One of the most driven athletes in BC history, Victoria’s Eli Pasquale led the University of Victoria men’s basketball team to five straight CIAU national titles. Over that same period, Eli also refused to lose a single conditioning run in practice.

“He never had an off day,” said coach Ken Shields. “He never had one.”

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Eli was coaxed west by Shields in 1979. He is believed to be the first athlete in Canadian university sport history to win five consecutive national championships. In 1984, he received the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the CIAU’s outstanding men’s basketball player. He was also named a CIAU First Team All-Canadian three times and the CIAU national tournament MVP twice. In 2005 UVic retired Eli’s number 13 jersey, one of only three individuals in the university’s history to be so honoured.

Over 12 years beginning in 1981, Eli developed into one of Canada’s best-ever international players during arguably the Canadian national team’s greatest era. As the starting point guard and co-captain, he helped Canada qualify for three FIBA World Championship tournaments, two Pan American Games, and the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, where Canada finished fourth and sixth respectively. The highlight may have been the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton when Eli led Canada to victory in the semifinals over a USA team featuring future NBA legends Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. Canada later defeated Yugoslavia for gold in the final.

Drafted by the Seattle Supersonics, Eli played professionally in Europe and South America. He later played a major role in mentoring a young Steve Nash. For 35 years Eli’s youth development camps all over BC gave thousands of kids their start in basketball.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

To read more on the career of Eli Pasquale, please see the June 2022 Curator’s Corner article here: