MacEwan – Young Team, Big Dreams


Griffins coach likes the energy of his young team

MacEwan Coach Eric Magdanz is one of several Canada West coaches who has been dealing with a big turnover of seniors from last season.  “This process of developing a team, and re-forming with new recruits can be challenging, but also rewarding”, says the 4th year mentor.

The Griffs lost Thadius Galvez, Keith Gerdes,  Denzel James, and Tyler Wise,  who were core players.  But, this does not deter Coach Magdanz, who characterizes his team as ‘very young’, but also, “we are long, athletic, and energetic.”

The team will lean on veteran leaders like Ryan Coleman (Edmonton), the only 5th year Griff, and Adonis Monfort-Palomino left, Calgary), the 3rd year point man.  Ali Raza (Calgary), 3rd year wing, had ‘a phenomenol summer”, says Magdanz. “He is a remarkable athlete.” 6-6 Harrison Lane (Edmonton) is a 4th year post man, who should be stepping into a bigger role along with 2nd year English import, Jake Notice.

1st year players dot this roster, with 6-3 Lincoln Anderson (Cardston) expected to contribute right away, “ … he is ready”, his coach exclaims. Abdullah Shittu is a 6-7 Edmonton product who has a 7-2 wing span, and is picking up coaching very readily.   There are 8 rookies, and some will have to ‘wait their turn”, but Coach Magdanz believes, “This group will be great to coach; they will work hard, and, as they become more familiar with each other, we look forward to building a competitive team.”



Anderson enters as a ‘mature student and athlete’

Lincoln Anderson was a member of the Cardston , AB high school team which captured 2 consecutive 4A provincial titles in 2012 and 2013.  This was big news in hoops crazy Southern Alberta, and Anderson might have been expected to go on and play in Canada West.  But Lincoln had other priorities as a Church of Latter Day Saints member; he served a church mission in New Zealand for 2 years, centred in Auckland. “It was an amazing experience”, says Anderson.  No basketball practice for missionaries, but they did play a little informal rugby (as you would in the land of the ‘All-Blacks” NZ National Team).

Lincoln Anderson, MacEwan wing man

The difficult part of getting back to varsity sport is to “start thinking the game again”, according to the 22 year old. “As a missionary, I was planning every minute of my days in New Zealand, so I’m not having any trouble combining studies and basketball.”  Starting a B Sc. program, Lincoln wants to eventually work as a physiotherapist. “Because I’ve gone through so much work with my knee”, he says, “I’ve become keen on helping other people with similar challenges.”

Anderson was recruited by Coach Magdanz, who, coincidently, coached both Lincoln and Adonis Monfort-Palomino on Alberta’s U-17 team a few years back. “He is a young and enthusiastic coach”, says Anderson. “I like his style of coaching, and his enthusiasm for the team and individual players.”  ‘I’m excited to get playing games”, exclaims Lincoln. “I really look forward to competing.”  Under Magdanz’ tutelage, Anderson expects the Griffins to develop into a team that can “… contend with all the top schools.”  Lincoln Anderson and the others in this freshman class may well be chasing history if his prognostication comes close to fruition.  Dream big … how else can you hope to get there?


Overtime – 

  • Game schedule … Thursday, Oct 5  –    Calgary Cup starts at UC –  Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia  … Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers

    Ken Olynyk brings a long and distinguished university sport career to an end.

  • Congratulations to TRU’s Ken Olynyk, who has announced his retirement as the school’s Athletic Director.  Olynyk, a former player in the CIS, and a coach at U. Lethbridge, U. Toronto, and with the WolfPack, has had a very positive impact on basketball and sport at TRU.  We wish him well, and hope he enjoys the extra time he will have to enjoy family and recreational pursuits.  Ken will likely still be involved with hoops in some way, even beyond being a spectator at son Kelly’s NBA games!  More in this story from TRU Athletics.

