After a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Guelph will welcome back volleyball, hockey and basketball as Ontario University Athletics winter sports programs restart in November.
Men's and women's ice hockey, basketball and volleyball were the latest sports to receive confirmation on their 2021-22 schedules from OUA.
All three sports will begin their respective seasons beginning in early November.
The announcement of the winter sports schedule follows last week's announcement of the OUA fall sports schedule, including: football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's rugby and field hockey.
No decision has yet been made on whether spectators will be allowed in attendance at Guelph Gryphon home games.
"The University of Guelph Department of Athletics will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow public health guidelines as the province continues to progress through its reopening plan," said U of G staff in a press release.
The U of G men's hockey team will defend the OUA title it won on home ice in March of 2020 in a modified 20-game season — eight fewer than in 2020.
"We are very excited with the return of OUA hockey this season," says Shawn Camp, head coach of the Gryphons men's hockey team. "We cannot wait for the games to begin and have the opportunity to defend our Queen's Cup championship in what will be an extremely competitive conference."
The Gryphons women's hockey team will open its 20-game season on Nov. 3, 2021 at home matchup against the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Women's basketball action will begin on the road Nov. 3 in Windsor before the team's home opener at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre on Nov. 6. They will play 16 regular season games, down from 22 in 2019-20.
The Gryphons men's basketball team will mirror the Nov. 3 and Nov. 6 games against Windsor when they tip off their 16-game season, with hopes to make a third consecutive trip to the playoffs.
Both the women's and men's Gryphon volleyball teams made it to the OUA final four in 2020. Their respective seasons will begin Nov. 6 at Brock University. The men's team will return for their home opener on Nov. 12, while the women's team is on the road for three games until their home opener on Nov. 28.
"Sixteen months ago, our squad ended their season with a bronze medal at the OUA Final 4, so our student-athletes are incredibly excited and eager to get back to the business of trying to improve on that finish," says Paul Funk, head coach of the U of G women's volleyball program. "The reduced 14 game schedule will create tremendous competition within the OUA West Division with each match having significant impacts on the overall standings."