UBC’s Best Celebrated At 92nd Annual Big Block Awards
More than 1,000 people flooded into the Vancouver Convention Centre’s west ballroom on April 3 for the 92nd annual UBC Big Block Awards and Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
Team 1040 broadcaster, alumnus and assistant football coach Scott Rintoul hosted the evening, which began with a welcome to the newest members of the UBC Big Block Club. While the banquet hall reverberated with the traditional strains of Hail UBC, just over 150 student-athletes, who had met the club’s requirements of completing two years as members of a varsity team, made a grand entrance to the warm applause of peers and alumni.
Associate athletic director Theresa Hanson welcomed guests via video as she was in the Russian Federation city of Kazan in preparation for her upcoming duties as Canada’s Chef de Mission at the 2013 World University Games. She listed off an impressive litany of accomplishments by UBC athletes during the past season, highlighted by six national championships and seven conference crowns.
The current crop of Thunderbirds was later reminded of the fine tradition of which they are part, as the newest members of the UBC Sports Hall of Fame were officially inducted. Those entering in the Athlete category were Penny Cooper (field hockey, 1987-92); Jessica Deglau (swimming, 1995-2002); Jessica Mills (basketball, 1995-2000); Jack Henwood (football, 1956-59) and Victor Warren (field hockey, 1958-63).
Two dynasties, the 1972-74 women’s volleyball and 1989-91 men’s soccer squads, became the latest additions in the Team category. A particularly audible ovation went up for Builder category inductee Dr. Rob Lloyd–Smith, who has served nobly as head sport medicine physician for UBC Thunderbirds teams and oft-times confidante for coaches since 1982. The soirée concluded with Bob Philip receiving the prestigious Order of the Thunderbird Award for 20 years of service and accomplishments as director of UBC Athletics and Recreation.
Big Block Award Winners
MAY BROWN TROPHY – graduating female athlete of the year: Shanice Marcelle (volleyball)
MARILYN POMFRET TROPHY – female athlete of the year: Kris Young (basketball)
BOBBY GAUL MEMORIAL TROPHY – graduating male athlete of the year: Billy Greene (football)
BUS PHILLIPS MEMORIAL TROPHY – male athlete of the year: Gagandeep Dosanjh (soccer)
THUNDERBIRD ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – female: Hannah Haughn (field hockey)
THUNDERBIRD ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – male: Neil Manning (ice hockey)
DU VIVIER TE AM OF THE YEAR – women’s ice hockey
KAY BREARLEY AWARD – service to women’s athletics: John Foster
CAROLYN DOBIE-SMITH AWARD – trainer: Mark Arlou (baseball)
ARTHUR W. DELAMONT AWARD – school spirit: Alexandra Leask (women’s rowing); Elizabeth Pratt (athletics)
BUZZ MOORE THUNDERBIRD ATHLETIC COUNCIL LEADERSHIP AWARD – Evan Cheng (men’s rowing); Robert Ragotte (Nordic skiing)
THUNDERBIRD ATHLETIC COUNCIL PERFORMANCE AWARD – Kelly Aspinall (men’s swimming)
Herm Frydenlund, a UBC law graduate and public relations manager for Frank Fredrickson who coached UBC Thunderbird hockey team in the late 1940s, passed away on December 4, 2012. At the insistence of team members, including all-time UBC greats Clare Drake, Hass Young, Don Adams and Bob Koch, Herm was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 along with his lifetime friends who comprised UBC’s 1949 and 1950 Hamber Cup Champion squad.
It was back in 1996 that Amanjit Payer (née Dhillon) politely pointed out that Marilyn Pomfret’s 1977-78 women’s volleyball team had perhaps been overlooked for induction into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. After reviewing the data, the 1998 selection committee promptly agreed with the former manager of the team that won back-to-back national championships in 1977 and 1978. The aptly self-named “UBC Thunderbird Volleyball Sisters” were among the vast numbers of friends and admirers who were deeply saddened by the loss of Amanjit to cancer on February 2.
A few years before Alfred Scow played varsity soccer and became the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the UBC Faculty of Law, he participated in an important moment in Thunderbird history. Clad in traditional ceremonial dress, he took part in a formal presentation at half-time of the 1948 UBC Homecoming football game, during which his father, Kwicksutaineuk Chief William Scow, dedicated a Thunderbird totem to then UBC president Norman Mackenzie, and granted permission under tribal custom for the University to use the legendary Thunderbird as a symbol of strength for its varsity teams. The young man standing next to his father during that ceremony later became both Provincial Court Judge and Chief Alfred Scow. After receiving an honorary doctorate from the university in 1997 for his service and commitment to social justice, he famously quipped to friends: “It’s official. I’m a doctor, a lawyer and an Indian chief.” The Honourable Alfred J. Scow passed peacefully at home on February 26.
Former Vancouver mayor and business leader Art Phillips, who passed away March 29, was always forthcoming in describing the important lessons he learned while playing basketball at UBC in the late 1940s and early 1950s under coach Jack Pomfret. The Commerce grad who later co-founded blue-chip investment firm Phillips, Hager and North insisted that what he learned in varsity sport factored favourably in his later life in business and politics. Once when asked about his playing days at UBC, he emphasized that the experience was, above all, great fun. “I still occasionally dream of playing UBC basketball and invariably enjoy myself,” he said, “even in the dream.”
One suspects that 1994 UBC Sports Hall of Fame inductee Basil Robinson also learned an important lesson or two during his years as an extraordinary rugby, soccer and cricket player on Point Grey from 1938 to 1940, which culminated in a Rhodes Scholarship. After serving his country as an intelligence officer in WWII, he at last took advantage of the scholarship in 1946 and shipped off to Oxford, where, among other things, he became the first Canadian to be awarded the coveted Oxford “blue” for cricket. Honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada for a lifetime of distinguished diplomatic service, he remained a resident of Ottawa until his passing on December 21, 2012.