Thursday, 24 September 2009

King's College visits Queen's, RMC this weekend

Kingston, ON is the site of a pair of games involving CIS teams this weekend as a Kingston boy returns home. Mike Koreen reports from the Kingston Whig-Standard.

Home, sweet home

Surprisingly, a tiny university with fewer than 650 students in far-off Edmonton has a men's basketball team with a Kingston flavour.

The connections with these parts will be strengthened this week when the King's University College Eagles touch down here for a three-game exhibition tour.

Kingston-raised coach Daniel Skepple, who cut his coaching teeth at Frontenac Secondary School, has two players on his team who were born at Kingston General Hospital in 1988 -- Anthony Skepple, his son, and Ben Battjes.

The players were born 20 days apart. Battjes was born at KGH while his father was doing his MBA at Queen's University. The family lived in Kingston for a year before heading to Kamloops,B. C.

"When I was (coaching at Concordia University of College of Alberta in Edmonton) in 2004, we also came to Kingston," Daniel Skepple said. "My son, who was in high school at the same, said 'If I ever get to play college basketball, I want to go back to Kingston.'"

That wish will be fulfilled over the next three days. King's, a Christian Reform post-secondary institution that is the smallest school competing in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association, faces the Royal Military College Paladins tonight (8 p. m.), the St. Lawrence Vikings tomorrow (8 p. m.) and the Queen's Golden Gaels on Saturday (8 p. m.).

For Daniel Skepple, the trip offers him a "very special" chance to re-connect with family and friends, but it's also a great teaching opportunity on the basketball court.

"One of the real driving points of coming to Kingston is that you get to face two CIS teams and one CCAA team," said Skepple, whose team heads to Ottawa next week for a couple of more games.

"It's just three days of top-notch competition (in Kingston)."

While Battjes grew up in Kamloops, Anthony Skepple and his three younger siblings all were born in Kingston and the family has deep ties to the city.

Daniel Skepple's family moved to Kingston from the Caribbean island of Antigua when the coach was seven.

A graduate of Frontenac, Daniel was a member of the Canadian Forces Vimy Band in Kingston for 10 years. He went on to coach Frontenac basketball teams from 1987-1999 while Anthony learned the game at Welborne Avenue Public School. Daniel moved his own family to Edmonton in 2000 to take a fundraising job.

Before going, he contacted basketball coaches at the University of Alberta to see if there were any part-team positions available.

At the time, there were no openings, but that school referred Daniel to King's, where he caught on as an assistant before becoming head man in 2002-03. A year later, he headed across town to Concordia before returning to King's as an assistant three years ago.

This year, Daniel is back as head coach and assistant athletic director while the athletic director/head coach takes a leave of absence. He also is an information technology consultant.

Despite its small size, King's wasn't a bottom-feeder last season, going 9-15 for its most wins since 2000.

"We've got nine players back, so we have a more experienced team here," Daniel Skepple said. "Our plan is to be .500 or above and compete (for a playoff spot)."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark, I have tried to follow King's College results online but the respective websites haven't been much help.
Their website says nothing, neither does RMC or SLC.
If you could pass those scores along, I'd appreciate it.