Volume 144 · Issue 24 • March 23, 2011
University Cup the brunswickan presents : 2010/11 special national championship insert
welcome the nations best
Andrew Meade / The Brunswickan Christopher Cameron Sports Editor As with any national event that takes place it benefits an array of businesses, groups and the team or program involved in the program and this year’s CIS Cavendish University Cup is no different. UNB Athletic Director Kevin Dickie discussed what hosting this championship does for the program, bringing it back to it only being a piece of the puzzle in having a successful program. “I think to be a nationally recognized program four things need to happen. You (as a program) need to be successful and we have been this
year,” said Dickie. “We’ve had AUS champions and people knocking at the door and we do it the right way with 33 per cent of our athletes being Academic All-Canadians. “The second thing is hosting well received national champions makes a difference across the country. The third thing is the facilities that you have. I think our facilities will be as good as anywhere as of April 4 and fourth when your athletes win national awards.” “I think all four of those areas lend to us being recognized as a nationally recognized program and we’re hitting all of those marks right now and hosting this national championship is
a huge part of that.” Dickie continued to say this year’s championship was a major boost for the men’s hockey team in making a statement in every game all season. “For me it has been about the journey, about trying to be successful during the regular season, which they were coming in first, number one ranking in the country,” said Dickie. “Striving so hard to win Game 5 against StFX and come through the front door. That team is running at such a high level right now we want to do everything we can to finish the deal in a week’s time.” He also discussed how alive the campus was for Game 5 of the AUS f inals and how this tournament
magnifies that effect. “First of all for the campus in general; Friday night was unbelievable. The arena was full of all kinds of different groups of people. If that happened at an AUS championship where you already knew both teams would survive and play the following week, the national championship just transcends all of that.” “When we won the national championship in 2007 in Moncton, which to me will always stand out in my memories, I’m trying to picture 2,500 people or whatever it is with red and black on filling an arena 185 km from here. I’m just trying to picture what it will be like this weekend here,” said
Dickie. Another major initiative UNB is working on is to have a green championship in many different ways; something Dickie said is hard to touch on with anything in particular. “One of the big additions to our steering committee this year has been Alycia Morehouse from the City of Fredericton, who has really co-ordinated our green initiative and been our moral compass at times in terms of doing the right thing,” he said. “All of a sudden here over the past year we’ve all become engaged in this process. There are so many different areas it’d be hard to touch on anything in particular.”
B 2 • Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144
Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144 • B 3
Behind the Red: Kyle Bailey
Rob Williams Staff Writer Scoring an overtime winner feels good any day of the week. Scoring an overtime winner that gets your team a championship banner, that’s hard to beat. Kyle Bailey scored just such a goal during Game 5 of the AUS hockey finals. The Brunswickan sat down with the Varsity Reds captain to discuss the goal, the upcoming nationals and a little reflection of his time at UNB. Brunswickan: How good did it feel to score the series winning goal? Kyle Bailey: It was awesome, really awesome. I guess surreal is the cliché word. Being the captain of the team, you take a little bit of personal responsibility in the success of the team. To score a big goal like that, it meant a lot to me and it meant a lot to the team too I think. B: What does having the hometown crowd do for the team at nationals? KB: It’s just excitement. When we found out a year and a half or two years ago that we were getting it, it was hard not to look ahead then. I still remember Todd Sparks coming into the room and telling us that we won the bid one afternoon and I was ecstatic. It was just so exciting. It’s going to be awesome. Like that game last night, when you get a crowd like that, it’s unbelievable. Hockey’s a fun game with no one in the stands, but with that it’s awesome. I couldn’t ask for more. B: If someone asked you to describe your experience at UNB in one word, could you do it and what would it be? KB: Awesome, I guess. I’ve loved it here since the first day I came here on a recruiting trip. It was an easy decision for me to come here and it’s been everything I thought it was going to be. Which is a whole lot more than one word, so I guess awesome would be my one word. B: How did it feel to be named captain
of this team? KB: The first thing I thought was that it was tough because I was taking over after Dustin Friesen. He’s a guy that I’ll forever admire just for the kind of person he is and what he brings to the table as a hockey player, as a leader, as a husband and a dad. He’s not that many years older than me, but he’s someone I really look up to. He’s an unbelievable guy and to hear that I was taking over as captain after him, I felt like I had about size 30 shoes to fill. B: What has playing for UNB done for you as a player? KB: I’ve told [head] coach [Gardiner] MacDougall a few times that there is no where that I’ve improved more as a player than I have here. We’ve got so many good players that it’s hard not to improve. I’ve gotten stronger, become a better skater, been relied on in a more offensive role here than I had in junior. Just pretty much everything I’ve improved as a player. B: And as a person? KB: It just gives you the opportunity to turn into an adult. I moved away from home when I was 16 years old, which was tough. But you’re spoon-fed a little in Major Junior. Here you’re off on your own and it’s sink or swim. It’s helped turn me into an adult pretty quick.
University Cup format: will it change?
