Basketball fans in Kamloops will get a chance to see some of the most storied teams in the history of Canada West this coming season.
The league has announced its schedule for the coming year and TRU WolfPack will play host to four schools who haven’t been to Kamloops since the old Pioneer and Explorer division format was formed three years ago. That format was eliminated after last year.
This season, the Thompson Rivers men’s basketball program will face both defending league champion University of Calgary Dinos (Feb. 3-4, 2017) and the team they knocked off to capture the Canada West silver medal last season — UBC Thunderbirds (Nov. 4-5).
Those games against UBC are the season opener for both schools.
Two other schools: University of Winnipeg Wesmen (Jan. 13-14, 2017) and UVic Vikes (Jan. 6-7, 2017) will also play games at the TCC this year. Both those schools (the Wesmen on the men’s side and the Vikes on the women’s side) have been to Kamloops the past two years to play playoff series against the WolfPack.
WolfPack will play two weekends at home and three on the road in the first half of the season as they wind up the pre-Christmas portion of the campaign Dec. 2-3 in Prince George, BC against UNBC Timberwolves.
They then return to league play against Victoria at the TCC Jan. 6-7, 2017.
The only other home weekend for the WolfPack will be Nov. 25-26 at TCC against their closest geographical rivals, UBC Okanagan Heat.
WolfPack will finish the 2016-17 regular season on Feb. 11-12, 2017, when they visit the Cougars at University of Regina.
When looking at the schedule, TRU men’s coach Scott Clark said “It’s a tough one, we will be battle tested.” TRU will be led by Canada West all-star Volodymyr Iegorov (Donetsk, Ukraine) who enters his final year of CIS eligibility.
“We are excited for another season to begin,” said WolfPack women’s coach Scott Reeves. “We have been working on our off season training and are getting better each day.” TRU look to Michelle Bos (Surrey) and Emma Piggin (Kamloops) to be their main offensive threats this season.
Home games for the WolfPack will be 6 and 8 p.m. on Fridays. Saturday matches will start at 5 and 7 p.m. All will be played on the Warner Rentals Court at the TCC.
Seventeen Canada West basketball schools will play in a single conference, featuring a 20-game regular season schedule. Each team will play four geographical, or historical opponents every year, with games against six of the remaining 12 opponents every other year. Over a four-year rotation in the schedule, each team will play every team in the conference at least twice, and will visit every gym in Canada West at least once.
The 2016-17 playoffs will feature the top 12 teams playing a bracketed post-season structure over a three-week period. The top four teams will receive a bye in the first week of the playoffs, which will feature four best-of-three series.