March 20, 2010
Following a 17-1 season and five more wins at the provincial and national championships, the UNBC Northern Timberwolves have lived up to their #1 ranking and captured a national championship for the first time in the history of UNBC Athletics.
The Timberwolves played the host team from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the final and showed why they came into the tournament as the team to beat. The final score was 96-63.
“We were in attack mode from start to finish. It started from defensive intensity and we made some great shots,” says Mike Raimbault, the Timberwolves head coach who earned Canadian coach of the year honours earlier in the week. “Winning that award is a team award and is a reflection of the great guys I have on this team. They proved it again tonight.”
The national championship caps an amazing year for both UNBC basketball teams. The men’s and women’s teams both finished the regular season with 17 wins and one loss and while the women were upset in the provincials, the men captured the provincial title in Nanaimo in a prelude to nationals. 2009-10 was also a season of individual awards: Mike Raimbault (BC and Canadian coach of the year), Inderbir Singh Gill (BC player of the year, All-Canadian, Provincials MVP, and Nationals MVP), and Christine Kennedy (BC player of the year and All-Canadian) were among those rewarded for impressive personal performances.
“I’m the happiest player in Canada right now,” said Gill after the game. “This is the best team I’ve ever played on; every player is like a brother to me.”
Nearly 100 UNBC fans including students and staff from Prince George, a dozen local First Nations drummers, the Timberwolf mascot, and alumni now living in Calgary were on hand for history-in-the making. Despite making up a small proportion of the 1000 fans in attendance at the game, they were easily as loud as the fans for the hometown SAIT Trojans. They were the talk of the tournament.
“We’re used to this type of crowd in Prince George,” said Gill after the game. “They’re the best fans in Canada.”
“It was an amazing set of games,” added UNBC President George Iwama, who was in Calgary for all three UNBC games at Nationals. “The coaches and players kept their composure, played hard, and brought home the gold. It’s what UNBC is all about: a strong team striving for nothing but the best.”