Rainmen face uphill battle

The Halifax Rainmen find themselves in a hole after Saturday’s 93-92 overtime loss to the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in the opening game of the semifinals.

Rainmen forward Eric Crookshank dunks the ball in the first quarter. (Photo Matt Woodman)

By Matt Woodman

The Halifax Rainmen find themselves in a hole after Saturday’s 93-92 overtime loss to the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in the opening game of the semifinals.

The Rainmen now travel to Oklahoma where they must win the final two games of the series  to become Premier Basketball League Champions.

The Rainmen are considered underdogs againts the league’s defending champions The Cavs, who trailed for less than four minutes throughout regulation time. The Rainmen couldn’t hold on to their four point lead with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as Lawton-Fort Sill silenced a loud Metro Centre crowd of 2,089 by tying the game at 84 points.

“It comes down to defence,” says forward Eric Crookshank, who posted six points. “It just sucks that we couldn’t win this game and go steal one in Oklahoma.”

The Rainmen realize the difficult task that awaits them. Their next two games are must wins and the Cavs haven’t lost a game at home in the past two seasons. The Cavs went 18-2 during the regular season, compared to the Rainmen’s record of 10-10.

“It’s going to be hard, but were going to try to go in there and get two wins,” says point guard Taliek Brown who finished with 16 points. “We have to stay confident, stay together as a team and go out there and play hard.”

The Rainmen also gave up a slim one point lead in overtime, after fighting back from two seperate three point deficits, but the Cavs topped off overtime with a basket that came with less then ten seconds remaining in overtime. The players and coach Mike Evans agreed things have to tighten up in time for the second game.

Listen to Rainmen head coach Mike Evans talk about what his team needs to do in preparation for the next game:

Mike Evans

“We have to forget about this loss and we just have to go play. We made some mistakes and will work to correct them,” says DeAndre Thomas who had 17 points, tops amongst both teams.

Rainmen Taliek Brown drains a foul shot, while Cav's head coach Michael Ray Richardson and his lucky jacket look on. (Matt Woodman)

“We played good the whole game today but we just let down in the stretch,” says Taliek Brown. ” We have to execute better down in their end.”

During the game, Cavalry’s head coach Michael Ray Richardson defended his jacket choice to some Halifax fans after they gave him a hard time about the design.

“Everytime I wear this jacket to Halifax we win,” Richardson yelled back.

Rainmen fans are hoping its luck doesn’t carry over to Oklahoma.

Oval Supporters Rally Before Vote

Bundled in coats and braving the frosty morning air, demonstrators gathered in front of Halifax City Hall on Tuesday before council’s vote to make the skating oval permanent.

Many demonstrators carried pairs of skates, and one woman carried a banner which read “Save the Oval.”

By Barrett Limoges

A small group of oval supporters rallied in front of city hall before the council vote (Barrett Limoges photo).

Bundled in coats and braving the frosty morning air, demonstrators gathered in front of Halifax City Hall on Tuesday before council’s vote to make the skating oval permanent.

Many demonstrators carried pairs of skates, and one woman carried a banner which read “Save the Oval.”

The demonstration was organized by the Save the Oval committee, which sent out emails to supporters the day before the event.

John Gillis, one of the key organizers, was very optimistic about the oval’s prospects in the hours leading up to the vote.

“I am very hopeful that (council) will see this as the ultimate no-brainer,” he says. “We have been hearing that a lot of  (councillors) are supportive.”

Gillis also advocates converting the Halifax Commons skating oval into multi-use site, accessible for a variety of outdoor activities.

“It’s amazing to see thousands in the winter, so why not thousands in the summer?” he says. “We want to make this a year-round recreational facility.”

Gillis explains that people could in-line skate, walk or bike on the concrete track during the summer, while the middle of the oval could be turfed for sports like volleyball or soccer.

Demonstrators were encouraged to bring skates and signs to show their support (Barrett Limoges photo).

Demonstrators ranged in age and skating ability, all with the belief that the oval is a valuable asset to the community.

