Wesmen Classic Changes Course




Wesmen Basketball Classic Now Once Every 4 Years

The University of Winnipeg has decided to ‘share the wealth’ when it comes to the historical (50 years old) Wesmen Classic.  Until now the Classic has been an Men’s and high school boys basketball extravaganza, but times are changing.

Dave Crook, UW Athletic Director, has been a key figure in the Wesmen Basketball Classic for many years.                   Photo – Winnipeg Free Press

Wesmen Athletic Director Dave Crook announced Tuesday that the annual Wesmen Classic will become ‘gender and sport – inclusive’, with the Holiday event  alternating between Men’s Volleyball 2017 December (University teams only), then Women’s basketball in December 2018 (university/high school), Women’s volleyball — December 2019 (university), and not until December 2020  for Men’s basketball  again— (university/high school/junior varsity).

“The Wesmen Classic has been one of the stars of the Wesmen program for 50 years, and it will hopefully continue for another 50 years with this exciting new format,” said Crook . “We think it is fantastic that we can share this great event among our four court sports, and give a wider group of fans the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event.”

Crook, a former Basketball Head Coach in Canada West himself, suggested that the changes would also help take the pressure off the Men’s basketball coaches to ‘fill the roster of teams’ every year.   “It’s a lot of work, there’s no question,” said  Crook. “As much as people think that people are knocking down our door to come and play this event, it’s been a lot of work.”

Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Raimbault, indicated that he felt, ” … the Classic experience could be shared”  among the four programs. Raimbault also felt he may be able to play some more non-League games outside of Canada West.


Overtime – 

  • The FISU Games get underway this coming weekend, and fans can sign up for live streaming on this FISU TV site   http://www.livefisu.tv     CBC Sports also  has coverage of many FISU events.  The one and only basketball game we see is Fri, Aug 25 – Canada vs Germany .  There are highlight packages each day, starting on August 19.   CBCsports.ca
  • Canada is one of 24 nations competing in this Men’s Basketball event as part of these FISU Games.  Team Canada plays in a 6 team opening round group along with Norway, Germany, Finland, Japan, and Hong Kong
  • Congrats to Canada West referee Ryley Kerrison, Calgary, who is participating in the 2017 FISU games in Taiwan . “What a tremendous honour and accomplishment for one of USports top officials”, says veteran referee John Weiland (retired).
  • Another Canada West official doing some significant international work is John’s son, Michael Weiland. He has been chosen to officiate at the wildly popular European Championships.   Michael will work the Istanbul, Turkey  group beginning August 31st.



Home Teams Head to Head



Opening round in Winnipeg gives us …

The Manitoba Bisons will move onto the semi-final round against the tournament host and fierce intra-city rivals, the Winnipeg Wesmen. The draw-master hoped desperately for this match-up, and the Duckworth Centre should be full for this game on Thursday at 6 pm CST.

 Victoria 90  Brandon 66 – In the opening game of this year’s Classic it’s 48-29 at the half , and Vic looks clearly the better team on the day.  As he has for the whole season, Grant Sitton , ‘The Splendid Splinter’, leads the Vikes scoring with 21, and he adds 9 boards. Wayne Tucker Jr has 12 pts/ 4 asst.  Earl Thompson Jr of the Bobcats earns a double of 14 points/ 11 boards , but 27 BU turnovers and 36% FG shooting slams their chances.  UVic will meet Alberta in the 2nd semi on Thursday, while Brandon will play Lakehead on the consolation half.   Box Score  

Alberta 79  Lakehead 77 –  An Austin Waddoups running trey at the buzzer treats the Bears to a 44-32 spread at the break.  The Alberta zone confounds the Lakehead attackers for much of the 2nd quarter, with very little inside scoring.  Not so in the 3rd quarter, however.  as  the Thunderwolves come alive, and hit 7 treys and score 17/19 from the FT line to take a brief lead .  The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye splashes a last second 3 point shot to snatch the win for U of A, who looked rattled by the ‘Wolves rally.   Brody Clarke scores 22 for Alberta and Austin Waddoups adds 17. Lakehead get 16 from Henry Tan.  Box Score   

