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A Place to Call Their Own: New Amenities for OC Hoopsters
Okanagan College Media Release

Basketball Lockers 1 Nov 2019It was one year ago that Okanagan College trades students laced up their work boots to begin work on new locker facilities for the OC Coyotes. This week, both the men’s and women’s teams will lace up their sneakers for their season home openers in a space all their own.

The new locker rooms, located at Okanagan Christian School, will be unveiled during a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 8 that will bring together Coyotes players, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Dino and Andrew Gini, coaches of the men’s and women’s teams and other volunteers and supports of the Coyotes program.

The space first started to take shape last fall when OC students arrived to install framing, followed by pipes and plumbing in a pre-existing space at Okanagan Christian School. The finishing touches along with individual locker installation finalized this summer to ready the rooms for the team’s first home games on Friday, Nov. 8.

The project offered a chance to unite College students and staff to work together to create an inspiring new space for the teams.

“I love it when we can collaborate,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, “when we can partner with the community and on a site like this one, it makes the training that much more realistic.”

The project began with 13 female students from local School District 23. They completed the initial stages of framing, in a program modelled after the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Youth Explore Trades Sampler. The foundation and walls, pre-existing on the west side of the gymnasium, provided a space for the all-female cohort to hone their newly found skills, some using tools for the first time in their life. The 19-week program was a partnership between the College, ITA and the school district and the framing served as one component for learning and applying skills.

As the partitions took shape, various groups of students from the College’s Trades and Apprenticeship department stepped in to complete the space. Students from the electrical foundation program threaded wiring, plumbing foundation students jackhammered the floor to gut and relay pipes, and carpentry foundation students helped with drywall and flooring.

From the ITA perspective, the time spent learning a trade hands on is irreplaceable for both high school and post secondary education.

“Opportunities like this bring the learning experience to life for students,” says Shelley Gray, CEO for the ITA, “their hard work materializes in front of them and they get a chance to experience the value of hands-on training and real world skills. We’re proud of the students who took part in this program and hope they came away inspired to consider continuing on in their trades education and exploring the skilled trades as a career path.”

For the OC Coyotes, the new space comes at an important time and is much more than a place to hang up their jerseys. The hoopsters are entering their sophomore season in the Pacific West (PACWEST) conference.Basketball Lockers 2 Nov 2019

In addition to having their own locker rooms, with each athlete having an individual space for their gear, they now have a shared team room big enough to facilitate meetings, watch game tapes during the week, as well as receive physiotherapy treatment.

Following the ceremony at 2 p.m. on Nov. 8, both teams will head a few blocks north to the gymnasium at Quigley Elementary, where their home openers will be staged. Both the women’s and men’s teams will face Camosun College Chargers, with jump ball at 6:00 p.m. for the women and the men to follow.

While the Coyotes will play their home games at the Quigley Gymnasium for the remainder of the season, they will now have a convenient space nearby to practice regularly at Okanagan Christian School.

“For the athletes, having their own space that is exclusively theirs is important and it means opportunity for growth,” says Sperling. “They have the space to rely on.” The PACWEST season runs from November to February, but the teams depend on the space in the off season as well.

The quality and craftsmanship of the space is the added final touch that reflects not only the ability of the students, but the successful programs emerging from the College.

“The willingness to collaborate is a reflection of our programs here at the College,” adds Sperling, “people contacted us, reaching out wanting to be a part of this build. In that sense, it’s really a full team effort.”

More information about the OC Coyotes, including season schedules and team rosters can be found at