Halifax resident Sheila McGinn says that she went skating on the oval almost every day this winter.

“I thought it was an absolutely magical experience for Halifax this year, that we had the oval and that so many people had the opportunity to come out,” says McGinn.

Many demonstrators acknowledged the financial donations of about $1 million from individuals, organizations and businesses. Liz Pace showed up to the demonstration as a part of the World Figure Skating Legacy Fund, which has donated $100,000 to the project.

“Our purpose was really to get the ball rolling,” says Pace. “We figured that… the corporate community would step up and we are delighted that they have. So that is outstanding.”

Later that afternoon, Halifax city council gave the demonstrators what they had been asking for. After four hours of debate on the subject, council approved the permanent operation of the skating oval.

Listen to John Gillis, the demonstration organizer, explain why he thinks the oval will benefit Halifax: Oval

Alumni Arena still the home of Huskies women’s hockey

After a unanimous decision by the Saint Mary’s University board of governors on Tuesday night, the Huskies women’s hockey team will remain a varsity team.

At a press conference held in Alumni Arena on Wednesday, university president Colin Dodds began by apologizing to the girls.

Alumni Arena is still going to be home to the women's hockey team (Emma Romano Photo)

By Emma Romano

After a unanimous decision by the Saint Mary’s University board of governors on Tuesday night, the Huskies women’s hockey team will remain a varsity team.

At a press conference held in Alumni Arena on Wednesday, university president Colin Dodds began by apologizing to the girls.

He said he hopes that the university can repair the damage it has done and restore trust.

The athletics director for the university, Steve Sarty, avoided questions from reporters about why the women’s hockey team was cut instead of another team.

The Saint Mary's Huskies women's team poses for a photo (Emma Romano Photo)

Sarty said that choosing one team was better than making cuts across the board because that “weakens the whole department and the fact of the matter is most of the sports teams run right on budget”.

Leah MacLennan, a forward on the team, donned a Canadian Tire jersey to show how thankful the team was for the support.

Bill Whiting, the owner of the Quinpool Rd. Canadian Tire announced that the company would be donating $60, ooo to support the women’s hockey program at Saint Mary’s.

Whiting said they chose to support the Huskies because of the team’s commitment to community involvement.

Sarty said that other businesses and individuals have also committed to put money into a separate fund to support the team.

Forward Leah MacLennan dons a Canadian Tire jersey in support of her team's sponsor (Emma Romano Photo)

 

 

SMU brainstorms ways to save women’s hockey

Students and faculty at St. Mary’s University are trying to come up with ways to save their women’s hockey team.

by Jessamyn Griffin

(l to r) Chelsea Osbaldeston, Erin Doerrsam, and Kathleen O'Brien remain optimistic about the outcome of SMU women's hockey team (Jessamyn Griffin photo).


Students and faculty at St. Mary’s University are trying to come up with ways to save their women’s hockey team.

“They have talked about doing charity games and events around town,” says Lisa Jordan, head coach of the women’s hockey team. “They are trying to swell up a good game plan for whatever dollars they might be able to contribute to the cause.”

The push follows a decision by the university to reconsider an earlier decision to scrap the team to save money.

Jordan says the potential termination of the women’s Huskies will not be the only area of the university affected by budget cuts.

“I hope people realize that the women’s hockey team being cut is one of many announcements that will be made. Other areas of the university will involve cuts and that’s going to probably involve some people losing their jobs,” says Jordan.

Corporations have been coming forward to offer money to help ensure the team’s presence at SMU. The university says it is not able to identify these sponsors publicly.

Steve Sarty, the athletics director, says it costs around $200,000 a year to keep the team afloat.

“It is the third most expensive sport at the university. To operate buses, pay for meals and hotels for away games are $60,000. Scholarships are another $44,000. Then there is the coaches salary, and ice time for the play-offs. It all adds up pretty quickly,” says Sarty.

He says if the women’s hockey team continues there would need to be a serious evaluation of how the money would be budgeted, coupled with significant fundraising efforts.

Kathleen O’Brien is a rookie on the team. She says she and her teammates would be willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the program going, including paying additional fees and fundraising.

