One of the country's biggest basketball tournaments will be coming to Squamish in 2014.
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced on Wednesday (Jan. 16) that Quest University won the bid and will be hosting the men's basketball national championship in March 2014.
“We're really excited and it's a pretty special opportunity for us,” said Quest men's basketball team head coach Sean Shook. “It's a chance for us to showcase the university as well as the community of Squamish.”
The tournament will see eight of the top teams from all over Canada battle it out for basketball supremacy. Winners of the five CCAA regions spanning across the country will be coming to Canada, as well as two other teams based on a CCAA point system. The Quest Kermodes will automatically qualify as the hosts of the event.
News of the event coming to Quest University means that the 'Kermode Kave', Quest's home gym, will see some upgrades. The gym holds about 300 people right now but Shook said capacity will more than double in anticipation of the tournament.
“We will be doubling the size of the bleachers and will be able to work with the corners a bit with elevated seating and staging,” he said. “We're going to move to about 600 to 650 seats of permanent bleachers and about 150 to 200 more on the baseline.”
Shook said hosting the tournament can also be used by the team as a potential recruiting tool.
“We've struggled with the school being so new and haven't had a ton of success wins and losses wise other than this year,” Shook said. “But we know that next year we can say that we are one of eight teams that will be playing for a national championship next year.”
He pointed out that the UNBC Timberwolves hosted the event in 2009 and finished fourth at the event after failing to qualify for nationals in 2008. UNBC went on to win the entire tournament in 2010.
Shook added that the school will likely look to the community for volunteers during tournament time. He also said that he hopes to get local elementary schools involved, much in the same way that Squamish youth soccer players were involved in this past October's Pacwest soccer provincials, which were held at Quest. The tournament is scheduled to take place from March 12 to 15, 2014, with all games taking place at Quest University.
For more information on Quest athletics, visit www.questkermodes.ca.