Thursday, June 18, 2009

CIS Corner: Dig this, Queen's to host v-ball nationals

This might make Kinger's head explode, but whatthehell: Queen's has been awarded the 2012 CIS men's volleyball championship, eight weeks to the day of the opening of the Queen's Centre.

The opulent new digs (shame on you for doubting our ability to make a volleyball pun) have not been without their controversies. Regardless, it is a pretty big coup for Gaels coach Brenda Willis and AD Leslie Dal Cin. It will be the first time Queen's has hosted a national championship in a winter team sport. Several of their current players, such as outside Joren Zeeman and two Ottawa natives, middle Anthony Pitfield and libero Alex Oneid (who played for Glebe when it won the OFSAA quad-A title in 2007), could potentially still be on the team.

Via the press release:
"The entire Eastern Ontario region has a strong core of avid volleyball followers," said Dal Cin. "Our new venue combined with additional areas of athlete support and general excitement about volleyball in Kingston will make this a memorable event for participants and fans alike."
The Queen's Centre, with 2,000 seats, is also optimal size for a major women's basketball event, just saying. The women's tournament is moving to a 16-team, two-weekend format for this season and next, so if the highers-up opt to stay with that beyond 2011, there would be ample opportunity for Queen's to host a regional.

The construction of the Queen's Centre has had the usual controversies (cost overruns, the decision to scrap an arena and the way some student fees that went to the construction were passed). Kinger has vehemed about it at great length from time to time on Kingston's most-listened-to hour-long sports show, Offsides (which has two editions left).

However, getting a national championship is something new for the university and for Kingston. The region has been on a building booms with arenas; in fact, the three big junior hockey teams, the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, OJHL's Kingston Kimco Voyaguers and the Junior C Napanee Raiders all play in arenas which are less than five years old. (Kingston Mayor Harvey Rosen said last night that he is confident the Voyageurs will host the RBC Cup in three years ago, so there could be more big stuff going on in K-town in 2012.)

Queen's has the CIS cross-country championships this fall; previously, the only nationals they had hosted were cross-country in '99 and men's soccer back in '91.

(It was almost cold enough that day in '99 for cross-country to count as a winter sport.)

Gee-Gees: Congratulations are in order for Ottawa women's basketball assistant coach Mario Gaetano, who was honoured by the National Capital Secondary Schools Athletic Association for his many years in hoops.

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