Vikes Nation TOP 25 Moments of 2015!
As we wrap up another amazing year with Vikes Nation at the University of Victoria, we can’t forget to take a look back at our top 25 moments that took student engagement, school spirit and the campus community to a whole new level.
From the opening of CARSA to a record student attendance at Soccer Days of Thunder and the back-to-back half-court shots for mad money to the unveiling of the new Thunder the Mascot, this was the biggest year for our campus to date. Vikes Nation, thanks for showing up and making mad noise!
What is Vikes Nation, you ask? Well, WE (that means YOU) ARE VIKES NATION. Every student, staff and faculty member on our campus is considered a UVic Vike and thus a part of Vikes Nation. We are inclusive. We are active. We are community. ARE YOU IN?!
TWENTY FIVE (25) | Rez Rush
Starting off our list at number 25, a first time Vikes Nation event that saw hundreds of residence and non-residence students flood the residence cafeteria for the tailgate, pre-game event leading up to the first-ever basketball game in the CARSA Performance Gym.
There was face paint, body paint, a photo booth, tons of prizes, Thunder, a live DJ and the Vikes band. It was definitely a major kick off event. Thanks to DJ Overgrowth for the beats.
The Women’s Field Hockey Team are a tight bunch! They were crowned Canada West Gold this year and came so short to being crowned CIS national champs (just behind UBC).
At the student night “Go for Gold,” Vikes Nation saw an attendance of almost 400. It may have been cold but the energy and the positivity shining from our fans kept the field hot and vibing for our athletes! Mad love to the women’s field hockey team for staying incredible!
TWENTY THREE (23) | Dance Showcase: Crowd Dance Off
The Vikes Nation Dance Showcase takes all our spring dance classes and highlights the skills they learn on the stage for everyone to see! Dancers are put to the test by their instructors and choreographers to push past their boundaries and tell a story with their bodies.
However, the highlight for this event was getting the crowd to actually dance with us! In a crowd dance off, members were selected at random, taught a simple routine by an instructor and then by crowd cheer off, a winner was crowned! Check out the video here:
TWENTY TWO (22) | University of Victoria Vikes vs Vancouver Whitecaps
Showing up at number 22, one of the biggest community events of the year for Vikes Nation, we get to see the Vancouver Whitecaps take on the University of Victoria Vikes in an epic head-head (or should I say… foot-foot) battle!
Although the Vikes came up short, this event was seen as another solid Vikes Nation night that brought noise, energy and a great time!
TWENTY ONE (21) | Celebrating the End of an Era: I Heart McKinnon
With the anticipating opening of the new CARSA facility, it was time to say goodbye to McKinnon Gym. A place where memories of many wild student nights, championship games and epic athletic performances occurred for well over 20 years.
In the final game, alumni that dated back to the 1960s were honoured in a unified march around the gym. For the full details, check out this video:
TWENTY (20) | Shoot for the Cure
Every year, the UVic Vikes Men’s and Women’s basketball teams raise funds to honour awareness for breast cancer. A total of 47 CIS women’s teams participated in 2015 and over $760,000 has been raised since the program’s inception in 2007.
The teams switch up their jersey colours to pay respect and bring attention to the issue; we think pink. The event this year ran across two days and saw a ton of student and community participation.
NINETEEN (19) | President’s Fun Run
Jamie Cassels, University of Victoria President, is a huge advocate for healthy minds and healthy bodies. He’s continuously seen out of the office and around campus running the trails to model by example the importance of active and healthy living, an important Vikes Nation marker.
In the president’s fun run, students and staff were invited to run the alumni chip trail along with the president to engage in physical activity and provide an outlet for stress relief.
EIGHTEEN (18) | #HashtagLunchbag
Another Vikes Nation first had our Vikes Nation Ambassadors partner with Thrifty Foods to make 250 lunches and head to the streets of downtown Victoria to hand them out to the less fortunate. It was a great community tie-in to spread the love during the holiday season.
Alisha Kunar, Vikes Nation Public Relations Ambassador, planned the initiative. She said that, “[she] thought it went fantastic! The VN ambassadors were able to set aside a few hours of their day and take initiative to help those in need in our community. Everyone created a feel-good atmosphere and started off the holiday season by spreading love through Victoria!”
SEVENTEEN (17) | Douglas Bowl: The Ultimate Rivalry
Vikes Nation hosted this year’s Douglas Bowl, an annual Ultimate Frisbee competition between the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.
The event, held at Centennial Stadium, saw well over 400 attendees enjoy a golden afternoon of some great, clean competition. Food trucks were out, the energy was immense and the teams were fierce. Many players not only play for the universities but are part of the national and world teams as well – impressive!
