The College Wesmen Men’s basketball team has climbed to first place in the MCAC (Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference) with a couple of wins over the Oak Hills Wolf Pack from Bemidji Minnesota last week end and a big victory over the 5 time defending MCAC champion Red River Rebels on Friday.

The College Wesmen team, who are a diverse group of young Men from Winnipeg communities and beyond improved their record to a league best 9-1.  Some member of the team arrived at UW from as close as the University of Winnipeg Collegiate and the Model school Program while others are from as far away as Thompson Manitoba.   The team is “classic Winnipeg” according to head coach Grant Richter, and features players that are New Canadian, Aboriginal and Inner City.  In addition there are many players who developed their talents in local Winnipeg high schools and the result has been a melting pot effect, which has resulted in a very strong team.

“Because everyone comes from very different backgrounds, we have different strengths; the differences are what make us a good team.  But what impresses me most about this group is their willingness to give back to the schools and community’s that they grew up in” said Richter.  

The team has been volunteering and coaching in UW’s Annual Spring Break Camps, SPIN Camps (Sport Programs for Inner City Neighborhoods), Summer Camps and Leagues, as well as many clinics at various schools and community centers. “ To have a group of student athletes acting as mentors, role models and representing the University of Winnipeg is a great resource to have” commented Richter.  “Sport brings people together, even if they are from very different backgrounds.

The College Wesmen program is about providing leaders and role models for youth. The skills required to be a successful student athlete are the same skills required to be successful in life. Teamwork, cooperation, time management, commitment, and determination are all things employers’ value.  Our hope is that the youth we are delivering these camps and clinics to will one day attend UW as students.” said Richter

The College Wesmen squad realizes they have plenty of work left to do if they hope to unseat Red River as MCAC champions.  “It is great fun to be able to compete for a championship and to have a goliath type rival like Red River makes it extra interesting.” added Richter “We realize we will always be an underdog when we play Red River, but that’s ok.  A lot of our guys have been underdogs their whole lives.

A championship this year would be nice, but our success is not only tied to wins and losses.  Our work in the community and the class room is more important than on court success.  Our main goals are to keep players eligible and earn degrees while connecting and being role models for inner city youth.”

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