The Final 8 is coming home! 26 CIS Champions have been named in Halifax and it has always felt like the true home of the tournament for me.

The Final 8 invokes many strong and passionate memories for me. Being from Halifax I have been able to experience everything the tournament and the city have to offer from a variety of angles. As a child, it was the time of year my father would take me to the gym for the weekend. We would see teams from around the country, the top players on the big stage and just enjoy the time just the two of us in the gym. Looking back, this tournament and those experiences anchored much of my passion to be in the game in my adult years.

When I became a university student I experienced the passion and excitement of sitting in the student sections. The Halifax crowds are like no other across the country, but being in the student section with your peers creates bonding memories that highlight your university days. We watched Acadia reach a national final and the captivity on campus and in the gym was a bonding piece that has lasted the test of time for me and many friends.

Returning with Acadia to the Final 8 in Halifax for consecutive years on the bench was a dream come true. It was something our team had earned and was about them, but on a personal level, it represented more than the accomplishment. Participating in the event I shared with my father as a child and living the memories created as a student was an emotionally charged memory I cherish.

The atmosphere in Halifax is like no other. Halifax treats the Final 8 tournament like the event and celebration that it is. An afternoon weekend game with two out of province teams competing still drew great and engaged crowds. The ambiance and memories in Halifax are like no other. Look at the gym and over 20 years many familiar faces are volunteering and giving to the experience.

Two more champions will be named over the next two years in Halifax, but the people this will touch and memories created will reach thousands. It is great to have the tournament coming home. Grab your friends and family, I speak from experience when I say it is something you will want to be a part of!

Stephen Baur
Assistant Coach, Canada Women’s National Team
Wolfville, Nova Scotia