Wallace ‘Wally’ Mayers played basketball from his first year of high school until age thirty-five, and was on five Canadian championship teams. He attended the University of British Columbia where he excelled in tennis, swimming, and soccer, in addition to basketball.
In 1926, Mayers won the BC junior clay courts tennis championship. A year later he finished third in the 100-yard freestyle at the Canadian swimming championships.
Mayers was a key member of the UBC Thunderbirds basketball team that defeated the two-time, defending-national champion Winnipeg Toilers in the 1928 Western Canadian two-game total-points final by one point before losing in the Canadian championships after two losses to the hosting Windsor Collegiate Alumni.
He was a member of the 1929 New Westminster Adanacs, which beat visiting Windsor Collegiate Alumni by one point in a two-game, total-points series, to become the first team from BC to hoist the Montreal Cup, emblematic of the Canadian championship. The Adanacs repeated the following year, winning two games over Acadia University for the 1930 title in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Later, Mayers was part of the Vancouver Westerns (a team which, under the official name of the Western Sports Centre, he co-founded) when they captured the 1938 Canadian championship in Ottawa over the Glebe Collegiate Grads in three straight games during a best-of-five series. The championship climaxed a streak of 10 straight wins beginning with the final game of the BC championships versus Victoria Dominoes followed by a month-long trek by train across the country sweeping two-game, total points series against provincial titleholders in Raymond, Alberta; Saskatoon and Winnipeg. It was the first time a BC team had taken the Dominion title by going undefeated after winning the provincial crown and doing it while travelling east made the feat all the more difficult.
In the summer of 1939, the Westerns journeyed by ocean liner to make a goodwill tour of Japan, Manchuria, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and China, playing in front of as many as 15,000 on outdoor courts, before abruptly heading for home when Britain and France declared war on Germany.
In 1940, Mayers won his fifth Canadian championship, this time as a member of the Vancouver Maple Leafs (formerly the Westerns), by defeating Montreal YMHA in three straight games in Quebec City.
Written and researched by Len Corben for the BC Sports Hall of Fame.