The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre just got a massive facelift.
In preparation for the 2016 CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8, the centre — which usually houses the ice hockey rink — has a new hardwood basketball court.
The court will see action for the first time this weekend as UBC hosts six teams at the annual UBC Invitational. UBC will take on the University of Guelph at 7 p.m. on Friday, the University of Ottawa (the defending CIS championship) at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Memorial University at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The University of Northern British Columbia and the University of Alberta are also competing in the exhibition invitational this weekend.
The new floor was purchased for the CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8 that UBC is hosting for the first time since 1972 — the Thunderbirds had won the championship that year. At the moment, the floor has only been confirmed for this weekend's invitational and the CIS championship that will be held at the centre March 17-20, 2015.
"Basketball is a key part of our strategic growth,” said Kavie Toor, the Director of Facilities at UBC Athletics. “We really want to set up the centre to be similar to what the building is for Davis Cup and tennis and really [become] the West Coast hub of basketball."
Toor said UBC Athletics is exploring a number of different uses for the court including hosting some NCAA teams and the Canadian National Team. They are also looking into family-oriented activities like the Harlem Globetrotters.
The floor is a removable hardwood that sits on top of the ice. The ice is covered by a deck and the three-layered court is placed on top of that meaning the ice does not have to be melted and reformed every time the court goes on. The court cost $125,000.