University Cup gets historic send-off in Saskatoon

After the final horn, the University of Alberta Golden Bears claimed the 52nd Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s national hockey championship. The Bears lifted the University Cup for the 14th time in the team’s history — the most of any squad in the country.

Seeded number one in the tournament, the Bears led the country in offence, defence and in power play conversions. The Bears also boasted a near-perfect 25–2–1 record during the regular season and went 4–0 during Canada West playoffs.

Joining the Bears was the fifth seed University of Saskatchewan Huskies, who rode a wave of hometown support all the way to the gold-medal game. This was the first time the Huskies advanced to the championship game since 2005 and the team was attempting to end a 31-year hunt to reclaim the national title. The Dogs battled valiantly but eventually fell to the Bears 3–1.

The home team gave the crowd something to cheer about, downing two higher-seeded teams — the number two Acadia University Axemen 3–2 and the third seeded University of Windsor Lancers 9–0 — en route to the final.

The Bears defeated the fourth seeded McGill University Redmen 3–2 and the sixth seeded Carleton University Ravens 3–2 to arrive at the gold-medal game.

With four goals and six points, Huskie Derek Hulak had a stellar tournament and was given the Major W.J. Danny McLeod Award as Most Valuable Player. Hulak was also named to the All-Tournament Team along with teammate Kendall McFaull. Receiving the All-Tournament Team nod for the Bears were Jesse Craig, Brett Ferguson and Kruise Reddick.

The Huskies’ player of the game was goaltender Ryan Holfeld, while the Bears gave the honour to forward Levko Koper.

Hosted at Credit Union Centre, the tournament set an all-time attendance record, drawing in a total of 41,089 fans over seven games to defeat the old mark of 40,956 set in 2000 at Saskatchewan Place. The gold-medal game packed the arena with 6,289 spectators.

The five most attended CIS men’s hockey championships have all been held in Saskatoon.

This was the second consecutive year Saskatoon hosted the championships and the fifth time overall.

For the 2015 and 2016 tournaments, hosting duties will be split between St. Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary’s University and Sports and Entertainment Atlantic. The event will be held at the Metro Centre in Halifax, N.S. St. Francis will be the official host in 2015 while Saint Mary’s will take the reins in 2016.


Photos: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor