The busiest weekend of the CIS men’s pre-season kicks off on Thursday afternoon with the Capers Fall Classic and later in Saskatoon with the Graham Shootout at University of Saskatchewan. On Friday, three more tournaments kick off including RBC Classic at Brock, McGill’s Redbird Classic, Golden Bear Invitational at Alberta and Lea Marc Printing tournament in Winnipeg. Plenty of inter-conference action again this weekend to provide cross-country observers with more data on how to rank the 4 conferences and bring more validity to the CIS RPI.
There are also some inter-conference exhibitions scheduled across the country. We plan to stay on top of the action all weekend, providing chronological schedules each day with as many game results/summaries as possible.
Here are quick previews of each of the tournaments this weekend:
Capers Fall Classic in Sydney at Centre 2000…. New Cape Breton Head Coach David Petroziello and the Capers continue their tradition of an eight-team tournament played at Center 2000 in Sydney. Recall that this hockey arena turned-basketball venue has hosted prior basketball events. This season’s 8 team event includes 5 AUS teams plus Maine Fort-Kent (NAIA), Thetford Mines Prep from Quebec and CCAA power Holland Hurricanes. The three-day event has a championship and consolation bracket and begins at Noon ET on Thursday as Holland College meets Acadia Axemen.
Saskatchewan Huskies Graham Shootout in Saskatoon… Two of the top teams in Canada West are featured in this traditional CIS tournament entering 18th consecutive year as CIS Nationals finalists Calgary Dinos and the host Huskies headline the field. OUA’s Algoma Thunderbirds and Red Deer College Kings, a traditional ACAC power also participate. Feature game is likely Calgary/Saskatchewan which takes place on Saturday at 5 PM local/7 PM Eastern. After missing the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, Huskies can garner serious Top 10 consideration with a sweep of the three games; 5’10” point guard Alex Unruh, who missed the entire Heat Classic in B.C. last weekend due to a bout of food poisoning, should return. Huskies also lost valuable 6’5″ newcomer Jaylen Morgan on Sunday to a charlie horse. Calgary features tremendous depth and a Moser Award candidate in 6’5″ Thomas Cooper, reigning Canada West POY. Full schedule is as follows: Thursday 5 PM local/7 PM ET Calgary vs Algoma, 7 PM local 9 PM ET Red Deer College at Saskatchewan; Friday 5/7 PM Red Deer vs Calgary, 7/9 ET Algoma at Saskatchewan; Saturday 1 PM local/3 PM ET Red Deer vs Algoma, 3 PM local/5 PM Eastern Calgary at Saskatchewan.
RBC Brock Classic… This tournament in St. Catharines, ON, which begins on Friday, features two of the most competitive games of the weekend as the host Badgers take on Ryerson Rams in Friday’s feature game at 8 PM and then the following evening AUS favorite Dalhousie Tigers meet Brock at 7 PM. All three teams are legitimate pre-season Top 10 candidates. The tournament features 4 games on each of the first two days and three games on Sunday and kicks off at 2 PM ET on Friday with Guelph Gryphons meeting Regina Cougars. Gryphs will play just one game at the tournament having a prior commitment to play an Oxford County charity game in Woodstock, Ontario against U of T Varsity Blues on Saturday at 2 PM ET as Blues coach John Campbell has a homecoming in the town he was born in. Gryphs coach Chris O’Rourke hails from nearby Tillsonburg, ON. Entire schedule: Friday: 2 PM ET Regina vs. Guelph, 4 PM ET UQAM vs. Windsor, 6 PM ET Dalhousie vs. York, 8 PM ET Ryerson at Brock. Saturday: 1 PM ET Regina vs. UQAM, 3 PM Niagara College vs. Ryerson, 5 PM Windsor vs. York, 7 PM Dalhousie at Brock. Sunday: 11 AM ET York vs. UQAM, 1 PM ET Dalhousie vs. Windsor, 3 PM Regina vs. Ryerson.
Alberta Golden Bear Invitational in Edmonton… In a somewhat-unique Canada West vs. OUA format, four teams will play two games in two days with Top 10 contenders UBC and Alberta representing CW and Nipissing Lakers and Western Mustangs, who played Carleton tough in the second half in Ottawa this past Sunday, representing OUA. T-Birds have depth, return experience and two very good forwards in 6’9″ Conor Morgan and 6’7″ Luka Zaharijevic who are likely to put pressure on Western’s developing 6’9″ big Alex Otzyv and likely 6’5″ Cam Morris, who could draw Morgan as a check. Both Nipissing and Western will also get a third game in, each scheduling MacEwan with Nipissing on Thursday night and Western at MacEwan on Sunday afternoon. Schedule is as follows: Friday 6 PM local/8 PM ET Western vs. UBC; 8 PM local/10 PM ET Nipissing at Alberta . Saturday at 5 pm local/7 PM T Nipissing vs UBC and 7 PM local/9 PM ET Western at Alberta.
Bishop’s trip to Alberta vs. Mount Royal (in Calgary) on Thursday followed by back-to-back games in Southern Alberta at Lethbridge on Friday and Saturday nights. Our Southern Alberta correspondent informs us that Bishop’s at MRU Thursday night will be played at Calgary’s historic and very nice Crescent Height High School. The young Gaiters, with just two regulars 6’0″ Jona Bermillo (5th) and 6’5″ David Belanger (4th) not in their freshman or sophomore years, have depth and good quality across all positions. Horns are trying to retool what was a formidable side last season that must replace their top 2 scorers, 3 starters and 60 mpg/40 ppg.
McGill Redbird Classic… The annual tournament in Montreal has some one-season-only anomalies this year as there are only 5 games scheduled instead of the usual six in what historically has been a three-day, four-team event. McGill will be severely shorthanded all weekend as four McGill rotation regulars will be absent, headed instead to represent Canada at a FIBA World 3 on 3 event in China. The four Redmen who will represent Canada include 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun, 6’5″ Michael Peterkin, 6’7″ Francois Bourque and 6’8″ Sebastien Beckett. Marauders and Redmen will not play on Sunday after meeting in Victoria three weeks ago. Full Schedule – Friday: UBC-O at McGill; McMaster vs. Laurentian. Saturday: Laurentian at McGill; UBC-O vs. McMaster. Sunday: Laurentian vs. UBC-O single game. McMaster also has a pre-tournament game scheduled for Thursday night at Concordia.
Lea Marc Printing Invitational at Winnipeg… The field features the three Manitoba-based CW teams: Brandon, Manitoba and host Wesmen plus Dakota College at Bottineau, an NJCAA Region XIII Junior College out of North Dakota, featuring Calgary native Awak Awak, a 5’10” guard. Both Winnipeg teams will meet Brandon and Dakota on alternate nights in the two-day, four-game tournament. Wesmen remain undefeated although with their schedule thus far it is a bit more difficult to evaluate whether or not Winnipeg is a Top 10 side at this point in the season. Full Schedule: Friday 5 pm local/6 PM ET Brandon vs. Manitoba, 7 PM local/8 PM ET Dakota college at Winnipeg; Saturday 5/6 Dakota vs. Manitoba, 7/8 Brandon at Winnipeg. All four games to be played at Winnipeg’s Duckworth Center.
Laval three-team event: Thursday 7 PM UNB at Laval; Friday 5 PM Queen’s vs. UNB, Saturday 7 PM Queen’s at Laval. V-Reds have not played since losing all 3 games at their Eric Garland tournament while working in several new faces into their lineup and not having the services of AUS POY candidate Javon Masters who sat out with an arm injury. Both Laval and Queen’s are off to what most consider disappointing starts with some of the result attributed to injuries.