In a year unlike any other, the University of Victoria Vikes still managed to pull off their most important scholarship event of the season.
The 13th Annual Vikes Championship Breakfast went virtual this year, as a near 40-minute video went live on the morning of Nov. 5 to all the student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and donors. Because of these efforts, the Vikes raised more than $525,000 for student-athlete scholarships. With donations still coming in, breakfast has cleared the $6.1 million mark for the total amount raised since the inaugural event in 2008.
“Once again our community of supporters has come together with an incredibly strong demonstration of support for our Vikes student-athletes. In a year where our Vikes have shown tremendous leadership and resiliency as they navigate the realities of pandemic times, it has never been more important to find support for them,” said Clint Hamilton, Vikes Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Watching and listening to Debbie Yeboah and Danielle Hanus this morning was another reminder of what wonderful ambassadors our Vikes are for UVic and how important it is for us to find ways to support them. We are very grateful for the many people who generously donated to our virtual breakfast event and serve to inspire all within the Vikes program.”
Donations will still be accepted until one week after the breakfast (Nov. 12.) Any donations that are received after that will go towards the 2021 VCB. This can include pledges or letting us know their intention of donating so that we can count it even if the cheque isn’t in yet. Information about how to support the Vikes can be found here. View the breakfast video in its entirety here.
In the past, crowds of more than 600 would gather for this event either in the McKinnon Gym or inside the CARSA Performance Gym. This year, due to the coronavirus, the Vikes went 100 per cent virtual and produced a feature presentation highlighting the very best of what the Vikes Championship Breakfast stands for.
Deborah Yeboah, a women’s basketball alumnae who suited up for the Vikes from 2008-13, served as this year’s keynote speaker. Like others in the video, she delivered her taped message from her living room in Winnipeg, Man.
“It certainly was an interesting experience; I needed my brother’s help recording my speech on my phone. I obviously would have loved to be there in person, but it still served as a great chance for me to get in touch with a bunch of people that I hadn’t heard from in a while. Once the news went out that I was the keynote, I had lots of friends and former teammates reach out to me. That was one of the coolest parts of this project,” said Yeboah.
Now articling as a lawyer in Winnipeg after playing two seasons of professional basketball in Europe, Yeboah spoke about two factors that allow student-athletes to succeed at UVic: hard work and opportunity.
“UVic opened a lot of doors for me and got me to where I am today. None of that would have been possible without hard work and opportunity, so I felt it was important to touch on those two topics,” said Yeboah.
The new virtual format allowed the breakfast to experience another first, as Eryn Libert-Scott (women’s soccer) and Vaughn Taylor (men’s cross country and track) became the first student-athlete emcees.
“All of the Vikes athletes and coaching staffs have worked harder than ever before during these difficult times. It’s inspiring to see such creativity when it comes to developing new ways to train,” said Taylor.
“Everyone has met these new circumstances with such optimism and is doing a great job adjusting to the challenges of modified training and online classes. We greatly appreciate everyone’s support during these times,” said Libert-Scott.
Leading up to the Vikes Championship Breakfast, a series of spotlight features were published online, detailing some of the outstanding work accomplished by different members of the Vikes since the pandemic took over. During the virtual breakfast, Danielle Hanus from women’s swimming was featured, where she discussed how COVID impacted her studies, her Olympic dreams and what she did to overcome the challenges she faced.
Introduced for the first time in their new roles were Dr. Kevin Hall, who took over on Nov. 1 as the University of Victoria Vikes President and Dr. Nick Clarke, the Vikes Director of Performance Sport. Both commented on how impactful of an event the breakfast is and thanked all the donors for their generous support.
This breakfast would not have been possible without the contributions from some key event sponsors. The Vikes would like to thank Tropicana, A Division of Pepsico North America; the University of Victoria, RBC and Team Sales Vancouver Island.
PREVIOUS KEY NOTE SPEAKERS
2019 Chris Hindmarch-Watson (Men’s Swimming Alumna), Joann Malhotra (Nash – women’s soccer alumna), Lindsey Bergen (Jennerich – women’s rowing alumna)
2018 Gareth Rees (Men’s Rugby Alumni)
2017 Ian Hyde-Lay (Men’s Basketball Alumni)
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)