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International talent hits Nanaimo ice as Vikes co-host Tom Harris University Showcase

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January 3, 2024

VICTORIA - The University of Victoria men's hockey team will head to Nanaimo this weekend for the upcoming Tom Harris University Showcase scheduled from January 5-7, 2024, at Vancouver Island University. Ranked second in the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL), the Vikes are poised to face a diverse mix of opponents in the inaugural event.

The showcase, a brainchild of Vikes head coach Alec Dillon, actually began last year in Victoria as a trial run. However, this season, Dillon and the Vikes partnered with VIU and gained the support of longtime Nanaimo hockey supporters in the Tom Harris group to help it grow.

"We started small last year, and it was difficult to organize on my own in the middle of the season, so this year, we joined with the team at VIU to leverage more support and hopefully grow this into something big. We've already got teams reaching out about attending the event next year," said Dillon.

"The hope is to create a mid-season tournament as a way to get in some non-conference games and test ourselves against the best competition, but also to promote the BCIHL as an amazing opportunity for athletes to continue playing really good hockey at the next level. Our goal is to eventually become a U SPORTS program and to get there, we must play against the best teams and show that we can run a high-calibre tournament independently, with limited resources," continued Dillon.

Building off the annual Tom Harris Cup, which is currently in tournament hosts VIU's possession, the Vikes are eager to make their mark in the showcase and solidify their position as a dominant force in BCIHL hockey.

The 2024 showcase boasts an exciting lineup of six teams, including familiar BCIHL rivals such as the Vancouver Island University Mariners and the Simon Fraser University Red Leafs. Additionally, the showcase welcomes teams from the Alberta College Athletics Conference, including the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans and the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder. Adding an international flavour to the competition, the Korea University Tigers from the KUSF U-League in Seoul, South Korea, will debut against the BCIHL competition.

For the Vikes, this marks their third non-conference game of the year, having faced the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder earlier in the season. The Vikes are no stranger to challenging matchups outside the BCIHL. The team has actively incorporated non-conference competition into their schedule, a trend initiated after the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 season.

While the Vikes trail VIU by one point for the top spot in the BCIHL rankings, the upcoming showcase provides a unique opportunity to gauge their prowess against different playing styles and international opponents.

As the Vikes prepare for the showcase, they are mindful of the event's rich history and competitive spirit. Named after local hockey supporter Tom Harris, the showcase celebrates the sport and emphasizes the strong community ties and passion for hockey in Nanaimo.

About the teams

  1. Vancouver Island University Mariners (BCIHL):
    • The home team, VIU Mariners, had their first taste of non-conference competition earlier in the season against the University of Alaska-Anchorage and University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
    • This will be the first time VIU faces ACAC competition in program history.
  2. University of Victoria Vikes (BCIHL):
    • The Vikes, will be playing their third non-conference game of the year, having faced the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder earlier in the season.
    • They have been actively incorporating regular non-conference competition into their schedule since the canceled 2020 season.
  3. Simon Fraser University Red Leafs (BCIHL):
    • SFU Red Leafs will be facing non-conference competition for the first time this season.
    • The program has announced a dedicated roster to play exclusively non-conference competition.
  4. Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans (ACAC):
    • SAIT Trojans return to BCIHL action for the first time since 2019.
    • They have an 8-4-0 regular season record and a 10-7-0 overall record, sitting third in the ACAC standings.
  5. Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder (ACAC):
    • The Thunder have had a challenging start to their season but will be appearing in their third BCIHL matchup of the year.
    • They hold a 5-1-0 record against BCIHL competition all-time.
  6. Korea University Tigers (KUSF U-League):
    • Marking the first time the Tigers will face BCIHL competition, adding an international flair to the showcase.
    • Korea University is considered one of the top private universities in South Korea, with a strong hockey program and a rivalry with Yonsei University.


01.05 | Concordia (ACAC) at VIC | 1:00pm PST / 2:00pm MST
01.05 | SAIT (ACAC) at SFU | 4:15pm PST / 5:15pm MST
01.05 | Korea University (KUSF) at VIU | 7:30pm PST / 01.06; 12:30pm KST

01.06 | SAIT (ACAC) at VIC | 1:00pm PST / 2:00pm MST
01.06 | Korea University (KUSF) at SFU | 4:15pm PST / 01.07; 9:15am KST
01.06 | Concordia (ACAC) at VIU | 7:30pm PST / 8:30pm MST

01.07 | Korea University (KUSF) at VIC | 1:00pm PST / 01.08; 6:00am KST
01.07 | Concordia (ACAC) at SFU | 4:15pm PST / 5:15pm MST
01.07 | SAIT (ACAC) at VIU | 7:30pm PST / 8:30pm MST

*All games will be hosted at the Nanaimo Ice Centre (750 Third St., Nanaimo, BC)