Volume 94, Issue 99
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
CIAU misses another opportunity
Missed opportunities. For whatever reason, the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union, its provincial counterparts, and Western students seem to be experts at them. Another missed opportunity.
Frankly I am tired of writing about apathetic (emphasis on pathetic) Western students missing out on having some fun. When schools travelling from the East Coast and Alberta are able to bring out more fans than a school 45 minutes down the road it becomes obvious that it's a lost cause to try and raise the profile of athletes on this campus.
I've heard the argument that CIAU sports are an inferior product, but that is no longer the case. University hockey in Canada is some of the best hockey in the world, and after this year's successful Final 8 tournament in Halifax, the drama and action of Canadian hoops can now be compared to that of its American cousin, the National Collegiate Athletics Association Final Four.
And this brings me to the missed opportunities of the CIAU and the organizers of the University Cup. Riding the coat-tails of the successful Final 8 tournament, the hockey equivalent received more media attention and coverage than ever before. So what does the CIAU do? They allow the referees to dominate the tournament, with little or no attention on the outstanding talent assembled in Waterloo for the weekend.
Instead they attempted to crack down on stick infractions and hitting from behind (a noble cause) but wound up calling everything. The continuous parade to the penalty box neither allowed for any flow nor showed anyone how entertaining university hockey is. Instead, people either believe university hockey is a goon league or non-contact, or which it really is neither.
In their attempt to curb stick work the referees called everything including clean open ice hits. The physical nature of university hockey is one of its drawing cards and the powers that be in the CIAU allowed the refs to destroy that this weekend.
University sports is popular in the Atlantic provinces and even out West, as is evident by the support that the Final 8 tournament received coupled with the success of the University Cup in Saskatchewan. But here in southern Ontario university sports takes a back seat to just about everything. And unfortunately for the CIAU, it's not going to get national recognition and sponsorship until it can be deemed somewhat important in this region.
So what does the CIAU do? In the first big university sporting event in Ontario, other than the Vanier Cup, no one is told about the tournament. Outside of Kitchener-Waterloo and a few sports editors I don't think anyone knew the tournament existed, and that is the CIAU's fault.
Why is it that with two weeks to promote the University Cup to a population a short drive away, no one in London was aware of this tournament. When Alberta and St. Francis Xavier are bringing out more fans than Western, somewhere within the CIAU alarms should be going off. Isn't anybody listening?
Copyright © The Gazette 2000