Canada West Universities Athletic Association
FormerlyWestern Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (1919–19xx)
Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association (19xx–1972)
ConferenceU Sports
Founded1972 (1972)
Sports fielded
  • 12
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 11
No. of teams17
RegionWestern Canada

Canada West (formally the Canada West Universities Athletic Association or CWUAA) is a regional membership association for universities in Western Canada which assists in co-ordinating competition between their university level athletic programs and providing contact information, schedules, results, and releases about those programs and events to the public and the media. This is similar to what would be called a college athletic conference in the United States. Canada West is one of four such bodies that are members of the country's governing body for university athletics, U Sports. The other three regional associations coordinating university-level sports in Canada are Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Atlantic University Sport (AUS), and the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).


The Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU — later renamed Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association) was formed in 1919–20 as the first recognized western-based post-secondary athletic organization in Canada, with the University of Manitoba winning the first-ever league championship, a men's hockey title, in 1920.

In the spring of 1972, the WCIAA was split into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) and the Great Plains Athletic Association (GPAA - later renamed the Great Plains Athletic Conference).

CWUAA consisted of schools spanning from Victoria to Saskatoon (Victoria, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan), while GPAA's member institutions stretched from Regina to Thunder Bay (Regina, Brandon, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lakehead).[1]

Membership changes

In 1985–86, Canada West offered playing privileges to men's hockey teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with other sports following over the years, culminating with the 2001-02 merger of basketball.

Since 1999, 11 additional schools have joined the Canada West's six charter members. Trinity Western joined in 1999–00 and, in 2000–01, all schools from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) except for Brandon were provided full membership in Canada West (Manitoba, Regina and Winnipeg). Brandon joined as an associate member at the time, until full membership was granted in 2005.

Simon Fraser joined Canada West in 2000, followed by Thompson Rivers in 2005 and Fraser Valley in 2006.

Simon Fraser withdrew from the conference as a member after the 2009–10 season, following this, Simon Fraser officially became the first Canadian university to join the NCAA in the 2011–12 season.while both Thompson Rivers and Fraser Valley were awarded full membership in 2010 and, at the same time, UBC Okanagan received probationary membership.[2]

In 2011, Mount Royal University[3] and the University of Northern British Columbia[4] were voted in as probationary members and began active competing in 2012–13.

In 2013, UBC Okanagan was awarded full membership, while Mount Royal University and the University of Northern British Columbia were awarded full membership in 2014.

Full membership was granted to MacEwan University in the spring of 2015,[5] after the Edmonton-based university fulfilled their probationary membership requirements and was accepted by Canada West membership as the conference's 17th member.

Member schools

Current members

Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Enrollment Endowment Joined Division
University of Alberta Golden Bears (men's)
Pandas (women's)
Edmonton, Alberta 1908 Public 36,435 $1.2B 1971-72 Prairie
Brandon University Bobcats Brandon, Manitoba 1890 Public 3,383 --- 1999-2000 Prairie
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Vancouver, British Columbia 1908 Public 43,579 $1.01B 1971-72 Pacific
University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat Kelowna, British Columbia 2005 Public 8,307 --- 2010-11 Pacific
University of Calgary Dinos Calgary, Alberta 1966 Public 28,196 $952M 1971-72 Pacific
University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Abbotsford, British Columbia 1974 Public 21,500 --- 2006-07 Pacific
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Lethbridge, Alberta 1967 Public 8,000+ $24.5M 1971-72 Prairie
University of Manitoba Bisons Winnipeg, Manitoba 1877 Public 27,599 $303M 2001-02 Prairie
MacEwan University Griffins Edmonton, Alberta 1971 Public 19,606 --- 2013-14 Prairie
Mount Royal University Cougars Calgary, Alberta 1910 Public 14,175 --- 2001-02 Pacific
University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves Prince George, British Columbia 1990 Public 4,183 $78.5M 2011-12 Pacific
University of Regina Rams (football only)
Regina, Saskatchewan 1911 Public 12,800 $25.9M 2001-02 Prairie
University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 1907 Public 19,082 $136.7M 1971-72 Prairie
Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Kamloops, British Columbia 1970 Public 13,072 --- 2005-06 Pacific
Trinity Western University Spartans Langley, British Columbia 1962 Private/Christian 2,700 --- 1999-2000 Pacific
University of Victoria Vikes Victoria, British Columbia 1903 Public 19,500 $155.4M 1971-72 Pacific
University of Winnipeg Wesmen Winnipeg, Manitoba 1871 Public 9,219 --- 2001-02 Prairie

