The UBC Okanagan Heat can no longer bear the newbie pass as they embark on their third Canada West campaign. With veterans who now boast valuable CIS-level experience and young recruits with talent and an eagerness to learn, the Heat men’s and women’s basketball squads are ready to take on this year’s Canada West schedule with thoughts of playing late into February.
As always, the Pacific division, within which the Heat play, will be a dogfight to see the playoffs as it boasts traditional powerhouses like the UBC Thunderbirds, Victoria Vikes, the Fraser Valley Cascades, and the Trinity Western Spartans. Fellow newcomers to Canada West, the Mount Royal Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves, and rival Thompson Rivers round out the teams in the Pacific division.
The Heat will open their season in Kelowna with a weekend hosting prairie heavyweights in Alberta and Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday, Nov 1-2, respectively. Both teams are staples in the Canada West playoffs and generally find themselves finishing in one of the top spots in the Prairie Division, but do not count out the rapidly-improving young Heat squads who always bring their athleticism and energy for the home fans. This will be the first time either Saskatchewan or Alberta will play at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
The Vikes will visit the Heat for a back-to-back the weekend of November 15-16, however Heat basketball fans will not witness another epic contest of UBC campuses as the Thunderbirds will host the Okanagan team at War Memorial Gymnasium the weekend of February 7-8. The campus-campus clashes have become an annual highlight for fans of both campuses, drawing raucous crowds from the student body and the community at large.
The annual rivalry with the other BC Southern Interior squad, the Thompson Rivers WolfPack, will close out the regular season same as last year. The final two games, a home and away, will be on February 14 and 15 and could be win-or-go-home scenarios for either team with playoff ambitions. The Heat will have final say at home, however, as they get the opportunity to play the final game of their season on home court.
The Canada West men’s quarter-finals take place February 21-23, with the Final Four slated for Feb. 28-March 1 and onto the CIS Final 8 that runs March 7-9 at Carleton University in Ottawa.
The women’s playoffs open a week later, with quarter-finals Feb. 28-March 1 with the conference women’s Final Four tabbed for March 7-8 and the CIS women’s basketball tournament takes place March 14-16 at the University of Windsor.
Both 2014 CIS championships hosts – Carleton and Windsor – will enter the tournament as three-time defending champions.
For more info on schedules and gametime please visit www.goheat.ca.
All Canada West basketball games, as well as livestats, can be viewed online at www.canadawest.tv.
Heat Home Basketball Schedule:
|Fri Nov. 1||Alberta||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov. 2||Saskatchewan||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Fri Nov. 15||Victoria||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov. 16||Victoria||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Nov. 29||UNBC||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov. 30||UNBC||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan. 17||Trinity Western||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan. 18||Trinity Western||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan. 31||Winnipeg||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Feb. 1||Manitoba||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Sat Feb. 15||Thompson Rivers||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|