Vic Peters was a tenacious competitor and a national curling champion. He was a humble man who loved his family and his work. And he was a mentor who committed countless hours to supporting young people on and off the ice.
Now, Vic’s Little VIPs Memorial Fund is ensuring his legacy of support will continue forever.
Mr. Peters was one of Canada’s top curlers, winning the 1992 Brier and finishing third at that year’s world championship. He was a three-time Manitoba champion (1992, 1993 and 1997) and was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame in 2005. He was universally known as a good sport.
Born March 24, 1955 in Steinbach, MB, Mr. Peters was a natural athlete. It was through curling he met his wife Debora.
“When I first saw him he had hair down to his shoulders, this long shaggy blonde hair,” Mrs. Peters says. “He wore a red ski jacket and there was a hole where the feathers were coming out, so he just Duct taped it closed. And then he had his pants tucked into work boots that were unlaced. And I’m looking at him and thinking, ‘What is everyone talking about?’ because all the girls were just in love with him.”
After the bonspiel wrapped up, Vic joined Deb’s table for a few beverages, and as the night wore on she began to see what the fuss was about.
The couple married in 1979 and made their life in Winnipeg. They had three children: son Daley and daughters Kasandra Leafloor and Elisabeth ‘Liz’ Fyfe.
In summer, Mr. Peters worked as a golf course superintendent, first at Rossmere, then at Larters and finally at The Meadows. In winter, he worked as an icemaker, and he curled.
Despite the busy schedule of a professional curler, Mr. Peters was extremely involved with his children. The family spent lots of time at the curling rink and golf course, and lots of time traveling to different competitions.
“All three of them were raised in a curling rink and on a golf course. I don’t think life could have been any better,” Mrs. Peters says.
Mr. Peters loved being around kids and offered up his expertise to young curlers. Family meant the world to him, and he was overjoyed by the arrival of his three grandkids: Jacob, Ted and Greta.
Although Mr. Peters never pushed his children to curl, two play at the competitive level.
Daley is a two time Manitoba junior winner, and played with his dad in the Manitoba men’s championship in 2011. Liz plays second for Team Manitoba.
One of Mr. Peters’ last public appearances was in February 2016 when he attended the Scotties in Grande Prairie, AB to cheer on Liz’s squad.
Despite the Peters family’s many accomplishments, Vic maintained you didn’t need to win, nor did you need a lot in life, to be happy.
“He was content, and he said that before he died…It didn’t take a lot to please him. We didn’t need a fancy car. He wore Crocs. He never wanted anything but a cold beer at the end of the day and his family to play with out in the park.”
Mr. Peters had melanoma in the ’70s, and in 2011 it came back; he passed away in March 2016. The family wanted to do something to honour his memory.
“I wanted something to be established that would be a legacy, that wouldn’t just be about me and the loss of my husband, and then my kids and my grandkids. I wanted [his legacy] to be passed on; I wanted to know that what it stood for today would continue on through the generations of Vic’s kids.”
The family began a Memorial Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation, which allowed them to quickly establish a place to which memorial gifts were directed. Since Mr. Peters’ passing, hundreds of gifts have been made to Vic’s Little VIPs Fund. In September, the family held a golf tournament, raising $15,600 for the fund.
Vic and Deb Peters always said if they won the lottery they would build a golf course for under-privileged youth, a place where kids would feel special – and so the fund was named Vic’s Little VIPs.
Although the particulars are still being worked out, the fund is designed to “help young people in this community develop critical skills to assist them in their pursuit of sporting excellence.”
The whole family will help decide where grants from the fund will go – and how Vic Peters’ legacy will live on.
“We would like The Foundation to present ideas to us, we’d like to look at them, do site visits so the kids can actually see [the impact]… We want to be actively involved, [to discover] what is this organization, what are their needs, and where is our heart right now.”