Evan Daum, Canada West Communications
- All 17 Canada West members met this past week in Richmond, B.C. for the conference’s annual regular meeting
- Among the highlights from the week were the addition of two new cross country members – UBC and UBCO – along with agreement to establish a standalone CW cross country championship for the 2019 season
- A day-long advancement meeting was also held, as the conference has highlighted this as an area for further collaboration and growth
- Canada West will meet next as a full membership May 6-10 in Kelowna, B.C. when UBCO hosts the CW AGM
EDMONTON – Several key changes are coming to Canada West cross country following approval this week, as the conference’s 17 members met for their annual regular meeting in Richmond, B.C.
Over the next two seasons, the conference will add a pair of new cross country members, along with the establishment of a standalone conference championship.
Both the UBC Thunderbirds and UBCO Heat will compete in Canada West cross country beginning this fall, as the conference’s existing nine members unanimously approved the pair’s sport applications.
UBC previously competed in the U.S. as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). They will continue to compete in NAIA outdoor track.
Meanwhile, UBCO joins CW cross country after competing at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) level.
In addition to the conference growing its cross country members, support was expressed for the establishment of Canada West championship events in men’s and women’s cross country, beginning with the 2019 competitive season.
The current Canada West champions in cross country are crowned based on standing at the U SPORTS national championship meets, with no standalone conference event.
An ad hoc group has been tasked with developing a model for the event, exploring areas including: where the event would fall on the competition schedule, the event’s qualification ramifications for the U SPORTS national championships, as well as a hosting rotation.
In addition to major changes in the sport of cross country, this week’s regular meeting in Richmond also featured a first for the conference in the area of advancement, as staff members from all 17 institutions attended a full-day of meetings. The group – which featured staff from university advancement departments, as well as athletics staff – explored the state of advancement activity in Canada West.
Advancement has been flagged as a significant area for cooperation among conference members, as they look to enhance their programs through the sharing of best practices and new ideas for engaging with alumni, supporters, and sponsors.
The conference has committed to further advancement discussions, as additional meetings in the area are planned for the 2018 Canada West Annual General Meeting in Kelowna, B.C. in May.
In addition to cross country and advancement, several other topics highlighted Canada West’s five days of meeting in Richmond, including further discussion around the conference’s membership policy, which has been under review by the Canada West membership committee, as well as national compliance and eligibitity issues.
As part of the week, the conference welcomed several guests to the meetings. Representatives from the national governing body U SPORTS, including Chief Executive Officer Graham Brown, Chief Operating Officer David Goldstein, and Chief Sport Officer Lisette Johnson-Stapley, were in attendance to share updates on a variety of topics, including national sponsorship initiatives.
Also joining the CW membership was Hugh Dobbie, CEO of Yare Media, to discuss the conference’s ongoing partnership on Canada West TV. The conference has enjoyed a strong 2017-18 season since partnering with Yare last summer, as both viewership and revenue are up this season compared to last.