CIS Announces Final 8 Draw


CIS Tournament Field is Finalized, and the Draw Announced

As is the case almost every season at this time, we get thrown a curve ball by the CIS UnknownWildcard / Seeding Committee.  This time around, in the heady stratosphere that is the OUA, we have their 3 teams ranked 1-2-3, including the at-large selection Ottawa, who get the #3 slot, despite losing 3 games since the Christmas Holidays .

Calgary, with 16 consecutive wins, and as the Canada West champions, who had been ranked #4 going into the play-offs, stay behind the OUA ‘super-powers’ !  The committee also have seen fit to place 3 League champions, Ryerson, Calgary and McGill on one side of the draw.

Nonetheless,  it takes 3 wins next week to capture the National Championship, so all we can say from a Canada West  perspective is Go Dinos !  Go Wolf Pack !  Go Thunderbirds!  We will cheer for these 3 teams to represent their teams, schools, and the League with great determination and pride. It will be exciting times with this event in Western Canada for the first time since 1982 in Victoria, when Ken Shields’ Vikes won their 3rd straight title, on their way to 7 in a row.

Seeding for the 2016 CIS Final 8 – National Championship Tournament, Vancouver

1. Ryerson Rams (OUA champions)- 17-2 regular season / 3-0 playoffs
2. Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists)- 16-3 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
3. Ottawa Gee-Gees (At-Large Berth)- 17-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
4. Calgary Dinos (Canada West champions)- 17-3 regular season / 4-0 playoffs
5. McGill Redmen (Quebec champions) – 12-4 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
6. Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic champions) – 13-7 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
7. Thompson R. Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists)-  16-4 r. season / 3-2 playoffs
8. UBC Thunderbirds (Hosts)- 16-4 regular season / 3-1 playoffs

 How these teams got here –
Ryerson Rams –  Ranked #3 going into playoffs, the Rams beat Lakehead 93-71, then Windsor 96-77, and they won the Wilson Cup over Carleton by a 73-68 count.
Carleton Ravens – ranked #1 prior to play-offs, the Ravens, who have won the Nationals for last 5 years, beat Brock 90-52, then Ottawa by 82-74, and dropped the OUA final at Ryerson 73-68.
Ottawa Gee-Gees – were ranked #2 entering the play-offs, and beat Queen’s 73-72, then lost to Carleton 74-82, and won the 3rd place game 90-77 over Windsor . (Selected as the ‘wild-card’ team)
Calgary Dinos – the 4th ranked team before play-offs, Calgary defeated Alberta 2-0 in their best of 3 quarter-final (87-77, 89-76), then beat Manitoba 100-74, and Thompson Rivers 91-84 in the Canada West Final 4.
McGill Redmen – Finished 1st in the RSEQ regular season, then beat Laval 76-69, and UQAM 78-67 in the Quebec Championship Tournament.
Dalhousie Tigers – ranked #10 for the final few CIS rankings periods, the Tigers were the top Atlantic team entering the AUS Tournament.  They beat St. Mary’s 75-74, then won the Atlantic title 87-85 over UPEI.
Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack – un-ranked entering play-offs, the “Pack were as high as #9 in recent rankings periods. TRU took 3 games to beat Regina in the CW Q-finals (94-102, 90-85, 86-73), then beat UBC in the semi-final 72-69, and lost the CW final to Calgary  84-91.
UBC Thunderbirds – The #6 ranked team going into the play-offs, the ‘Birds swept Lethbridge in the Q-finals (81-57, 85-57), then lost the semi to TRU 69-72, and won the CW 3rd place game 101-72 over Manitoba.


Tournament Schedule – (Pacific daylight times)

Thursday, March 17 –
1 pm   Q-final 1 …  #2 Carleton vs  #7 Thompson Rivers 

3 pm  Q-final 2 …  # 3 Ottawa vs. # 6 Dalhousie 

6 pm   Q-final 3 … # 4 Calgary vs #  5 McGill    

8 pm   Q-final 4 …  # 1 Ryerson vs  # 8 UBC 

All games streamed live on   CIS TV Live !    