For a closer look, check out this story (The Ultimate Rivalry) or this story by women’s captain Naomi Redmond (An Ultimate return through the eyes of Naomi Redmond).
SIXTEEN (16) | Island Cheer Showcase
For the first time ever, the UVic Vikes Cheer Team hosted an Island Cheer Showcase! This event brought a few hundred athletes and their families out to enjoy an evening of non-stop, heart pounding action from local cheer teams coached by members of the UVic Cheer Team! The event was widely received and although the cheerleaders are known to make some noise, the crowd definitely fed it right back to them.
Mishan Hedge, co-coach of Vikes Cheer, co-owner of Island Elite Cheerleading and co-planner of the Island Cheer Showcase, had this to say: “The event was very successful for our first time running it. It was a great opportunity for our teams who were in preparation of the Sea To Sky Championships in April to perform in front of a crowd before the big competition! The event also included The Vikes Cheer Kids Academy which was the first opportunity for them to perform for an audience. This made for a very special end to the season. This year at the 2016 Island Cheer Showcase we hope to include even more local cheerleading teams!”
Check out this video of the Vikes Team doing their thing.
FIFTEEN (15) | Trick or Thunder
Spooky midterms and eerie grades were all over the campus on Halloween but the Vikes Nation Ambassadors threw a Halloween carnival in the quad to keep the good times flowing and the sugar intake pumping.
It may have been a crazy windy day, but Vikes Nation came out to enjoy good fun, lots of games and of course, loads of candy. Maddie Dohm, co-planner of the event said, “it was fun to get out to our campus and just give away free things, having fun with your community! It was nice to not be promoting something but rather just having fun out there and getting into the Halloween spirit”.
FOURTEEN (14) | Back to Back Half Court Shots
It’s a rare sight to see anyone make a half court shot. How about seeing two half court shots made in back to back weekends? Not gonna happen, right? Well it did!
In two Vikes Nation home basketball games, random participants sank a half court shot and won $1000 in tuition credit and a TV. The CARSA performance gym went WILD with cheering. It was definitely an epic moment! Here’s a video from the quieter game night but rest assured, the crowd still made mad noise!
THIRTEEN (13) | Vikes Band
This was the first year that Music 189 (MUS 189) was offered as an elective for all students. The Vikes Band consists of students with some base musical ability. They can be seen amping up the crowd and delivering a full music experience at all Vikes Nation home basketball games as well as various other events across campus.
Thanks to the Vikes Band, crowd engagement and arena atmosphere are at all all new high! Daniel Mecham, a Vikes Nation Ambassador and member of Vikes Nation Band, recalls his experience: “It’s been so cool to see a group of totally different people come together to support the Vikes in a new way – with music”.
TWELVE (12) | Vikes Rugby: Friday Night Lights
Vikes Rugby for the 2015 year has been unbelievable! The men’s team snagged CIS West Gold, National Championships and the Bernard Cup. The women’s team earned CIS West Gold for the first time ever in Vikes history!
Vikes Nation Friday Night Lights was an unreal atmosphere at Centennial Stadium. With over 780 attendees, the evening was a solid vibe with a rowdy and engaged crowd. One lucky winner even won a PS4! The Vikes Men’s Team took it home, keeping Vikes Nation lit up and thunderstruck!
ELEVEN (11) | Hot House Pizza Night
Hot House Pizza is a huge sponsor of the university and the athletics program! In fact, they actually sponsored a whole basketball game with loads of prizes and of course… pizza!
This year’s event was planned by Samantha Bright, an executive Vikes Nation Ambassador. The event drew a huge crowd of student from quad activities to the actual event.
We even had pizza knights for pizza night guarding the coveted pizzas! Distrikt showed up and they even gave away a PS4, wahoo! Without a doubt, a fantastic student driven event with loads of noise and great times.
TEN (10) | Vikes Nation SnapChat Geofilter
Starting us off for our top 10 is the Vikes Nation geofilter! If you aren’t on SnapChat.. you need to be!
This year Vikes Nation took their SnapChat game to a whole new level with a custom Vikes Nation Geofilter appearing all over campus. Thanks to Sarah Shaw and Mimi Hayashi, two members of the Vikes Nation Ambassador Design Team that made this happen. Add us to SnapChat at “vikesnation” (all one word).
NINE (9) | Neon Ski-On
In the January 2015 basketball kick-off event, Vikes Nation geared up in their wackiest and brightest winter attire in an event dubbed Neon Ski-On! McKinnon gym was packed with attendees getting wild and colourful, making noise for the men’s and women’s basketball teams!
