By Alex Quevillon
It wasn’t what anyone at the college was expecting when the semi-professional Ottawa SkyHawks basketball club visited on Oct. 16, as an expected game between the tam and Algonquin Thunder was scrubbed.
Originally, an exhibition game was scheduled between the two teams. Then, an intrasquad game was suggested to keep the competitive level to a minimum.
By the end of the night, all that happened at the gym was a glorified practice for the two squads.
The reason for the game’s cancellation wasn’t clear to Costello, but for him and his team, it was a lost opportunity.
“It’s disappointing,” said Algonquin head coach Trevor Costello. “We want to play as many games as we can. This would have been a nice prep for us.”
“We can all speculate,” Costello said. “It’s not to say would, but you don’t want a college team beating a pro team. Who knows, we may have given them a good game. And, they were a little worried about competitiveness, that guys would start to take things personal.”
“Our guys would have been ready for sure. If anything, this hinders us and our practice.”
The SkyHawks, who left Algonquin after about an hour of practicing, had a different take.
“For us, it’s very key that we support all the universities, all the college basketball programs in the city,” said SkyHawks owner Gus Takkale.
“Algonquin has always been our friend and we’re always happy to be here.”
The pro team, no stranger to controversies, were at Algonquin in April as well.
Following a naming controversy earlier in the winter, the then-named Ottawa TomaHawks were on the receiving end of a social media backlash from offended aboriginals.
They helped host the school’s Rising Stars basketball showcase, where they also unveiled the SkyHawks brand.
At the time, the SkyHawks and Algonquin were thrilled to be working with one another.
Whether or not this incident leaves a sour taste in Algonquin’s mouth is yet to be seen.
“I think our players were upset,” said Ron Port, Director of Athletic Operations at Algonquin. “It’s just a downer. We had our hopes up to play this pro team and it’s a bit of a letdown.”