Friday, March 18 –

5 pm  Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (

7 pm  Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (

Saturday, March 19 –

12 noon …  5th-place game (  (Consolation champs)

3 pm  Semifinal 1 … Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / *

5:30 pm  Semifinal 2 … Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / *

Sunday, March 20 –

2 pm  Bronze medal, 3rd  place game  (

5:30 pm  Gold medal – Championship Final (Sportsnet 360 / *


Overtime –   

  • Just a few of the many fans seen in the stands at the Final 4 in Calgary
    Ken Olynyk, 'Leader of the 'Pack' !

    Ken Olynyk, ‘Leader of the ‘Pack’ ! photo – TRU Athletics

    Ken Olynyk, TRU Athletic Director, also known as ‘Kelly’s Dad’ … Former Dinos Coach Don Newton, with his personal bodyguards, Al Kettles, Skip Morgan, Clarence Amulung … Saskatoon (and now Calgary) super-fan, Spiro Leakos, former owner of the Commodore Cafe in Sask. … new UC Athletic Director, Christine Stapleton, an outstanding coach at Regina, and a great addition for the Dinos program … former Dinos A.D. Ron Wuotila with his family – ‘All Dinos’  … several gentlemen in UBC T-Birds scarves … many more TRU Wolf Pack fans with orange scarves … former Dinos parents Allen Wright, Kent and Barb Milburn, Darryl Fidler, Simon Bekkering … a huge contingent of Dinos alum, including former National team buddies Tom Bishop and Romel Raffin …  Eddie Richardson III , the President of Genesis Basketball, along with his family and friends … John Weiland, legendary local, National, and International referee, now chief evaluator / fan for son Michael, who worked the CW Final game … and the large, raucous,  ‘Jasdeep Gill Fan-Club’ , all of whom were on their feet and rejoicing each time their man merely touched the basketball !

  • The air-horn blowing UC student group, with the tacit approval of event organizers,  who provided a constant din designed to distract and annoy the opposing team must count their mission accomplished.  In our opinion, however, this goes beyond reasonable support for the home team.  It is unsportsmanlike, and should be discouraged by UC Athletics.  Hosting Canada West championship events comes with the responsibility of giving your guests ‘fair play’ and at least a tolerable environment.

Eight Teams Left in CW Playoffs



Canada West Quarter-Finals start on Thursday.

Canada West Quarter-Finals start on Thursday.

Thursday –                          UNBC at UBC – 7 pm Pacific    Alberta at UVic – 7 pm Pacific

Friday –                                    Calgary at UFV – 6 pm Pacific   TRU at Sask. – 8 pm Central      UNBC at UBC – 7 pm Pacific    Alberta at UVic – 7 pm Pacific


Saturday –                                                                                                                            Game 3 in the T-Birds/T’Wolves and/or Bears/Vikes series, if necessary                              Calgary at Fraser Valley – 6 pm Pacific,  T. Rivers at Saskatchewan – 8 pm Central

Sunday –                                                                                                                                  Game 3 in the Dinos / Cascades and/or Wolf Pack / Huskies series, if necessary


A Snap-shot Preview of the Canada West Q-finals –

We have 5 Pioneer Division teams and all 3 of the Explorer teams in the Feb. 26th – March 1st Quarter-finals, with just #2 seed UFV now having a home-court among those 3 Explorer squads.

From top to bottom in the draw …

We have #1 Saskatchewan facing a #8 Thompson Rivers team which just won their 1st-ever playoff series, 2-0 vs Winnipeg last weekend. The Huskies faced the Wolf Pack in last year’s Q-final (winning comfortably in 2 straight) in Saskatoon, and have never lost to TRU. The twist here is that the games will be played on a high school court, instead of at the Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.32.33 AMPAC at U of S.

