A friendly rivalry for an important cause

Tricolour Classic

A friendly rivalry for an important cause

Students from commerce, engineering, and beyond are teaming up to fight cancer through a charity basketball game.

By Andrew Willson

October 13, 2023


Tipoff at the 2022 Tricolour Classic basketball game

Tipoff at the 2022 Tricolour Classic in the Leon's Centre.

Across Queen’s students are always finding ways to make time in their busy academic schedules to support important causes through fundraising and volunteer work. For the upcoming second annual Tricolour Classic basketball game, more than 100 students are working, some of them for the past year, to turn the friendly rivalry between commerce and engineering into an opportunity for the Queen’s community to come together and support cancer research.

The game takes place Oct. 19 in the Leon’s Centre, downtown Kingston’s largest sports and entertainment venue. All proceeds from the event are being donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“The inaugural Tricolour Classic in 2022 raised $50,000, and this year we set ourselves the goal of tripling that total and raising $150,000. We’re currently 80 per cent of the way there and ticket sales are still open,” says Nathan Gori, co-chair of the Tricolour Classic and fourth-year commerce student. “We’ve come this close to reaching our goal because so many Queen’s students are passionate about making a difference in the fight against cancer. We have volunteers from across the campus taking up to 10 hours each week to help us make this event a success.”

The executive team for the Tricolour Classic consists of 38 members overseeing various aspects of the project. There are also more than 25 brand ambassadors who raise awareness about the game across the Queen’s community to drive donations and ticket sales. These ambassadors come not only from commerce and engineering but also from other schools and faculties, including the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Science. About 25 volunteers will also be on hand on game day to make sure all aspects of the event run smoothly.

Then there are the players themselves. Twenty-four students, all from commerce and engineering, were chosen for the teams after tryouts in early September. The teams have been practicing since then an average of two to three times a week under the guidance of four volunteer coaches.

Queen’s Residence Society, the student government for Queen’s residences, is also teaming up to raise money and drive attendance to the game. They have paid for half of the first 1,200 tickets sold to first-year students, giving many of them the opportunity to see the game for only $11.

“The Tricolour Classic is about bringing our community together for a good cause, so it’s inspiring for us to see so much support for the game across the campus,” says Wei Hu, co-chair of the Tricolour Classic and fourth-year commerce student. “It’s clear that many members of the Queen’s community are committed to contributing to research that will help children who are recovering from cancer.”

All proceeds from the event are being directed to the lab of Donald Mabbott at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Mabbott researches a new method for boosting cognitive function and improving quality of life for children whose brains have been affected by treatment for medulloblastoma, a brain cancer most commonly diagnosed in children that requires aggressive treatment for survival.


A tradition of cancer fundraising through sports

The Tricolour Classic was inspired by the Cure Cancer Classic, an annual charity hockey game between engineering and commerce students founded in 2005. That game takes place in the Leon’s Centre each year during the winter semester and in 2023 raised more than $200,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“The Cure Cancer Classic provided the blueprint for our event and their executive has provided guidance that has helped get the Tricolour Classic off the ground,” says Gori. “We’re thrilled to be expanding their work and hope we can inspire other students at Queen’s and beyond to find creative ways to make a difference.”

Learn more and buy tickets on the Tricolour Classic website.


Student impact on the community

This fundraising initiative is only part of Queen’s social and economic impact on the Kingston community, which has been measured in a study conducted by Deloitte. That study found that Queen’s students, faculty, and staff annually raise more than $1M to support local causes. It also found that Queen’s students work thousands of volunteer hours for local charities.

Learn more about the community and economic impact of Queen’s students and read the full study on the Queen’s Economic and Community Impact website.

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