Kelowna hosts biggest provincial finale yet
They don't get any bigger than this.
With 48 teams in three divisions converging on Kelowna this weekend, the B.C. high school boys volleyball championship is the largest event of its kind held in Western Canada.
UBC Okanagan will serve as the headquarters and main venue for the B.C. tournament which begins with power pool action on Wednesday morning.
Matches in the AAA, AA and A divisions will also be held at several other schools throughout the city.
For the past 17 years, Kelowna has served as host for both the AAA and AA B.C. boys championships.
The 12-team A division was added for the first time in 2011 making it the biggest B.C. high school season-ending tournament ever hosted in the province.
"I think one thing we've established over the years is that Kelowna is an excellent location for this event," said tournament director Rod Belinski. "When we started out we wanted this to be a permanent site. We don't know if that's a possibility, but we're up to 17 years now and we want to keep it here indefinitely. Now we've added the A boys and it's bigger than ever."
Belinski points to the local committee's long-term track record as a major reason the provincial governing body continues to opt for Kelowna as the B.C. host.
"We have a very able group that presents this tournament every year," said Belinski. "There's a reason they keep coming back and it's because our group does such a good job of hosting."
The university and local schools aren't the only locations that will feel the impact of the 48-team tournament.
Belinski said provincials will provide considerable economic spinoffs for the Central Okanagan.
"There really aren't too many events of this magnitude that come to Kelowna each year," Belinski said. "This year we're bringing in 48 teams, 600 players and a lot of their parents for four to five days. This has a big impact on our economy. That's an aspect of our event that's been overlooked in the past. Hosting this is a big positive for the community."
The 3A provincial tournament features 20 teams, while 16 are competing in 2A and, as mentioned above, 12 will compete in A.
All teams will play three best-of-three matches in power pool play on opening day, with a maximum of two matches per team to follow on Thursday and Friday.
The playoffs and finals will all be held at UBC Okanagan, with the championship games all set for Saturday.
Matches during the tournament will also be played at KSS, George Elliot, Dr. Knox, Immaculata, Boucherie, OKM and Kelowna Christian.