The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus Heat Basketball team has stepped into the big leagues of collegiate sports and for the first time will host some of the top squads in the country including the University of Victoria and Trinity Western University, amongst several others.
Big matches for the Men’s team include home standoffs against the University of Victoria Vikings and University of Winnipeg Wesmen. The Vikings visit Kelowna Feb. 3-4. Then Vikings, a perennial playoff team, will be in a rebuilding mode. The Vikes have graduated four players, including two starters - Marco Dolcetti and Wendell Thomas - both of whom played post-secondary basketball for coach Semeniuk in Kelowna. B.C. High School MVP, Vijay Dhillon has committed to UVIC from his championship RC Palmer team and will look to ignite the Vikings squad in his freshman season.
The Heat will also have a revamped lineup as only five players will make the jump from last year’s BCCAA squad to Canada West competition. Post and captain Steve Morison, will look to lead the young Heat squad as he will return for one more year to help transition the youthful Heat hoopsters.
The Wesmen visit Kelowna Jan. 7, bringing with them a familiar Head Coach in Mike Raimbault. Raimbault, entering his second year with the Wesmen, had previous CIS experience when he coached the Brandon Bobcats to a remarkable 20-2 record in the 2007-08 season. The Heat have seen Raimbault before, as he coached the UNBC Timberwolves to the CCAA title in 2009-10 and was named that year’s CCAA Coach of the Year.
The Women’s team will find themselves without All-Canadian guard Jenna Kantz for the first time in five years. Third year guard Madison Kaneda will look to pick up the scoring slack for the departed Kantz, and in turn will be pitted against several top CIS guards that include players from the University of Regina Cougars and the Trinity Western University Spartans. The Cougars come to Kelowna on Nov. 25, bringing 2010-11 second team CIS All-Canadian Joanna Zalesiak, a fourth-year guard and dynamic playmaker who finished second in the nation with 111 assists over the 24-game schedule.
The Spartans will come to the UBC Okanagan gymnasium for Jan. 13-14 contests where their latest recruit, Laurelle Weigl, will take the floor. Weigl will play her fifth year of eligibility with TWU after transferring from Simon Fraser University. Laurelle was unable to finish her career at SFU as their varsity teams made the jump to the NCAA Division II last season, the NCAA only allows four years of eligibility for their athletes. Weigl was a three-time CIS champion with the Clan (2007, 2009, 2010) as well as a CIS All-Star for both the ’09 and ’10 seasons while winning the 2010 CIS Gold Medal MVP.
The Heat will also host the University of Manitoba, University of Brandon and the Thompson Rivers basketball teams in the 2011-12 season.
For complete women's Heat basketball schedule go to goheat.ca.
For complete men's Heat basketball schedule go to goheat.ca.