Canada West Rolls the Dice With a Complicated Schedule Switch
The Canada West schedule has undergone a major shift for the up-coming 2016-17 season, with many hours of consideration by Athletic Directors and League personnel before trashing the Pioneer – Explorer format of recent years in favour of a new 17 team loop featuring a ‘modified and unbalanced’ slate. As we reported last year, Canada West President, Ian Reade (U of Alberta, Athletic Director) lauded the changes, “We were able to go through a collective problem- solving process to get to a format, and come together on this one. This allows us to guarantee that traditional and geographic opponents will have the opportunity to play each other annually, while eliminating the perception of having two tiers within the conference.”
In trying to accommodate (or create anew) ‘regional rivalries’ the League has each school playing 4 geographically proximate rivals every season, then 6 of the remaining 12 schools every 2nd year.
ANNUAL OPPONENTS BY SCHOOL –
Alberta – Calgary, Lethbridge, MacEwan, Saskatchewan
Brandon – Regina, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Winnipeg
UBC – UBC-Okanagan, UNBC, Trinity Western, Victoria
UBC-Okanagan – UBC, Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers, Victoria
Calgary – Alberta, Lethbridge, Mount Royal, Saskatchewan
Fraser Valley – UBC-Okanagan, UNBC, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Lethbridge – Alberta, Calgary, MacEwan, Mount Royal
MacEwan – Alberta, Lethbridge, Mount Royal, Winnipeg … Winnipeg?
Manitoba – Brandon, Mount Royal, Regina, Winnipeg … Mt. Royal?
Mount Royal – Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, MacEwan
UNBC – UBC, Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Regina – Brandon, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg
Saskatchewan – Alberta, Brandon, Calgary, Regina
Thompson Rivers – UBC-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, UNBC, Victoria
Trinity Western – UBC, Fraser Valley, UNBC, Victoria
Victoria – UBC, UBC-Okanagan, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Winnipeg – Brandon, MacEwan, Manitoba, Regina
And here are the opponents for each team for the ’16-’17 season …
Victoria – at Reg2, Cal2, Mac2, UBC1/1, at TRU2, at Okan2, Leth2, TWU2, at UFV2, Wpg2
UBC – at TRU2, Man2, Vic1/1, Okan2, at Sask2, Alb2, at MRU2, Bran2, UNBC2, at TWU2
Fraser V – Sask2, TWU1/1, UNBC2, at Bran2, Mac2, at Cal2, at Alb2, TRU2, Vic2, at Okan2
Trinity W- at Okan2, UFV1/1, at UNBC2, Reg2, Leth2, at Wpg2, Man2, at Vic2, at MRU2, UBC2
Okanagan- TWU2, at Bran2, MRU2, at TRU2, at UBC2, Reg2, Vic2, at Leth2, at Mac2, UFV2
T. Rivers- UBC2, at Man2, at Alb2, Okan, at UNBC2, Vic2, Wpg2, at UFV2, Cal2, at Reg2
UNBC – at Wpg2, Alb2, TWU2, at UFV2, TRU2, at Leth2, MRU2, at Man2, at UBC2, Sask2
Alberta – Bran2, at UNBC2, TRU2, at Man2, Mac1/1, Cal1/1, at UBC2, UFV2, at Sask2, Leth2
MacEwan- at Leth2, Reg2, Vic2, at MRU2, Alb1/1, at UFV2, at Bran2, Wpg2, Okan2, at Cal2
Calgary – Man2, at Vic2, Leth1/1, MRU1/1, Alb1/1, UFV2, Sask2, at Reg2, at TRU2, Mac2
Mt. Royal- Leth1/1, at Okan2, Mac2, Cal1/1, Bran2,at UNBC2, UBC2, at Sask2, TWU2, at Man2
Lethbridge – Mac2, MRU1/1, at Wpg2, Cal1/1, at TWU, UNBC2, Sask2, at Vic2, Okan2, at Alb2
Regina – Vic2, at Mac2, at TWU2, Sask2, at Okan2, Man2, at Bran2, at Wpg2, Cal2, TRU2
Saskatchewan – at UFV2, Wpg2, Bran2, at Reg2, UBC2, Leth2, at Cal2, MRU2, Alb2, at UNBC2
Brandon – at Alb2, Okan2, at Sask2, Wpg1/1, UFV2, at MRU2, Mac2, Reg2, at UBC2, Man2
Manitoba – at Cal2, TRU2, at UBC2, Alb2, Wpg 1/1, at Reg2, at TWU2, UNBC2, at Bran2, MRU2
Winnipeg – UNBC2, at Sask2, Leth2, Bran1/1, Man1/1, TWU2, at TRU2, at Mac2, Reg2, at Vic2
Schools clearly choose whether or not to engage in the ‘home and home’ format with regional rivals … some do and some don’t. The Dinos have 3 such 1 and 1 series, while Winnipeg, Lethbridge, MRU, and Alberta are playing 2 reciprocals each. But seemingly obvious chances to play the home and home are passed up by Saskatchewan-Regina, UBC-O – TRU, Brandon-Manitoba, and Trinity W-UBC.
