History of Canada West

The Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU - later renamed Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association) was formed in 1919-20 as the first recognized western-based post-secondary athletic organization in Canada, with the University of Manitoba winning the first-ever league championship, a men's hockey title, in 1920.

In the spring of 1972, the WCIAA was split into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) and the Great Plains Athletic Association (GPAA - later renamed the Great Plains Athletic Conference).

CWUAA consisted of schools spanning from Victoria to Saskatoon (Victoria, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan), while GPAA's member institutions stretched from Regina to Thunder Bay (Regina, Brandon, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lakehead).

In 1985-86, Canada West offered playing privileges to men’s hockey teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with other sports following over the years, culminating with the 2001-02 merger of basketball.

Since 1999, 11 additional schools have joined the Canada West's six charter members. Trinity Western joined in 1999-00 and, in 2000-01, all schools from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) except for Brandon were provided full membership in Canada West (Manitoba, Regina and Winnipeg). Brandon joined as an associate member at the time, until full membership was granted in 2005.

Simon Fraser joined Canada West in 2000, followed by Thompson Rivers in 2005 and Fraser Valley in 2006.

Simon Fraser withdrew from the conference as a member after the 2009-10 season, while both Thompson Rivers and Fraser Valley were awarded full membership in 2010 and, at the same time, UBC Okanagan received probationary membership.

In 2011, Mount Royal University and the University of Northern British Columbia were voted in as probationary members and began active competing in 2012-13.

In 2013, UBC Okanagan was awarded full membership, while Mount Royal University and the University of Northern British Columbia were awarded full membership in 2014.

Full membership was granted to MacEwan University in the spring of 2016, after the Edmonton-based university fulfilled their probationary membership requirements and was accepted by Canada West membership as the conference's 17th member.

Canada West has 11 different sports and awards a total of 19 conference championships.

Canada West is one of four conferences within U SPORTS, the others being Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). Schools representing each conference compete annually for national supremacy.

Schools, team officials and individual student-athletes must abide by posted Canada West and U SPORTS policies, including bylaws, regulations and eligibility requirements.

About Canada West

Canada West (CW) is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities. Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions

Canada West Members

AlbertaGolden Bears/PandasWCIAACharter Member
UBCThunderbirdsWCIAACharter Member
UBC OkanaganHeatBCCAA2010-11
CalgaryDinosWCIAACharter Member
Fraser ValleyCascadesBCCAA2006-07
LethbridgePronghornsWCIAACharter Member
Mount RoyalCougarsACAC2011-12
SaskatchewanHuskiesWCIAACharter Member
Thompson RiversWolfPackBCCAA2005-06
Trinity WesternSpartansBCCAA1999-00
VictoriaVikesWCIAACharter Member

Canada West Sports

Basketball – Men1972-731962-63
Basketball – Women1972-731971-72
Cross-country - Men1972-731964-65
Cross-country - Women1972-731980-81
Curling – Men1972-73 ('65-66)2007-08
Curling – Women1972-73 ('65-66)2007-08
Field Hockey - Women1972-731975-76
Football – Men1972-73 ('22-23)1965-66
Ice Hockey – Men1972-73 ('19-20)1962-63
Ice Hockey – Women1997-981997-98
Rugby - Women1999-001998-99
Soccer – Men1972-731972-73
Soccer – Women1983-841972-73
Swimming - Men1972-731964-65
Swimming - Women1972-731970-71
Track & Field - Men1972-73 ('67-68)1980-81
Track & Field - Women1972-73 ('67-68)1980-81
Volleyball – Men1972-731966-67
Volleyball – Women1972-731969-70
Wrestling – Men1972-731968-69
Wrestling - Women1999-001998-99