by Michel Bélanger
March 27, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport officially announced on Thursday a number of changes to four of its winter national championships.
“These are exciting times for our organization,” said Pierre Lafontaine, chief executive officer of CIS. “We truly believe these changes will help us take university sport in Canada to the next level and offer our student-athletes and coaches the best platforms to showcase their outstanding talent.”
In hockey, the women’s and men’s CIS championships expand from six to eight teams and move from a pool-play format to a single-elimination competition, including quarter-finals, semifinals and final.
A bronze-medal match – which has always been played on the women’s side – also returns to the men’s tournament for the first time since a two-year tryout in 2003 and 2004. However, only the women’s championship will include a consolation round (semifinals and fifth-place game). The duration of both tourneys remains four days.
The six-team, two-pool format had been in place in CIS hockey since 1998 – the year the women’s game was added to the CIS program. Before 1998, the men’s season had culminated with a Final Four for 10 years (1988-1997), while various formats had been used prior to 1988.
The new format will be re-evaluated after a two-year period. The men’s University Cup tournament will be held at the Metro Centre in Halifax in both 2015 and 2016, while the women’s championship will be hosted by the University of Calgary next winter. The host of the 2016 women’s competition will be announced shortly.
The berths for the upcoming CIS hockey championships are as follows:
2015 women: 4 regional association champions (Canada West, OUA, RSEQ, AUS), 1 host (Calgary), 1 assigned berth to OUA, 1 additional assigned berth (TBD), 1 at-large / wildcard berth.
2015 & 2016 men: 4 regional association champions (Canada West, OUA West, OUA East, AUS), 1 host (StFX in 2015 / Saint Mary’s in 2016), 1 assigned berth to Canada West, 1 assigned berth to OUA, 1 assigned berth to AUS.
In basketball, both CIS championships maintain the eight-team, single-elimination format but will be extended from three to four days. The change was made so quarter-finals could be played on Thursday and the first round of consolation on Friday, allowing more flexibility in the scheduling of semifinals on Saturday.
There is no change to the current championship berth structure.
The 2015 Final Eight tournaments will be hosted by Laval University in Quebec City (women) and Ryerson University in Toronto (men).
Super Championship Weekend
Canadian Interuniversity Sport also announced the creation of a Super Championship Weekend comprised of women’s and men’s basketball and hockey. In 2015, the four national events will be staged simultaneously from March 12 to 15.
The exciting venture will allow CIS and its broadcasting partners – Sportsnet and Radio-Canada – to showcase over 20 hours of university sport on television over a two-day period, including Semifinal Saturday and Championship Sunday.