University Cup - Friday notebook

John Ferguson Jr. garnered lots of attention in the rink yesterday. He was here to scout for San Jose and didn't get a lot of privacy in the stands ...

It certainly hasn't been spring like in Thunder Bay the last two days. -20 with the wind chill yesterday and around -13 today. I know, boo hoo ...

Dustin Friesen, the captain of last year's champions UNB, was called up this week by Bridgeport in the AHL. Former Tommies forward Jean Borbeau was also called up by the Sound Tigers.

Some chatter in the hospitality suite last night, and on the agenda in the coaches meetings this morning, about bringing back the bronze medal game at the University Cup. I haven't discovered a CIS hockey coach yet who likes the idea, but apparently there's some in the CIS that think the men should have a bronze game like the women. Good luck with that ... have they not seen the tape for UNB-Alberta bronze game in 2003?

The crowds have been underwhelming so far -- the rink has not been more than half-full for each of the first three games. Should be a sell-out for Lakehead's first game tonight. It it interesting that so many of these local folks will buy tournament passes and only show up for LU games. The same thing happened last year but the excuse was that fans wanted the option of buying day passes, which they do have this year. That might explain why the Lakehead games didn't sell out last year, but doesn't account for why so few fans come to non-Lakehead games.

McGill coach Jim Webster complained about the officiating again today after their afternoon game against Saint Mary's. They had five minors compared to SMU's four, but Francis Verreault-Paul picked up a ten minute misconduct in the third period when he lipped off to the ref on a non-call. Webster thought V-Paul was being targeted by SMU (do you think that might happen to the OUA's top player?) and felt that V-Paul's two minors came as he was trying to stick up for himself. He then went on to admit that McGill is the most penalized team in the OUA, but explained that as the fact that they compete so hard for the puck. I dunno, if you are the most penalized team you think it might be something other than the refs, like perhaps sucking it up in big games?

Not that I'm trying to egg on the regional chauvinism among CIS hockey fans, but so far this week the OUA is 0-3, Canada West is 2-0, and the AUS is 1-0. Just sayin'. The OUA has to get a win tonight since Lakehead is playing UQTR.

The SMU players are finally admitting that they were overconfident going into their semifinal last year, since they had beat McGill who it turn had beat Western earlier. They also said that in that fatal third period they were thinking too much about the math and not about simply winning the game.

Ever smiling Michel Belanger from the CIS tells me today that Sportsnet's television broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday will be picked up by Eurosport TV. Kinda cool.

Ferguson Jr. still in the game (Leith Dunick,
Ferguson in the house Reuben Villagracia, Chronicle Journal)
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  1. David
    Enjoyed visiting with you last night! Not used to discussing CIS hockey with you when we are both on the outside looking in!!
    An update on the bronze medal discussion at the coaches meeting....
    yeas - ZERO
    no ways - every hand in the room!!
    Will be interesting to see how the CIS AGM interprets this vote!
    There was also a motion on the floor regarding the 6 team format tournament which was passed unanimously! you will have to dig to find out more. Ask Gardner about it!!
    Will be interesting to see if it is adopted!
    Have fun at tomorrow final game!

  2. If I remember correctly, the most recent editions of bronze medal game were the two in Fredericton. The game was created by the host committee -- one more game, one more sellout -- as a profit generator and was used to provide players a few extra perks.
    I believe it's only coming back now because UNB is hosting again, on the same principle. I hope it's defeated.

  3. Indeed, then UNB AD Clint Hamilton wanted the extra game and gate since the AUC is so much smaller than rinks in Kitchener and Saskatoon. This time I'm pretty sure it is being driven by those in the CIS who can't understand why Men's hockey doesn't have a bronze game. The coaches don't want it.

    The new buzz is about having true semi-finals added; one more day and two more games for the tourney. Play round-robin per usual. So that is six games in total, just like the Thursday to Saturday games now, which they would probably start a day earlier. Then cross over A1 vs B2 and B1 vs A2 in true semi-finals, which would probably be TV games. Then the two winners face off for the Cup.

  4. And yes DA, it is certainly a different experience when you don't really have anything on the line, other than hoping for award winners. Hopefully the coaches get their way with these proposed changes, as they should.

    It is good to see the two most competitive conferences back in the title game ...

  5. This OUA bashing by Kilfoil is getting tiresome.

    The OUA appears "less competitive" because the talent pool is diluted by the number of teams/schools. Those kids that want to stay close to home (within a few hours drive from family) have some 14 schools to choose from. The short answer is its less competitive because there are more teams... period.

    Kilfoil fails to point out that Canada West has periennial losers, in Regina, Lethbridge and UBC. How is a conference with only 4 teams with a history of success in non-conference/championships (Alberta, Calgary, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan) considered "competitive".

    I will give Kilfoil credit that the AUS has a the most competitive conference from top to bottom, but at the end of the day, they don't have the "dilution effect" that the OUA must suffer through.

    The suggestion of the 2 tiered league for the OUA is a good one, however it will never happen due to politics/logistics. Insofar as OUA teams no being successful at the UCup, I don't buy it. UQTR, Western have been dominant in the past, Lakehead has been a steady threat to win every since their reincarnation in 2001 and when we look at this year's tournament, McGill had game, and leads in them... threatening to knock off arguably better teams. In what is essentially a single knock-out tournament, I don't feel it is fair to gauge the entirety of the OUA on a handful of games. Give me a 7 game series between Lakehead and Alberta, and then talk to me.

    Kilfoil needs to shed his homerism, and get over the fact that over the past few years AUS and Canada West clubs have been winners. His AUS league didn't look so competitive during the regular season this year with UNB running over everybody, and I suspect it'll be the same over the next couple of seasons.