Toronto, ON – “Hey, I’ve got a bit of an idea.”
That’s a text I sent to Alyssa Morrison and David Ciss at 4:37 PM EST on Sept. 1, 2019. I wasn’t totally sure what the full idea was, but I knew that we should do something to cover university sports.
Later that night, the three of us met at a pub on Yonge Street in Toronto, and hours later, we decided that we were going to be covering Canadian university sports. We also decided on the name “49,” which encompassed Canadian university sports stories in both Canada and the USA, with the 49th parallel being the border between the two countries. Ok, the discussion was not exactly that smooth, but eventually, it got there.
Man, that was a year ago.
We’ve been joined by so many other talented writers and graphic designers in the past year and we’re extremely proud to bring you the stories of Canadian university sports.
In the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Montreal for the 2019 U SPORTS men’s soccer championship, Guelph for the 2019-20 OUA Queen’s Cup Final and I’ve spent hours (cumulative) on the TTC going back and forth from York University for various sports. Throughout it all, I’ve met sports info staff, coaches, data analysts, fans, and of course, the athletes. It’s only been a year and it’s been a pleasure getting to know everyone involved in Canada’s university sports scene.
As a team, we’ve had reporters at events across the country, as well as Andrew Walker, who covered the biggest game in U SPORTS hockey, the Crowchild Classic in Calgary, AB.
In 365 days, our team of over 15 writers have written 412 pieces, everything from Justin Levine unearthing hectic OHL trade deadline memories, Holly Morrison diving into the success of the Brock Badgers wrestling program, Richard Coffey’s countless columns and Casey Dobson/Josh Kim who pumped out season review articles despite joining after the season. If I thanked every piece, this would be very long, but I am so grateful to work with such a talented and driven group.
To you, the reader, the follower, the subscriber: Thank you so much for following our coverage over the last year. I hope you have enjoyed the majority of it, and that we are able to offer something you might not be able to find in the mainstream news. If you weren’t here to read our stuff, I don’t know how long this would last. Thank you.
The last U SPORTS event we saw was the 2020 Curling Championships. That was on March 12, and for a day, it took centre stage on CBC Sports – then everything changed. We began to wear masks, we distanced and we stopped sports. The last few months have been difficult without events and it’s not going to get much easier until at least January 2021.
The RSEQ is hoping to start a fall sports season as early as Sept. 14 and we will be here to tell those stories, but for now and for the future, remember the words of British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“Be Calm, Be Kind, Be Safe.”
I and the entire 49 Sports team sincerely thank you for following our coverage this year and we can promise that there is a lot more to come in the years ahead.
One thought on “Thank You: A year of 49 Sports”
For full transparency I declare that I am Ben’s grandfather. However, I also declare that I am fully objective is what I write below, something that you can judge for yourself/ves. This venture has recognized a previously unmet area and has filled it admirably with high quality material. I praise everyone involved. Brilliance is in recognizing an unfulfilled need. Imagination lies in developing an approach to meeting that need. Initiative is in doing something about it. Quality is in doing it well. Finally, success lies in combining all of these. You have had real success in year one. May you continue to do so in the future.