Teams arrive, start practicing for national hoops tourney
Vanier Cheetahs forward Justin Kinnear makes a hook shot over teammate Brent Browne while head coach Andrew Hertzog watches during a Cheetahs practice Tuesday at Langille Athletic Centre. The team is in town to take part in the CCAA men's basketball championship Thursday to Saturday at the NSAC. Matt Veno - Truro Daily News
BIBLE HILL - It's a dream come true for Ashley Sims, literally.
The 29-year-old Truro resident always dreamed of working with major sporting events. Now, in her role as the NSAC's facility supervisor at Langille Athletic Centre, she's doing just that as she helps the Bible Hill campus get ready for the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men's basketball championship.
"This is what I wanted to do with my career," Simms said Tuesday while taking a break from her hectic schedule. "I'm following the career path I set for myself."
Although play doesn't start until Thursday, Langille Athletic Centre was a hive of activity Tuesday as Simms and her 14 staff were busy setting up VIP seating, scoring tables, arranging the hospitality room and making final preparations to the court before teams starting arriving at 3 p.m. for practice.
The Vanier Cheetahs, Mohawk Mountaineers and the Indiens d'Ahuntsic each ran hour-long practices in the late afternoon.
As each arrived, Simms had to drop her setting up duties to get players their credentials giving them access to the athlete-only area on the bottom level of the building.
"There's been a lot of running around," Simms said with a laugh. "But I enjoy that type of stress."
The event features eight of Canada's top small college teams.
The British Columbia Timberwolves come in and the No. 1 seed as PACWEST conference champions while the No. 2 seed Mount Royal Cougars are Alberta conference champs.
The No. 3 Indiens d'Ahuntsic represent the Quebec conference while Mohawk, at No. 4, hold the Ontario title. No. 5 Vanier nabbed the wildcard from the Quebec conference and are followed by the Atlantic conference champion St. Thomas Tommies and runner-up Mount St. Vincent Mystics, who hold the official host spot by virtue of the NSAC Rams opting out of the event.
The Red Deer Kings round out the field as the Alberta conference wildcard team at No. 8.
Action kicks off Thursday at 1 p.m. when Red Deer faces British Columbia.
Simms said the excitement around the campus is mounting as the event draws closer.
"Right now its like we still have a little more time but tomorrow because all the teams will have arrived by late (last night), it'll be a little more," she said.