Looking into the U of R President’s Breakfast for Athletics

A pole with the U of R Cougars logo. Ethan Butterfield

Helping U of R athletics programs during the pandemic

This year marks the 11th anniversary of The University of Regina President’s Breakfast for Athletics, which (at the time of this article’s release) will have taken place on March 23rd of 2021. However, despite the event having come and gone, it’s still worth noting the significant impact that it will have for U of R Athletics.

The President’s Breakfast comes to the U of R in a timely manner as the funds raised from it will help to keep the U of R sports programs afloat amidst the ongoing pandemic.

According to the media release based around the President’s Breakfast, this event is “the largest fundraiser for U of R athletics programs, providing financial support for student athletes through scholarships, recruitment efforts, and program enhancement.”

All money raised as a result of the event, up to $100,000, will be matched by the Office of the President.

Since it began in 2010, the President’s Breakfast has garnered more than $1 million in funds for both the U of R Cougars and the U of R Rams programs.

Lisa Robertson, U of R director of sport, community engagement & athlete development, noted in the release just how grateful she is for the event with regards to helping U of R Athletics during the COVID pandemic (especially during a time when the virus is now more prominent than ever).

“The President’s Breakfast is the premiere fundraising event for our Cougars and Rams teams. The support of the President’s Office, with matching funds, is what makes the event so impactful and so important to our programs,” says Robertson. “I am immensely grateful for the more than 900 attendees who have showed their support for our student athletes, and I know our coaches and players feel the same.”

With regards to what the event will hold for those attending, according to the release, there will be some rather notable guest speakers taking part. The list and descriptions of the said guests are as follows:

Regina-born snowboarder Mark McMorris will be a guest speaker at the President’s Breakfast. McMorris is one of the most honoured athletes in the world of action sports. His accomplishments include, but are not limited to: 2 Olympic medals, 21 Winter X Games medals (9 golds, 9 silvers and 3 bronze), and 3 World Championships medals (1 gold, 2 silver). In total, McMorris has accumulated 26 medals in all.

President of Hockey Operations for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins Brian Burke is another guest speaker. On top of winning the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, Burke also served as an analyst for the NHL. Alongside that of the Penguins and Ducks, Burke has also been president of operations for the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs, and the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks.

Finally, hockey analyst and former NHL defenceman (the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks) Kevin Bieksa will also be a part of the event. Bieska made an impact during his time with the Vancouver Canucks as he won two team awards with the organization, the first of which being the Babe Pratt Trophy which is awarded to top defenceman, and the second being the Fred J. Hume Award which is awarded to the unsung hero. Both were awarded to him in 2007. As well, Bieska was part of the Canucks team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.

On top of the guest speakers, Claire Hanna of CTV Regina will be the event’s master of ceremonies.

All of these individuals being a part of the President’s Breakfast helps to solidify the kind of impact that this event truly has on the U of R. However, it is also important to remember, despite how nice to is to have these speakers be a part of this event, it should not deter from the fact that this event is for the students at the end of the day.

Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has (as was mentioned at the beginning of this article) dealt a critical blow to U of R athletic programs, the President’s Breakfast should be seen as a wonderful opportunity to help bring in those much needed funds to the places that they need to go. This especially being the case now as a new variant of the virus runs rampant in the city of Regina.

Considering that the variant has increased the number of cases to shockingly high amounts, with over 31,000 individuals being infected in the province (over 6,000 positive cases in Regina alone), the idea that these programs will be thriving sooner rather than later is just completely false at its core. So, any money that can find its way into said programs is a win for the student athletes that wish to continue pursuing their passions.

So, as always, the more than can be done to social distance, wear masks, keep from public gatherings, and sanitize, the better. All of it helps in making sure that these programs can take place in a safe environment for students that just want to do what they love. So please, do your part.

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