Andrew Meade / The Brunswickan B: What was your proudest moment as a Varsity Red? KB: It’s hard not to say last night. I’ve been fortunate enough to win a national championship and I would never, ever devalue a national championship because it’s obviously a very glamorous title. But after playing in this league for four years, you really come to respect how much an AUS title means. And again, I’m not trying to undermine what the nationals mean, but to beat StFX and the way we did, after coming off the disappointment last year against that same team, I was just really proud of the guys. I was really happy for the guys to be able to come back and have a little bit of redemption, but the journey’s not done. We’ve got some work to do. B: Who has been most influential to you in your career? KB: I’d say probably my older brother. I think one of my biggest attributes as a hockey player is my competitiveness. I got that from playing with him and being a younger brother. I always wanted to beat him and I always got so mad when he beat me, even though he was a year and a half older than me. I always wanted to beat him. I learned at a young age how to be competitive and how to really want to win. I think he still influences me a little bit today with hockey.
Christopher Cameron Sports Editor The University Cup tournament format has evolved significantly over the years, but there’s a question continually being asked: ‘Is this the best way?’ As with the women’s format, which is similar, there are two pools. Pool A has teams ranked first, fourth and sixth, with Pool B having the second, third and fifth ranked teams. The top teams from each pool advance to Sunday’s final based on wins and losses, with goals for and against acting the immediate tiebreaker. Although this format is similar to the women’s championship, they have brought back the bronze-medal game, something Michel Belanger, CIS Manager of Communications & Media Relations, believes will come around again in the future at the University Cup. “We brought it up with all the respective coaches associations and I don’t remember exactly how we ended up not bringing it back the bronze-medal, but it didn’t pass (with men’s hockey),” said Belanger. “ We are trying to push it. We brought it back with men’s basketball this year for the first time since 1986 and so down the road we really want to bring it back for men’s hockey.” With this topic on the rise with women’s hockey bringing it back, Belanger said it is definitely not a unanimous decision. “I think people are split 50-50,” he said. “And you can understand the coaches. The way the coaches may see it is if you have to play for bronze on Sunday it is because you suffered a heartbreaking loss on Saturday most likely. You just saw your chances of winning a national championship go out the window and then you have to compete for bronze. From the coaches perspective I
Who is going to win the University Cup?
would say that most are not in favour of it.” Belanger continued, looking at it from the other viewpoint. “Looking at it from an organizations perspective, if you look at the big picture, we look at the Olympics and we say, ‘Well, look guys, if they can play for bronze at the Olympics, I mean surely they’re heartbroken when they lose in the Olympic semi-finals, so if they can play for bronze at the Olympics I’m pretty sure you can play for bronze in CIS men’s hockey, right?’ These are the two arguments on each side. People are kind of 50-50.” “As much as you don’t really want to play for bronze after losing on Saturday, if you take UBC, they just won bronze in men’s basketball in Halifax two weeks ago. I’m pretty sure that in two, three, four, five years down the road they’re going to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we finished third in the country, we had CIS bronze.’” This is something that is being looked at and when asked if there was something else being looked at with regards to format, Belanger said there are always multiple ideas that come up. He continued to say there was only one that really is being looked at seriously right now. “I remember last year at their coaches meeting they looked at a format where instead of just one team coming out of Pool A and one team out of Pool B and them meeting in the finals, they wanted to add an extra day to the championship where the top two from each pools would advance. Then you would play semi-finals and then you would play the final,” said Belanger. “What people don’t like with the format right now is sometimes depending on the results, you end up with teams with a 1-1 record, so then you get into a scenario where teams need to win by a certain amount of goals that they need to win by.”
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voice your opinion
I’ve been watching this UNB squad for three years plus and although they were not as flawless as last season, they have shown this season that they know how to battle through tough times. Injuries plagued them in the first half of the season and somehow they still survived, going into break in first place in the AUS. They dropped Alberta with a
healthy squad, showed they were too much for Calgary and StFX throughout this season as well as McGill. The only team they have yet to face this season is Western and all I have to say is watch out. I know saying the hometown team is going to win sounds terrible, but lets face it. This team is the real deal. If you don’t believe it then watch them play this week and you will see their effor level is above any other team on the ice. For that I cannot help, but say they will take the CIS title Sunday, likely against Alberta.
Colin McPhail EIC
It’s experience vs. youth. Size vs. skill. Speed vs. strength. Who wins? The team that possesses all of these qualities – plus, home-ice advantage. UNB is a team that not only ices four lines and six blue-liners that play efficient two-way hockey but carries a wealth of experience onto the ice as well. The difference between an NHL franchise
UNB is a very very good team and I think they have what it takes to bring the University Cup back to Fredericton. Why do I think this? Well a couple of reasons. First, a guy named Gardiner MacDougall is behind the bench leading the team. I was completely surprised that he did not win AUS Coach of the Year after UNB’s performance in the regular season, especially since
the performance is consistent year to year. Another big thing is the trio of Hunter Tremblay, Kyle Bailey, and Chris Culligan. The three of them comprise the forward unit on the first power play line. It is lethal. Aside from that, the team is four lines deep, and have the ability to play two ways as an entire team. The defense corps can play forward, and the forward lines can play defense. They play the ultimate team game. The biggest point I’d like to make though, is the drive this team has to win the tournament on home ice. It is going to be key for the team to feed off the crowd. And they will feed off it, and they’ll win.
