By Charles Vanegas
After months of speculation, Ryerson Athletics and the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference announced last week that the 2013 Wilson Cup will be held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on March 1-2.
The event, which will be televised on the Score network, will feature the semifinal, bronze-medal and championship games of the OUA men’s basketball playoffs. It’s the first time Ryerson has hosted an OUA basketball championship.
“It’s great that we have the facilities to hold an event like this,” said Rams guard Aaron Best. “It’s great for our program.”
Similar to when Ryerson hosted the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first Hoops Festival, the athletic department plans to hold the contests on Mattamy Home Ice.
While the Hoops Festival attracted more supporters than the 1,000-seat Coca-Cola Court would’ve been able to accommodate, it only filled twothirds of the upstairs bowl. Ryerson Director of Athletics Ivan Joseph said that, after Ryerson qualifying, the easiest way to ensure attendance numbers for the Final Four is to reach out to students at other universities.
“We have a pretty good community following of basketball [but] I think what we need to do is to get the students out of the institutions,” said Joseph. “To me, what makes a great basketball championship game is the energy and the enthusiasm and how loud it is, and the key to that is how we get out to the students.”
Last season’s Final Four was originally planned to have been held at the MAC, but the building’s delayed construction forced the OUA to award the event to the University of Waterloo. With the completion of the state-of-the-art facility, it was assumed by many that Ryerson would be selected as the host, and was even listed as host on a tentative schedule by Lakehead – the team Ryerson upset in last season’s Final Four.
Joseph says that while the athletic department knew its bid was selected as early as November, it wasn’t until December before an agreement was signed, due to uncertainty regarding the Score, the OUA’s TV partner, being acquired by Rogers Media.