BU to host 2021 national volleyball championships

Photo: Brandon University Bobcats

BRANDON – Five years after Brandon University hosted the school’s first national championship the Bobcats will have the chance to win a national title on home court again. 
The U SPORTS men’s volleyball national championship will take place at the BU Healthy Living Centre in March of 2021, the school’s second time hosting a national event and first for the men’s side.
“BU Athletics and the entire host committee are very excited to bring an event of this magnitude to Brandon and western Manitoba,” says BU Athletic Director Russ Paddock. “The U SPORTS men’s volleyball championship will be a great motivator for the youth athletes in the region and a tremendous opportunity for local sport fans to witness an exciting national championship.”
The men’s volleyball national tournament will look to replicate and expand the immensely successful 2016 women’s national tournament. The eight-team tournament saw thousands of spectators take in the action over the three-day event, leaving a lasting impact on the campus, the community, and the sports scene in Brandon and the Westman region.
“A national championship is tremendously exciting for the Bobcats, for Brandon University and for everyone in Brandon and all of Manitoba. As we saw hosting nationals in 2016, the scores of visiting teams, officials and fans bring a huge buzz to the campus and to the city, and also make a notable economic impact,” said Steve Robinson, Interim President at BU. 
“We know very well the thrill of Bobcats action week in and week out, with the great game-day experience put on by BU Athletics and stands full of fans — now the entire country will once again experience that for themselves. Let’s go Bobcats!”
The men’s volleyball team wrapped up the first half of the season schedule this past weekend and sits with a conference record of 10-2 and remains No. 2 in the U SPORTS national rankings.
Combined with a tremendously talented group and the opportunity to host for the first time, coach Grant Wilson is excited to welcome the championship to the city where he grew up and fell in love with the sport.
“I think it really gives the chance to showcase our sport, our program, and our facility,” says Wilson. “After seeing our women’s team host back in 2016, and seeing the experience that their team went through and how the community embraced that whole experience it’s obviously very exciting. It was a pretty special time here at BU, so to think that our athletes and our team will have that same experience is something that we are definitely looking forward to.”
The BU men’s volleyball team has previously taken part in three national championships, earning medals in all three: a bronze medal finish in 2009, a silver medal in 2011, and a bronze medal in 2013.
Being awarded hosting rights in 2021 offers the opportunity to reflect on how far Bobcat volleyball has come since the program’s inception in 2005.
“Thinking back to when Russ and I started the program back in 2005 and seeing how the program has evolved and having the experiences that we’ve gained, there’s nothing like competing for a national championship and we’ve had some great experiences over the course of our program, but this just takes it to a whole new level. To be able to play in front of our home crowd and have a chance to win a national championship I’m sure will be an experience our program will never forget,” Wilson adds. 
Wilson and the current Bobcat squad enter the December break ranked No. 2 in the nation before heading to Quebec for a series of exhibition games against the Laval Rouge et Or at the end of December. The Bobcats will then resume conference play at home on Jan. 4 against the No. 1 nationally ranked Trinity Western Spartans.