Lucky winners received passes to Mount Washington throughout the night and it was another solid win for both Vikes teams. Not only this, but another tradition kicked us off, the Go Vikes Go chant! Here’s a video:
EIGHT (8) | Hockey Night @ UVic: Ice, Ice Baby
Vikes Nation held 2 hockey night events this year, each beating capacity from the previous game.
With a record 517 attendees during the Thanksgiving weekend, the Ian Stewart Complex was electrified for the Vikes Nation Hockey Night dubbed Ice, Ice Baby (a 90s winter-themed game).
With loads of free noisemakers for all our fans, tons of prizes and Thunder the Mascot making his rounds, the arena held non-stop energy right until the end of the game. It may have been a loss for the boys on the ice, but it was a win for our loyal Vikes Nation fans who showed up in true blue and gold spirit. Thanks to Jackson Melenchuk (DJ Overgrowth) for spinning the throwback beats!
SEVEN (7) | Thunder 2.0 Unveiled
The brand new Thunder the Mascot was unveiled at the 2015 New Student Orientation. This event sees thousands of new students each year and was held in CARSA Performance Gym for the first time.
Our official mascot Thunder was introduced by Vikes Athletics and Recreation Director, Clint Hamilton. Thunder spent his summer in CARSA lifting weights, on the treadmill and taking classes to slim down and bulk up! Not only this, but he got a haircut, did some laundry and is now a newer, cleaner version of himself. Thunder can be seen at all Vikes Nation events across the community. We love the new Thunder!
SIX (6) | CARSA Grand Opening
The brand new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) opened its door to the everyone on May 1 2015. This brand new facility is the go-to hub for all things recreation and athletics on our campus.
It features a 2-floor weight room, an indoor climbing wall, squash courts, unique performance and training rooms, the CanAssist office and more!
Whatever your fit is, find it at CARSA. Here’s a story that sums it up: Welcome to CARSA!
FIVE (5) | Thunderfest
Thunderfest is the biggest welcome back to school event for the entire campus during the first week of school! This event, held just beside the Student Union Building sees thousands of students flow through and try their hand at various activities including a bouncy house, erg rowing, African drumming and more!
Students were entered to win $1000 in tuition credit at the Days of Thunder Soccer Game later (see number 2 below). There were TONS of prizes, good times, great music and a whole load of fun!
FOUR (4) | Dodge in the Dark
If you can dodge a duck, you can dodge a ball! As another unique event to Vikes Nation, capacity was reached and the balls were both glowin’ and throwin’.
Participants get a chance to get glowed up and painted down at our pre-party event before the official game begins. The arena is blacked out and the balls are glow-in-the-dark. Our DJs pumped the tunes and the night was a massive success. Check out this news report (yes, the news did a story on this) from 2014. The reporter called it a “psychedelic event” and he was totally right!
THREE (3) | Yoga Rave
Can’t dance? No problem! Don’t do yoga… well actually, that’s not a problem either!
The 2nd annual yoga rave saw a 100% increase in attendance from last year. This unique event puts the calm yet zen body workout into a fast paced, over the top environment. From your toes to the chilling, you’ll be moving and grooving in no time.
This one of a kind event saw attraction from across the community – definitely a really good time! For the 2016 event, check out vikesnation.com! You won’t want to miss it. Are you ready to glow with the flow? Thanks to Evan Hinshelwood, DJ Lasu, for spinning the beats!
TWO (2) | Soccer Days of Thunder
This year’s home opener event saw a massive increase in attendance from 2014! With over 3000 attendees, the stadium was lit up and the crowd was intense.
From an incredible atmosphere to an engaged audience, the Vikes took it away and won the game in a close yet beautiful battle! This large event comes right after Thunderfest (number 5) and attracts almost every residence student and more.
ONE (1) | Basketball First Game in CARSA
Our top moment with Vikes Nation this year had to be the first home basketball game in CARSA. With CARSA opening its doors in May, October 2 marked the first ever basketball game held in the performance gym.
In a sold out crowd of 2200, the bowl was wild and the arena was wild! In a close and intense fight, the Vikes snuck out with a 1 point lead, keeping the crowd amped, psyched and hungry for more. The atmosphere was electric, the vibe was unreal and Vikes Nation definitely brought the noise.
Honorable Mentions: Santa Lights Parade, Hot House Hoops, Winter Wonderland, March Madness, Celebration of Champions Monster Erg, Head of the Gorge
That’s a wrap, Vikes Nation! What a fantastic year! 2016 is already set to be an even bigger year, see you there! For the latest updates on all things Vikes Nation, follow up on Instagram @vikesnationofficial!