Daryna Sarhan, Arts Reporter

Jim Bialek has handled a lot of precious metals.

The longest serving member of Humber College’s sports staff was feted Thursday at the college’s annual varsity banquet that also celebrated the achievements and excellence of Humber athletes. 

Bialek, the manager of sport information, is nominated this year as a builder for the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He has dedicated his life to Hawks athletics and has been there for most of their championships. 

“Since I’ve been here, Humber has won 153 national championship medals, I’ve been here for 52 of them,” he said. 

“They’ve won 591 medals, I’ve been here for 563 of them and they’ve had 151 All Canadians. I’ve been here for every single one of them,” Bialek said. 

Jim Bialek (centre) is nominated for the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame (Humber Athletics/Diego Guillen)

The banquet goes beyond celebrating athletes, it’s become a celebration of a community.

“It’s a celebration of success, it’s a celebration of family, it’s a celebration of future and it’s a celebration of memories,” Bialek said.

Bialek said the organization has evolved, attracting more athletes which lead to more recognition and awards. 

“Everything here is growing for the right reasons, it’s a celebration of commitment in student athletes all year long,” he said.

Hawks varsity will be expanding next year as men’s rugby will be reinstated.

“It will be physically bigger, absolutely,” Bialek said. “I think the way we were going, success will follow us again, it will be a lot more people to celebrate.” 

He said he thinks the school’s success goes beyond the number of teams, athletes, budget, and facilities.

“We work hard and I think if you continue to work hard and you support each other you’re gonna have an opportunity to win every time,” Bialek said. 

Matthew Hamel, who is in his final year of Humber’s radio program, was awarded a sports broadcasting award for his contribution to the Hawks. 

“I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “I thought it was really cool, it’s meant a lot to me to be a part of this organization and to get recognized, I thought it was really nice of them to do that.”

Hamel, at his first banquet, said he enjoyed the refresher of all the key plays throughout the year. 

“We have highlight packages of all the big moments and I was there for a lot of them doing the play-by-play commentary and it brings up a lot of exciting memories,” Hamel said, who has been a part of the organization since 2017.

“Beyond just being athletic excellence, you have to admire the way that they’re able to be great all the time, all the people you meet in athletics department, all the support staff, the varsity crew and the people that work in the facilities, it’s been cool to have a role and be a part of what’s going on in the Humber Hawks athletics,” he said.

Rafael Hilario was one of the athletes that received an award at the banquet attended by about 300 people.

“This is very different from what we do in my country, I think Humber offers all the best, I think it’s a great night, I’m just really proud to be part of the hawks,” Hilario said. 

Rafael Hilario. (Humber Athletics)

Hilario, an international student from Rio who is in his first year of the business program at Humber, began playing volleyball at age nine, and played for a club for six years. He later traveled to the United States before coming to Canada. 

Hilario said the reason he chose Humber was because he found it offered the best varsity programs. 

“This has been an amazing year and an amazing season, I’m so proud of the achievements this year,” Hilario said.  

Danielle Dupuis, in her final year of public relations, has been a part of the sports information team for the past three years.

“I think it’s amazing what they do to honour the athletes who’ve worked so hard throughout the year and this is a way for everyone to come together and just relax and have fun,” she said.

“It’s good to see everyone outside their athletics clothes,” Dupuis said.