Arguably the busiest tournament weekend of the pre-season happens this coming weekend as no less than 6 events take place across the country in Kelowna, Waterloo, Ottawa, Charlottetown, Antigonish and Kingston, ON. The good news is that there will be several more inter-conference games that will continue to fuel the debate as to the top conference in the country. Here is a quick list of tournaments and participants which begins this evening in Waterloo:
Waterloo Naismith Classic (Thursday through Saturday)… Head Coach Justin Gunter revived what was the oldest tournament in the CIS – a national treasure to some who recall the days when this tournament attracted the best teams in Canada – bringing in Manitoba Bisons, a Canada West favorite, UQAM Citadins, who remain undefeated vs. CIS schools and CCAA power Humber Hawks. Warriors stellar recruiting class which includes Day One starters 6’3″ Simon Petrov (PG) and 6’5″ Nedim Hodzic dive into their first taste of CIS action – Waterloo has only played once thus far defeating Redeemer College. Fans in Ontario get their first look at one of the pre-season favorites for CIS Rookie-of-the-Year in 6’7″ James Wagner, who started for Manitoba (1-1) in their loss to Lakehead this past weekend. Somewhat quietly, UQAM Citadins remain undefeated with wins against Cape Breton, Queen’s and Ottawa – all in Montreal.
Also tonight at Laurier, Guelph Gryphons pay a visit to Laurier in a non-conference game with Golden Hawks coming off a 78-74 upset loss at Fanshawe College last night in London.
Heat Classic at UBC-O in Kelowna, B.C… An all-Canada West tourney with Saskatchewan, Thompson Rivers and MacEwan in the field. Interestingly, the hosts will play only two games (Saskatchewan and MacEwan) with a single game between the Huskies and Griffins on the neutral court on Sunday afternoon. Only MacEwan (1-0; win at home over UNBC) has played any CIS games, so these are clean-slate type games to start their respective seasons.
House-Laughton Invitiational at Carleton… Ravens host the 27th annual edition of their tournament which they have dominated for a decade or more with UVic, Western and Laval participating. Rouge et Or have given Carleton their toughest test to date, staying in the game until mid-way through the second quarter last weekend at Acadia. Victoria went 1-2 at their Guy Vetrie tournament two weeks ago and Western debuts their brand-new lineup which includes a new touch of athleticism. This is a three-day, round-robin event ending on Sunday afternoon.
Mickey Place Tournament at UPEI… Panthers annual tournament is one of the more competitive on the weekend as AUS favorite Dalhousie Tigers and one-beaten Concordia Stingers (RSEQ) are in the field along with Maine-Fort Kent (NAIA), which went 1-2 at the recent Eric Garland Tournament at UNB, defeating Bishop’s by 7 and the host Varsity Reds by 4, losing by 11 to tournament champions Saint Mary’s Huskies. This is a three-day, round-robin event.
St. FX Invitational in Antigonish… X-Men face a difficult test in the opening round of their own tournament as CCAA power Holland College comes to Antigonish. The Hurricanes host this season’s CCAA national championship and have added several new faces including 6’6″ Brad States (ex-UPEI). X’s solid core of veterans has the group off to a 2-4 start after their difficult trip into Southern Ontario, losing to 3 likely Top 10 teams in Brock, Ryerson and McMaster. In the other first round game of the 4 team tournament, Saint Mary’s (3-0) champions of the Eric Garland tournament meet Cape Breton (0-4).
Frank Tindall Invitational at Queen’s… Arguably the most competitive tournament of the weekend with perennial Nationals participant uOttawa Gee-Gees and Alberta Golden Bears in town. Gaels have had to deal with several injuries, most notable to 6’11” center Mike Shoveller, out for the season with an ACL tear. However three other regulars have also been battling nagging injuries, partially contributing to Queen’s winless start at 0-2 vs. CIS. Memorial Sea-hawks make their second trip to Ontario with 6’9″ Vasilije Curcic as one of the top offensive bigs in the country. Hawks salvaged one victory in their tour two weeks ago winning at York. This is a three-day, round robin event.