Wednesday, May 10th saw Niagara College announced as the host of the 2018 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Men's Basketball Championship.
"Niagara College is proud to serve as the host of the 2018 OCAA men's basketball championship and we look forward to welcoming the best of Ontario collegiate basketball next winter" said Steve Hudson, Niagara College vice president of academic and learner services.
The event will take place from March 1-3 at the Niagara College Welland Campus Athletic Centre. This marks the first time Niagara College has hosted the OCAA's top-eight men's basketball teams since the 2002 season, an event that was held in the old Mackenzie Gymnasium.
In recent years, the Welland Campus Athletic Centre has played host to the 2015 OCAA women's basketball championship, 2013 CCAA men's volleyball championship, and the 2011 CCAA women's basketball championship.
"Competing at home for a provincial championship will be a great experience for student-athletes on our men's basketball team" said Matthew Davies, Niagara College's director of athletics and recreation. "The Niagara College Knights have a long history of hosting first-class championship events, and we are looking forward to having the entire Knights family cheer on our team in their pursuit of an OCAA gold medal."
As championship host, the Knights will automatically qualify for the event. The home side will be joined by seven other teams from across Ontario that will earn entry to the three day event by qualifying for the OCAA playoffs and winning a championship qualifying game.
"It's going to be an exciting year" said Niagara College men's basketball head coach Keith Vassell. "Competing in your own gym in front of your family, friends, and fans is always a good feeling. But regardless of whether we are competing at Niagara, or anywhere else in the province, the goal remains the same, to win provincial and national championships."
The Niagara College men's basketball program has emerged as a member of the OCAA elite in recent years. Since being named head coach of the program in 2014, Vassell has guided the team to a stellar 34-19 record over three seasons. Most recently, the team finished in second place in the loaded OCAA West Division with a record of 13-3. With the bulk of the roster set to return for the upcoming 2017-18 season, the Knights will eye an improvement on their fourth place finish at the 2017 OCAA Championship.
For more information regarding the 2018 OCAA Men's Basketball Championship please contact Ray Sarkis, championship chair, at (905) 735-2211 ext. 7583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Niagara College's intercollegiate athletics program was formed in 1969 and has won nine national championships and 37 provincial championships. More than 130 student athletes compete as members of Niagara College's nine varsity teams, including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's volleyball, golf, cross country, and curling.
Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, Niagara College is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs.