Sport Court is in !!

March 6th, 2012

After several hours the sport court in in and ready to go!! Teams are arriving today.... Wednesday the practice sessions take place and the all-canadian banquet/opening ceremonies are on in the evening.

Read more in the NNB

VIU ready to host Canadian finals
Mariners will take on seven of the top teams in the country this week for the CCAA championship
Josh Aldrich
Daily News

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vancouver Island University athletic department is in high gear preparing for its close up this week.

The university is hosting this year's Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Women's Volleyball Championships starting Thursday and running through Saturday.

There will also be several events going on surrounding the actual tournament to welcome the seven schools and their support staff and fans to Nanaimo as well as two clinics to help develop local talent.

The pressure is on for the department to show its very best, not only on the court but off of it as well.

"We want to put our best foot forward and show them the best time we can when hey come into town," said athletic director Bruce Hunter. "We'll try to show them some west coast hospitality for sure."

The Mariners enter the tournament as the top seed in the tournament. Joining them in Nanaimo will be the No. 2 Mount Royal University Cougars (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) out of Calgary, No. 3 Collége Francois-Eavier Garneau Elans (Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec) out of Quebec City, No. 4 Humber Hawks (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association) from Etobicoke, Ont., No. 5 University of Fraser Valley (Pacific Western Athletic Association) of Abbotsford, No. 6 Medicine Hat Rattlers (ACAC), No. 7 Bois-de-Boulonge Cavaliers (RSEQ) from Montreal, and the No. 8 Mount Saint Vincent Mystics (Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association) of Halifax.

The women's volleyball team knows what it takes to put on a good tournament, not because they've hosted recently, but because they have been to the championship now each of the last five years.

This will be the first time VIU has hosted the event, although they did host the men's nationals in 2007.

"There have been a lot of really good volleyball players developed from the Island region . . . but this is the first time that there has been the opportunity in Nanaimo for people to come out and see the top (women's) college players in the country," said Hunter.

The festivities will get underway on Wednesday with the annual CCAA Awards Banquet at the Coast Bastion Inn where the key note speaker will be former Mariner star and one of Canada's top national team beach volleyball members Jamie Broder. On Thursday Mount Royal and Bois-de-Boulonge will start the action at 1 p.m. The Mariners first game will be at 8 p.m. against the Mystics. The gold medal game goes Saturday at 8 p.m.

In between teams will get the opportunity to tour all that Nanaimo and the mid-Island has to offer.

There will also be a free volleyball clinic for local players on Friday at Cedar Secondary School from 10 a.m.-noon and a free clinic for coaches at Barsby Community School from 10 a.m.-noon. The clinics will be run by Canadian national women's team assistant coach Scott Koskie.

"It's a great opportunity for some local coaches to pick the brain of one of the best coaches in the country," said Hunter.

One of Hunter's main prerogatives, however, is to make sure the gym is packed. While he says $25 tournament package sales have been strong, more are still available at the VIU gym.

He hopes to create a true home-court advantage for the Mariners.

"Our fans are known across the country as being very exuberant, so we're hoping their out in again in force," said Hunter.

"Everybody likes to play in front of a packed gym, even the teams that are here playing against us. Players love to play on a stage with people watching. No one wants to play when no one is watching."

For more information regarding tickets and the clinic contact Claudette at 250-740-6413.