Student wins tuition in basketball shootout

(Edmonton) The Saturday night basketball games turned out to be a fitting finale for both the U of A’s historic Main Gym and for the campus career of student Colin Hoehne.

In what were the final two league games to be played in the 50-year-old gym, the U of A beat its archrivals, the University of Calgary Dinos, in both games: Bears 78-68, Pandas 75-68. In between, Hoehne won free tuition for the semester, his last before graduating this spring.

Hoehne, who is from Edmonton, and another student, Caleb Henry, from Alix, Alberta, were chosen at random from the students in attendance to participate in the Alumni Association’s “Shoot to Win Your Tuition” contest. The students were paired with Bears and Pandas alumni, and the two teams shot from various spots on court for the most goals.

When Hoehne and his partner, Pandas alumna Diane Smith, and Henry and his partner, Bears alumnus Alex Steele, tied, the contest moved to a sudden-death shootout, which Hoehne won.

It turns out that Hoehne had a leg up in the competition. The six-foot six-inch senior played varsity basketball for Grant MacEwan University for three years before transferring to the U of A, where he’s finishing a combined degree in Education and Physical Education and Recreation.

“It was nerve-racking,” says Hoehne of the shootout. “I knew a lot of people in the stands, so I was just trying not to look stupid out there.”

Not only did Hoehne not look “stupid,” his five-dollar ticket earned him $3,500 in tuition. Now that his final semester of school paid is for he can turn his focus to finding a job. “I really want to teach phys ed and science, so right now I’m sending out applications everywhere.”

Despite coming in second, Hoehne’s rival Caleb Henry didn’t go home empty-handed. Henry won free books for the semester, and another U of A student, Elspeth Greer, of Edmonton, won an Edmonton Oilers prize package in a second draw.

I try to make it out to all the home games,” says Greer. “But that was the last one in the main gym, so I couldn’t miss out. It was a huge event: the fans came out, the teams played well, it was a great last good-bye.”

The “Shoot to Win Your Tuition” Contest was sponsored by the U of A Alumni Association, Hudson’s Canadian Tap House, Bears and Pandas Athletics, the University of Alberta Bookstore and the Alumni Affinity MasterCard.

More on the history of the Main Gym

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