The 33rd edition of the annual University of Alberta Golden Bears Brick Invitational tournament kicks off this Friday, September 22nd, at Clare Drake Arena. The Brick Invitational is the first chance for fans to watch their team in action this season, and the Bears only home non-conference tournament before the Canada West season begins on October 6th.
Alberta will open the tournament against the Saskatchewan Huskies at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, in a rematch of last year's Canada West Final, won by Alberta. On Saturday, Mount Royal and Saskatchewan will play at 2:00 p.m., followed by the Bears clashing with the Calgary Dinos at 6:00 p.m. to close out the tournament.
In 32 previous Brick Invitational tournaments, Alberta has won the tournament 16 times, owning a 61-17-5 all-time record. The Saskatchewan Huskies are the only other U SPORTS school with a winning record in the tournament, winning the tournament six times. The Calgary Dinos have won the Brick Invitational four times - their last coming in 1996 - while the Mount Royal Cougars earned their first tournament win last year.
While not having won the non-conference clash since 2014, the Golden Bears return nearly every player from last year's conference-championship winning roster. Canada West all-stars Jamie Crooks and Dylan Bredo will once again don the Evergreen and Gold in 2017, while Canada West Rookie of the Year Tyson Baillie returns looking to build on an incredible inaugural season.
New to the Golden Bears this season is a small, but incredibly talented group of recruits, as Zach Sawchenko, Clayton Kirichenko, Steven Owre, and Brandon Magee look to make an impact early on in their Canada West careers.
Following this weekend, the Bears will have two more exhibition games in Minnesota in early October. The Golden Bears will begin their quest for a 54th conference, and 16th national championship on October 6th, as they host the Mount Royal Cougars at Clare Drake Arena.