Raimbault returns to UNBC with Wesmen
Basketball spectators at the Northern Sport Centre on Thursday evening will notice a familiar face beside the bench of the visiting team.
The Canada West men’s game will mark Winnipeg Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault’s return to the UNBC sidelines. Raimbault coached the Timberwolves for two seasons from 2008 to 2010. He capped off his tenure at UNBC by leading the Timberwolves to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball national title, captured in Calgary in March 2010.
In his first season at UNBC, Raimbault guided the Timberwolves to a fourth-place finish as hosts of the 2009 CCAA national tournament. Timberwolves head coach Todd Jordan was one of Raimbault’s assistants in the 2008-09 campaign.
Raimbault received national recognition for his efforts in the 2009-10 campaign, as he was named CCAA Coach of the Year for men’s basketball. The Timberwolves finished the regular season 17-1 before winning both games at provincials and all three games in the CCAA national tournament.
Raimbault is into his third season coaching the Wesmen. They sport a 9-4 record to sit second behind the Alberta Golden Bears (10-2) in the eight-team Prairie Division.
The Wesmen’s success this year comes after a pair of losing seasons. But the turnaround isn’t that surprising, considering Raimbault’s record at UNBC and in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. When he joined the Wesmen, he carried previous experience in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association from Brandon University. During the 2007-08 CIS season, he led the Brandon Bobcats to an overall record of 31-8, including a record of 20-2 in the CWUAA. He was a Canada West finalist for Coach of the Year.
Coming off a pair of losses on the road, the Timberwolves will be hungry to rebound on their home court. They sport a 5-7 record to sit fifth in the eight-team Pacific Division.
In their first regular-season game of 2013, UNBC lost 76-73 to the Regina Cougars (5-7) on Friday. They followed that defeat with a 61-54 setback at Brandon (3-9) on Sunday.
After welcoming the Wesmen to the NSC on Thursday, the Timberwolves will host the Manitoba Bisons (8-5) on Saturday. The Bisons sit fourth, just behind the third-place Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4), in the Prairie Division.
The UBC Thunderbirds (10-2) lead the Pacific Division.
The Timberwolves picked up their fourth win of the season on Sunday.
In Brandon against the Bobcats, UNBC improved to 4-8 with a 77-47 victory. The triumph came after a lopsided 95-47 defeat in Regina on Friday.
Winnipeg carries a 5-8 record into Thursday’s game. Manitoba sports a 2-11 mark.
The women’s game will precede the men’s contest on Thursday and Saturday. They’ll play at 6 p.m. both evenings, with the men slated to start at 8 p.m.
The Timberwolves were originally scheduled to play in Brandon on Saturday. But the games were postponed to Sunday due to weather issues and subsequent bus problems.
After Saturday’s game against Manitoba, UNBC will play four consecutive road games against divisional opposition. They meet the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford on Jan. 25 and 26 in Abbotsford, followed by a doubleheader against the Victoria Vikes on Feb. 1 and 2.