#5 UNBC, displaced from their practice facility in Prince George by the Canada Winter Games (they’ve bivouacked at TRU the last few days), will travel to face the #4 UBC T-Birds at War Memorial. In their 3 year history in Canada West, the T’Wolves are 0-4 against their ‘older cousins’, and are out-sized, except for their formidable duo of Francko Kouagnia and Devin McMurtry. The ‘Wolves face long odds against a T-Bird team that is 13-1 since November.

The ‘cookie crumbled’, and the #3 UVic Vikes, for their 13-5 record in the very tight Pioneer race, get home court, but face a #6 Alberta team (12-6) that has won 8 straight to finish off their regular season.  The Vikes , however, swept the Bears on the McKinnon Gym -Ken and Kathy Shields  Court back in late November. These are two strong  teams with high expectations, and one will fall by the wayside. The Vikes want to give the ‘hallowed ground’ of McKinnon a suitable finale, after so much winning history comes to an end for the old gym this week (we would guess).

The #2 Fraser Valley Cascades were 14-0 a few weeks ago, and looking like they might run the table in the Explorer, if not all of Canada West.  But UFV has fallen back to Earth, with 3 losses, one in each of their last 3 series, and doubts may be creeping in.  The Cascades face the #7 Calgary Dinos, who beat Manitoba 2 straight in last weekend’s play-in series.  The 12-6 Dinos have a high hurdle to clear if they are to win 2 of 3 in Abbotsford, where the Cascades sport a 9-1 League record this season.


 Other CIS Playoffs  – 

The Atlantic Tournament format is an exciting tradition.

The Atlantic Tournament format is an exciting tradition.

Atlantic – The AUS has it’s Championship Tournament starting Fri., Feb. 27 – at the Scotiabank Centre, Halifax.

  • 1. New Brunswick, and 2. UPEI  get a bye to the semi-finals.
  • Quarter-Final #1 –  4. Cape Breton  vs 5. Dalhousie on  Friday
  • Quarter-Final #2 –  3. Saint Marys  vs 6. Memorial on Friday
  • Semi-Finals – 1. UNB vs CBU / Dal winner, and 2. UPEI  vs SMU / Memorial winner – on Sat., Feb. 28
  • Final –  Semi-Final winners play for the AUS Championship on Sun. March 1st

Quebec – They still have League play this week .  Their 4 team Tournament is at Bishops on the March 6/7 weekend. Final standings still to be decided. It looks like UQAM is the team out of the playoffs.

Ontario –   The OUA playoffs include the top 3 teams from each of their 4 Divisions.  They are seeded by an RPI rating, which balances team records with the ‘quality of opponents’. (That’s a huge oversimplification, but ….). All rounds are single game knock-out for the Wilson Cup competition. Ottawa Gee-Gees are the defending OUA champs and Carleton Ravens the CIS Champions.

Ottawa and Carleton are the odds on favourites in the OUA's Wilson Cup.

Ottawa and Carleton are the odds on favourites in the OUA’s Wilson Cup.

  • 1. Ottawa, 2. Carleton, 3. Ryerson, and 4. McMaster get a bye to the Q -finals
  • 1st Round games – Wednesday, Feb. 25
    • 10. Guelph at 7. Lakehead – winner plays 2. Carleton in the Q-Finals
    • 11. Laurier at 6. Western – winner plays at 3. Ryerson in the Q-Finals
    • 12. Toronto at 5. Windsor – winner plays at 4. McMaster in the Q-Finals
    • 9. Laurentian at 8.York – winner plays 1. Ottawa in the Q-Finals
  •   The Quarter-Finals will be played on Saturday, Feb. 28
  • The OUA Men’s Final Four will be hosted at the highest remaining seed.  Semifinal action is scheduled to begin on Friday, March 6th followed by the Gold and Bronze medal games on Saturday, March 7th.

> The CIS Final 8 Tournament is at Ryerson’s Mattamy Centre from March 12-15   


Overtime –

  • Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, extolling the virtues of his teammates after the Dinos
     'OJ' gives his teammates credit in playoff wins.

