It was a historic year for Brock Athletics in 2015 with many record breaking events. The year will be remembered as the year that changed the culture and spirit of athletics at Brock. From teaming up with Nike, the new Alumni Field to the Meridian Centre basketball games, Brock Athletics found new innovative ways to attract student fans. Also, teams and athletes were winning championships and awards at a high-level in 2015. Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest highlights for athletics at Brock in 2015.
Deal with Nike
The Brock Campus Store struck a deal with the biggest sports apparel company in the world on April 21, 2015. Since 2012, Nike has struck deals with Canadian universities as their athletic wear sponsor, and Brock joined the short-list with a four-year deal. This deal has led to Brock teams being privileged to wear uniforms with the famous swoosh logo. Students are also given the chance to purchase Brock-Nike workout gear, casual wear, shoes and accessories (water bottles, headbands, compression socks, etc). This deal has created a new athletic culture at Brock and increased the school spirit towards the school teams.
Brock wins Steelblade Classic
2015 marked the 17th annual Steelblade Classic hosted by Brock’s mens hockey. It also marked the fifth consecutive year the program has won the tournament.
The Badgers won 3-2 in the finals over Guelph off a Sammy Banga game-winning goal.
This tournament kicked off 2015 Homecoming for Brock, and saw 1,716 people in attendance on the Friday evening game as the Badgers beat down on Windsor 6-1.
Brock fencing hosted its annual tournament and reached a new level of involvement on November 14 and 15. Over 800 participants across Ontario and Quebec were involved in the fencing tournament. It was one of the largest fencing tournaments at the university level Canada has ever seen.
Opening of Alumni Field
In early June of 2015, Brock University announced that it would replace its grass lacrosse field with a turf field. The $1.5 million project began construction soon after the announcement, and many did not believe the field could be ready for Brock’s Homecoming. But with no panic, the field was completed for Homecoming and it created a different buzz around the campus.
Though still without a football team, Brock’s Homecomings will now have a different feel. Heading into 2016 the field will be used for soccer, rugby and lacrosse home games.
The turf field allows for Brock’s Homecoming to field many more games as well, and this also let’s teams play on campus instead of at a field away from the school. In 2015, Brock’s homecoming saw lacrosse, soccer and rugby teams play all in one day.
What makes Alumni Field that much better? It’s open to students to play on whenever the field is free. With field lighting students can play pick-up games under the lights or even during the day if they please. Brock was one of the only school’s in Ontario without a turf field and that has changed in 2015.
Domination of Wrestling
The complete domination of Brock’s wrestling programs under Marty Calder continued in 2015. After both the men and women won the CIS title in 2014, they did it again in 2015. It’s clear that Brock wrestling is number one in the country, but it may even be top five in North America. Currently both the men and women rank number one in CIS wrestling.
Meridian Centre Basketball Games
After a sell-out home opener, the Brock mens and womens basketball teams broke into the record books as they played a historic game at the one-year old Meridian Centre. The November 28 games saw the largest crowd ever for a Brock athletic event with 2,887 people in attendance.
The women beat the Lakehead Thunderwolves 72-50 to end the 2015 year with a 5-1 record. Jenalyn Yumol, point guard for the Badgers broke the Brock Womens Basketball’s record for most career assists.
In the mens game, Dani Elgadi moved into ninth all-time in career rebounds with 722. The men also won their game over Lakehead 84-51 improving to a 5-1 record. Both teams continue to be ranked nationally as the men rank third in CIS, and the women are seventh.
Return of Men’s Volleyball
On November 3, Brock Athletics announced the return of the men’s volleyball program after a 15 year absence. The team will be coached by veteran OUA coach Doug Hanes. The last time Hanes coached in the OUA was 2004 with the Waterloo Warriors.
The team won’t take the court till the 2016-2017 seasons; however, Hanes has already started building his team for next season by scouting Brock students involved in intramurals. Also, he hopes to recruit future high school graduates.
It’ll take time for the men’s team to be competitive in the OUA, but with Hanes, the helm of the team is in good hands.
Bill Millar retires
After 31 years as the mens soccer head coach, Bill Millar has retired. With the most wins for a head coach in Brock soccer history, Millar will be replaced by Lucio Ianiero.
Millar led the Badgers to their first CIS championship in 2001, where they also won the OUA bronze medal. He also coached the team to a OUAA West Division championship and CIAU bronze medal in 1995.