Denny Boyd was delivered to the world in 1930 in Anyox, BC. shortly after his mother was delivered to the hospital in a family friend’s garbage truck. Twenty-one years later, he was writing sports for the Victoria Times.
Denny loved telling that story among what seemed a million others.
Stories were what he lived for, and no one had a better eye or ear for finding them and putting them into words. During his years at the Times, he covered it all: junior hockey, high school sports, and all the local leagues.
His work at the Times led to a career at the Vancouver Sun from 1957-72 and again from 1977 through 1999, first in sports, then in an entertainment/saloon column that became a “must-read” across the province.
With four books, a five-year stint as radio commentator, the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and the Order of BC in 2005, you have a life lived to the hilt by a man who lived for words, and made them sing.
SPONSORED BY TIMES-COLONIST
A native Victorian, Michael loved to fly kites as a youngster and, as a result, earned the nickname of “Benj” - short for Benjamin Franklin. That nickname has stayed with him his whole life and he is still called “Benj” today by his close friends.
Michael got his start in rugby at age 20 while attending University of Victoria. In 2011, he was inducted into the University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1970-71 men's rugby team that won the Vikes first Rounsefell Cup in team history, their fourth consecutive Barnard Cup and the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate conference title in the same season.
He went on to play for UBC while attending Law School and finished his rugby career at James Bay Athletic Association (JBAA) where, at the age of 37, he finally hung up his cleats. He began an illustrious career in sport administration in 1979 as Director and then President of the JBAA, the oldest athletic association in western Canada and perennial BC Rugby Union First Division Champions.
During the 1980s, he was President of the Vancouver Island Rugby Union and BC Rugby Union and was responsible for the development of rugby throughout BC. In 1987, he became Vice-President of Canada’s World Cup rugby team working towards Canada’s participation in the first Rugby World Cup slated for Australia/ New Zealand.
From 1990 to 1995, Michael was Vice Chair, Board of Governors, 1994 Commonwealth Games – the largest sporting event ever staged in Victoria. In 1991, he brought his passion for sport to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHOF) and, as Chair, was responsible for implementing the first home of the GVSHOF at Saanich Commonwealth Place. In 2009, he was recognized as an Honourary Life Member for his contribution to the organization.
In early 2000, Michael became Director, Canadian Rugby Union – Rugby Canada and in 2001, he was elected Vice-President responsible for implementing a business plan for Rugby Canada to enable Canadian rugby teams to compete internationally on a sustained basis.
In addition to Michael’s many sporting achievements, he has served his community with distinction in many capacities including Honourary Chair, Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Victoria 2009; President, BC Government House Foundation 2010 to present; and, Chair, Greater Victoria Hospital Foundation’s Capital Campaign 2001-2004 and Chair, GVHF Board of Directors 1997 -2001.
Michael has been recognized many times for his outstanding leadership, commitment to sport, and his exemplary citizenship and public service in support of the community. His numerous awards include 1997 Victoria Sports Person of the Year and 1999 Victoria Citizen of the Year. In 2002 and 2012 he received Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medals and, in 2012, the Vice-Regal Commendation from the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Michael “Benj” O’Connor is truly a deserving individual to be inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.
SPONSORED BY RUGBY CANADA