Bryannah James Sports Writer
and a university hockey club is constant turnover. These CIS players have five years to get the job done – maybe less. The Varsity Reds are in the rare position where the kids they invested so much in are now elite, veteran players that have played on the national stage. Some teams have speed and skill; some have size and strength. UNB has both. That being said, some high-calibre clubs will be arriving in Fredericton. Any team could raise the University Cup at the end of the weekend. However, UNB definitely has the edge.
I think UNB and UofA will make it to the championship game on Sunday. Considering UofA made it to the championships last year and lost in OT to SMU, they are going to come back strong and want to replace a second place win with a title. However UNB has been on fire all year, and after beating StFX in Game 5 of the AUS final, they are even more locked in on the
CIS banner. I think with the home rink advantage and the massive support system, UNB will have all Frederictonians fuelling their drive to win. Evident is their stamina in the third period and their ability to get in deep to the net and score. With Fullerton and Yeomans in net and strong defensive lines that gel well together, the Varsity Reds are ready to fight for first. Consequently, I wouldn’t underestimate St. FX. They have had a strong presence on the AUS scene all year, and after pushing UNB into OT this weekend, they will be hungry for a national banner; and I would go as far to say, the underdogs of CIS.
B 4 • Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144
UNB Varsity Reds
Western Ontario Mustangs Calgary Dinos
Canada West finalists
Regular Season: 23-5-0
Regular Season: 20-3-5
Regular Season: 17-8-3
Conference titles: 11
Conference titles: 3
Conference titles: 8
CIS titles: 3
CIS titles: 1
CIS titles: 0
by colin mcphail The nation’s top ranked squad is sitting comfortably and confident on home ice as they begin their pursuit of a fourth CIS Championship. The UNB Varsity Reds plan to welcome their five CIS counterparts to the Aitken University Centre with furious physical play and a high-octane offence. The tournament will mark the club’s fourth trip to the nation’s premiere event for university hockey in five years, a strong asset according to head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “I think it helps when you’ve been there before,” said MacDougall. “We’ve got players in the dressing room that have won two national championships and we’ve got players that know the bitterness of getting to the finals and not winning. And we’ve got a younger group that’s excited to make their mark on the tradition.” Under the guidance of MacDougall, the Reds skated to a 23-5 regular season record to finish atop the AUS standing on their way to an 11th conference title. The feat was done in style by capping off a hard-fought playoff run with team captain Kyle Bailey’s OT winner over StFX in Game 5 of the AUS Championships. “We were fortunate to get the OT winner,” said MacDougall. “It was a huge goal for the whole team. It’s a good kickstart to the nationals, but there’s still a lot of work to do in their practices.” In a weekend where every shift counts, fatigue from the extended AUS playoffs could have detrimental effects to the team’s performance. However, the UNB coach remains confident in his squad and doesn’t see fatigue as an issue. “You’re in a competitive mode and I think at this point that takes over. I think, when you get to the nationals, every shift is important. So you’re not really looking at how many games. You’re trying to win your shift and if you win enough shifts, you win a period. If you win enough periods, you win a game.” “That’s the mentality you have to have when you get to this stage of the season,” said MacDougall. Leading the Reds into the final weekend of CIS action is their offensive attack. The one-two punch of Hunter Tremblay and Chris Culligan has devastated their AUS opposition all season. Tremblay led the league with 22 goals and 44 points, while Culligan sat fourth overall with 38 points. The pair was a combined plus-46 during the 2010-11 campaign. Being such a high-profile threat does attract the spotlight. But if teams focus on the Reds’s dynamic duo, the UNB bench can pick up the slack as it’s loaded with an offensive arsenal of forwards and defencemen that can produce. UNB has six blue-liners in the top 20 of the leading defencemen scorers. MacDougall prides himself in having four lines and six defencemen that can score and sees his squad’s depth as a cornerstone of their success. “Our scorers have to play a two-way game and our grinders gotta contribute offensively. We’ve been fortunate this year. We needed all four lines and we needed all six D. In fact, we used 11 players as defencemen this season. So the depth has certainly helped.” In their quest to raise another CIS banner in the rafters of the AUC, the Reds coach simplified matters in order to prepare his club mentally. “You have to be ready to play every shift and every period. It goes down to that singular focus,” said MacDougall. “You have one opponent Thursday and you have to keep your focus on that. It’s not so much even your opponent. You just want to bring your best effort forward.” After going 14-0 on home ice during the regular season, hosting the national championship is something MacDougall is looking forward to. “It’s the best CIS environment in Canada.” The head coach went on to thank all the organizers, the athletics program and the fans for their hard work. “It’s privilege to host the national championships and a lot of people put a lot of work into this.” MacDougall credits their success to everyone involved with the team and feels “an anticipation and an excitement in the dressing room.” “We were strong to start the year and we’ve got stronger throughout the year. It’s an enthusiastic and committed group that’s need to take the next step now.”