Former member

Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Enrollment Endowment Joined Left Current
Simon Fraser University Red Leafs Burnaby, British Columbia 1965 Public 35,604 $209M 2000-01 2009-10 Great Northwest (GNAC)[a]
  1. ^ Currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.


Institution Football
Alberta Foote Field 3,500 Saville Community Sports Centre 2,600 Clare Drake Arena 3,000 Foote Soccer Field 1,500
Brandon Non-football school Healthy Living Centre 1,000 Non-hockey school HLC Field 500
UBC Thunderbird Stadium 3,441 War Memorial Gymnasium 2,222 Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre 7,200 Thunderbird Stadium 3,500
UBC Okanagan Non-football school UBC Okanagan Campus Gym 1,000 Non-hockey school Nonis Sports Field 500
Calgary McMahon Stadium 35,650 Jack Simpson Gymnasium 2,700 Father David Bauer Olympic Arena 1,750 West Varsity Soccer Pitch 500
Fraser Valley Non-football school Envision Athletic Centre 1,700 Non-hockey school MRC Sports Complex 500
Lethbridge 1st Choice Savings Centre (Basketball only) 2,500 University Field 2,000
MacEwan Christenson Family Centre for Sport and Wellness 2,000 Downtown Community Arena 1,000 Jasper Place Bowl 1,000[6]
Manitoba IG Field 33,500 Investors Group Athletic Centre 3,100 Max Bell Centre 1,400 Turf East Field (Women's only) 300
Mount Royal Non-football school Kenyon Court 1,940 Flames Community Arenas 500 Mount Royal Fields 500
UNBC Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre (Basketball only) 2,000 Non-hockey school NCSSL Field 1,800
Regina Mosaic Stadium 33,000 UR CKHS (Basketball/Women's Volleyball only) 2,000 The Co-operators Centre 1,000 Leibel Field (Women's only) 500
Saskatchewan Griffiths Stadium 6,171 PAC 2,426 Merlis Belsher Place 2,700 Field 7 in PotashCorp Park 400
Thompson Rivers Non-football school Tournament Capital Centre 2,200 Non-hockey school Hillside Stadium 1,060
Trinity Western Langley Events Centre 2,000 Langley Events Centre 5,300 Chase Office Field 500
Victoria CARSA Performance Gym (Basketball only) 2,100 Non-hockey school Centennial Stadium 5,000
Winnipeg Duckworth Centre 1,780 Winnipeg Soccer Complex / St. Vital. (Women's only) 2000 / 500

(Data mined from the U Sports homepage's member directory[7] and[8] The member directory numbers seem to be ballpark figures in some cases.)

Future expansion

The media has reported[example needed] that the following institutions are building their athletic programs for potential admission into the association.

In 2012 the conference declared they would not take applications from new schools, as Canada West approved a bid from Grant MacEwan University (Now rebranded as MacEwan University) in 2013.[9]

Scholarships, UBC, Simon Fraser University, and the NAIA

In May 2005, UBC made a formal bid to join the NCAA, but decided in April 2011 to remain a part of Canada West Athletics. See the UBC article for more details.

