Some of the University of Victoria’s finest athletic successes are at the national forefront today as former Canadian rugby great Gareth Rees and one of the country’s greatest coaches, Kathy Shields, are being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
The 2014 induction celebration is today (Oct. 22) in Toronto, Ont.
“It’s a proud day not just for me but for all the people who helped me do what I did, from St. Michaels University School up, and for the game of rugby,” said Rees.
Both Rees and Shields are members of the UVic sports hall of fame.
The two excelled during the same era of prominence at UVic in the 1980s, when Rees would support the Vikes women’s basketball team, headed by Shields.
“I was there in high school and university cheering the Vikes men and women, a lot of us were,” said Rees, who played for former Vike Ian Hyde-Lay at the end of his St. Mikes rugby tenure.
Hyde-Lay came from the Vikes basketball team, where he was coached by Ken Shields, likely Kathy’s husband.
Kathy Shields joined the Vikes as an assistant coach in 1977-78 before moving in to the lead role in 1979, which she held until 2001, the same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. During that time the Vikes won eight national women’s basketball titles and a record of 320 wins and 50 losses. Shields also coached with Team Canada for more than a decade before leading them as the head coach from 1992 to 1995.
In 2007 the UVic Vikes basketball teams launched the annual “Shoot for the Cure” event, as a result of Shields’ battle with breast cancer. It has grown to a cross-country CIS campaign and raised $512,394.58.
Rees represented Canada at the first four Rugby World Cups, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999. He was a Castaway Wanderer when he wasn’t playing in Europe.