If anyone deserved a University Cup win, it was the McGill Redmen. The oldest hockey team in the world at 136 years. Never won the CIS championship, and yet they pulled it off on the 50th anniversary with its founder, 91 year-old Major W.J. “Danny” McLeod, in the house. Graduating captain Evan Vossen, one of the many "nice guys" at the tourney, scored the winner six minutes into overtime after polarizing figure Francis Verreault-Paul cost his team their third period lead, and almost the game, for running Western goalie Josh Unice. After the win and with post-game interviews still happening Vossen almost ran over several of us in the rush to skate over and hug his mother when several parents were allowed onto the ice.
Salt in the wounds for many was that Verreault-Paul won the tournament Most Valuable Player award. I understand voting was already completed a few minutes before V-P's brain cramp, and he did have a strong tournament, but there is a good argument for giving the honour instead to Unice, who stood on his head just to get the Mustangs into the championship game.
The organizing committee did a great job, even if they didn't get the final outcome they and the Fredericton fans wanted. Twenty bottles of champagne and several cases of beer were placed in the McGill dressing room while they were still out on the ice celebrating their win. Everyone in attendance at the games this week was given a free 50-page-plus souvenir program magazine. (Not overcharging for the game program, what got into these people?!) Every game was a sell-out, all seven, and only about a thousand paid-up fans blew off Sunday's final, since UNB wasn't playing, and stayed home and watched the game on TV. The atmosphere in the AUC certainly wasn't as electric as last year, but it wasn't bad and the exciting game certainly helped.
Today's Daily Gleaner reprinted an e-mail from ever-classy Western head coach Clarke Singer to Maureen Sparks, the woman who was in charge of everything behind the scenes.
UNB Athletic Director John Richard was asked for his highlights from a host perspective:Maureen, Brad and Wayne:We just arrived back on campus after a wonderful week in Fredericton. Our entire group was very happy with the experience at the nationals right from the banquet to the transportation to the first class treatment at the rink. The amount of work and effort you all put into this event was certainly appreciated by all members of our team that spent the week with you. I hope our paths will cross again soon. Thanks again, We will always remember our two weeks in Fredericton with you guys over the last two years.”Clarke Singer
Next year it is the PostashCorp University Cup in Saskatoon. It should be another great tournament, as they showed in 1998-2000 that they are up to the task (although they'll have a lot more tickets to sell to fill that big rink).“I thought Major Danny McLeod on the ice, presenting his own award as MVP was pretty impressive,” said Richard. “I thought the extras we put around the 50th anniversary, the all-decade teams, honouring the 1962 team, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Budweiser Hockey Hut, were all home runs.”About the only thing he would change about the event, said Richard was “two more goals against Western.”
Michel Belanger worked into the wee hours Monday morning, with McGill's Earl 'the Pearl' Zuckerman at his side, to write the CIS game story with the all-stars, and update all the stats, and add in the video clip: FINAL: Redmen capture first University Cup
The local Daily Gleaner had great coverage of the weekend, but it didn't leak past their paywall.
Darren Zary was a writing machine all week, filing both for his his base at the StarPhoenix and the PostMedia wire: University Cup full of strange twists; Saskatoon gets ready to host tournament; McGill wins first men’s hockey title in 135 years.
The Brunswickan, 'Canada's oldest student publication', provided great continuous coverage (and even took care of the game recaps for vreds.ca so I wouldn't have to!).
UNBHockeyFans.com raised the bar for all CIS hockey fan sites out there this past week, and this season.
Now until September exhibition games we just have recruiting rumours to chew over and digest.