The Canadian women’s basketball team is cool and very, very good and is being justifiably recognized as such.
In an announcement that coincided with the Canadian women’s final stage Olympic qualifying tournament that tips off in Belgium on Thursday, the women’s team – ranked a program-high fourth in the world – will be wearing jersey’s sponsored by October’s Very Own, the lifestyle brand founded by Drake and his partners Oliver El-Khatib and Noah “40” Shebib.
The jerseys worn during the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament will feature “heritage OVO branding” – their trademark owl is prominent – and is the first collaborative piece in OVO’s partnership with Canada Basketball.
As has been their habit, Drake and OVO have sided with a winner.
“It’s pretty cool, right?” said Canada Basketball chief executive officer Glen Grunwald on the phone from Belgium. “I think they want to support the women’s team, assist in the growth of women’s sports and help the women’s team move forward. It’s a smart move for everybody.”
The women’s team needs to finish first or second in the four-team tournament featuring Japan, Belgium and Sweden to qualify. Japan – as Olympic hosts – has already qualified for the Summer Games in Tokyo later this summer.
Canada opens the event Thursday against ninth-ranked Belgium, followed by Sweden (ranked 22nd) on Saturday before closing out against Japan (ranked 10th) on Sunday.
Providing they finish ahead of either Sweden or Belgium in the round-robin format Canada’s women’s team will qualify for their third straight Olympic tournament, where they’ll look to improve on their seventh-place finish in Brazil in 2016.
Canada boasts a deep, versatile roster led by Kia Nurse and featuring six players with current or recent WNBA experience and six holdovers from the 2016 Olympic team.