by k. bryannah james The University of Western Ontario Mustangs are seated nicely going into weekend as fourth seeded contenders for the Cavendish University Cup. UWO finished first in the western division of the OUA, having only lost three games in the regular season and with their strong track record and a lot of ice time for younger players throughout the season the team is ready for nationals. “We’re really excited about coming down to UNB and Fredericton and getting the opportunity to play hockey against some of the best schools in the country,” said Mustangs head coach Clarke Singer. The Mustangs, a young team compared to such rivals like McGill and UNB, have worked hard over their regular season to maintain a 20-3-5 record. This year the Mustangs hosted the 100th annual Queen’s Cup hockey tournament, where they lost 6-2 to McGill University who are ranked second going into the University Cup. Although Western may not have the same experience as the older teams heading into nationals, Singer believes the youth of his team is as much an asset as a weakness. “We’re a pretty young hockey team. We’ll have probably nine first-year guys in the lineup out there,” said Singer. “I mean you know we do have a number of guys who have played at that stage before a couple years ago, but we have a number of guys who haven’t. So our youth is something that is a positive and a bit of a negative for us.” The few seniors on the team, Singer said, have been role models to the younger guys and helped bring the team to where it is today. The Mustangs have suffered a few injuries over their regular season, such as losing Aaron Snow, a left-wing leading scorer who was hurt in mid-January and will not return for the rest of the season. “I’ve been happy with our group because we’ve played without a number of our key guys, and that just means more ice time for some of our young guys. That hopefully adds to the experience of what they have in preparation for coming to Fredericton,” said Singer. The OUA conference holds a lot of talented teams in its division, which Singer believes is one the key ingredients to the Mustangs’s success. “There’s a great deal of parody, so I mean you have to play well every night to win it in this conference and that has really helped us as we’ve grown as a team throughout the season.” On top of talent, youth and drive, the Mustangs are a team that Singer describes as a character group, who have worked hard to get to this point. It’s not just the Mustangs’s depth at the net that has brought them this far, but key players such as captain Kyle Lamb and secondteam all-star Scott Aarssen as well as their strong and focused goaltender Anthony Grieco. “There are so many great teams out there and I’ve had the opportunity this year to see most of the teams play, but when you get to a tournament like this and you look across the quality of opponents out there I think the tournament is pretty wide open.” One of the teams Singer said would be a favourite in the tournament was UNB; not only for their home ice advantage, but for the strong team Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall has built over the years and their skill and experience at the CIS level. “I think there’s a lot of great hockey teams out there and I think it’s really going to depend on who is playing well that particular weekend of the tournament,” said Singer.
by rob williams The road to the Cavendish University Cup was far from easy for the Calgary Dinos. It started two years ago when they decided to hire a decorated coach and general manager of Major Junior success, Mark Howell. Howell had to rejuvenate a Dinos team at a fundamental level and it has certainly paid off for them this season. “When we came in two years ago, I talked to a number of people around the city within the hockey community and figured out where the program was at,” said Howell. “Our biggest thing was just establishing a culture and a team identity that could help us become a championship program.” The Dinos season came down to the wire and the team needed that character and grit culture to keep them in the race. Coach Howell recalls the last weekend quite well. “It went right down to the last weekend of who was going to make the playoffs, what position you were going to be in. It even went down to the Saturday night, the last game of our regular season. Lethbridge was still in the hunt. Us, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were all vying for second, third and fourth. Lethbridge was vying for fourth as well and we were all playing each other so it was extremely difficult and challenging every single weekend to make sure you brought a very good effort to seed yourself properly.” The young Calgary squad is getting their first crack at the title as a group, and much of the coaching staff is making their first trip to the CIS title shot as well. “I think it’s going to be a great experience for everybody. It’s exciting to be recognized at a national tournament and go to those events. And yet, the big important part is just understanding that it is a business trip,” admitted Howell. “It’s not a social holiday, we’re going there for a reason and we want to be successful and put ourselves with a chance to win every game,” he continued. “If we can come out of there successful and raise the trophy, we’d be thrilled, but knowing that there is a ton of work to get to that point.” According to Howell, readiness to work is what sets the Dinos apart from the pack in this competition. He is no stranger to highlevel national competitions and said he, his staff and his players are ready for the challenge. “The one thing we have worked a lot on is our work ethic, but also our level of compete and making sure we’re honest hockey players everyday and we battle for pucks,” said Howell. One thing that always helps a team in these high-pressure situations is experience. As stated before, none of the players on this Dinos roster have University Cup experience, but they do have plenty of experience from junior that should come in handy. “We’ve got three or four guys that played in Medicine Hat with the Tigers that won a league championship a couple years ago. We’ve got a couple guys that have won Junior A championships. We’ve got some guys that played in real good programs in the Western Hockey League, but didn’t quite win,” said Howell. “They went deep in the playoffs and played for respectable coaches. We’ve got enough guys that have been in important situations that they can build from that experience.” But in Howell’s mind, the winner of this tournament will have to be the best of the best; there aren’t any teams who are a runaway favourite and all of them have a decent chance. “I think anybody that’s going to win the national tournament, us or whoever it is, is going to have to be very, very good and not play a sloppy game,” said Howell. “That’s the beauty of being at this point of the season for everybody; knowing you’ve got to bring your A game to win hockey games, and if you don’t, you don’t deserve to win.”
Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144 • B 5
Alberta Golden Bears
Canada West champions
StFX X-Men Brad Peddle
Regular Season: 24-2-2
Regular Season: 19-6-3
Regular Season: 17-10-1
Conference titles: 15
Conference titles: 48
Conference titles: 24
CIS titles: 0
CIS titles: 12
CIS titles: 1
by christopher cameron
by colin mcphail
by colin mcphail
After finishing 0-2 at last season’s CIS championships at Lakehead University, the McGill Redmen are back on the national stage, ready to show why they are ranked number two. Although they come into this week’s University Cup ranked number two, it was no easy route to get where they are. Similar to the hometown UNB Varsity Reds, the Redmen were hit with multiple injuries this season, but the bigger issue came when three of their athletes were also away for the FISU games. Head coach Kelly Nobes said it was the biggest obstacle his team had to overcome this season. “I think missing a lot of our key guys through the FISU games and having the amount of injuries we had at the same time was probably one of our biggest challenges as a team this season,” he said. “The FISU games took three of our players and at the same time that was going on we had a number of guys that were not in the lineup. There were several games we couldn’t even dress a full lineup, but somehow we pushed through it all.” Having his full team with him for the final and most crucial weekend of the season will make a huge difference in preparation, but he also said playing some of these teams throughout the season will pay off as well. “First and foremost we prepare ourselves and make sure we’re ready to play our game and we make adjustments for our opponents based on our work in the video room,” said Nobes. “Keep in mind, we played Western Ontario twice and UNB and StFX once each so we have a good idea what to expect. Everybody that’s there deserves to be there and they’re all outstanding teams. There’s teams to beat in UNB and Alberta, but everyone there is capable of beating each other.” Being in a pool with a StFX team, who that had their semi-final and final series go five games, on top of finishing six days earlier, the Redmen may or may not have the upper hand. Nobes said it is debateable as to whether there is an advantage to playing late or having time off. “That is a cyclical argument. Does playing late prepare you better for the tournament or does it tire you out? It’s hard to say, so we’ll find out,” he said. “We were done early so therefore we will make sure we use that in the best way to our advantage.” With the time off Nobes has mixed up how his team prepares. “We’re doing a lot of different stuff,” he said. “We’ve had people talk to us in preparation; we’re having a three-on-three tournament and practicing in a variety of different ways. Basically doing a lot of different stuff.” Coming in he also feels his team is in a good position to succeed, if they continue doing the things they have been all to succeed all season. “We’ve got good team speed and our discipline is very good,” said Nobes. “We were 12th out of 19 teams in penalty minutes this season. We had no suspensions, no major penalties and a game where we didn’t have a penalty against us. We’ve got a very disciplined group, so that’s key for us and our work ethic and our relentless play are huge. We call it our skill, our will and our discipline.” Defeating Western Ontario handily 6-2 in the Queen’s Cup, McGill had no problem making it to the national championship in the conference final, while the AUS was a hard fought five game series. Nobes attributes the easier wins to the fact they have more teams. “The fact of the matter is we have 19 teams, so there’s going to be a few weaker teams. We still get competition here in the OUA for sure.” Finally Nobes made it clear for this Redmen team to take home the University Cup it is going to come down to execution. “We’re going to have to play at the top of our game without a doubt. I think execution is going to be critical. Our skill, our will and our discipline will be keys for us.”
