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AthleticHub Blog

About Canada West Universities Athletic Association 

Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year, 1997 to 2010. Comprised of 16 schools, from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the CWUAA produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games. "cwuaa" on Twitter / www.canadawest.tv

The Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) was formed in 1919-20 as the first recognized western-based post-secondary athletic organization in Canada, though a few schools did play organized varsity sports a decade or more before. The University of Manitoba won the first-ever league championship, the men's hockey title in 1920. In 1971, the WCIAU was split into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) and the Great Plains Athletic Association (GPAA), the latter consisting primarily of schools from Manitoba. In 1985-86, Canada West offered playing privileges to men’s hockey teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and all other sports have since followed, including the 2001-02 merger of basketball.

Of the 14 schools currently participating in Canada West varsity sports there are six charter members - Alberta, UBC, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatchewan and Victoria. Seven more since 1971 - Brandon, Fraser Valley Manitoba, Regina, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western, Winnipeg - have become full members. UBC Okanagan was awarded membership effective Sept. 1, 2010 and started playing in basketball and volleyball during the fall of 2011.

Simon Fraser joined Canada West for the 2000-01 season and withdrew from the conference as a member after the 2009-10 season.
Mount Royal University, now in its second year of probationary membership, was voted in on May 4th, 2011 and began competition in men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, soccer and volleyball in 2012-13, becoming the conference’s 15th institution. On Sept. 20, 2011 the UNBC Timberwolves, also now in their second year of probationary membership, beame the conference's 16th member, and they, too, will began competition in the fall of 2012.

Men’s and women’s basketball are the only sports in which all 16 active schools participate. One school – Calgary - takes part in all varsity competition offered by the conference.

Men’s and women’s basketball currently use a two-division format. In 2010-11 Trinity Western added men’s and women’s cross country, track& field and swimming and in 2012-13 Winnipeg added soccer to its list of programs. Men’s and women's hockey each have one, eight-team division.

In 2012-13, women's soccer went to a one-division format, with eight teams making playoffs, while men's soccer remains in a divisional form - Prairie and Pacific - with the top three on each side qualifying for playoffs.

Since 2009-10, women’s rugby has adopted a league format instead of a rotating tournament format. Some Canada West schools take part in curling, where Regina has won both a men’s and a women’s CIS title and Alberta has one men's championship during the sport’s short history as a recognized national championship.

Canada West is one of four conferences within Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), 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 CIS policies, including bylaws, regulations and eligibility requirements.

Overall, Canada West schools compete for 19 conference championships and 21 national varsity titles, though schools may participate in as few as four each (two women’s, two men’s). Canada West has no formalized league competition in curling.

Canada West Official Website - CLICK HERE

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