(SAINT JOHN, NB) The UNB Reds are proud to announce they’ll host the 2021 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, March 11-13, 2021, at Saint John’s newly constructed Irving Oil Field House.
The event is the biggest national championship meet to be announced for the new facility, and will mark the first time an Atlantic University Sport school has hosted the national university track and field championships.
“This is a milestone for Reds track and field, and for the University of New Brunswick,” said John Richard, UNB’s Director of Athletics. “Our track and field program has been building over the last couple of years and this will help put them on the map, not just regionally, but nationally.”
“The Irving Oil Field House is an absolutely incredible facility, and we can’t wait to show it off and host some of this country’s best track and field athletes,” said Richard.
Saint John’s new field house, which officially opens in October, covers 120,000 square feet, features a 200-metre track, sprint lanes, jump pits and a throwing area.
“There is no other facility like this east of Montreal,” said Bill MacMackin, president of the Saint John Track and Field Club, assistant coach of the Reds track and field team, and one of the community leaders on the field house project. “To be able to host a premiere national championship meet in this building in 2021 will give us a chance to showcase it to the entire country. It will be the first of many big events we hold here.”
“The Irving Oil Field House is a game-changer in terms of hosting events and access to a national-class facility,” said Chris Belof, head coach of UNB’s track and field team. “This not only puts us in a position to thoroughly develop our team, but as host of the U SPORTS Championships, we can expose local athletes of all ages to the very best in Canadian university track and field. That will pay dividends for us for many years.”
The Reds have a proud history of hosting national university championships.
With the 2021 track and field championships, UNB will have hosted 17 national championship events, including ten since 2008.
Most recently, UNB hosted the 2019 U SPORTS women’s and men’s curling championships, the 2017 and 2018 University Cup men’s hockey championship tournaments, and the 2016 national university women’s basketball championship. The 2021 track and field meet will be the first U SPORTS championships contested in Saint John.
“The Irving Oil Field House is the perfect facility to host the 2021 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “We are excited to bring one of our marquee high-performance events to this new state-of-the-art venue together with UNB, who have proven their ability to stage U SPORTS events over the last several years.”
“This will be an opportunity to showcase the many talented athletes and strong coaches we have at UNB,” said Jillian Beck, a first-year member of the Reds’ track and field team. “This event means endless hours of training and preparation to compete and perform at the highest level, in front of hometown fans, family and friends when they fill the seats in the new field house.”
The Reds will test the new facility in advance of the 2021 U SPORTS meet. In February, UNB will play host to the 2020 Subway AUS Track and Field Championships.
“Now being one of only a handful of schools that are able to host the U SPORTS Championships leaves the opportunity for us to be in a regular rotation,” said MacMackin. “This is the first time the event will be hosted in the Atlantic region and we won’t take that responsibility lightly.”
“This is a big step forward for track and field in New Brunswick, Atlantic Canada, and the Reds,” said Belof. “We’ve been building towards making a jump into the top 10 or 15 schools in the country. Our new facility will be an incredible stage for us to accomplish that goal.”
The University of Alberta will host the 2020 U SPORTS Track and Field Championships, in Edmonton, March 5-7.