Guar­an­teed spot

Hur­ri­canes to host CCAA men’s tour­na­ment in 2017

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS | SCOREBOARD - BY JA­SON MAL­LOY

The best men’s col­lege bas­ket­ball play­ers in Canada will bat­tle for a na­tional ti­tle in Char­lot­te­town in 2017.

Hol­land Col­lege was awarded the crown jewel of the Cana­dian Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (CCAA) cham­pi­onship on Tues­day.

It will take place March 15 to 18, 2017.

“We wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to bring our best CCAA men’s bas­ket­ball teams to­gether and pro­vide a cham­pi­onship that will ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions for all in­volved,” said Al­bert Roche, Hol­land Col­lege’s ath­let­ics and recre­ation di­rec­tor.

“Prince Ed­ward Is­land may be Canada’s small­est prov­ince, but we have gar­nered an im­pres­sive rep­u­ta­tion as a sports­minded prov­ince with many re­gional and na­tional events be­ing held here.”

Hol­land Col­lege’s men’s bas­ket­ball head coach Josh Whitty said Roche and the ath­let­ics depart­ment do a great job in host­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

“The col­lege cer­tainly sets a prece­dent as far as host­ing na­tional events,” he said.

The men’s bas­ket­ball team is 11-0 and sits atop the At­lantic Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion stand­ings.

The three-time de­fend­ing con­fer­ence cham­pion has made three straight trips to na­tion­als, fin­ish­ing se­cond in 2012-13 in Mon­treal, fifth in 2013-14 in Squamish, B.C., and sixth in 2014-15 in Hamil­ton, Ont.

Whitty called Tues­day news “ex­cit­ing.”

“It guar­an­tees us a spot there,” he said. “We’ve been for­tu­nate enough the last three years to earn a spot. Hope­fully we can earn an­other one this year.”

De­spite a guar­an­teed spot, the goal is to go through the front door and earn its place at the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Hur­ri­canes have been suc­cess­ful this sea­son, de­spite re­turn­ing only three play­ers from last year’s squad.

Whitty said host­ing na­tion­als could be a re­cruit­ing tool for the Hur­ri­canes.

“There’s only one team that’s guar­an­teed to be there be­fore the sea­son starts, and that’s the hosts,” he said. “Some of the guys we’re hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with, we be­lieve, would be a ma­jor im­pact to the pro­gram and cer­tainly help us com­pete at that level.”

For now, the Hur­ri­canes are fo­cused on this week­end with games against the Univer­sity of King’s Col­lege Blue Devils, as it tries to get to this year’s tour­na­ment in Fort McMur­ray, Alta.

“It would be nice to win on our home floor and it’d be nice to be host­ing as re­turn­ing na­tional champs, but we’ll con­tinue that same ap­proach as al­ways,” Whitty said. “We’ve got King’s this week­end and we’ll try to win two games.”

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