The UBC Okanagan Heat intend to assert their presence as strong post-season contenders in 2014-2015 in the new look Canada West basketball landscape.
Heading into year four of CIS competition and armed with a talented veteran presence and a healthy dose of new recruits, the squads are no longer a new presence in Canada West. Both the men and women are eager to meet oncoming challenges and crave a winning record in blue and gold.
This season brings a novel design to league play. Previously, Canada West has featured two divisions of eight teams – the Pacific and the Prairie. In 2014/15 these geographic divisions will be replaced by a six-team “Explorer” and an 11-team “Pioneer” division.
The UBC Okanagan Heat will compete alongside BC schools: the Fraser Valley Cascades, Thompson Rivers WolfPack, and the UNBC Timberwolves, along with Calgary’s Mount Royal Cougars, and CIS newcomer MacEwan Griffins, from Edmonton, in the Explorer category.
There will be no interdivisional games on the 20-game regular schedule. The top three Explorers will earn a Canada West playoff ticket.
The Heat will open their season on November 7th and 8th at home against lower mainland heavyweights UFV. On the Women’s side, the Cascades are favoured to top the new Explorer division, finishing 2nd at the Canada West Final Four and 3rd at the CIS National Championships last season.
On the men’s side, the Cascades finished 4th in Canada West. Despite the tough matchup, both Heat squads played UFV to within 15 points in the 13/14 season. With strong new additions for the Heat and some talented departures at UFV, it will be a fierce inauguration to the new season.
UBC Okanagan’s first meeting with Canada West rookies the MacEwan Griffins will also occur in Kelowna in the Heat’s second home stand, on November 21st and 22nd. Mount Royal round out the only other out of province opponent for the Kelowna squad this season. Heat fans will not be privy to the annual battle with the other BC Southern Interior squad Thompson Rivers until January 30th and 31st. The BC interior clashes have become a highlight for both campuses.
A shorter schedule highlights the importance of each and every weekend match up for any team with playoff ambitions. A budding rivalry with an increasingly competitive UNBC team from Prince George will close out the regular season. The Heat will host the final two games on February 13th and 14th.
The small league will see more frequent match ups and double headers that will cultivate rivalries and help to draw raucous crowds from both the student body and the community at large.
The Canada West playoffs begin with a play-in best of 3 series on February 20-22 with the top three from the Explorer division challenging the top five teams from the Pioneer in a cross-over fashion.
The quarterfinals take place on February 27 - March 1, setting up the Canada West Final Four on March 6-7. The highest remaining seed will host.
The CIS Final 8 will be on March 12-15; with Ryerson hosting the men’s teams at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and the women’s settling the championship in Quebec City at Laval University.
For more info on schedules and up to date game times 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 7||Fraser Valley||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov 8||Fraser Valley||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Nov 21||MacEwan||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Nov 22||MacEwan||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan 16||Mount Royal||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan 17||Mount Royal||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Jan 30||Thompson Rivers||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Jan 31||Thompson Rivers||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|
|Fri Feb 13||UNBC||6pm (W) 8pm (M)|
|Sat Feb 14||UNBC||5pm (W) 7pm (M)|