The original CIAU Central was founded in 1906 and was disbanded by 1955, soon to be replaced by a new Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) in 1961. Originally, the organization was run out of the office RMC’s Major W.J. McLeod, a founding member of the new union. In 2001, its name was changed to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), due to misconceptions about the use of the words “Athletic” and “Union.” Today, CIS functions as the national governing body of university sport in Canada, and comprises the majority of degree granting university’s in the country. For more information about the CIS-SIC and their national championships, visit their website.
Some sports that are not governed by the CIAU/CIS are: Rowing, Softball, Men’s Rugby, Cheerleading, Tennis, and Squash. Therefore, they are not included on the list below despite the fact that they take part in what are commonly considered national championships. Western’s dominant rowing program, for example, have won 12 Canadian University Rowing Association banners.
Western’s teams have won a total of 33 national championships. Below are some fun facts about the breakdown of those banners:
Most National Championships for a Western program:
Cross Country (11); Football (6); Track and Field (5).
First National Championship:
Men’s Cross Country (1970-71) or Men’s Basketball (1951-52) depending on how you define “national.” While the basketball team did win the first Dominion championship against the Golden Bears in 1952 and the football team did win the 1959 East-West Winston Churchill Bowl against the UBC Thunderbirds, neither event was sponsored by a national organization. When Bob Vigars and the cross country team pulled off their victory in 1970, they were the first Western team to win a CIAU-sponsored event in the history of the university.
Most Recent National Championship:
Women’s ice hockey (2014-15). Western dominated during the regular season, losing just one game in regulation to take the OUA West, before sweeping their way to the OUA championship. With their first Judy McCaw Memorial Cup in hand, the Mustangs would head to Calgary, A.B. for the CIS championship tournament, which saw them win all three games to take the program’s first-ever national banner. They were at their best in the finals, handing McGill a huge 5-0 defeat to take the cup.
Most Dominant Decade:
The 1980s (11 Championships) thanks to a dominant women’s cross country team that won a total of six national championships, although the 1970s are close behind at 10.
Most Dominant Gender:
Western’s women’s teams have won a combined total of 17 national championships compared to 16 from men’s teams. Dominant decades from the women’s volleyball team (three championships in the 1970s) and the women’s cross country team (six championships in the 1980s) played a big role in that huge number.
Below is a list of all the teams to win CIAU-sponsored national events in Western’s sporting history.