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Burchuk latest Wesmen great to earn Canada West Hall of Fame honour

Former Wesmen volleyball coach Mike Burchuk celebrates with the team after the Wesmen won the 1986-87 national title at the Duckworth Centre. (UWinnipeg Archives photo)
Former Wesmen volleyball coach Mike Burchuk celebrates with the team after the Wesmen won the 1986-87 national title at the Duckworth Centre. (UWinnipeg Archives photo)

Presiding over one of the greatest dynasties in Canadian volleyball history has earned Mike Burchuk another Hall of Fame induction.

Burchuk, the longtime former head coach of the UWinnipeg Wesmen women's volleyball program, was announced Friday as the latest inductee to the Canada West Hall of Fame.

Burchuk is the fourth Wesmen inductee, and first individual, into this inaugural class of the conference's Hall of Fame, joining the 1982-88 women's volleyball program that he led through the school's greatest successes in the sport. The 1992-95 women's basketball program and the 1970-74 men's volleyball program were also previously inducted.

A member of the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame, Sport Manitoba Hall of Fame and Manitoba High School Sports Hall of Fame, Burchuk was named CIAU coach of the year four times, including three straight years from 1981 to 1985. He won the award again in 1989. 

Under his tenure, the Wesmen women became the first dynasty of Canadian university volleyball, accumulating a string of six straight national titles between 1982 and 1988, a feat that has been matched only twice since the Wesmen first did it. 

While navigating what was then an unprecedented run, the Wesmen were also noteworthy for their spectacular 123-game win streak while Burchuk was at the helm. That mark has not been equaled anywhere in Canadian university sport since. 

Burchuk also boasts a resume at the international level, having been on the national team bench for NORCECAs, World Cups, Pan-Am Games and, ultimately, Olympics. He got his first taste as an assistant at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and later guided the 1996 Canadian national team to an Olympic berth in Atlanta, where the team finished ninth. 

In January 2019, Burchuk became one of the first four members inducted into the Wesmen Ring of Honour, which was established in December 2018. 

The Canada West conference is recognizing 100 years of university sport in Western Canada with the formation of the Hall of Fame and by inducting 100 athletes, teams, coaches and builders into this inaugural class. 

 

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