“We are all more than happy to do anything to keep playing hockey. Hockey is our lives. I know myself, I wanted to play since I was 11 years old and when I made the team it was the happiest I’d ever been,” says O’Brien.

O’Brien feels she has to choose between staying at SMU, with no hockey program, or going to another school that offers hockey.

“When we were informed that our team was no longer going to be at SMU we didn’t just pack in the towel. We fought back and we’re still fighting back. I think this shows our dedication and desire to be at this school.”

O’Brien understands the reasoning for the cut, but wants to make sure that all fundraising and sponsorship avenues are explored.

“The thing is each and everyone of us plays for the name on the front of the jersey not for the name on the back. We are so proud to be a part of this school and we are so proud to play for the Huskies.”

Charity game raises money for IWK

The sixth annual Dalhousie Residence Charity Face-Off hockey game raised more than $ 17 000 for the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

By Shannon Galley

The sixth annual Dalhousie Residence Charity Face-Off hockey game  raised  more than $ 17 000 for the IWK Health Centre Foundation.

Trojans with the Monroe Cup after the game (Photo Credit: Shannon Galley)

The game pits the Trojans – Howe Hall, Mini Residence, Gerard Hall and O’Brien Hall – against The Big Horns – Sheriff Hall, Risley Hall, and Eliza Ritchie Hall. The IWK  has partnered with the Dalhousie Residence Charity Face-Off Committee for the past  four years.

Joanna Hamilton, the Manager of Annual Giving at the IWK Foundation, says she was delighted to have the opportunity to be at the game to drop the puck, present the awards, and receive the cheque.

“In 2008 the event raised $10,000, $20,000 in 2009, $25,000 in 2010, and a minimum of $17,000 in 2011, but the total amount won’t be finalized for a couple of weeks.”

Trojan and Big Horn fans stood divided in the stands. The chants and heckles started early and continued throughout the game. The final score was 4-3 for the Trojans, in an overtime decision that had the fans on both sides screaming, cheering and jeering right to the end. Adam Ansham netted the game winner for the Trojans with just over three minutes left in the overtime period.

 

Carla Britten, the Residence Life Manager at Risley Hall, says the money raised  is an ongoing team effort with the Dalhousie Residence Charity Face-Off Committee.

“On game day it is very much Trojans versus Big Horns, but throughout the year everyone works together on fundraising.”

(Photo Credit: Shannon Galley)

 

Blake McMacken, a Trojan, played in his first Residence Charity Face-Off game this year.

“It was a great experience, I didn’t play last year, but I will definitely be trying out for the team again next year,” McMacken says. “It’s a fun atmosphere.”

McMacken lives in Howe Hall and says they had two major fundraising events leading up to the charity game. A Zumba night with Richard Gromley and a Superbowl Party in Howe Hall which raised almost $1,000.

Joanna Hamilton accepts a cheque for the IWK after the game (Photo Credit: Shannon Galley)

Thomas McGoey, a first year Big Horns player from Eliza Ritchie Hall, participated in several fundraising events such as a player auction, bottle drive, pie-in-the-face booth, and a candy gram delivery for Valentine’s Day. McGoey says the game was a great experience and the fundraising events helped the team to bond and play better.

“Even though we didn’t win, it was a great game to watch and play,” says McGoey. “The crowd was amazing too, they were so loud it was almost impossible to communicate on and off the ice.”

“The IWK Foundation is so grateful for the funds raised from the Dalhousie Residence Charity Face off,” Hamilton says. “Support from this fantastic event helps the IWK purchase vital medical equipment, fund ground breaking research, and offer programs that bring comfort to families during difficult times. Thank you to the committee, residences and university students.  You are helping make our communities better places.”

SMU women’s hockey still alive

Saint Mary’s University is “pausing”in its decision to cut the women’s hockey program.

By Mary Cameron

Saint Mary's women's hockey team was joined on campus by supporters on Monday night at a rally to save their team (Mary Cameron photo).