When asked about what his thoughts on challenging one the top teams in the country in the house of the number one-ranked team, Alberta Golden Bears head coach Eric Thurston humbly responded, “It’s a daunting task to say the least.” Humble being the optimal word as the Golden Bears can be considered the kings of CIS hockey with 48 conference titles and 12 national championships, four of which were won since 2000. On the road to another appearance at the national tournament, the Golden Bears finished the regular season in first with a 19-6-3 record. While their Canada West opposition kept pace, Thurston’s club jumped to the next level during the playoffs. The Bears went undefeated and outscored Calgary 11-1 in the championship series. Thurston was extremely pleased with his team’s play, but does expect a stronger Calgary squad in Fredericton. “That was a one-off for Calgary. I know they’ll be refocusing and they’ll be really looking to make a statement.” As the Golden Bears prepare to travel east, the head coach is ensuring that his team knows stumbling out of the starting gate can be fatal. “You play every game as a best-of-one and there’s no chance to get your feet underneath you again to hope you have a second game to build off of; there’s no moral victories,” said Thurston. “It’s such a tough tournament to win, but the team that comes in and wins three and has that mental toughness and mindset really deserves to be champions.” Thurston admits the Alberta squad isn’t blessed with size, but is confident his players’ speed and skill will pay dividends against the physical eastern teams. “If you go through our lineup, our guys aren’t big, but they skate well. There is the skill level there. Even though they aren’t big, they are certainly ready to compete.” The skill level of this club was evident throughout the regular season as the Bears finished with three players in the top five of scoring. Derek Ryan led the league with 17 goals and 47 points, while being followed closely by teammates Chad Klassen and Sean Ringrose with 46 and 27 points respectively. Thurston’s defensive unit is not to be outdone, however. Rookie netminder Kurtis Mucha notched a 13-4 record with a 2.45 GAA and a .911 save percentage. “I really like our goaltending. Kurtis Mucha has been great for us. And I like the way our defence moves the puck. It’s something we like having in our repertoire, having defencemen that can skate and move the puck.” Even though the Golden Bears have a long, illustrious history in the CIS, they enter the weekend with plenty of youthful players with no experience on university hockey’s national stage. Alberta has nine first-year players and four second-year players. Thurston isn’t too concerned with this fact and sees this as an opportunity to development the program. “We have a real young team coming in, but that type of experience that you’re able to get at the nationals is two-fold in their development. Players see how great the competition is out in the east and we’re just hoping to build off that experience.” The Golden Bears are forced to wait and see if they play StFX or McGill first, but Thurston remains resolute in mentally preparing his squad. Their plan is simple – no matter the opponent. “You’re best players have to be your best players. If not, you’re sort of playing Russian roulette. There are so many swings in momentum and emotions and you’ve got to control that. I think that’s an important thing from our veterans to show our young guys.” When asked on how his squad matched up against the other five clubs, the Alberta coach returned to his humble roots. “There are too many other great programs out there. We’re just honoured to be back at the CIS Championships.”
The StFX X-Men were a goal away from AUS glory until UNB captain Kyle Bailey dashed their hopes with his series-clinching goal in the first period of overtime in Game 5 of the AUS Championships. Undeterred, the X-Men will return the Aitken University Centre primed to exact their revenge on their bitter conference rivals, the Varsity Reds. X-Men head coach Brad Peddle remembers the sting of defeat and the feeling on the long ride home afterwards. However, granted with a second life, Peddle and his club are gearing up for a tournament where any team can emerge triumphant. “We talked a lot about it on the way home and they’re excited that we have another chance,” said Peddle. “When you lose the AUS championship and you’re fortunate enough to go the CIS Championships, it’s a good thing. And our guys are obviously excited for it and looking forward to a good tournament this weekend. “ The X-Men are quite familiar with the AUC and comfortable playing in Fredericton. StFX has been thorn in the side of the Varsity Reds for years. Through stellar goaltending and strong, defensive play, the X-Men shocked the Reds in last season’s AUS semi-final series and were one lucky bounce away from stealing this year’s AUS title. StFX won their only national title at the 2004 CIS Championships held in Fredericton. “We certainly enjoy playing in Fredericton. There’s a great rivalry between both clubs and I think we certainly saw that in the AUS finals. But our mindset right now is not about the rink, it’s about the opponent. The only we can concentrate on right now is McGill on Thursday and Alberta when we play them.” It is far from an easy road to the their second national championship. Coming off a lengthy, hard-fought series against the Reds, the X-Men are faced with McGill and Alberta, two squads known for their speed and skill. “We’ve got our work cut out for us in preparing for both these teams. We know both teams are very skilled and rely on their speed, but we just have to focus on doing our things well that we saw in our playoff run.” The centerpiece of their AUS playoff run was netminder Joseph Perricone. The third-year California native was also instrumental in achieving their 17-10-1 regular season record and posted a 2.37 GAA, a .925 save percentage and 14 wins in 19 games. “I’ve yet to see a team go to national championship or deep into the playoffs in any league, amateur or pro, without a good goalie. That’s the story there,” said Peddle. “[Perricone] has been rock-solid for us, but our guys have been playing solid around him. Any team with goals for a national championship needs a top notch goaltender and we certainly have that.” StFX is no slouch offensively, however. Peddle will ice six forwards in the top 25 of AUS scoring. Chris Hulit led the team with 15 goals and 31 points to sit ninth overall. Having such a diverse offensive attack is an asset, but Peddle asserts the real key to success is mental toughness. “I think we have to focus on our game. We have to focus on how we’ve been playing through the playoffs and bring that into each and every game. There’s no room for error. There’s no room for sitting back and not having your best game. You’ve got to bring you’re A-game every night.” The X-Men will travel to Fredericton with limited experience on the national stage, a fact that would trouble most coaches. However, Peddle remains confident in his team’s ability to stay focused on the game and block out the rest. “We have to focus on being in the now and not worrying about who’s watching, big crowds and TV. That’s not our style; we’re not that kind of team. We don’t let those things get to us and we have to come in there and put it all aside and not play it like it’s any other game,” said Peddle. “We realize that each game is a Game 7. It’s pretty much a do or die. That’s our mindset.”