Simon Fraser University (then known as the SFU Clan before changing to the Red Leafs in 2022) did not compete in what is now known as U Sports until 2002, after a failed attempt to join the U.S. NCAA. On July 10, 2009, the NCAA accepted SFU's bid to join NCAA Division II in the 2011–2012 season. Canada West proceeded as a 13-team, 14 member conference for 2010–11, with the inclusion of UBC-Okanagan as a non-competing, probationary member for 2010–11, in time to begin competition (pending summer 2011 CIS approval) for the 2011–12 season. In May 2011 Mount Royal was awarded Canada West membership, effective Sept. 2011, with competition to begin in the 2012–13 season. In May 2013 MacEwan (Formally Grant MacEwan) approved as a 17th Canada West member starting in the 2013–2014 season.

From its inception in 1965, Simon Fraser competed in the NAIA to allow "full ride" scholarships. Canadian schools did not allow any form of scholarships until the late 1980s. SFU was forced to leave the NAIA in many sports due to schools in the Northwest US shifting to the NCAA. Until 2009, the NCAA limited membership to schools based in the U.S. Some Simon Fraser teams still competed in the U.S. before the school moved to the NCAA, and their men's wrestling program competed in the then-CIS and the NAIA. UBC has several of its programs (baseball, golf, outdoor track and field and softball) compete in the NAIA.

Canada West TV

On August 24, 2011, the association announced the launch of as the official home of web-based broadcasting for all 14 Canada West member institutions during the 2011–12 season and beyond.[10] On May 10, 2017, Canada West announced a multi-year deal with Surrey, BC based streaming company, Yare Media, to develop a re-vamped service for the 2017–18 season.[11] In 2017, a dramatic 59-yard field goal kick by Niko DiFonte with two seconds on the clock lifted the Calgary Dinos over the UBC Thunderbirds to win the 81st Hardy Cup football championship in November. Immediately, the footage circulated across mainstream media. Not only did the clip of the record-breaking kick get coverage on television networks and social media channels across North America – including Sportsnet, TSN, CBC, ESPN, and USA Today – but it also showcased the streaming quality of the new-look Canada West TV.[12]

In January 2018, Canada West announced record viewing numbers for the new service.[13] On June 8, 2020, the conference announced cancellation of fall sports and no events were featured on[14] Throughout the remainder of 2020 the conference would announce a series of cancellations.[15] The conference announced the resumption of streaming on Aug 3, 2021. The 2021–2022 season marked the tenth year of Canada West TV service and the first year with streaming partner Visaic after its acquisition of Yare Media in 2020.[16]


Main article: Canada West University Hockey Awards


  1. ^ "Canada West Universities Athletic Association". Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  2. ^ "UBC Okanagan joins Canada West; TRU & UFV full members". Athletics & Recreation News. 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  3. ^ "Mount Royal University officially joins Canada West Athletics". Canada West Universities Athletic Association. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  4. ^ "UNBC becomes latest member of Canada West sports division | University Affairs". University Affairs. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  5. ^ "MacEwan University granted full membership in Canada West". MacEwan University. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  6. ^ "Jasper Place Bowl Artificial Turf | City of Edmonton".
  7. ^ U Sports directory Archived 2009-07-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "World". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
  9. ^ Archived 2013-05-26 at the Wayback Machine - CUP - March 7, 2012 - University presidents in Canada West push for high performance division
  10. ^ "Canada West, Stretch Internet launch CanadaWest.TV web-based broadcasting - U SPORTS - English". Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  11. ^ Daum, Evan. "From Canada West: Canada West, Yare Media partner on revamped Canada West TV". Archived from the original on 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  12. ^ "Canada West TV success a model for livestreaming across U SPORTS". U SPORTS. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  13. ^ "Canada West TV posts record first half". Yare Media. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  14. ^ "Canada West cancels 2020-21 first term team competitions". Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  15. ^ "Canada West - Search for 'covid'". Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  16. ^ "2021-22 Canada West TV passes on sale". Retrieved 2021-11-30.