KELOWNA, BC – Brad Hudson's second season at the helm of the UBC Okanagan Heat men's volleyball team will start out with a bang when the Heat host the UBC Thunderbirds to open the Canada West regular season for 2017/18.
The interschool rivalry, always a gym filler in Kelowna, will highlight the October calendar on the UBC Okanagan campus with matches October 20-21.
The Heat take to the road for week two of the regular season and travel to Langley to play the defending back-to-back U SPORTS national champion and Canada West champion Trinity Western Spartans.
UBC Okanagan will be in tough against the defending champs on their home court during their home opener October 27-28.
The month of November is very symmetrical for the Heat with alternating home and away weekends sandwiched around a bye week.
The home matches are all against Cougars. The Mount Royal version are in Kelowna Nov. 3-4 while the Regina squad are welcomed to the Okanagan after the off-week Nov. 24-25.
The road matches find the Heat traveling to Alberta both weekends with a trip to Edmonton in November to play the MacEwan Griffins (Nov. 10-11) and then to Calgary to close out the first semester with matches against the Dinos on November 30 and December 1.
The new year opens at home for UBCO with a very tough matchup against a perennial power and national silver medalist the University of Alberta.
The Golden Bears and Heat matches are in the Okanagan Gymnasium on January 5-6.
The second week of January will be the team's second off weekend and give UBCO a chance to prepare for back-to-back trips to the prairies.
January 19-20 will have the Heat in Brandon to fend off the Bobcats, the following weekend puts the Okanagan squad in Saskatoon to play the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Hosting the Winnipeg Wesmen to start the month of February off (Feb. 2-3), staying at home the Heat will host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
The always great match versus the fellow BC school is a special feature mid-week match on Thursday Feb. 8. The second part of the annual rivalry will go in Kamloops on the Saturday, February 10.
To close out the conference season Hudson's Heat squad will be on the road to play the Manitoba Bisons in Winnipeg on Feb. 16-17.
This season marks a significant change to the CW volleyball scene, as the number of playoff teams will rise from seven to eight, with best-of-three quarter-finals and semifinals then leading to a single-game championship. The conference eliminated the CW Final Four tournament in favour of a one-game championship hosted by the highest remaining seed through a vote of the membership earlier this year.
Additionally, if a third CW berth to nationals must be determined, the higher team to have lost in the semis will host the bronze medal game.
The changes replace the existing four-team championship tournaments, which had been in place since 2002-03.
The season all leads to the U SPORTS national tournaments, which are slated for March 15-18. McMaster hosts the men's event in Hamilton, Ont.
Fans will have access to every conference game on the road to nationals this season on Canada West TV – the conference's official streaming platform – as every men's and women's conference regular season and playoff game will be streamed in 2017-18.