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Volume 90, Issue 99

Thursday, April 03, 1997

The Great One


Motor city ice showdown

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
NEIGHBOURS RUB SHOULDER TO SHOULDER. Windsor centre Dan Ceman will head south to avenge Canada's World Cup loss Friday night in the first annual World University Hockey Championship in Detroit.

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union's top rink rats will attempt to prove their hockey dominance when they meet the best of the National Collegiate Athletic Association circuit in the first annual World University Hockey Championship in Detroit tomorrow.

The game, being played at Joe Louis Arena, is touted as the rubber match between the countries' hockey programs. The Americans won the World Cup of Hockey this year while the Canadians won the World Junior Championship. According to director of communication of the event, Jurij Bilyk, the game is expected to bring in a good crowd as well as a large number of pro scouts.

"We don't have official ticket sale numbers yet but if public hype is any indication, there should be a great turnout," Bilyk said. "By the looks of things a huge number of fans from Windsor are expected to come, giving the Canadian squad home ice advantage."

At the Canadian end of the rink, Matt Mullin, winner of the 1997 CIAU player of the year award, will start in goal. Mullin, who played for the CIAU champion Guelph Gryphons, feels the game is a great experience and allows the often-hidden talent in the CIAU to be shown to the world.

"Too often the players in the states get all the coverage from the media," Mullin said. "A game like this gives us a chance to earn the respect we deserve."

Canadian head coach Darrell Young of the Dalhousie Tigers said that the team, which has been practising together for a week in Windsor, is definitely taking this game seriously.

"We've worked hard all week and the team has gelled really well," Young said, "This game is more than just for bragging rights, it could be an opening for some of the guys."

Other Canadian notables include defenceman Paul Doherty from Acadia, centre Jarret Reid from St. Francis Xavier and Marc Beaucage from Trois-Rivieres.

The American NCAA all-star team will be led by head coach Ron Mason of Michigan State. Under the rules of the championship, no Canadians can lace up on the American side, which is unfortunate for the Americans since some of the best talent in the NCAA is Canadian-born. Mason, however, has put together a team with two all-Americans (defenceman John Coleman from Boston University and Andy Roach from Ferris State) as well as a cast of other superstars in the American college ranks.

"Both teams look pretty equal," Bilyk said, "The fans and scouts are definitely in for a good show due to the interesting and unique way this game will showcase North American talent."

The biggest difference between the two teams is the experience of the players. While many of the Canadians have already spent time in the junior ranks, the Americans are, for the most part, still young.

"I think the experience in championship hockey combined with Memorial Cups and world championships under most of our belts, will make the difference," Young said. "We are expecting a tough game but we're ready."

Tournament organizers are already looking into the future to create a more worldly flavour for the championship, hopefully adding teams from all over the globe in the next few years. Next year's championship is expected to be a home-and-home affair between the Canadians and Americans with one game at Joe Louis Arena and the other at Maple Leaf Gardens.

"We're testing out the waters with this championship," Bilyk said. "If everything goes as planned we will move quickly to make this a true world championship."

The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m. Friday and will be telecast nationally on TSN.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997