Hockey: Glory days for UNB program

I don't know if CIS hockey fans in Fredericton realize how fortunate they are right now. Last night's 5-0 blanking of Dal was previewed by the V-Reds Nation e-newsletter, carried live on CHSR-FM and RogersTV in New Brunswick (Dave Ritchie and I did double-duty for those broadcasts), webcast on SSN, tweeted by UNBHockey, and staffed by The Daily Gleaner, The Brunswickan (UNB weekly student paper) and 105.3 FM The Fox radio. Thanks to UNB's team photographer Brian Smith (who volunteers his time) there are great game photos for the and website game stories, as well as today's edition of the V-Reds Nation newsletter. Of course there is also the continual chatter from die-hard UNB fans online on sites such as HFBoards.

And all that same coverage will be extended to tonight's game against Acadia.

And don't forget Darryl Boyce's recent exploits with the Toronto Maple Leafs since his call-up from the Marlies is giving some national exposure to the V-Reds program and CIS hockey.

So does it get any better than this? Can you perhaps understand why the team and their loyal fans might have a bit of a swagger?

The only negative would seem to be complacent and well-served UNB hockey "fans", particularly students, who don't sell out the Aitken University Centre. What more do they want?
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  1. Well David there are some thoughts on this issue. Some "CIS hockey fans" in Fredericton don't care for UNB and their constant boasting. I believe this post is all about being boastful.

    Also their are people in the City of Fredericton who have not forgotten the treatment of "CIS hockey" at the women's level that quite obviously doesn't count in your books or UNB's. How fortunate are they David? Lucky for "CIS hockey fans" in Fredericton that St. Thomas University still continues -and hopefully always will - to support and foster women's hockey at the CIS level.

    Thank you so much for all the great insight your post brings.

  2. While I don't necessarily want to help along a Fredericton civil war, I also don't disagree with this rebuttal.

    Where does the removal of the women's team fit among the things that UNB hockey fans should be fortunate to have, Dave?

  3. The intent of the post wasn't to boast, and I could see how it could be perceived that way, but rather to point out how just how much multi-platform media coverage UNB hockey was getting this weekend, which is remarkable when you look back say ten years. On the other hand, UNB's attendance hasn't significantly changed/improved over the last few years. My point, which I could have expressed better, is that UNB fans are in their glory days now for coverage of their team, and should appreciate it, because who knows how long it could last since it depends on so many keen volunteers.

    So point well taken.

  4. UNB, like many schools now due to budgetary constraints, had to make some difficult decisions and chose to prioritize their varsity athletics programs. Competitiveness of individual programs, historical importance to the province, and operating costs were all factored in. When they were done, eight varsity sports remained: men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and soccer, men's hockey and women's swimming. The other teams were bumped down to club status, including the controversial decision for women's hockey.

    One argument I heard was that UNB couldn't afford to match the funding that STU extended towards their women's team, and the underfunded UNB team wasn't really competitive in the conference (and had no fan revenue). Don't forget, STU only compete in men's and women's hockey at the CIS level, and focuses their financial resources on those teams.

    So as I said already, not a popular decision. As an alum I didn't like it, but I understood their rationale. When you look at UNB's current varsity teams, their strategy seems to be working. Men's hockey is a national powerhouse. Men's and women's volleyball are in AUS playoffs every year, as are men's soccer. Women's basketball has made a remarkable turnaround and lead the AUS. The men are still rebuilding. Swimming did well, and women's soccer is probably the one lagging program.

  5. I should also add that women's hockey is still played at UNB at the club level, and they do play games against other AUS schools whose teams are also club teams. The same for sports like field hockey. The wrestling team still competes for CIS medals despite being club status.

    Finally, most of us have moved past the UNB women's hockey team demotion. As far as I can see, it is only STU hockey fans that still bring up the issue, as they try to compensate for their slumping men's program.

  6. And finally, finally, I have covered UNB men's hockey for a long time and I get frustrated about how much for granted local fans take the team when it comes to attending the games - that gate revenue is vital for supporting all varsity sports at UNB.

    And to be clear, I don't relish the current difficulties of the STU men's program. We all win when we have a solid cross-campus rivalry.

  7. Oh David, please. It took you four tries to get that all out and some of the contradictions are deplorable, it isn’t worth debating this with you. The one quote I will bring your attention to is this; “most of us have moved past the UNB women's hockey team demotion. As far as I can see, it is only STU hockey fans that still bring up the issue, as they try to compensate for their slumping men's program”.

    One has nothing to do with the other and this is just a feeble attempt on your part to deflect criticism. The only ones that have “moved past” this are the ones that it didn’t negatively affect. Parents with hockey playing daughters (yes, girls play hockey) in the area still reference the incident as a travesty. As one parent but it to me it’s pretty bad when the men’s hockey coach could get ice time for his young “prospects” cheaper than the UNB women’s team could from their own university. It failed because it was designed to fail.

    Debate away but this is the last comment by me on this post.

  8. For what it's worth, here's what Neate wrote back in March 2008 when the women's program was "busted down to club status":

    "Suffice to say, there won't be any warm feelings coming from this corner if the Varsity Reds end up hoisting the trophy in Moncton on Sunday night."

