Kelowna sports fans had plenty of viewing choices over Labour Day weekend.
Throughout the city, Kelowna teams were hosting, playing and winning various high-level sports in the junior, collegiate and national stage.
Labour Day weekend means summer is almost over, school is almost back in session and sports teams are returning to their respective areas of work after the long summer off-season.
Wrapping up on Sunday of the long weekend, sports fans can get outdoors and check out Canada’s summer sport with the National Field Lacrosse Championships. The finals will take place at City Park field, right in front of one of Kelowna’s proudest city staples.
“It’s a great marquee event,” said tournament chairperson and Travis Whiting.
“Having Canada’s national summer sport on the beaches of Lake Okanagan will be something the players and teams will enjoy.”
It’s the first time ever that Kelowna has hosted the Nationals, which pits teams from B.C., Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Whiting said they hope the high-levels of competition will draw more interest towards Kelowna’s lacrosse club, the Kodiaks.
For the first time ever, #Kelowna hosted the National Field Lacrosse Championships. Teams from across the country battled it out for the trophy on Saturday. Team BC takes on Team Quebec here, who had to wear Kelowna Kodiaks jersey to avoid jersey confusion. Finals are Sunday. pic.twitter.com/jvsdAS0swi
— Mack Britton (@MackBrittonBC) August 31, 2019
At the tournament on Saturday, highly ranked Team BC took on Team Quebec who, because of the two teams sharing the same colour of uniforms, wore the host city’s Kelowna Kodiaks jerseys through the game.
The finals will be played at City Park on Sunday, find out when here.
Also for the first time this Labour Day weekend, the UBC Okanagan women’s softball team played their first games in the Western Collegiate Softball Association.
The Heat hosted teams from University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, University of Victoria and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
The UBCO Heat women’s softball got their first taste of league action this weekend. It’s the first ever season for the Heat squad and a decent turnout arrived to cheer on the local team at #Kelowna’s High Noon Park. pic.twitter.com/BGuHjku0al
— Mack Britton (@MackBrittonBC) August 31, 2019
Heat head coach Joni Frei greenness in their first-ever games together.
“I like that they’re fresh and not fatigued from a long summer. We have depth, talent, numbers and a great coaching staff,” said Frei.
“We aim to compete in this league, and we’re going to do it in our own classy way.”
The Heat lost their first game to the reigning conference champions Calgary on Saturday but came back and earned their first ever win over Lethbridge in their second game with a 6-5 victory.
The Kelowna Rockets were back on the ice over the weekend. Though it’s only pre-season, fans got to see some new faces in Rockets jerseys as both returning players and recently acquired players made their debut.
Kelowna cruised to a 4-0 win over the Victoria Royals on Friday and played the Kamloops Blazers Saturday night. Kelowna returns to Prospera Place Sept. 8 where they host the Prince George Cougars in game three of the pre-season.
With the Memorial Cup tournament almost eight months away, Rockets fans will be ready to embrace the highly-improved team when the season starts Sept. 21.
Also in the Okanagan hockey world, the West Kelowna Warriors concluded their pre-season Saturday night. The BCHL season returns to the entire Okanagan Sept. 6. The Warriors will host the Vernon Vipers at Royal LePage Place for the first game of the year.
Rutland’s pride, the Kelowna Chiefs, started their pre-season over Labour Day weekend. It was a melancholy start to the season for the Chiefs, who lost owner and beloved community member Grant Sheridan earlier this year.
The Chiefs, as well as the entire league, will have Sheridan’s initials on their helmets as a memorial throughout the season.
Kelowna took on the Summerland Steam in their first two pre-season games and start their regular season Sept. 13.
On the soccer pitch, the UBC Okanagan mens soccer team continued their season over the weekend.
The Heat host two undefeated teams with visits from the squads from University of Victoria and a match-up with sister school UBC Vancouver Sunday afternoon.
The season is just getting started for much of Kelowna’s fast-paced, community centred and big-named teams.
If games were missed over the weekend because of camping, barbecuing, boating, napping or anything else Okanagan families get up to with an extra day off, there will be plenty of time to catch with the many teams who got back in action over Labour Day.
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