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UBC’s Okanagan teams to compete at Canada’s highest level
The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus will now compete at the highest level of interuniversity sport in Canada.
Application for membership in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams earned unanimous approval at the recent CIS annual general meeting in Victoria.
The Heat teams were accepted into the Canada West Universities Athletics Association in May, pending this approval by the national body.
UBC’s Okanagan campus has been officially welcomed as the 52nd CIS member institution effective September 2011. CIS is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Fifty-two universities, 10,000 student-athletes and 550 coaches vie annually for 21 national championships in 12 different sports.
“We began this journey in June of 2006 so it is wonderful to finally have that first phase complete,” said director of athletics for UBC’s Okanagan campus Rob Johnson. “While the process was challenging at times, the strong support shown the department from our student population, the faculty and staff, the senior administration, and the community at large, was unwavering and greatly appreciated.”
Johnson credits several individuals within the university who supported UBC’s Okanagan campus in its bid to join the CIS. These include Brad Bennett, former Chair of UBC’s Board, Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus and Ian Cull, Associate Vice President Students.
Owram said moving to this top tier of competition is yet another reason to cheer Heat teams on and he counts himself among fans.
"Our Heat teams have enjoyed extraordinary success at the collegiate level in provincial and national competition, and we look forward to their future achievements," said Owram. "It will be very exciting for our community to see the Heat play teams from all of Western Canada’s major universities, including the Thunderbirds from UBC's Vancouver campus. We wish our student-athletes, their coaches and our entire athletics department the very best as they prepare for an historic first season as members of the Canada West division."
The Heat will host the Thunderbirds in volleyball on the weekend of Nov. 4 to 5, while the basketball teams play the Thunderbirds for the first time at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver Jan. 27 to 28, 2012.
“The best part about this news is that starting this fall, our basketball and volleyball student athletes can compete against their peers from other universities in western Canada and our fans have the chance to cheer for the Heat in the highest level of amateur sport in Canada,” said Johnson. “I am hopeful that within the next few years we will be in a position to move the rest of our sports into the CIS.”