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St. Thomas University to host women's basketball national championship in 2025

St. Thomas University will host the CCAA women's basketball national championship next season, meaning the Tommies are automatically entered in the tournament draw. (St. Thomas University - image credit)
St. Thomas University will host the CCAA women's basketball national championship next season, meaning the Tommies are automatically entered in the tournament draw. (St. Thomas University - image credit)

Fredericton will host the top women's basketball teams in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association as St. Thomas University puts on the women's basketball national championship for 2025.

St. Thomas won the bid to host the championship tournament next March for the CCAA, which includes the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association.

"It's so exciting," said Meaghan Donahue Wies, the university's athletic director. "It's a really big accomplishment. It's a big honour to be trusted to host such a prestigious event."

Donahue Wies said it will be an opportunity to showcase the university and the community to a national audience.

Winning the bid

CCAA national tournaments rotate between the conferences across the country each year. Donahue Wies said St. Thomas was one of two ACAA schools to bid for the women's tournament.

Their application was voted on by the ACAA athletic directors and then approved by the CCAA.

The women's championship will be the second national event St. Thomas University will host in the 2024-25 season. The school was also awarded the men's soccer nationals, which will take place in November.

Mount Allison University is hosting the men's basketball nationals this March.

One of the benefits of hosting a national championship is that the host school's team is automatically entered in the tournament.

"It's a great opportunity to give our student-athletes the ability to perform on the national stage," said Donahue Wies.

Kevin Daley has been coaching FHS in the Mike Fitz Memorial Games since the beginning.
Kevin Daley has been coaching FHS in the Mike Fitz Memorial Games since the beginning.

Kevin Daley has coached basketball in Fredericton for close to 40 years. (CBC)

Community development

Fredericton High School varsity girls' coach Kevin Daley has coached many players who have gone on to play for the St. Thomas Tommies. He said seeing top players compete in Fredericton can have a positive impact on young women.

"Anytime you have young kids who can be inspired by female athletes, and see that they can do it, that they can aspire to it, I think those are just wins," said Daley, who has coached for close to 40 years.

The St. Thomas women's roster is made up mostly of New Brunswick players, who will get to represent the university on the national stage.

Daley said the tournament can also serve as an inspiration to the basketball community in the province.

"It will help the basketball community," Daley said. "And not only for just Fredericton, obviously, but the New Brunswick and the Atlantic area, that young kids can see that they can combine education and their love of the game or sport."