Franklin and Marshall Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Friday October 6th

With great excitement in the air the team gathered at Franklin and Marshall College in front of the Mayser Center for a 1:15 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. In route there was a stop for dinner at Applebee’s in Geneseo, NY before arriving around 10 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls for check in.

Saturday October 7th

Following breakfast at the hotel, the team boarded the bus, taking them to the Hornblower Niagara Cruise to the Falls and a breathtaking ride. Riding into the mist from Niagara Falls was like being in a torrential downpour and despite the ponchos everyone was wearing they were still soaked. After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued on to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a large barge on its journey from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting. The team was then back on the bus to the first game site at Western Ontario University in London. The long two days of travel had its effect on the team as a close game at halftime turned into a big win for Western in the second half. After the game there was a quick stop at TownPlace by Marriott to get checked in and then everyone enjoyed a team welcome dinner at a local steak house.

View of the falls from the cruise.
The team at Niagara Falls.
Tip off at Western Ontario University.

Sunday October 8th

Following breakfast at the hotel, there was another match-up against Western Ontario University and this time the team met them in a controlled scrimmage. Today found the teams much more evenly matched resulting in 5 quarters of great basketball while also allowing everyone a chance to play. After the scrimmage, both teams joined together having a pizza party while getting to know each other a little better. Once everyone was done enjoying the pizza and Gatorade, it was time to get on the bus for a drive to Toronto, Canada’s largest city with almost 3 million people. On arrival to the Novotel North York, everyone checked in and then enjoyed a great team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant. After the meal everyone headed to their rooms for some much-needed rest.

The teams together after the scrimmage.

Monday October 9th

After breakfast this morning local tour guide Barry met us at the hotel and joined the group on the ride to the Toronto Raptors practice facility, the brand-new state of the art BioSteel Centre. On the drive to the facility, Barry showed and explained some of the many neighborhoods of Toronto. Jama Mahlalela, one of the Raptors assistant coaches gave the group a great tour of the BioSteel Centre. Some of the things seen were the practice court, strength and conditioning room, and snack bar. The team was also able to sit in the team video room and ask Jama questions about how the team prepares for games and what the NBA season is like. After this wonderful experience everyone boarded the bus again to finish the Toronto city tour with Barry on the way back to the hotel. Lunch was had on the drive to Belleville and the third game against Loyalist College. After a competitive first half the lead began to lengthen in the second half. For the second straight day, everyone got a chance to play and played well. Following the game everyone headed down to the Lake Ontario waterfront to enjoy a seafood feast at The Boathouse. After enjoying another great meal, it was time to return to Toronto and the hotel for a good night of sleep before a long final day.

The team touring the Raptors practice facility.
In game action vs. Loyalist.
The teams together after the game.

Tuesday October 10th

After breakfast this morning, the team got a chance to ride the world-famous Toronto subway system into downtown Toronto and the exciting waterfront area. After walking around the waterfront, it was time to head up The CN Tower for some great views of Lake Ontario and the city of Toronto from the highest structure in North America. After exploring the city for a little while, the team enjoyed a gourmet hamburger lunch. Then it was back on the subway and back to the hotel where it was time to load the luggage into the bus. It was a short ride to the final game of this Canadian Journey against a very good York University team. After a hard-fought battle, the team came up a little short losing in the last minute by 5 points. Following the game, it was time to say goodbye to Canada and board the bus for the trip back to Lancaster. They arrived back at school that night with a lot of wonderful memories and great experiences.

The team at the Toronto sign in downtown.
View from above at the CN Tower.
Tip off at York University.