Winnipeg 79  Algoma 65 –  Trailing by 10 after 3/4s, the host team in this Wesmen Classic hit the ‘go switch’ for the final 10 minutes and poured in 34 points to zip past the T’Birds.  3rd year CW All-star, Denzel Lynch-Blair,  led with 22 points and rookie Narcisse Ambanza posted 16 for the Ws.  Both William Sesay and Ryan Oirbans hauled down 12 rebounds apiece for UW.  Algoma got 15 points from Sean Clendenning, but their  35% shooting including just 6/31 from outside made it impossible  to hold a lead.   One oddity with this game ?  No one got fouled … well, hardly anyone, as the 2 teams combined for only 11 attempts from the line.  Non-aggression pact ?    Box Score 

Manitoba 100  Regina 79 –     The Bisons, the defending Classic champs,  rumbled over the Cougars with a 50-35 lead at the break, then a 32 point barrage in the 3rd frame. 56% shooting by the Herd eclipsed the cool 35% for Regina. Joey Nitychoruk led Manitoba with 21 points/ 7 rebs, going a perfect 10 of 10 from the floor, while Justus Alleyn added 15 points for the UM who had 5 players in double figures. Samuel Hillis led Regina with 19 points.  Box Score 


Great Falls Argos logo

 Great Falls 88  Calgary 85 –   A spirited comeback by Calgary, spurred on by the 15 second half points from David Kapinga, and 7 team treys in the final 20 minutes. The Dinos are out-shot in the 1st half, with the Argos hitting 8 treys vs 3 for the visitors, who trailed 48-41 at the half.  Thomas Cooper scores 22 for the Dinos, with 15 from Kapinga. Isaac Howard of UGF is 7/11 from 3 point range for 21 points.   Box Score   Next up for the Dinos is a drive to Billings and games Thursday vs Rocky Mountain College, and Friday vs a very strong Montana-Western team.

Lethbridge 80  Montana St.- Northern  65 –  The ‘Horns look very sharp in handing the Northern Lights their 1st losss of the season.  Zac Overwater racks up 25 for UL, while import guard, Elliott Sentance, adds 17.  In a key mid-season addition, “Junior” Sesay, a 6-3 guard from Winnipeg, who previously played 1 season for Victoria, dressed for the Pronghorns tonight.  Also seeing his first game was Mark Rodehutskors, a 6-6 red-shirt from Chestermere, who will be counted on in future campaigns.  (Red shirts can dress for limited non-League games without losing eligibility).  This report courtesy of David Wells in Lethbridge.  No Box Score available.

No score for the UBC game vs the ‘Orange Owls’ of Future College , CA played at Phoenix.  UBC has games slated with Phoenix JC on Thursday, and Cochise JC on Friday.


The Mt. Royal game vs Dalhousie in round 1 of the Shoveller Memorial in Halifax is on AUS-TV at 8 pm Atlantic time (5 pm Mountain)

We have no TV info for the UNBC game vs UQAM in Montreal. 


