Comox Valley’s own Ryan MacKinnon and the University of Victoria Vikes men’s basketball team are coming to Courtenay’s Mark Isfeld Secondary School on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
“The UVic men’s basketball team enjoyed their trip to Isfeld so much last year that they are returning agin this fall,” said Isfeld athletic director and basketball coach Colin Cunningham.
“Last year the team came and stayed at Mark Isfeld school, used the gymnasium and weight room, cooked their meals and slept in various classrooms to finish off their pre-season training camp. They held practices which were open to the community to observe as well as an inter-squad game which was admission by donation,” Cunningham said.
“The team had meals together, went paintballing and basically used the trip to Courtenay as a team bonding experience. Members of the Isfeld basketball program Grades 8 through 12 are eagerly awaiting the Vikes visit,” said Cunningham.
And the team is just as eager to visit the Valley again.
“This is an excellent. an opportunity to bring Vikes basketball to the central Island,” said Vikes’ head coach Craig Beaucamp. “Vikes basketball will be as strong as basketball is on Vancouver Island. We want to take every opportunity we can to help develop and promote basketball in our surrounding communities.
“It seems fitting that we are in Courtenay again this year, as Ryan Mackinnon enters his fifth year. Ryan has been a great ambassador for basketball in the area and we are excited to return to the Comox Valley for our annual retreat.”
Many young athletes in the Valley participated in the summer “Mac Bros” basketball camp where he teams up with big brother Scotty (who played at the University of Lethbridge). The basketball camp was also at Mark Isfeld Secondary at the end of July.
The Vikes are in Comox from Friday, Sept. 30 until Sunday, Oct. 2. Intersquad game time is Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
“This is also a great opportunity for our team to get away and do some work both on and off the court,” Beaucamp added. “Off the court we will be focusing on team bonding and developing our team culture.”
The UVic Vikes hope a strong contingent of returning players and a great group of transfers and recruits will translate into a trip to Halifax for the CIS Final 8 National Championships in March.
Returning to the Vikes are star guard Mackinnon (Comox), Mike Berg (Victoria) and Pierce Anderson (Calgary). Recruits Vijay Dhillon (6-0 G Richmond-R.C. Palmer), Dominic Ohl (6-7 F Victoria-Claremont), Sean Patrick (6-4 F London-St. Thomas Aquinas) and Reiner Theil (6-5 W Vancouver-Vancouver College) are four of the top players in the province, with Dhillon and Theil leading their respective high school squads to the B.C. Provincial championship final last spring.
Humber College transfer guard Michael Acheampong (6-2 G Toronto) was the OCAA tournament MVP guiding his Hawks to the Ontario provincial college championship and he adds great outside shooting and speed, while former Windsor Lancers guard John Woldu (5-11 G London-Beal) adds depth at both ends of the floor along with valuable CIS experience. Guard Terrell Evans (6-4 G, Yakima College) and Ameet (Andy) Kaila (6-8, F, Vancouver, Douglas College) also provide excellent depth.
Isfeld Athletics would like to thank Ross McDonald (Isfeld coach and former Uvic Vike) for organizing the details for this trip.