UBC hammer-thrower Rowan Hamilton is hoping a return stateside to the NAIA nationals in 2022 will give him a chance to repeat his gold-medal form as a freshmen from 2019. (Photo by Jeff Sargeant property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Track and Field

UBC track and field: Two years after its greatest day ever, head coach Primeau & his ‘Birds undaunted in belief that more golden days are ahead!

VANCOUVER — As a student in UBC’s School of Applied Plant and Soil Sciences, Rowan Hamilton is learning the ins and outs of helping to sustain all that is essential within our fragile eco system.Something of a towering tree himself at 6-foot-3, Hamilton is also a key reason that the eco system of a UBC […]

UBC linebacker Ben Hladik (top) has been wreaking havoc on the field since the moment he set foot on the Point Grey campus. On Tuesday, the Vernon native became a member of his hometown B.C. Lions. Photo by Richard Lam, UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football University Football

CFL Draft 2021: As UBC sends three linebackers to the pros, coach Nill says B.C. Lions got ‘steal of the draft’ in Vernon’s Ben Hladik!

The UBC Thunderbirds have sent players to the Canadian Football League at every position imaginable, yet after Thursday’s draft proceedings were complete, it was pretty hard to not call them Linebacker U.Three Thunderbirds linebackers had their names called, including a homegrown product that UBC head coach Blake Nill could not hold back his praise of.“His […]

UBC linebacker Ben Hladik doing what he does best against the Alberta Golden Bears. (Photo by Bob Frid property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football University Football

Big Ben’s time: UBC’s Ben Hladik, part of ‘Birds star-studded linebacker class, stops at nothing to impress pro football scouts!

Everything you may have already imagined about the voluminous work ethic of UBC Thunderbirds’ starting middle linebacker Ben Hladik is true.And in case you had any doubt, there’s nothing like a first-hand account from an otherwise non-descript day in the dead of winter, when no one was supposed to be watching, to stoke the fires […]

UBC softball head coach Gord Collings celebrates with Emily Chorpita during 2018 game at Surrey's Softball City. At age 71, the tireless guiding light of Thunderbirds softball eagerly awaits a return to play for his team after two lost seasons. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Softball

A Sunday Read: For UBC softball’s Gord Collings, coaching roots run deep… from 1970s into his 70s! Next, his ‘Birds come home to new campus digs at Collings Field!

VANCOUVER — It was just this past Wednesday that UBC Thunderbirds softball players Mia Valcke and Avery Hilpert set off on foot from their residence for a stroll down to Wesbrook Village on the south side of the sprawling Point Grey campus.The two will tell you that the purpose of their mission was to check […]

In 1972, Steve Pettifer worked out in the Langara Gym for an audience which included then-national team head coach Jack Donohue. (Photo courtesy Steve Pettifer)
Feature Podcast

VL Podcast 03.03.21: Centennial’s Steve Pettifer reflects on playing days at SFU and UBC, and a 40-year high school coaching career!

Welcome to the Varsity Letters podcast. There is no better time than this week, one traditionally reserved for the B.C. senior girls basketball championships, to catch up with former Centennial head coach Steve Pettifer, who in the last 1980s, led the Centaurs to five straight provincial Final Fours, including a pair of titles. Pettifer, brought […]

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill feels so much of the team's 2021 identity will stem from the team's play along its trenches. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature Podcast

VL podast 01.27.21: UBC head football coach Blake Nill on celebrating the tradition of Blue & Gold and the promise of a 2021 fall kick-off!

The UBC football nation, just like all of the other tight-knit, tradition-laden programs across Canada, mourned the loss of 2020 university football season. Thunderbirds’ head coach Blake Nill, however, is excited and hopeful for the prospects of a 2021 campaign… that much is obvious as the three-time Vanier Cup national championship-winning coach joins host Howard […]

A cancelled 2020-21 U SPORTS season will wind up being the final one for UBC's Gabrielle Laguerta. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball University Women's Basketball

UBC’s Gabrielle Laguerta: Despite her battle scars and lost senior season, ‘Birds senior celebrates the silver lining of basketball’s shared experience

VANCOUVER —As Gabrielle Laguerta has gone about playing her role in the strangest year of our lives, UBC’s fifth-year senior guard has so often felt like an actor rehearsing her lines for a Broadway production she knows  will never see the light of opening night.“I’ll come off a good practice where I’ve tried out this […]

In February of 1952, Bill Russell (right, pictured in his USF days) came to B.C. with a touring California high school all-star team, playing teams like B.C. champion Duke of Connaught. Vancouver's John Oliver Secondary gym played host to one of the games. (Photo graphic by Gabriel Lynn property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball University Men's Basketball

A SUNDAY READ: It’s no fable! In 1952, before his 11 NBA championship rings, a 17-year-old Bill Russell toured B.C. high schools and discovered his hoops identity!

Malcolm Reid had heard the story many, many basketball moons ago.Last week, the head coach of the Vernon Panthers’ senior boys basketball team recounted it to me, and just like the day he first heard it from a man named Dick Abbott, it almost sounded like a fable.Earlier this month, Abbott — the father-in-law of […]

The pandemic may have scrubbed the 2020 B.C. senior girls volleyball season, but nothing can stop the Varsity Letters annual B.C. Super 15 poll. Among this season's top players are (left to right) Kelowna Owls' Anya Pemberton and Madison Shanks, Sydney Wright of Surrey's Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, Madison Gardner of Vernon's W.L. Seaton Sonics and Eva Person of Victoria's Stelly's Stingers. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Volleyball

Our 12th annual edition: Who are B.C.’s Top 15 Grade 12 girls volleyball players? Check out our 2020-21 Dream Team!

LANGLEY — Way back in December of 2009, when UBC Thunderbirds’ head coach Doug Reimer floated an idea past me to honour the best girls and boys high school volleyball players in B.C. on an annual basis, little did either of us know that a dozen years later, the concept would be as fresh today […]

MEI's Hunter Arulpragasam was the fastest rising talent in B.C. boys high school volleyball. Check out where the Eagles' senior finished in our annual coaches poll of the province's best boys senior talent. (Photos by Paul Yates and Jon Hayduk property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Volleyball

Our 12th annual edition: Who are B.C.’s Top 15 Grade 12 boys volleyball players? Check out our 2020-21 Dream Team!

It’s Year No. 12 for the Varsity Letters’ B.C. boys Super 15 senior boys volleyball player rankings.Once again, our sincere thanks go out to the head coaches of four B.C. men’s Canada West volleyball programs who cast their votes from a pool of this province’s top graduating Grade 12 talent.COVID-19’s appearance on the scene could […]