Overtime –

  • The lack of play- by- play on the early games via Canada West TV from the Wesmen Classic shouldn’t throw us off too much. But we can only think how much more engaging this would be with ex-coach, now Athletic Director at UW, Dave Crook on the mic!   Really, there must be a budding young sports broadcaster somewhere in Winnipeg who’s itching for some ‘on-the-job-training’!
  • From Dave Crook’s Classic memories –  “The 50th is a wonderful thing for the Classic. Hardly any events reach their 50th year these days, for this tournament to reach 50 is amazing!”  Crook also admits that as a young kid he was a Bisons’ fan, but has now ‘seen the right path’ !
  • Former shooting star for the Wesmen, Ken Opalko, reminds us that back in the ‘80s this tournament was known as the ‘Golden Boy Classic’ .  How many of you from outside of Manitoba know why ‘Golden Boy’ ?   (Other than former Dinos big man, Ian Ferguson, of course !)
  • We phone Wesmen Coach, Mike Raimbault, to wish him and his team good luck at the Classic, and who intercepts the call?  Living legend, former Vikes coach, Ken Shields, who must have cadged a seat in First Class with UVic from the coast.  Ken has been a mentor and friend of Coach Raimbault since Mike’s tenure with the Timberwolves of UNBC when they won the CCAA championship.
  • 50th Wesmen notes … Do the Brandon Bobcats know the #1 East to Winnipeg ?  Sidney, Bagot, Portage, Dacotah. In their sleep !  … There’s a suspicion that the Bisons are confident of passing the Wesmen in CW League play.  But who goes to the 50th Final ?

Wesmen Tourney, A True Classic



A popular semi-final

A popular semi-final for next Tuesday night would match the hometown Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Wesmen.             photo –  Wesmen Athletics

The 49th Annual Winnipeg Wesmen Classic – Dec. 28-30

Who says Winnipeg is no fun in Winter? !  Hard -core hoops fans can take in the longest running university tournament in Canada, the Wesmen Classic, which runs next Monday-Wednesday, December 28-30.  Started as ‘The Golden Boy’ Tournament  in 1967 by the first Wesmen Coach, Vic Pruden, the name changed in 1977 to link it more closely with the U. of Winnipeg, and it has become a huge community highlight. The 8 – team University Tournament is the feature event, but there is much more for Winnipeg’s basketball followers at UW as part of the Holiday ‘hoop-fest’.wesmen5 copy

Athletic Director, Dave Crook, (who coached the Ws to a pair of ‘Classic’ titles) and his UW  Athletics staff are very busy, as they also host an 8 – team  High School Varsity tournament and a 16 – team Jr. Varsity tournament at their downtown campus as well.  The JVs competed on Dec. 11/12, and the finals go on Dec. 27. The HS Varsity play goes  from the 27th-30th, with their semi-finals and finals ‘rubbing shoulders’ with the CIS games at the Duckworth Centre. All results are available at www.wesmen.ca .

Here are the two halves of the draw, with games on opening night, Monday, Dec. 28 … Winnipeg looks to beat NAIT, and face the Lethbridge – Manitoba winner in one bracket.  On the other side,  Brandon hopes to improve on their record when they meet Lakehead, and MacEwan has a challenge with Acadia, who travel all the way from Wolfville, NS. (The Axemen are the busiest team in the CIS over the holidays, as they fly back home in time to play in the Shoveller Memorial as well.)

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Check out the biggest basketball party in Western Canada in this complete Wesmen Classic Media Guide. Some extras – ‘Santa’s High Flyin’ Slam Jam’ – one player from each university team … High school players are in the ‘Top Gun Shoot-out’, a 3-pt shooting contest. Every game in the University Classic will be web-cast on Canada West TV.


Overtime –


  • The Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Tournament, hosted by the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax is another annual 8-team event, this year running Jan. 1-3.   Competing teams are Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, UPEI, St. FX, Acadia, Concordia (Montreal), and Mt. St. Vincent. Details from Dal Sports
  • RTEmagicC_logo-Rouge-et-Or_pngThe Laval Rouge et Or Tournoi  is a 4- team round-robin tourney with the hosts, Laval, along with the  #7 Calgary Dinos, #1 Ottawa Gee-Gees, and the New Brunswick Reds – Dec. 28-30 at the Centre PEPS in the Quebec City suburb .
    (There is no web-cast of these games from Quebec).
  • The Trinity Western Spartans got in some pre-Christmas action down in Hootie-2Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon.  Sparties vs Oregon Tech – game one on Dec. 22 –  90-77 in favour of the  Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owls … for TWU, Lucas Mannes (Chilliwack, B.C.) had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) with 14 points and six rebounds.  In game 2 on Dec. 23, the Owls dominated in a 75-43 drubbing, as Tech Coach, Danny Miles, credits his ‘Hustlin’ Owls defense, which held the Spartans to just 29% from the floor.
    (Thanks to TWU’s Scott Stewart, Sports Information Director,for the recaps).
  • A good look around the CIS at the half-way mark of the season from North Pole Hoops’ Charles Blouin-Gascon, with comment on the continued fine play of Carleton and Ottawa, the emergence of McGill as a #3 ranked team from the’Q’, and Calgary’s Thomas Cooper as the top newcomer in Canada this year.

