Robots taking over St. Denis Centre this weekend

What could be more fun than 42 ball-launching robots? Teams from high schools across Ontario, Michigan and Ohio will descend on the St. Denis Centre fieldhouse this weekend for the Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Regional FIRST Robotics tournament.

Contestants have built robots for a skills competition, dubbed a varsity sport for the mind. The event is a program of a US-based organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

Irek Kusmierczyk, director of robotics and youth programs for WEtech Alliance, says it attracts the brightest science, technology, engineering, and business students.

“In less than a year we have gone from one high school team in Windsor and Essex participating in FIRST Robotics to 13,” he says. “This program will provide our young people with the tools to succeed in a knowledge economy.”

The tournament is open to the public Friday and Saturday. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit its website,

To accommodate the competition, the St. Denis Centre fieldhouse will close April 2 to 5, re-opening at noon Sunday, April 6. Dan Wolicki, acting athletics and facilities services manager, thanks patrons for their patience and apologizes for any inconvenience.