UBC to host 2025 U Sports women’s and men’s basketball Final 8

On Thursday night, UBC announced that it will host the U Sports Final 8 on March 13 through 16, 2025 at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and War Memorial Gym.

“We’re trying to do something different and really try to elevate sport in a different way by having men’s and women’s together for the first time. It’s pretty special,” said Managing Director of Athletics and Recreation Kavie Toor at UBC basketball’s last regular season home game on Thursday, February 9.

UBC is the first team in U Sports history to host both the men's and women's tournaments because of its expansive facilities. Games will be held at War Memorial Gym, home of the UBC men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, built for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

In 2016, UBC hosted the men’s basketball Final 8, and due to the buzz surrounding the event, UBC wanted to bring it back again on an even larger scale.

“Both events can lift a little higher by being together,” said Toor.

Men’s team head coach Kevin Hanson has been at the helm of the program for 23 years and holds the record for all-time Canada West regular season coaching wins.

"To showcase the top 8 teams in the country is a privilege for us," said Hanson. "It provides a great opportunity for our local basketball community to see the best teams in the country play live. We are looking forward to a magnificent event."

UBC women’s head coach Erin McAleenan echoed Hanson’s thoughts.

"We are excited to showcase the elite level of student-athletes competing in U Sports basketball to fans in Vancouver and the greater BC basketball community,” she said. The greater basketball community includes high school basketball which has been drawing larger crowds every year.

“We hope this tournament will inspire the next generation of students to become future Thunderbirds and U Sports student-athletes," said McAleenan.

Toor also emphasized the importance of sports in community building, using Thursday’s match as an example. The 'Birds' last home game saw an energetic crowd of over 500, despite being held on a weeknight.

“It builds community, it builds school spirit, it gives people a sense of pride,” said Toor.