Volume 93, Issue 96

Thursday, March 30, 2000


The backbone of field hockey

Western awards athletic heroes

University Cup - An exciting brand of hockey

University Cup - An exciting brand of hockey

Last weekend witnessed the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union's University Cup and probably some of the best hockey I have seen at the collegiate or junior level.

I attended the games in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and to be honest, I wasn't expecting to see great hockey. I expected to see adequate hockey at best, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The six teams participating in the CIAU finals were the best the country had to offer and they played a tournament which demonstrated this.

The Mustangs may have lost the only two games they played, but they battled hard and could have won them both. Goalie C.J. Denomme stood on his head and forwards Jeff Petrie, Damon Hardy, Chris George and Darren Mortier showed why the Western team was one of the best this university has ever produced.

Aside from the Mustangs, the team which most impressed me was the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. Behind the goaltending of Ken Carroll, the Reds were the story of the tournament. They battled their way to the University Cup playing almost 10 overtime periods in the Atlantic Universities Athletic Association playoffs.

They overcame the Acadia Axemen in double overtime to earn their berth in the tournament. The key for the Reds was their work ethic – they worked and earned everything they received in the tournament, including their trip to the finals.

When they took on Alberta in the championship game, they were hitting the ice only 14 hours after being emotionally drained by the Huskies, but give the UNB team credit – they battled Alberta hard and almost won the whole thing.

Both Western and UNB left the most jaws hanging open at the tournament, because out of all six teams, they were given the least chance to win. They both rose to the occasion and played such an exciting brand of hockey that they left most people wondering if the West Coast was the best coast when it came to the game of hockey.

If you caught any of the games at the tournament, you no doubt witnessed a high calibre of play by some of the best young talents in the country. The tournament also provided a shot in the arm to Western's hockey program and gave them the recognition they deserved. I think Western proved that the Ontario University Athletics conference is not the weaker sister in the CIAU.

This is not the last time Western will travel to the CIAU finals – over the next few years the Mustangs will only get stronger as their rookies develop and mature. The loss of Petrie, Denomme, Hardy and defenceman Ryan McKie will be tough but the likes of George, Mortier, goalie Denver England and the Hare brothers (Jeff, Kevin and Chris) will be there to pick up the slack.

Western's head coach, Clark Singer, need not worry – he has all the makings of a dynasty.

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