By Hayden Godfrey
U SPORTS and Nike Team Canada are teaming up in a new “official performance apparel partnership” that was announced Friday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Terry Patterson, president of T. Litzen Sports, and Graham Brown, president and chief executive officer of U SPORTS, were at Ryerson to make the announcement.
U SPORTS is the national brand for Canadian university sports, which includes 56 universities with over 20,000 student-athletes that compete in 21 national championships for 12 different sports yearly.
John Bower of U SPORTS, who served as the event’s emcee, noted that the organization is “very excited” to partner with Nike, while Patterson said that he’s “looking forward to a long relationship with U SPORTS,” calling them a “terrific organization.”
Brown told The Eyeopener that U SPORTS’ deal with Adidas Canada ended in the winter. He said that it was the right move for U SPORTS “strategically” to partner up with Nike.
“[Adidas] felt like they weren’t ready to step up to the ‘Future Stars’ program, and Nike did,” said Brown. “Nike Team sort of won that opportunity, so we’re able to make the announcement now and start integrating them into our fall and winter championships.”
U SPORTS also announced a new student-athlete initiative, the “Future Stars” program, which will highlight one female and male high school athlete per month. Canadian high schools can nominate athletes every month via U SPORTS’ “Future Stars” web page.
The first athletes honoured, golfer Devyn Desjardins and rugby player Quinn Spicer, both of Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newmarket, Ontario, were present at the press conference.
“There’s not a single high school athlete who doesn’t know what [National Collegiate Athletic Association] is,” Brown told The Eye following the press conference. “At the end of the day, part of the reason why students don’t get excited when they come to a Canadian university is that they start from ground zero when they get there.”