Women’s Collegiate Fastball Development in Canada and in the AIWFA
The number 1 summer sport for women in Canada based on participation.
- 1980 – Simon Fraser University enters team in U.S.A. – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
- 1981 – OCAA (Ontario College Athletic Association) formation of 8 team league
- 2002 – Formation of AIWFA (Alberta Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Association) with 5 teams in Alberta: University of Lethbridge, Medicine Hat College, University of Calgary, Mount Royal College, SAIT.
- 2002 – Formation of OIWFA (Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Association) with 12 university teams in Ontario.
- 2003 – New Brunswick – 4 university teams.
- 2004 – AIWFA adds University of Alberta (Green).
- 2005 – AIWFA adds University of Alberta (Gold) and Olds College.
- 2006 – AIWFA adds University of Regina.
- 2007- 2008 Scholarship Development Program.
- 2008 – AIWFA adds the University of Saskatchewan
- 2008 – October 6-8 – National University Championships (“Structured Invitational”) hosted by University of Calgary Lady Dinos. The University of Saskatchewan defeats Sir Wilfred Laurier to win the championship.
- 2010 – University of Saskatchewan hosts the 3rd annual National Championships. They also become the first 2-time champions, defeating the University of Regina in the final.
- 2011 – Creation of the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association ( CCSA )
- Guided by a steering committee comprised of 2 members from each of the 3 leagues ( WCSA, OCAA, OIWFA ), plus a representive from the Atlantic schools, with Softball Canada also being represented. The committee standardized the process for teams to be selected to participate at Nationals, and also the process for selection of a host for Nationals.
- 2011 – The University of Calgary claim Silver at the CCSA National Championships.
- 2012 – The AIWFA is renamed the Western Collegiate Softball Association ( WCSA ), which better reflects the geographical reality of the league and it’s hope for the future.
- 2012 – Humber College joins the OCAA.
- 2012 – The University of Regina hosts the CCSA Nationals. Western defeats Durham in the final, and the University of Saskatchewan wins the Bronze medal.
- 2014 – Briercrest College and Seminary joins the WCSA. Fanshawe College joins the OCAA.
- 2014 – University of Calgary hosts the National Championships for the second time. Western University wins their fourth straight title, defeating St. Clair College in the final. The University of Regina wins the Bronze medal, defeating Humber College.
- 2015 – University of Alberta rejoins the league after a 5 year absence.
- 2016 – Ryerson University joins the OIWFA.
- 2019 – The WCSA adds 2 schools, the University of Lethbridge rejoins the league after a 6 year absence and we welcome our first school from British Columbia, the University of British Columbia – Okanagan in Kelowna.
- 2020 – The University of Victoria becomes the 8th school to join the WCSA.
AIWFA – Development & Driving Forces
- Among the top 3 sports of female participation in Canada, and the #1 summer sport
- Among the top 3 watched team sports at the Olympics of 2004, based on attendance.
- 30 College/University teams in Canada.
- No. 1 College/University sport for women in U.S.A. (900+ teams)
A year of discussions commencing in the autumn of 2001 culminated in the autumn of 2002 with a series of exhibition games. The ensuing November meeting inaugurated the Alberta Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Association and League to commence league play in September 2003. A momentous occasion it was attended by coaches who were visionaries and risk-takers, in particular led by Barry Johnson (President of AIWFA) and Len Trottier (Executive Director of AIWFA and League Convenor).
Fastball in the autumn: It was introduced as an autumn sport (September-October) in the universities and colleges of Alberta with long term intent to be accepted as a conference in Canadian Intervarsity Sport West (CIS West) and Alberta Colleges Athletic Commission (ACAC).
AIWFA, the association: It was formed as the parent and promotional organization behind the League. Its main goals included:
The objects of the Society shall be:
(a) to foster the advancement of the Alberta Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Program;
(b) to recognize athletic and academic excellence through scholarships;
(c) to support the operational budgets of the Alberta Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball Program.
(d) to encourage and promote amateur games and exercises
|The Society’s role is to assist college and university athletes promote, establish and govern intercollegiate women’s fastball. The Society’s success will be achieved through formal recognition, support and ownership by the colleges and universities with which the Society works.|
Complimentary responses about the league:
- The most positive endeavour ever attempted in fastball! Athletes are excited about the opportunity to represent their institution and about the rapid growth in the quality of competition.
- In their minds, athletes have expressed excitement to compete at the college and university level in Canada and less interested in the travel and expense of attending institutions out of country.
- League developments have moved forward buoyed by athlete response.
Cost considerations issue:
- A concern with most institutions in the adoption of new intercollegiate programs.
- Fastball has managed to operate a 20-game schedule and championships at costs considerably less expensive than intercollegiate sport leagues in CIS and ACAC.
Athletic Directors’ comments:
- 2005 – ACAC Athletic Directors complimented AIWFA on it’s, “excellent work that very well promotes women’s fastball within the Alberta colleges sport system.”
- ACAC past president, Al Ferchuk has commented on the, “professionalism in planning and organization of AIWFA”.
- 2007 – Dr. Richard Day, the Executive Director of ACAC suggests that, “they are interested in women’s fastball because of its readiness for the next step, that it could be the next conference league in ACAC”. This information is supported by an ACAC survey of Athletic Directors.
Growth of player talent pool:
- Notably, teams have drawn players from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, and the USA.
- Players who have competed on our teams come from prestigious backgrounds; in the National team pool, award winners at National Championships in Midget, Junior and Senior “A”.
Great support at University of Alberta:
Gold medallist (2006) University of Alberta Green, and Silver medallist U of A Gold were congratulated by University Board Chairman (Brian Heidecker) who in turn made a point of information to President (Dr. Indira Samarasekera) and Provost (Dr. Carl Amrhein). The Athletic Director in turn has expressed support for Women’s Fastball as a future college and university sport.
Success story 2007:
AIWFA teams versus United States teams namely, University of Wyoming (NAIA), Dawson College (NJCAA, Div. 1), and University of Great Falls (NAIA) resulted in 7 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie. At the feature weekend in Regina, Mount Royal College (MRC) went through the tournament undefeated. University of Regina was also undefeated only to lose the final game to MRC. Clearly there has been a growth in the caliber of our teams.
First National University Championship:
Hosted by the University of Calgary Lady Dinos in 2008, Thanksgiving weekend: A “structured invitational event”. Teams were invited from the Ontario Universities (OIWFA) and New Brunswick, The following schools participated: The Universities of British Columbia, Regina, Saskatchewan, Calgary and Alberta, Sir Wilfred Laurier, and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.