, over their cross-town rivals Arbutus Aztecs, who were led by future NBA MVP Steve Nash.

Along with his playing and coaching resumes, Songhurst was also involved in a countless number of roles in the sports community. He spent time as both the Director and President of the Gorge Soccer Association; In 2007, he was a part of the staff that helped stage the Under 20 Men’s World Cup games at Royal Athletic Park; And for the past several years he also took on the role of director of Victoria’s Night League basketball.

Peter was also a highly decorated soccer and basketball referee and was highly respected by two generations of players in both sports. A long-time Victoria basketball coach described Songhurst’s style of officiating as “a polite no-non-sense delivery with a calm, firm command.” However, he was not one to be tested while wearing stripes, as former UVic Vikes star Chris Trumpy once learned through an ejection from a Spring League game.

Despite all of the work Songhurst contributed to the community, he still found time to work as a broadcaster with the Vikes. He first provided his talents as a PA announcer for the soccer teams, then as both play-by-play and color commentator for both the soccer and basketball squads. He was the broadcaster during the Vikes glory of winning the 2011 CIS Men’s Soccer Championship on home soil at Centennial Stadium, as well as covered the Women’s Soccer Nationals in 2012.

The tragic passing of Peter is a real loss to the Victoria sport community, said Vikes Women’s soccer coach Tracey David. “He was passionate about all sports and dedicated his life to furthering sports development. Whether it was as an athlete, coach, referee, manager, administrator or commentator, the sport were enriched because of Peter’s involvement. We will miss his easy smile, his fantastic sense of humour and his indefatigable energy.”

Songhurst’s voice was blasted across the country when he was on the call for Game 3 of the 2012 Vikes men’s basketball Canada West play-off series with the Calgary Dinos. Senior forward Terrell Evans won the game at the buzzer to put the Vikes through to the next round.

The Vikes and UVic sends the most heartfelt condolences to Peter’s family and hopes it provides comfort to know that Peter’s contribution to the Vikes will be forever remembered.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: Vancouver General Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Unit 855, West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1M9 or Victoria Hospitals Foundation Wilson Block, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria, B.C. V8R 9Z9

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