On January 7, the University of Toronto hosted the first-ever BIA Cup at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. Bringing together long-time rivals, the Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams’ men’s and women’s basketball teams battled it out in the first half of a four-game series to see which school will take home the title of 2015 BIA Cup Champions.

A collaborative effort between the Harbord Street Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), the BIA Cup was created and supported by more than 35,000 local businesses who wanted to spark community engagement, strengthen business-to-youth relationships and allow students to get a glimpse of high performance athletes. 

More than 800 fans packed the Kimel Family Field House, including members of the Kimel family; John Kiru, executive director of TABIA; and Michael Thompson, Toronto city councillor and chair of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, who led the ceremonial tip off for the men’s game. 

“Sport is a great equalizer,” said Kiru, who led the tip off for the women’s game. “What better way to unite the city than with some healthy competition on the court?”

Student-athletes from all over the city came to cheer on the Blues including the North Toronto Basketball Association, the Scarborough Basketball Association, and Canada Basketball Academy. Young players had a chance to shoot hoops like the pros in children’s halftime games.  Also at halftime, the Goldring, Kimel and Stollery families were honoured with an original piece of music written by two students from Knob Hill Public and Jean Vanier secondary schools, in appreciation for the generous donations that made the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport a reality. 

The Blues women’s team defeated Ryerson 74-71, while the Rams took the first win in the men’s series. 

The second and final portion of the tournament will take place on February 11 at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, where the winner of the inaugural BIA Cup will be decided.

13/01/2015 | KPE Staff

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