Ike Mackay inducted in to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Sounder News

Tuesday, October 27 2015

Gabriolan Ike Mackay was inducted in to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame two weekends ago in recognition of his soccer career.

He said the best part about being inducted, and the ceremony, “was remembering my friends, the people I played with, the coaches I had over the years.  I met a few of them there [at the ceremony] and the administrators who were key to our teams’ various successes.”

He was inducted 

Mackay’s first three years of life were on Gabriola. From three to twenty-three, he lived in Victoria, where according to his bio, he chose soccer over hockey.

“I really liked hockey,” he says, “but we could only train twice a week for one hour. There were only two arenas in Victoria at that time.”

In grade 11 his Oak Bay team won the BC championship. The next year he played for Victoria United. In his second year with Victoria United (the Victoria O’Keefes) he won the Kennedy Cup, which was made up of two teams from California, one team from BC and the Mexican National team. At 17 he was selected for the BC-U21 team that won the Canadian championship. Mackay would win two more with Vic West, when he was 33 and 36 years old. At 18 he played for Canada in the Olympic preliminaries and Pan American Games.

The following summer he signed a professional contract with the Vancouver Royals of the North American Soccer League. One of the most talented players in Canadian soccer history, Ike’s career was unique in that he accomplished it in an era when a soccer career was measured by a players’ success in the Greater Victoria Soccer League or the Pacific Coast Soccer League. Instead, Ike broke barriers by travelling to Europe to compete in the Northern Ireland Football League after three years of university.

He returned and finished a Bachelor’s degree at UVIC and was player coach in his last year. He then completed an MA in physical education at the University of Alberta, winning the Canadian University Soccer Championship. From 1976 to 1978, Ike played for the Portland Timbers of the NASL, which was interspersed with bouts on Canada’s World Cup team. 

“There were no training camps for weeks on end. We got together a week before the tournament and that was about it.” Qualifying for the World Cup was difficult because Canada always had to beat Mexico whose home game was at high altitude with very polluted air.

Ike moved back to Gabriola in 1975 and taught physical education in Nanaimo for 17 years. It was there that the game of Futsal (five vs. five indoor soccer) caught his eye and he went on to coach both the men’s and women’s national teams.

This individual entry as a soccer play makes MacKay a two-time entrant into the Hall of Fame - his Vic West Soccer Team was inducted a couple years ago.

He said, ““I hadn’t thought of that, not quite the same as being an individual, but sure.”

Asked for advice for up and coming players, Mackay said, “You gotta be prepared to work very hard, make many sacrifices, have to be prepared to have your heart broken a few times too.

“But it is worth all the effort.”