by Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – Following the Feb. 26-27 University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team’s two wins over the Alberta Golden Bears, Vikes Athleitcs can now officially close the book on what has been coined “The McKinnon Era.” On Feb. 14, the University celebrated the final regular season basketball games ever played in McKinnon Gymnasium, while a 15-5 season record extended that experience for two more games wtih the Vikes men hosting the Canada West quarter-finals last weekend.
As both the Vikes men’s and women’s basketball teams have now qualified for the Canada West Final Four, hosted this weekend on Mar. 6-7, it gives the many Vikes Athletics teams, coaches and supporters a chance to reflect on the memories inside the walls of McKinnon Gymnasium. Currently 73 Canadian University National Championship banners hang in the rafters of the gymnasium, 47 of which were from CIS (formerly CIAU) competitions.
As the new Center for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities, or CARSA, is set to open in May 2015, the Vikes Athletics and Recreation department and all varsity teams will re-locate across Gabriola Road to a new, state-of-the-art facility and home. While Vikes of all generations will be able to visit McKinnon Gymnasium any time, the memories celebrated this year will forever lie with McKinnon Gym.
Among the many people out to celebrate on Feb. 14 were the great CIS basketball coaching legends Ken and Kathy Shields, who guided the Vikes to 15 of the 47 CIS national banners hanging in the rafters above the basketball center court, so fittingly re-named as Ken and Kathy Shields Court. Former men’s basketball greats, Robbie Parris, Eli Pasquale and Gerald Kazanowski, who had their jersey numbers retired, were in attendance, as were many alumni from all sports from all decades.