Bursary honours former UVic hoops star Megan Dalziel

To paraphrase a famous line, it takes a community to raise an athlete. The community that helped raise the late Megan Dalziel is honouring her memory with a bursary in her name at G.P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay to annually aid university- or college-bound graduating Grade 12 athletes coming out of the school.

Dalziel graduated as a standout all-rounder for the Towhees at G.P. Vanier to become a five-year starter with the University of Victoria women’s basketball team and two-time CIS (now U Sports) national champion with the Vikes in 1998 and 2000.

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Dalziel died of cancer in July at the age of 41.

“The thought of honouring Megan with a bursary is really about providing Comox Valley girls and Vancouver Island girls with a wonderful role model,” said Hugh MacKinnon, who coached Dalziel at Vanier, and chairs the bursary committee.

“Girls need such role models, particularly girls from smaller towns. Megan had a five-year career with the Vikes and became a two time national university champion and completed her teaching degree and always displayed class, sportsmanship and determination. Megan’s legacy is certainly a stellar one. Hers is a wonderful small town Vancouver Island story with basketball, volleyball and track and field. Megan led Vanier to provincial berths in both basketball and volleyball, competed in provincials in track and field, and was offered U.S. college volleyball scholarships out of Vanier, but chose her first love basketball to play at UVic.”

Former UVic head coach Kathy Shields is grateful Dalziel turned down NCAA volleyball offers to play hoops at UVic.

“Megan loved our team and her teammates,” said Shields.

“She was such a smart and gifted athlete. Megan started for five years and all our passes went through her in the high post during that era. It’s so sad that she was taken far too soon. This bursary is a terrific undertaking and will keep Megan’s memory going while helping young players play the sport they love while furthering their education.”

Dalziel graduated with a degree from the UVic faculty of education and taught and coached at York House School in Vancouver since 2003.

She is part of a proud Vanier sporting tradition that includes the likes of Olympic Games runner and Canadian marathon record-holder Cam Levins, national team volleyball players Maverick Hatch and Brad Gunter, current UVic Vikes basketball player Aleah Ashlee and MacKinnon’s own sons Ryan and Scott MacKinnon, who played hoops for UVic and Lethbridge Pronghorns, respectively.

“This is a great way to honour Megan’s memory each year by honouring an athlete who best exemplifies her qualities,” said MacKinnon.

Those interested in donating to the bursary can do so through cheques to G.P. Vanier Secondary, 4830 Headquarters Road, Courtenay, B.C. VPJ 1P2, c/o Counselling Department re: Megan Dalziel Memorial Bursary.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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