VICTORIA – The Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) Performance Gym was home to the 9th Annual Vikes Championship Breakfast on Tuesday morning, as supporters of the Vikes gathered to celebrate the largest annual fundraising event for Vikes Athletics.

Vikes Athletics and Recreation Director Clint Hamilton announced over $450,000 raised for Vikes student-athlete scholarships, bringing the nine-year total of the event to over $3.8 million thanks in large part to the over 650 supporters who filled the gym, those who were unable to attend and sponsors PepsiCo and Grand & Toy.

“It really is a pleasure for me to look out at the assembled supporters and sponsors today—it’s a reminder for me of the sheer community required to support our Vikes and also the generosity of our community,” Hamilton said in his address at the breakfast.

“Your financial support allows us to attract the next generation of Vikes in a very competitive recruiting world and it also ensures that today’s Vikes can focus on athletics and academic priorities and also use time that might otherwise be used to work to put in to the community in different ways.”

For five years since the inaugural 2008 event, UVic has provided a match for the first $150,000 of profit raised but since 2013 that amount has been increased to $200,000. Every year, Vikes athletes contribute by setting up, taking down and serving food at the event. Degrees Catering provided breakfast while PepsiCo provided Tropicana orange juice at every table.

Two-time Olympian Nancy Mollenhauer served as the keynote speaker on the morning, delivering an inspiring speech that encouraged those in attendance to stay involved in sports and active, healthy living. The two-time UVic Athlete of the year was a fitting speaker for a crowd filled with Olympians, including Rio participants Lindsay Jennerich, Kai Langerfeld and Hilary Stellingwerff.

Mira Laurence, currently the Executive Director of Headway, Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre, entertained the crowd as emcee, a role that she has filled in the past. A former sports anchor with CTV Vancouver Island and a member of the Vikes team, Laurence was her normal spirited self and urged the crowd to get involved in a big year for UVic athletics.

The Vikes Championship Breakfast is the largest annual fundraising event for Vikes Athletics. The support generated by the event helps with both recruitment and retention, allowing Vikes Athletics the opportunity to compete at the highest level year in and year out.