    "They can cry about costs all they want, but UNB's actions basically state that only men get to play competitive hockey as part of a well-rounded education."

    "[UNB] is incredibly wrongheaded to show a lot [of] potential leaders in physical education the back of its hand"

  9. Ahh the good ol' women's hockey debate....I guess it has been awhile.

    Honestly, I think the only reason people care about this even a little bit is because it affected women and the sport is come we don't hear about the parents who have son's who are swimmers?? Or about how the decision to remove those teams affected more male athletes than female athletes?? I don't see why people still can't wrap their head around the fact that it was a smart financial move. I wish UNB still had a women's hockey team but it just wasn't feasible any longer. I wonder how many of these people still complaining actually supported the UNB team/went to the games.

  10. Rob...couldn't we also word that quote something along the lines of:

    "They can cry about costs all they want, but UNB's actions basically state that only women get to participate in competitive swimming."

    Why do people always make it seem like the women's hockey team was the only one relegated to club status??

  11. I know I should let this go, but this has gone far beyond what should have just been critique of an initially flawed but well intentioned original post.

    First, there is no causation or correlation between the success of the men's hockey program at UNB and the demotion of the women's program. So please stop bringing it up. As Jeremy has noted, several programs at UNB were affected at the time, but some seem to pretend that only women's hockey was affected.

    UNB Varsity Athletics made some tough budgetary and therefore strategic decisions at that difficult time. Maybe your favourite school doesn't have those financial issues to deal with -- good for you, you can stand at your ideological line in the sand. UNB didn't have that luxury. They've committed to funding eight varsity sports teams at the CIS level, which is more than some universities in this country.

    So let us let this constant flame bait topic go. You know I'm never going to tolerate swipes at the UNB's men's hockey program related to the women's program, because there is no relation. I won't allow UNB to be swiftboated. We don't boycott other schools sports programs for more serious issues like doping by some of their athletes, so why the hate at UNB's hockey program.

  12. And STUTommies, I get it. You don't like UNB. You are upset with the mess with the STU men's team and the online soap opera that caused you to shut down your very good, and missed, website. I get that. And I get it that some in Tommiesland are very vocal about their disappointment about the financial resources directed towards the women's program which hasn't necessarily turned into success on the ice. And I get that you for some reason you've declared a fatwa against me because I happen to write consistently about UNB in a positive light. But please, let's stop with the drive-by attacks and trying to make everything about an issue you are passionate about for some reason - women's hockey at UNB.

  13. “most of us have moved past the UNB women's hockey team demotion. As far as I can see, it is only STU hockey fans that still bring up the issue, as they try to compensate for their slumping men's program”

    I'm a McGill grad living in Halifax and I for one miss seeing the UNB Varsity Reds being part of AUS women's hockey. And yes I'm well aware that other UNB teams have been relegated to club status but what can I say, I'm a hockey fan so of course the demotion of the women's team is what will stand out in my mind. Anyway, here's one of my pics of the UNB girls back from October know, nostalgic reasons!

  14. Well we all wish we had McGill's money.

  15. Just saying that the UNB women's hockey team is not just missed by UNB grads or by hockey fans in Fredericton, that's all.

  16. Hey I miss it too. I actually went to the odd game. If I ever won the lottery, I've said before that I'd put money into restoring UNB's women's hockey program. But I haven't won the lottery yet, nor have any other fans I guess.

    All I'm saying it that the women's program has nothing to do with the current men's program ... which was the subject of my original post.

  17. Dave, unplug your keyboard and chillax. I know you are well intentioned but your bias for all things UNB consumes you and you don’t even realize when you are being inconsiderate of others. When you start off a post with “I don't know if CIS hockey fans in Fredericton realize how fortunate they are right now” it implies something more than what your mind seems able to comprehend.

    There are “CIS hockey fans” in Fredericton that do not cheer for the UNB men’s hockey team.

    You argue with yourself, get sidetracked, and lay down all types of little digs at St. Thomas, while getting more upset with what you are typing. Go back and read your comments.

    Please, do not apologize for being inconsiderate. I don’t care because it will just be another backhanded way for you to get off a few more pokes.

  18. Well my long-time online stalker and I can agree on one thing. I shouldn't have typed "CIS hockey fans". And I believe I've already stated a few times in this thread that I could have written this post better.

    Maybe STUTOMMIES will man up some year, and stop hiding behind his avatar as he follows me around the Internet, waiting for me to make a slip and write (and is this case admittedly ...) an overly praising piece about UNB, so he can than interject and bring the conversation to where he is most comfortable - the demotion of UNB's women program.

    And always with the passive-aggressiveness ...

  19. Stalker? You have to be kidding, is your head really that big? I call you on your stupidity from time to time, if that's what you mean. Seriously, lets be clear on the facts. I was blogging before you, I was on twiiter before you, facebook, and while you were on hfboards before me, you were not on it's predecessor before me. If any one is a stalker I would say it is you, which makes sense because you are always following (or copying) my lead. Good job. Of course all of the above is easily verified.

    Man up? Come on. That doesn't even dignify a response but you got what you were looking for anyway...a response. Good for you. You win.

    This is getting childish now. DONE!