GUELPH, Ont. (February 10, 2018) - The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks wrote their page in the history books, capturing the first-ever National Intramural and Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA) Canada Cup.
Perseverance, domination, teamwork, swagger. These four words coursed through the veins of five athletes as they braved the trip to the University of Guelph. The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks recreation team competed with some of the top recreation programs across Canada for the NIRSA Canada Cup. Were they nervous? Yes. Were they ever uncertain of what the outcome would be? Not a chance.
Sean Bureau, Graham Estey, Jamie Noonan, Matthew Porter and Cameron Collict arrived at the Guelph W.F. Mitchell Athletics Centre and were matched with the Guelph Recreation Department in their first competition, a 3 vs 3 game of half-court basketball. Led by strong offence from Porter and Noonan, along with tremendous leadership from Bureau, the Golden Hawks surged to a big lead early in the game, but soon saw it dwindle down to nothing.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Guelph scored an uncontested lay-up to gain the lead by one point. The Golden Hawks were running low on energy, and with only half a minute left, it wasn’t looking good. Collict started with the ball, dribbling around a defender but quickly finding himself up against another opponent. With only 20 seconds left on the clock, he dished the ball out to Porter, who found himself standing alone on the 3-point line. In one of the boldest plays of the tournament, Porter locks in on the basket, and jacked up a three from distance. Time seemed to slow to a halt as the ball travelled through the air, until bang. The sweet sound of the ball falling through the hoop and brushing past the mesh. The Golden Hawks were in the lead with 15 seconds left to play. They pushed through their fatigue, and played relentless defence to fend off the comeback from Guelph.
Next was a game of ball hockey against another team from Guelph, We Them Buoys. Led by a tremendous performance by Estey in net, Laurier cruised their way to an 8-0 victory, capped off with a bar-down wrister from Collict with less than five seconds left.
The routing of We Them Buoys was followed by another convincing win, again at ball hockey. The Golden Hawks stunned the University of Toronto – Mississauga, 7-0. Porter exemplified what it meant to be a brick wall in net, while Estey, Collict and Bureau showcased their offensive talents on the front end. Noonan was a force to be reckoned with on defence, keeping shots against to a minimum.
The Golden Hawks returned to the basketball court, to face the Centennial College Colts. Led by Noonan and Porter, they won by double digits, finishing up the round robin with a 4-0 record, and locking up the first seed.
The semi-finals proved to be no different than the round robin, as the Golden Hawks defeated We Them Buoys 6-1 in a game of bubble soccer. Bureau was an animal in the faceoff circle, while Noonan and Collict showed off their superior ball control and speed in the back court. Estey played like someone who had nothing to lose, using his considerable weight advantage to obliterate anyone and anything in his path to get the ball.
The Golden Hawks’ first challenge came in the final playoff round of the tournament, where they played the Centennial College Colts, again in bubble soccer. The Colts had many skilled players, but in the end they were no match for the guts, determination and the sheer size of the Golden Hawks. The Golden Hawks flexed their muscles once again, squeaking out a 3-2 win with goals from Estey, Bureau, and a game winning goal from Collict.
The Golden Hawks left as the NIRSA Canada Cup champions. Satisfied with their performance, but as always, hungry for more.
We would like to thank the University of Guelph for hosting this tournament, in particular Spencer Cavan from the Athletics and Recreation Department. Without him and the help of his volunteers, the tournament would never have happened. The Golden Hawks look forward to returning to the second NIRSA Cup next winter, where they will look to remain the only team the has ever left victorious.
Over 6,000 students at Laurier participate in 30 intramural sports and 40 recreational programs annually.
All Fitness and Recreational classes and instruction require an additional fee to assist with the instructional component to the class. Registration takes place early in the term through an online process.