Vs ‘Traditional Powers’ ( in 1985-86, Lethbridge had the temerity to win Canada West, and Brandon won in 2001-02 … since 1986 we have UBC with 9 titles, Victoria with 8, Alberta has 7, Calgary has won 4, and Saskatchewan 1) We include the Huskies as a power team because of their recent record in League play and presence in the playoffs.
Where is the balance when Winnipeg has just Sask and Victoria to face, while both UBC-O and TWU have only UBC and UVic, and the Vikes are slated vs just Calgary and UBC? Meanwhile, Lethbridge has to contend with all of Calgary, Sask, Victoria, UBC, and Alberta, and TRU gets Alberta, Calgary, UBC, and UVic
No games between … Calgary – UBC, UVic – Sask, or UVic -Alberta … Manitoba misses UVic, Lethbridge, and Saskatchewan. UBC doesn’t play Fraser Valley? Little wonder that virtually every Canada West coach has registered disdain for the unbalanced schedule. But, the League officials point out that every other year you will play the teams you missed the previous year.
So every 2nd year, for example, Calgary will play UBC, Trinity W., Winnipeg, Brandon, UNBC, and Okanagan (non-regional ), with the following year dropping those and getting UVic, UFV, Manitoba, Regina, and Thompson R. As someone pointed out … “So we get home games every 4 years vs UVic and UBC, who are both traditionally big spectator draws? Terrific !”
The one saving grace, if you want to look at the big slate of play-off games, is that 12 of the 17 teams get into the post-season merry-go-round. Of course, if you’re 13 or 14, you may be unhappy, and certainly number 5 and 6 will have a beef in missing a 1st round bye if they deem their schedule tougher than that of the ‘favoured 4’.
Comment is welcomed ….
- The CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8 returns to it’s ‘traditional site’ in
Halifax for the next 2 seasons (March ’17 and March ’18), with bids being entertained in the coming years. The Women’s Tournament will be in the West for the next couple of years, with Victoria hosting in March ’17 and Regina in March ’18.
- TRU’s graduating All-star, Josh Wolfram has signed a pro contract to play in Sweden this coming Fall/Winter. The 6-10 forward, was among the leaders in both scoring and rebounding for the Wolf Pack, Canada West Silver-medalists in his senior season. Josh has signed a guaranteed contract with Umea Basket of the Swedish League. More details in this News Kamloops article.
- Riley Schaus, the top prospect out of the Brandon City League, has signed to play for the home-town Bobcats under Coach Gil Cheung. Cheung likes the 6-1 Crocus Plains HS star for his ‘fine-shooting, and great determination’. (Name another Crocus Plains star who became a CW All-star back in the 1990s.)
- Adonis Montfort-Palomino, ex-Dinos, who was originally slated to go to Cape Breton this Fall, has decided, probably due to the coaching change with Matt Skinn moving to Calgary, that he will play at MacEwan. Closer to home, friends, and likely more familiarity with the program.
- Some other notable signings … 6-3 guard, Andre Kelly (Mississauga, ON) to Alberta, Regina lands Johneil Johnson, a 6-0 guard from Nova Scotia, UBC adds Aussie import, 6-5 swingman, Jerome Thompson, plus Isaiah Familia a 6-2 guard from Windsor, ON.