Almost 1,000 alumni and friends filled the stands at the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) Saturday, February 10 for Fantastic Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Retiree Day. 

Donning University of Waterloo apparel from decades past, alumni, family and friends cheered the Warriors to victory in both the women’s and men’s games. The women beat Windsor 51-42 and the men took the Lancers to overtime for a 73-68 win. 

Women's basketball tip offThe Women's Warriors team took on the Windsor Lancers in front of a passionate UWaterloo crowd.

Kids participate in the inch worm raceThe youngest Warriors in the crowd enjoyed fun and games between basketball games, including the annual inch-worm race.

UWaterloo mascots on the courtFor the first time, UWaterloo mascots from across campus battled in a basketball game. 

Presented by sponsor Manulife, the fantastic basketball games are an annual tradition for many alumni who eagerly return to campus to relieve memories. 

“I remember writing exams here, exercising in the PAC ... it’s great to see it still has its original form, but the renovations look fantastic,” says Andrew Kuglar (BMATH ’03),  Vice President, Head of Distribution, Affinity Markets Canada at Manulife. “I think there’s a tremendous sense of loyalty and pride coming back to the school.” 

The showstopping overtime finish for the men’s game wasn’t the only time the crowd was brought to their feet. During halftime, the court flooded with over 1,000 paper airplanes soaring down from the stands. Six elaborate grand prize packages were up for grabs ranging from coffee machines and game consoles to staycation packages. Proceeds from the airplane toss supported the Student Wellness Fund.

Family basketball legacy lives on 

Proudly watching in the stands was Mano Watsa (BA ’99) whose son, Issac Watsa (BA in progress), wears #3 for the UWaterloo men’s basketball team. Mano himself was a point guard for UWaterloo from 1994 to 1999 and is a Waterloo Warriors Hall of Fame inductee. 

“Now that my son is playing for the men’s team as well, that makes it extra special. But just coming back to the PAC and being around campus ... it’s just a joy.” 

Mano Watsa (BA ’99) and Issac Watsa (BA in progress)Mano Watsa (BA ’99), former member of the Warrriors basketball team, and his son Issac Watsa (BA in progress) who currently plays for the Warriors. 

Winning the OUA West Championship was a highlight from Mano’s university experience, but he says the feeling of community is what made UWaterloo special. “The relationships that were built with fellow students and teammates. Walking around campus and bumping into friends — those are some of the best memories that I have.” 

Surrounded by former teammates and gleaming with delight, Mano admits he hopes Fantastic Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Retiree Day is a tradition that continues for many years to come. 

“Hopefully one day I’ll have a grandchild that plays here as well!”