Twelve years in, the Vikes shook up the keynote speaking portion of the annual Vikes Championship Breakfast but the event otherwise continues to support the on-field success of the University of Victoria athletics teams.
On Tuesday, the Vikes raised another $550,000 towards student-athlete scholarships. Running since 2008, the breakfast has surpassed $5.6 million. The money helps recruit top student-athletes and this year, the Vikes are showing why they need it, as they’re hosting three U Sports National Championships (with a chance to host a fourth).
However, instead of one speaker, the Vikes hosted local sports personality Jeff King as the moderator for a panel of three successful Vikes grads.
On the panel were; Vikes swimmer-turned commentator of international competitions, Chris Hindmarch-Watson; Joann Malhotra (nee Nash), who won a soccer bronze at the 2000 national championship; and Lindsay Bergen (nee Jennerich) who won a silver medal in women’s lightweight double at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Each represented one of the three sports that the Vikes will host for U Sports national championships.
The Vikes host the women’s Soccer National Championship, Nov. 7 to 10 at Centennial Stadium, the Canadian University Rowing Championships Nov. 2 and 3 at Elk Lake and Swimming National Championships from Feb. 20 to 22 at the Saanich Commonwealth Pool.
Should the Vikes women’s field hockey win the their 21st Canada West title, they will host the National Field Hockey Championships, Nov. 2 and 3.
Hindmarch-Watson talked about the importance of the community supporting local athletes. Malhotra talked about how surprised she was when she discovered the difficulties that came with being a student-athlete. And Bergen spoke about critical moments with the Vikes gave her ability to push through difficult times and fulfill her dream of rowing with the national team.
More than 600 guests convened inside the CARSA Performance Gym for the Championship Breakfast, which is the Vikes’ biggest annual fundraising event.