VICTORIA – In just under three months Vikes Athletics and Recreation will celebrate a milestone 10 years since the inaugural Vikes Championship Breakfast. The 2017 event is set for Sept. 26 in the CARSA Performance Gym and former Vikes men’s basketball player Ian Hyde-Lay will bring the keynote address on behalf of the late Simon Ibell with Pepsico and Grand & Toy once again supporting the event.
“Simon was a dear friend for nearly 30 years,” said Hyde-Lay of his former student. “He stood for everything that was right and good. It will be an honour to speak on his behalf and, hopefully, accurately portray his values and dreams.”
Ibell passed away on May 26 after a long battle with a rare medical condition known as MPS II Hunter Syndrome. He was a St. Michaels University School (SMUS ’96) and University of Victoria (BA, ’02) graduate and also a dedicated manager of the Vikes men’s basketball program under the late Guy Vetrie. Ibell was front and centre when the program hoisted its eighth and most recent Canadian University national banner in 1997.
“Simon Ibell and I spoke some time ago about him bringing the keynote message at the milestone 10th Vikes Championship Breakfast,” said Clint Hamilton, Director of Vikes Athletics and Recreation. “He was excited to be coming back to campus in support of our Vikes and knowing the special relationship between him and Vikes alumni Ian Hyde-Lay, it is wonderful that Ian will bring the keynote message at our event in September in a way that will be no doubt represent the inspiration and positive spirit so evident with Simon.”
Ibell attended SMUS from 1990-96 and Hyde-Lay taught him in various physical education classes in that time frame. Hyde-Lay further asked Ibell to manage the Senior Boys basketball team, which then included future Vikes Ali Wilmott and Ole Schmidt.
Following his time at SMUS and UVic, Ibell went on to manage the Canadian national basketball team. In 2002, he biked the length of Vancouver Island with NBA icon and fellow SMUS grad Steve Nash, raising $250,000 for Bike 4 MPS. After six years working with the acclaimed Right to Play organization, in 2011 he formed both the iBellieve Foundation and Be Fair 2 Rare outreach program, advocating for Canadians suffering from rare diseases. The following year, Ibell was honoured as a UVic Distinguished Alumnus and became a strong supporter of CARSA, UVic’s new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities.
“Simon absolutely loved his time at UVic,” exclaimed Hyde-Lay. “He impacted the community daily through his humility, positive attitude, determination and example, making light of his supposed ‘disability.’ He loved sport, and therefore appreciated the effort, skill and involvement of the UVic athletes, coaches and support staff. So to speak at the Championship Breakfast, which directly supports Vikes Athletics, would have been important to him.”
Hyde-Lay, who graduated from UVic in 1980, has taught and coached at SMUS for the past 33 years. His son Graeme is currently on the Vikes men’s basketball team. Hyde-Lay himself was a member of the Vikes squad that won the program’s first Canadian national championship in 1979-80 and so is no stranger to the requirements of being a student-athlete.
“It is very demanding for top level student-athletes to not only handle their academic programs but also pour thousands of hours into their chosen sport,” adds Hyde-Lay. “Most then have to work as well to pay the bills. Proceeds from the Championship Breakfast are therefore invaluable, as, to a degree at least, they remove some of the financial pressure. This support also validates their efforts, as the student-athletes acknowledge that UVic appreciates their sporting contributions.”
To date the Championship Breakfast has raised over $3.3 million to support Vikes student-athletes. All proceeds from the breakfast support student-athlete scholarships, with 75% directed to the current fiscal year and 25% dedicated to Vikes endowments. Support can be directed to specific varsity programs or to the Vikes General Fund. The University of Victoria generously provides $200,000 in matching funds in support of Vikes student athletes.
Previous Keynote Speakers
2016 Nancy Mollenhauer (Women’s Field Hockey Alumna)
2015 Simon Whitfield (Olympic Triathlete)
2014 Darcy Marquardt (Women’s Rowing Alumna)
2013 Dr. Paul E. Zehr (UVic Professor and author)
2012 Pierre Lafontaine (Former Swimming Canada CEO)
2011 Adam Kreek (Men’s Rowing Alumni)
2010 Stephanie Dixon (Women’s Swimming Alumna)
2009 Bob Lenarduzzi (President, Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
2008 Chris Hebb (Men’s Basketball Alumni)