Twenty-one-year Victoria resident Simon Whitfield carries the Canadian flag at the 2012 Olympic Games. Commons

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Who is the best all-time athlete from Vancouver Island?

Cassie Sharpe, Silken Laumann, Ryder Hesjedal, Steve Nash, Simon Whitfield — the contenders are many.

There’s only one sporting way to decide: A SIXTY-FOUR ATHLETE ONLINE TOURNAMENT BRACKET!

Visit the long list below (which is over well over 64). If you think anyone’s missing, have a look and email me at reporter@saanichnews.com, or Tweet me @travisapaterson.

A case for Steve Nash: Is pending NBA Hall-of-Famer the best Vancouver Island athlete of all time?

Soon, based on your dedicated input and my exhaustive research, I will whittle the list of names down to 64. From there, we will invite the public to vote via an online poll. Get your arguments in loud and early, because I’m running through this on Sunday night and I’m not staying up past midnight.

When the time comes, we will be Tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking this tournament like it’s on fire.

And hey, we know it’s a debate sure to fire up Island sports enthusiasts and Canadians alike.

First, a little clarification on transplants vs. Island-born. Transplants are allowed. To a degree. The threshold is that the athlete was established here before asserting themselves on the world scene.

Laumann won’t crack the list, as the three-time Olympic medal winner and world champion Laumann of Ontario was a Western University athlete who moved to the Saanich Peninsula mid rowing-career. Whitfield, however, arrived here in 1997, years before he became a household name winning gold at the 2000 Sidney Olympics.

He’ll make it in.

For added reference: Despite inventing the rules that sculpted the modern-day NHL, Lester Patrick played and won the Stanley Cup for the Victoria Cougars but was already established before he moved here. He will not make the list, but his Victoria-born sons Muzz and Lynn could (the trio won the 1940 Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers with Lester as coach, and Muzz was also the national heavyweight boxing champion).

Was Muzz better than Jamie Benn? Hmmm. Is Jamie better than Rod the Bod Brind’Amour? Hmmm.

Lynn, Lester and Muzz Patrick photo LynnLesterandMuzzPatrick.jpg

(Inset photo, Muzz and Lynn with dad Lester Patrick on the NHL New York Rangers.)

Here are th names we’re considering, with kudos to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Wikipedia for the bios.

Nancy (Charlton) Mollenhauer – field hockey

Rochelle Low – field hockey

Deb Whitten – field hockey

Laurelee Kopeck – field hockey

Lynne Beecroft – field hockey

Ali Baggott – field hockey

Andy Rushton – field hockey

Jan Crook – field hockey

Milena Gaiga – field hockey

Ryan Cochrane – swimming

Gillian Carleton – cycling

Gary Gait – lacrosse

Paul Gait – lacrosse

Rhys Duch – lacrosse

Harry Manson – soccer

Bob Burrows – baseball

Kevin Alexander – lacrosse

Cliff Thorburn – snooker

Mark Wyatt – rugby

Eli Pasquale – basketball

Gerald Kazanowski – basketball

Doug Bodger – hockey

Robin Bawa – hockey

Bob Court

Brenda Taylor – rowing

Gareth Rees – rugby

Winston Stanley – rugby

Hans de Goede – rugby

D.T.H. van der Merwe – rugby

Phil Mack – rugby

Michelle Stilwell – wheelchair track

Barry Pederson – hockey

Allison Forsyth – skier

Dawn Coe-Jones – golf

Rick Hansen – wheelchair sports

Stephanie Dixon – swimming

Cassie Sharpe – skiing

Simon Whitfield – triathlon

Kirsten Sweetland – triathlon

Riley McCormick – diving

Ryder Hesjedal – cycling

Angela Chalmers – track running

Doug Peden – cycling

Torchy Peden – cycling

Phil Olsen – javelin

Al Wilson – football

Emily Zurrer – soccer

Eric Hinrichsen – basketball

Richard Peter

Shane Sutcliffe

Al Howie

Rick O’Dell – auto racing

Billy Foster – auto racing

George Pakos – soccer

Nick Gilbert

Mike Piechnik

Doug Chase

Elaine Dagg-Jackson – curling

Gary Kershaw – racecar driver

Eddie Murray – football

Red Thomson

Stan Kern

Kim de Macedo

Anna Vander Kamp

Wendy Pattenden – tennis

Catherine Willis

Allison Sydor – cycling

Dave Cutler – football

Rob Guenter – baseball

Clark Davis

Joyce Yakubowich – track running

Mary Coutts – basketball

Rosemary Fuller – baseball

Mike Mason

Spencer O’Brien

Bruce Deacon – running

Geoff Courtnall – hockey

Russ Courtnall – hockey

Muzz Patrick – hockey

Lynn Patrick – hockey

Rod Brind’Amour – hockey

Jamie Benn- hockey

Tyson Barrie – hockey

Dave Calder – rowing

Lindsay Jennerich – rowing

Patricia Obee – rowing

Kevin Light – rowing

Malcolm Howard – rowing

Steve Nash – basketball

Lucy Smith – running/triathlon

Cheryl Murphy – running/duathlon

Phil Nicholls – running

Nic Pivetta – baseball

Rich Harden – baseball

Michael Saunders – baseball

Peter Reid – triathlon

Steve Smith – downhill MTB

Cam Neely – hockey

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