The athletics program at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus just got a huge boost, with the recent announcement that the campus was accepted as an affiliate member of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA). Lakehead Orillia’s official membership status is effective as of May 1, 2013, and opens up opportunities for expanding varsity sports and athletic competition.
“The OCAA membership presents a great opportunity for us,” said Dr. Herman van den Berg, Acting Dean at Lakehead Orillia. “As an OCAA member, we will be able to expand our varsity sport opportunities, as will the Thunder Bay campus.”
Varsity athletics at Lakehead’s Thunder Bay campus operate under the auspices of Ontario University Athletics (OUA). The OCAA is the sports governing body for intercollegiate sports at colleges and smaller universities in the province. Other universities that have recently joined OCAA include Laurier’s Brantford campus and Trent University.
Lakehead’s successful application, which required the support of two existing members, was endorsed by Humber College and Georgian College.
The first varsity sports Lakehead Orillia will field for OCAA competition are men’s and women’s curling, beginning in the 2013-14 season. Within the next five years, the Orillia campus plans to introduce additional varsity sport teams, according to interest and the development of community partnerships.
In addition to varsity sport expansion, the OCAA membership supports growth of the University’s extramural clubs, such as soccer, hockey and basketball. “As a non-OCAA member, our teams were restricted to three tournaments per year,” explained Dr. van den Berg. “With membership status, the teams will be eligible for all tournaments, including championships.”
“We are extremely pleased to have Lakehead University’s Orillia campus as a new member,” said Blair Webster, OCAA Executive Director. “Lakehead’s membership will not only contribute to sport competition in the province, but will also enhance the Lakehead Orillia student experience.”
Dr. van den Berg agrees. “Congratulations to our staff team for making this happen,” he said. “Our membership in OCAA will increase options for students here on campus and will also benefit the community. As sport and tournament activity increase, so will the economic and social benefits to businesses and residents in the region.”
Lakehead Orillia’s athletic and recreation program has experienced rapid growth since the University Avenue campus opened in 2010. As well as varsity and club teams, the University offers a variety of intramural and drop-in sports and fitness programs, plus a YMCA membership for all full-time students. For more information, visit lakeheadu.ca.( https://www.lakeheadu.ca/current-students/student-services/or/athletics-and-recreation)