Some Final 8 Day Two thoughts

Halifax continues to show that the City knows how to create the proper environment for Canadian University sport.  Last night’s crowd of 6,410 oozed of passion and set the tone for what turned out to be one of the more memorable games in Final 8 history.  Dalhousie has clearly done a wonderful job of planning and executing a tremendous tournament, epitomized by the energy and profile of Athletic Director Tim Maloney, a relatively fresh face on the Canadian university sport leadership landscape.  Maloney has been visible and engaging all week with a smile and welcoming charm combined with a work ethic and expertise illustrated by the success of this event thus far.  Along with other forward-thinking, new paradigm Canadian sport management executives such as Brock’s Robert Hilson, long-time observers, previously used to watching tired, decades-old university sports administration that simply continues to not work, are becoming encouraged by a growing belief that a new generation of leadership will propel what we believe and know is an woefully-undervalued set of properties to new, commercially-successful heights to the benefit of alumni, fans and, most importantly student-athletes… Top on-court performances from yesterday’s four quarter-final games were led by the 28-point/10-rebound effort from Dalhousie’s 6’2″ Kashrell Lawrence, who continues to astound with his strength and guile in and around the paint.  His ability to power off two feet and explode through much taller defenders remains one of the more unique features of our game – he may be the U Sports men’s basketball version of Charles Barkley, at least within 10 feet… As most know, Sportsnet will be covering live both of Saturday’s championship semi-final games as well as Sunday’s final, led by Tim Micallef, Sportsnet affable personality, who has been in Halifax since earlier in the week.  Micallef has been a long-time supporter of Canadian university sport and has been very visible throughout the tournament, actively engaged in all post-game press conferences and as the consummate professional, working hard researching all teams to ensure the broadcast will cast university basketball in a positive light.  The event and property should be grateful that a national media personality like Micallef is representing our sport given the respect, care and diligence he obviously shows for our game… Regarding the championship semi-finals, the event planners have properly scheduled the championship semi-final games for Saturday afternoon, giving the two winning teams that much more time to recover and prepare for Sunday’s final, again helping to make it a better overall event… It has been tremendous to watch all the action from press row with Martin Timmerman, a humble man who does so much behind the scenes to ensure fans from across the country have the most updated data via his site .  A labour of love for him, Martin has been an avid university sports basketball fan since the early 70’s when Waterloo had those great teams led by the late Mike Moser and being able to spend time with Martin – including watching numerous folks from across the country come down and pay well-deserved respect to him over the course of yesterday was gratifying… I was fortunate enough to be part of a group having dinner with a Halifax treasure in Bill Robinson who is CEO of the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.  Always engaging with a plethora of stories from his time at Saint Mary’s as an All-Canadian football player, in Ottawa with the Rough Riders where he won a Grey Cup in 1976 and being the lead organizer of the Final 8 for many years.  For those in town in Halifax, I strongly encourage you to visit the Hall of Fame located in the Scotiabank Center… We hope to have more for you as the weekend progresses.



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