The VRC started back in the late 1800’s as a tennis and badminton club at the corner of Fort Street and Foul Bay Road, where the Safeway complex now stands. In 1966, when opportunity arose, the club purchased land at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Gordon Head Road, and grew to include squash, curling, figure skating, swimming, racquetball and hockey. With the expanded growth, the club’s membership grew dramatically in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, the recession in the 1980’s hit hard, and the property was subject to foreclosure. Saint Michaels University School purchased the facility, and in time sold it to the University of Victoria.
The only parts of the association that managed to stay the course throughout the adversity were the figure skating club and the hockey association. VRC continued developing hockey players, producing several NHL players in the process, such as Mel Bridgeman, Geoff and Russ Courtnall, Rick LaPointe, Jeff Batters, Tom Martin, Kent Manderville, Matt Pettinger and Ryan O’Byrne. Other notable names to have graduated from the association are basketball star Steve Nash, Oakland A’s pitcher Rich Harden and Oscar-nominated director Atom Egoyen.
Currently the club rents ice in the Ian Stewart Complex from the University of Victoria. Ian Stewart for which the building is named, was a graduate of Vancouver College, and later UBC. In 1960 he moved to Victoria to practice law, and later built a successful car dealership. Over the years, Ian dedicated innumerable hours to the service of others, enjoyed sailing, and devoted his time and talents to a host of organizations in Greater Victoria. He passed away on June 17, 2017.
The Victoria Racquet Club is best known for developing Tier 1/AAA rep hockey players. Our organization places focus on the healthy development of the child athlete based on current research in sports science.
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