Road Wins for Dinos, ‘Horns, Huskies


Halloween Friday’s Scores in Canada West –

Lot’s of people disguised as empty seats  for Friday games, as Halloween parties and trick or treating  seemed more of a draw.  Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Lethbridge open with road wins, while Manitoba trounces the visiting TWU, and UVic gouges out a win at home.

Calgary Dinos 77 at Winnipeg Wesmen 64 – Up by as many as 13 in the 2nd quarter, the

  Matt Letkeman registers a big double to spark Calgary to an opening night win at Winnipeg.

Matt Letkeman registers a big double to spark Calgary to an opening night win at Winnipeg.

Dinos see Winnipeg draw to within 37-30 at the break, then, on a 12-2 run to start the 3rd quarter, the W’s take the lead.  From that point Calgary dominated Winnipeg, with a 12-2 run of their own, and stretched it to a 15 point gap late in the game.

Shooting  55% from the floor, and 11/12 from the line, the Dinos get the road win behind 15 pts/9 assists from Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, and an 11 pt/11 rebound double from post man, Matt Letkeman.  Dallas Karch comes off the bench for 10 points for UC.

Winnipeg took a run before and right after the half, but let things get away with a series of 2nd half turnovers, and missed offensive opportunities. Travis Krahn has a game-high 18 pts for the Wesmen, and Mark McNee chips in with 15 pts/8 rebs.   box score

Unknownat Manitoba Bisons 84 Trinity Western Spartans 56 –  Manitoba freezes the Trinity shooters who are 27% from the floor, while the Herd are up 37-20 at the half, and hit 46% themselves, plus 13/15 free throws.   A sharp-shooting Amarjit Basi has 18 for U of M, with import forward, Alfreeman Flowers adding 17 plus 11 rebounds. Manitoba sweeps the glass, as 6-9 , 5th year, Wyatt Anders, claims 17 .

The Spartans get 18/23 from the line, but field goals are scarce (17-64); a pair of rookies, Nick Tancon and Vartan Tanielian, score 10 apiece to lead them.     box score

Lethbridge Pronghorns 85 at Brandon Bobcats 82 – The hot-shooting pair of Ryan Hawley  'hornd copy and Ali Mounir Benabdelhak launch the ‘Cats into a 49-43 half-time lead, taking advantage of Lethbridge turnovers.  But, the final 20 minutes see the ‘Horns storm back (42-33) as the visitors hit 58% from the floor, paced by 18 points from rookie forward Zac Overwater (Lethbridge C.I.)  on 8/9 Fg shooting.  Brandon Brine added 16 points and Brent Watkins has 14 for U of L., who survive 22 turnovers, but win the boards 44-32.

