Only in Canada does sledge hockey pre-empt university football.
It's a combination of circumstances with the Mitchell Bowl being tape-delayed on Nov. 21, but it still doesn't make it acceptable. Laval fans, the best fanbase in the country, won't get to watch their team play live in the Mitchell Bowl (the Calgary-Saint Mary's Uteck Bowl kicks off at noon Eastern, and Laval-Queen's will be live-to-tape at 3:30 on TSN and Radio-Canada, according to one OUA school's press release).
What about TSN2? It is scheduled to air the "2009 Sledge Hockey Canada Cup: Gold Medal Final." This being Canada, no one is make the call to take that off the air because they don't want to risk the wrath or be seen as insensitive or politically incorrect. Presumably the decision is because TSN has a contract with Hockey Canada to show every national championship's gold medal, even when it's something which is probably only appealing to the participants' family and friends, let's be honest.
There's not so much interest in getting into a blame game, but Canadian Interuniversity Sport had time to trouble-shoot this. The Uteck Bowl is held at a fixed location when AUS hosts and it's not like there was no advance warning Queen's might win the Yates Cup. Please don't say they were just hoping someone with lights would win and avoid such a quandary.
It still feels like a partnership with TSN, done right, could be good for raising the profile of university sports. Who knows what would happen if The Score had the semifinals? It is worth noting the smaller network has been gracious in accommodating videocasters such as the Streaming Sports Network Canada; TSN's view is that if it has the rights, it will be the only source for watching the game, even if it means thousands upon thousands of Laval fans are going to be stuck with the radio.
The university administration a Queen's has kind of tempted fate by not upgrading Richardson Stadium, described as "rickety" in a Globe & Mail story. The monolithic Queen's Centre has kind of commanded attention the past few years, so upgrading the stadium the way Windsor, Western and McMaster have has gone by the wayside. (Don't worry, it's not like many Queen's grads would read the Saturday Globe.)
So what's to be done? It's not clear. It feels like having to drop back and punt to be back to having one live game and one tape-delayed. TSN should at least consider throwing a bone to CIS diehards by streaming the Mitchell Bowl (and perhaps Radio-Canada will do the same, that bears checking out). Either way, this could have been managed better.