(ISN) – The inaugural season of Water Polo Canada’s National Championship League (NCL) is set to launch this week, as teams from five provinces initiate play in five Canadian cities. This week’s initial games in Langley, Calgary, Regina, Gatineau and Montreal are the beginning of a seven-month-long season that will feature a record 106 teams playing over 750 games in 15 cities and 6 provinces. The actual first game, between the Calgary Wild and Torpedoes clubs, will happen at the Talisman Centre on Tuesday, November 4, at 8 :45 p.m.
The National Championship League is the new nationwide competition structure for Canadian water polo clubs, featuring four age categories: 14 and under, 16 and under, 19 and under and senior (Major League Water Polo). Each of these categories include a male and female league, with teams split into Eastern (Ontario and Quebec) and Western conferences (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). The clubs in each category face off in a series of regular season games, with the best teams eventually earning the privilege the represent their conferences and compete for the Canadian titles at the National Finals.
“The NCL is the fruition of over three years of intense planning and labour, which included hundreds of hours of work for staff and countless dedicated volunteers across all levels of our sport. We are beyond excited to see this incredible platform for our sport finally come to life across Canada,” said Water Polo Canada’s Director of Domestic Development, Jeffrey Lindell.
The new league was created to combine key elements of a successful athlete development program (coaches, players, clubs, referees) into a single system. It aims to fulfill a two-pronged goal of strengthening the grassroots program for young athletes while paving the way for excellence in Canadian water polo on the international stage. The seven-month regular season format supplies young water polo players with a consistent stream of competitive matches, allowing for continuous development of their skills. The NCL also results in clubs occasionally travelling to different parts of Canada to play their matches, which increases the competitive atmosphere and allow the best clubs to play each other, regardless of location.
With games in 15 cities across Canada, the National Championship League is a great opportunity for young water polo players, young athletes and sports fans as whole, to witness firsthand the excitement and growth of water polo in Canada.