B 6 • Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144
Road to NHL goes through UNB
Hunter Tremblay: the quiet hero
After going undrafted through Junior, Darryl Boyce came to UNB and in the process caught the eye of some NHL scouts and now plays with the Toronto Maple Leafs. UNB Sports Information Rob Williams Staff Writer When the Varsity Reds recruited Darryl Boyce, they had no idea how important it would be for both him and the team. His start in hockey was typical. The kid didn’t really have a choice whether to play or not growing up. He just did. “I don’t know if it was a start,” said Boyce. “I think I was just put in like everybody else. My parents wanted to get me active and I think hockey I took a growing to and found a real passion for it.” That passion has developed into something very big. It’s how he makes his living now. The goal for all hockey players is to be drafted into the NHL, but the reality is the majority of players in junior hockey don’t make the NHL. That’s where UNB comes in. For those players who go undrafted, there is another door that opens - the option to continue playing hockey while getting an education. Boyce was one of those players. “I went to UNB, I didn’t know I was going pro at all,” says Boyce. “It was sort of the opposite. I was just going to school. I didn’t really think I was going to go pro. I just sort of found out once I played my first couple years at UNB that I could go pro.” Boyce recently signed a National Hockey League contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in December, allowing him to be called up to play in the big show. Boyce clearly remembers getting the call. “This was my first NHL contract. It was at Christmas time and my sister and I were walking around, I think it was Bed Bath and Beyond or some sort of store with bedding, and the Leafs Assistant General Manager called me. It was Jeff Jackson at the time. It was really weird. It was Dec. 28 and he was asking me if I wanted to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I couldn’t believe it was happening. The Leafs were so far away from me, I was just worried about playing with the Toronto Marlies and having a good year. Sure enough they called me and wanted to sign me. I think my family and I went out to dinner or something after. Nothing out of the ordinary. “ This holiday season was a big one for
Boyce. He was signed on Dec. 28, 2010, played his first full NHL game on Dec. 30, notching his first NHL point with an assist, and then scored his first NHL goal on Jan. 1 against the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs framed the goal as a commemorative gift to Boyce. Since the insanity, that he called the Christmas break, Boyce has been a supreme third line, two-way centre for the Maple Leafs. He has played 38 games with the big club and has 12 points and is currently plus-8 as of March 21. Boyce said UNB played an important role in getting him into such good shape for professional hockey. “I found it gave me an opportunity to play different roles. At UNB I played on the power play and was a more offensive type of player rather than my junior career, where I was more of a defensive, checking type of forward. I got to round my game.” Boyce even went so far as to say he regretted not being able to play more years with UNB, having built such a strong connection with so many players and the city of Fredericton. When asked if he missed the city and his team here, Boyce was quick to admit he missed UNB hockey. “My years there were unbelievable. I truly do wish I would have played a couple more years there but as they say, timing is everything. [The Leafs] wanted me to sign my first year, but I waited one more year. They wanted to sign me again, so I couldn’t turn it down twice.” Aside from teammates, every player has specific people who have helped influence their behaviour, both on and off the ice. Gardiner MacDougall had the biggest influence on his play here at UNB. “He just sort of always encouraged us. I think encouragement is a great factor. Also, Greg Gilbert and Dallas Eakins, two of my Marlies coaches, never say a negative word. They’re always positive and upbeat.” Boyce helped UNB to appear in consecutive CIS Nationals, was an alternate captain and managed to grab the Male Athlete of the Year honours in his rookie season. His play of late with the Maple Leafs has been exceptional and if he keeps it up he will have no problem staying in the big leagues.