    ‘OJ’ gives his teammates credit in playoff wins.

    won the 2nd game over Manitoba on Saturday, “Josh Owen-Thomas (4th year import, Australia) has one of the toughest jobs because he’s always guarding one of their best players full court, rebounding and playing some point guard duties and he came up big,” Ogungbemi-Jackson said.  And an ‘OJ’ nod to 3rd year post, Mitch Ligertwood, Port Moody, B.C., “He came in and battled and nothing was easy, so we’re lucky to have Mitch and hopefully he can keep playing this way for us.”   (From  Lucas Meyer, Dinos Sports Information).

  •  David Wells, the Lethbridge sports guru, who knows basketball in Alberta as well as
    Ken Olynyk, now better known as Kelly'd Dad !

    Ken Olynyk, now better known as Kelly’s Dad !

    anyone, gives us further testimony on Karl Tilleman … “ Karl was amazing. After his (Mormon Church) mission when the 3pt line was in (I believe it came in after the 1986 World Championships) I think he had nine 3s in a 1988 Olympic Game vs Spain.”  (Ken) Olynyk (former U of L, U. Toronto Coach, now AD at Thompson Rivers) and (Guy) Vetrie ( former Coach at Saskatchewan, UVic .. now deceased) were in the National Coaching Institute in 1988-89 at UVic and one of their projects was to study where/how etc. 3 pt. shots were taken/made. I was SID at UVic that year. They were laughing so hard at that tape of Karl they called me in to look at it.”

  • Dawn Smyth, Manager of Coach Education with Canada Basketball tells us they have a new coaching education webpage, with info about certification programs (NCCP) , coaching resources, and clinics. Go to  . While on the site, check out Game Plan, a new portal for Canadian coaches … it  has multiple coaching tools as well as all of the up- coming nccp clinics, over 60 videos and over 50 documents.

Canada West to Restructure Again ?

CW logo

League Governors Considering 3 Division Alignment

Canada West Athletic Directors and League officials are, reportedly, engaging in full -blown discussions of another re-structuring of their basketball  competitions.  In a  blockbuster pronouncement, representatives say they are talking about a re- alignment to 3 Divisions – Pacific, Mountain, and Prairie –  in order to deal with the rising cost of travel, among other considerations.  Thompson Rivers Athletic Director, Ken Olynyk. suggests he has “no doubt in his mind” the proposed restructuring will be approved, but what’s yet to be determined will be its implementation date.

The 3 Basketball Divisions would be grouped like this –  

Pacific –  Victoria, UBC, Trinity W., Fraser Valley,  Thompson R., UBC-O, UNBC

Mountain –  MacEwan, Alberta, Calgary, Mt. Royal, Lethbridge

Prairie –  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Brandon, Regina, Saskatchewan

The details of any  schedule are not yet known.  This past Spring, upon consideration of the new Pioneer / Explorer structure,  which separated the 11 schools which had been part of Canada West  from the 6 most recent , former college league, arrivals, U. Fraser Valley  launched an objection to the CIS national governing body.  It was expected that the new  Pioneer and Explorer structure would stay in place for at least 2 seasons, then be reviewed.

TRU Athletic Director, Ken Olynyk

TRU Athletic Director, Ken Olynyk

Diane St-Denis, the Executive Director  of Canada West acknowledged that they are discussing restructuring, saying , “Canada West is in the middle of discussing competitive formats in several of our sports, one of which includes basketball.”   She suggested that they are not prepared to discuss details, since these proposals are still in the ‘conversation phase’.

TRU’s Olynyk, a former player and a coach at both the CIS and National Team levels, according to a story in ‘Kamloops This Week’, doesn’t think this quick re-examination of the League structure was prompted by UFV’s formal objection to the present alignment.  Travel costs and travel time were cited as the more important considerations.   More in this story in Kamloops This Week by Adam Williams.