Call it a preview weekend.
The UNBC Timberwolves, new members of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association men's basketball league, will get a taste of the kind of competition they'll be facing when they play in the 45th annual Naismith Classic exhibition tournament at the University of Waterloo. Their first game is Friday night against the host Warriors. On Saturday, the Timberwolves will tip off against the York University Lions. And, on Sunday, they'll finish off with a game against the Universit du Qubec Montral Citadins.
UNBC head coach Todd Jordan said he and his players are "pretty excited" about the chance to measure themselves against established university-level teams.
"I fully expect that we're going to be tested and that's what we want," he said. "We want to use the next three weeks, as we get close to Canada West competition, to really sharpen us and prepare us for the grind of that season and having to go in every single weekend and play a tough opponent. The idea is that we go out and battle and see where we're making our mistakes and we'll try to adjust and improve as much as we can."
The Timberwolves will get their Canada West baptism Nov. 2 in Kamloops against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
Before that, on the Oct. 26-28 weekend, they'll also play tune-up games at the University of the Fraser Valley against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves and McMaster University Marauders. While in the Lower Mainland, the Timberwolves will play the Langara College Falcons as well.
The T-wolves, champions at the provincial college level last season, will fly east today. Waterloo is located northwest of Kitchener, between London and Toronto.
Women's team also off to Waterloo
The UNBC Timberwolves women's basketball team will also tip off in the Naismith Classic. The female T-wolves will open Friday afternoon against the Cape Breton University Capers, will meet Waterloo on Saturday and the Concordia University Stingers on Sunday.
"We're very excited to finally play some CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) competition," said head coach Loralyn Murdoch. "All three teams are very talented in their own right and it's going to be really interesting to see how we match up and look. Hopefully we'll grow every game.
"We'll have a huge eye-opener, which will be awesome for us."
Murdoch's team, a B.C. college champion in 2011-12, will also be in action Oct. 19-21 at Calgary's Mount Royal University. There, the Timberwolves will take on the SAIT Trojans, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns and the University of Calgary Dinos.
Like the UNBC men, the women will start the Canada West regular season with a Nov. 2 road game against the WolfPack.