In his fourth season with the Varsity Reds, Hunter Tremblay continues to be the impact player UNB expected him to be when they brough him to Fredericton. Although Tremblay tied for the league scoring title this season, the Timmins, Ontario native has grown as a person throughout his hockey career. Andrew Meade / The Brunswickan K. Bryannah James Staff Writer The trophy sits in their living room, 13 years old but a sparkle in the shining moments of their son’s hockey career. It’s the most valuable player award for the Northern Lights Hockey tournament in Spruce Falls; Hunter Tremblay was the recipient. Tremblay’s career began when he put on his first pair of skates and stepped on the ice. He may have been young, but the natural ability to play hockey grew with him as he got older. “He didn’t want to be a superhero or anything like that,” said Hunter’s father, Jacques Tremblay. “He’s an unselfish player, I remember one tournament he was in he kept getting MVPs in different games and he finally said, ‘I’m not going to accept anymore MVPs’ and they gave him another one for another game he was on, so he gave it to who he thought was MVP on his team.” Never one to live off the spotlight, Hunter was a team player and his teammates recognized it in him. During one tournament in Atom, Hunter was given a trophy, an award he believed belonged to his defensive partner who played a good game, and gave it to him instead. “That defenceman, the kid doesn’t play hockey anymore, but I know to this day he’s still got that trophy in his room,” said Jacques. When Hunter was younger he played hockey alongside his brother Forest. One year they made the Midget AAA hockey team and went to nationals in Bathurst,
New Brunswick. However, as the boys got older they became individual hockey players. “Hunter wouldn’t mind just sitting down, going in the back rink and practicing his shot. Or going in the basement and doing the repetitive stuff to get better you know, so that’s one of his character traits,” said Jacques. Hunter’s athletic talent went beyond hockey, he has trophies at home from basketball and other high school sports; but as he got older and began playing bantam and midget, he had to put those aside so he could focus on his love of hockey. “I think that’s our biggest contribution, just allowing them to play the game they love to play you know,” said Jacques. From 2002-2007, Hunter played in the OHL for the Barrie Colts and secured the record for most game for any franchise. He was drafted 17th overall in Major Junior A, but without a draft pick from the NHL, he began looking towards post-secondary education. “He was invited to a lot of minor league teams, East Coast Hockey League and different places. We thought it was a pretty mature decision on his part to go the university route,” said Jacques. “When he chose university hockey over going to the ECHL, which would have been a more direct route to the pro leagues, we knew that took a lot of soul searching… So when he said, ‘You know Dad, there’s no real downside going to university,’ I said, ‘Hey, man you have my backing.’” By fall of 2006 Hunter changed his Barrie jersey for a red and white one, although he came to university, Hunter’s
drive, natural ability and understanding of the game continued to mark him as a team player and an all-star athlete for the Varsity Reds. In 2007 and 2009 UNB won the CIS championships, and in 2010 Hunter was named the CIS men’s hockey player of the year as well as the AUS point’s leader. Most recently in February of this season he passed Rob Hennigar’s record of total career points in regular season with UNB, among other countless accomplishments that have been attached to his name as a Varsity Red. Hockey is a family affair in the Tremblay family and Hunter’s relatives show their support in Canada and in the USA. “I have a couple brothers one in Calgary and one in DC and he spends his winters down in Arizona with his wife. And my father is in Calgary too, so a lot of the game especially the uncle in Arizona; we watch every game, so we’re comparing notes after the games. So it’s a whole family support system there,” said Jacques. The Tremblay family were excited fans in the stands when UNB took silver in Moncton and the CIS banner in Thunder Bay. Now they’ll travel to Fredericton to watch Hunter play in another national tournament. “The whole family’s going to be down there. My wife and I are driving down; my wife’s parents are going to fly down. Forest and Hunter’s sister Tanya are flying down, Forest is going to fly down his girlfriend, so our whole family is going to be down there … a lot of Hunter’s friends are coming down from Ontario,” said Jacques.
Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144 • B 7
CSHR 97.9 FM BROADCASTING SCHEDULE: Wednesday, March 23: 4:30 p.m. The Rundown: CIS Special
2009-10 Saint Mary’s 2008-09 UNB 2007-08 Alberta 2006-07 UNB 2005-06 Alberta 2004-05 Alberta 2003-04 StFX 2002-03 UQTR 2001-02 Western 2000-01 UQTR 1999-00 Alberta 1998-99 Alberta 1997-98 UNB 1996-97 Guelph 1995-96 Acadia 1994-95 Moncton 1993-94 Lethbridge 1992-93 Acadia 1991-92 Alberta 1990-91 UQTR 1989-90 Moncton 1988-89 York 1987-88 York 1986-87 UQTR
1985-86 Alberta 1984-85 York 1983-84 Toronto 1982-83 Saskatchewan 1981-82 Moncton 1980-81 Moncton 1979-80 Alberta 1978-79 Alberta 1977-78 Alberta 1976-77 Toronto 1975-76 Toronto 1974-75 Alberta 1973-74 Waterloo 1972-73 Toronto 1971-72 Toronto 1970-71 Toronto 1969-70 Toronto 1968-69 Toronto 1967-68 Alberta 1966-67 Toronto 1965-66 Toronto 1964-65 Manitoba 1963-64 Alberta 1962-63 McMaster
Thursday, March 24: 1:00 2:00 6:30 7:00
p.m. p.m. p.m. p.m.
CIS Championship Preview Special Pool B #1: StFX vs. McGill Pregame Show Pool A #1: Calgary vs. UNB
Friday, March 25: 1:30 2:00 6:30 7:00
p.m. p.m. p.m. p.m.
Pregame Show Pool B #2: Loser Pool B #1 vs. Alberta Pregame Show Pool A #2: Loser Pool A #1 vs. Western
Saturday, March 26: 2:00 2:30 7:00 7:30
p.m. p.m. p.m. p.m.
Pregame Show Pool B #3: Winner Pool B #1 vs. Alberta Pregame Show Pool A #3: Winner Pool A #1 vs. Western
Sunday, March 27:
7:30 p.m. Pregame Show 8:00 p.m. University Cup Final
AUS 2010/11 CHAMPIONS Dr. T. Wayne Lenehan Dr. M. Michele Leger
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B 8 • Mar. 23, 2011 • Issue 24 • Volume 144