Brandon have 5 players in double figures, with 22 from Benabdelhak, who also grabs 10 rebs.  The Bobcats launch 40 attempts from outside the arc, and cash 14. Hawley had 15 pts, all from 3 pt range, and all in the opening half. Kenonte Ramsay registers 12 points and 7 steals/6 assists.  box score

Saskatchewan Huskies 72 at Alberta Golden Bears 60 – A big win for the ‘Dogs at U of A,

Conner Burns helps Huskies inside

Conner Burns helps Huskies inside

as the visitors pull away in the 2nd half (42-30). The ‘big line-up‘ for Saskatchewan goes inside to draw fouls, and 6-7,Dadrian Collins, 6-8, Connor Burns, and 6-8, Matt Forbes cash 15/16 free throws between them.  Forbes leads them to the win with a double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Ben Baker scores 13, deals off 7 helpers, and grabs 6 boards.

Alberta is thwarted by 24 turnovers and spotty (10/20) shooting from the line. The Bears get 17 from Youssef Ouharig, and 14 by Joel Friesen. 7-1 post man, Brett Roughead, has 10 rebounds to lead Alberta. box score

at Victoria Vikes 72  Regina Cougars  63 –    The Vikes shoot just 33% in the first 20 minutes, but lead 32-23 after Regina chills out at 22% themselves.  Chris McLaughlin controls the boards, and Marcus Tibbs penetrates for points early in the 2nd for UVic, but Regina hangs in until late scores widen the gap in the final 2 minutes.

21 pts/11 rebs for McLaughlin to pace the Vikes, while Tibbs scores 17.  Alex Igual hits 15 for the Cougars, who shoot just 34% from the floor.  The Vikes are not much better at 36%.  box score

With a bye this week, the UBC Thunderbirds played at  Northwest Christian  U. (Eugene, OR-Friday) . Tonner Jackson has 18, but   UBC falls 76-60 to  NWC    box score


Overtime –

  •   In CW Women’s play –  at Winnipeg  63 Calgary 49, TWU 61 at Manitoba 56, Lethbridge  74 at Brandon  62, at Alberta 64 Saskatchewan 57, at Victoria 89  Regina 69.
  • Besides Calgary’s Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson and Phil Barndt, who are the 5th
    This is the final CIS season for the Huskies' multi-talented Ben Baker.

    This is the final CIS season for the Saskatchewan Huskies’ multi-talented Ben Baker.

    year players in Canada West this season. Pioneer Division –  Alberta – Ken Otieno, Joel Friesen, Czar Rowbotham; Brandon – Kenonte Ramsay; none for Lethbridge; Manitoba – Stephan Walton, Amir Ali, Wyatt Anders; Regina Cougars – Darius Mole; Saskatchewan – Andrew Henry, Ben Baker, Dadrian Collins, Connor Burns; Trinity Western – Justin Bakuteka, Denny McDonald; Victoria – Chris McLaughlin, Jeremy Leonard-Smith; Winnipeg – Jordan Clennon, Mark McNee, Travis Krahn;  Explorer Division – Fraser Valley – Jasper Moedt, Kadeem Willis; MacEwan – Lee Danderfer; Mt. Royal – Awet Abraha, Deng Awak, Kyle Wilson; None for UBC-Okanagan; Thompson Rivers – Brett Rouault, Brett Parker, Tallon Milne;  UNBC – Franck Olivier Kouagnia, Jeff Chu, Devin McMurtry.

  • Pay per view ? As a ‘test program’ in conjunction with Canada West League offices, fans who wish to watch Alberta Golden Bears games on Canada West TV this season will be given the option of paying a $1.99 game fee, or a $6.99 season fee. Piccolo Ocampo, the Communications & New Media Coordinator for Canada West tells that “the revenue from this program will go to improving the quality of these streaming video productions across the League, and also to help pay for the airing of all Canada West sports on Canada West TV”.
  • Saskatchewan Coach, Barry Rawlyk, on 5th year transfer, Conner Burns , “We’re still trying to find a way to best fit him into the lineup with the other players that we have,” said Rawlyk. “Sometimes that’s not easy to do because it kind of changes the face of your team a little bit. But as I said it’s a pleasant problem, he’s a significant talent, a great leader, and a very hard worker.” From a Saskatoon Global News story by Jack Haskins.