McKinnon’s swan song

Sports Sports | Lifestyle
Provided (photo)
Provided (photo)

On Feb. 14, the men’s and women’s games against the Trinity Western University Spartans will mark the final Vikes basketball regular season games at McKinnon Gymnasium.

Opened in 1975, the McKinnon building was named after Archie McKinnon who devoted his life to coaching young athletes in Victoria. Archie McKinnon attended four separate Olympic games’ between 1932-52 as a coach and mentor in both track and field and swimming.

The building that bears his name has served as the locus for Vikes athletics since its opening and McKinnon Gymnasium has seen 17 national championships during its time as home for Vikes basketball.

Although Vikes athletics and recreation will be moving their operations to CARSA, the McKinnon building and gymnasium will not be closing down permanently, as the building will host intramural sports. However, when CARSA opens, the Ian Stewart Complex will be shutting its doors, except for the use of the outdoor pools and ice rink. At this time, no plans have been finalized for their future usage.

During the final few weeks of McKinnon’s time as home of UVic athletics, students and alumni have been encouraged to record their memories of McKinnon Gymnasium.

For example, former director of the School of Physical Education Dave Docherty recalled fond moments spent while working in the McKinnon building as well as a particular regular fan nicknamed “Mother Hubbard” who allegedly ate a can of what was purported to be husky meat and ate it in front of University of Saskatchewan (Huskies) players.

As for the games themselves, the men’s basketball team sits second in the Pioneer Division of Canada West and, on Feb. 13-14, are facing a TWU squad with only two wins this season. This match-up presents an opportunity to secure two victories and gear up for the CW quarterfinals which take place Feb. 27 – Mar. 1 and are a best two-out-of-three format. The Vikes may yet host the CW quarterfinals if they finish in the top-three of the Pioneer Division. Currently, the Vikes control their own destiny in this regard and can assure themselves of hosting a quarterfinal game if they are successful in both games against TWU.

The women’s basketball team are also looking to capitalize on opposition with lower CW rankings. The Vikes sit sixth in the Pioneer Division and can move as high as fourth, depending on the results of this weekend’s games. If the Vikes finish in fifth spot, they will host a best-of-three winner advances playoff series to move on in the CW playoffs. However, if the Vikes finish in the top-four, they will earn an automatic berth in the CW quarterfinals. Needless to say, there is a lot on the line this weekend aside from nostalgia.

The games on Feb. 13-14 are the final regular season games but not necessarily the final time basketball will be played at McKinnon Gymnasium. In any event, this weekend’s double match-up are sure to be a celebration of the Gymnasium’s long and distinguished tenure as home for Vikes athletics.

If you are interested in sharing memories of McKinnon Gymnasium, you can click here to visit the Facebook page. All four games against TWU are in McKinnon Gym on Feb. 13 and 14, with the final game having a reception following the game. Games start at 6 p.m. on Friday and 5 p.m. on Saturday.