With the help of Fernie local Ben Grimsrud, the Concordia University Thunder competed for the first time ever at the 2014 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball National Championships. Grimsrud and the team travelled to Squamish, B.C. over the weekend to take on the top teams in the country.
Although he was born in Calgary, Grimsrud moved to Fernie when he was in grade seven and spent his teenage years there. After being spotted at a summer basketball camp, he found himself studying and playing basketball at Edmonton’s Concordia University.
“It’s a lot different than Fernie, but I really like it,” remarked Grimsrud.
Currently in his second year, Grimsrud is enrolled in the University’s business program and is having fun with his teammates.
“It’s a really close-knit team,” he said. “We have a few guys that are really close together and do ridiculous things together, it’s good fun. Practise is always a good time.”
Head Coach Reagan Woods is excited to have Ben on the team and said he’s come a long way in just two years.
“When Ben came here I saw a lot of potential in his game. In his first year he really had to learn a lot and was playing behind some really good players and was just always patient and kept working hard,” commented Woods. “His opportunity really came when he became a starter in the second semester this year and he’s really turned into a good, strong player.”
He went on to say, “In our semi-final game and our conference final he actually scored the basket that gave us the win. He’s been able to make big plays in big situations and he’s had his best games in our biggest games. We’re really proud of his hard work and how he’s matured as a player and as a person.”
Although the team finished off the weekend in Squamish in eighth place, Grimsrud was just happy to have the opportunity.
“It’s the first time Concordia’s ever gone so it was a good challenge,” said Grimsrud. “I just love the game. It’s crazy and fun.”