Saint Mary’s University is “pausing”in its decision to cut the women’s hockey program.

People young and old gathered outside the McNally building on  Saint Mary’s  campus Monday at 6 p.m. to rally in support of the Huskies women’s team.

On Friday, Saint Mary’s said it would be cutting the women’s team to save money.

Steve Sarty the athletics director at Saint Mary’s said the university asked the athletics department to cut 5 to 10 per cent of its operating budget.

“It’s awful. It’s terrible. It’s not something we want to do. I hope people will understand it was a very difficult decision and it’s not something that I hope to ever have to do again, nor did I want to do it this time, but it’s a necessary decision,” Sarty told The Canadian Press.

External links
Saint Mary’s Athletics
Canadian Press article

Sarty says the athletics department considered reducing the budget of every sports team on campus, but decided against it saying that this would put all teams at a competitive disadvantage. The women’s hockey team’s annual operational budget is the highest among women’s varsity teams at Saint Mary’s  and  Sarty says it brings in “negligible revenue”.

Seyara Shwetz, a graduating player for the Saint Mary’s University Huskies, believes there’s a better solution than eliminating women’s hockey. “I absolutely believe that there’s a stronger solution,” she said. “I feel that if we had appealed to our alumni and to the community, then a solution could have been found in raising the funds that we needed to keep all of our teams competitive and alive.”

Head coach Lisa Jordan has been with the  team since it began 14 years ago. She’s  earned coaching awards at the Canadian Interuniversity Sports level, as well as assistant and head coaching positions at the national level. The team has won four Atlantic University Sports titles, the most recent in 2010. If the school does finally cut the program, it will be losing its only female coach among the full-time coaching staff.

Supporters of all ages came out to the rally on Monday night, including Danica Scully, daughter of Natalie, a Saint Mary's University hockey alumni (Mary Cameron photo).

Joanne Hughes, Chair of the Female Council of Hockey Nova Scotia, says Jordan and the Saint Mary’s women’s hockey team have been very active in the community.

“Lisa would run development camps in the summer and do 3-on-3 hockey. I mean she’s done a tremendous amount for the community. I probably couldn’t give you as much as she’s done, because every time I turn around there’s something different. She’s extremely community-minded,” said Hughes.

The women Huskies have done on-ice and dry-land development training with minor hockey girls, and have involved them in warm-ups before Huskies games and scrimmages between periods.

“They look at the girls from Saint Mary’s and that’s what they strive to play,” says Hughes. “We don’t have junior hockey and the Q [Quebec Major Junior Hockey League] hockey and all that kind of stuff. So when the girls leave minor hockey, the next step for them in their hockey development would be to play university hockey. They’re looking at these girls as role models, they’re looking up to these girls who’ve achieved what they want to achieve.”

Seyara Shwetz talks about the effect that cutting the Saint Mary’s women’s hockey program will have on female hockey in Nova Scotia:

Sey Shwetz- SMU clip

The effect of cutting the women’s hockey program at Saint Mary’s University would be devastating to female hockey in Nova Scotia, says Hughes. Not only would there be one less program for minor hockey players to advance to, but a loss in the program would also result in a loss of future coaches, trainers, and development staff coming from graduating Saint Mary’s University players.

While Shwetz and the eight other graduating players have finished their university careers, if the program is cut, the remaining players will have to choose whether  to transfer to another university. Saint Mary’s has offered assistance in helping players looking to move, yet Shwetz says it would be a challenging choice to make.

“I think that we’re all competitive athletes that have a strong chance of playing on any team in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sports). I just don’t know if any girl wants to pull on a different jersey, go through being a rookie again, lose the family that she has here… Pretty heartbreaking stuff,” says Shwetz.

Through emails and  phone calls, supporters of women’s hockey have spoken their minds. As SMU officials deliberate, the final decision remains on “pause” for the time being.

Watch as Saint Mary’s University hockey player Seyara Shwetz reads a letter from a young female hockey player who dreams of playing for Saint Mary’s. The letter was read on Monday evening at Saint Mary’s University campus during a rally to keep the women’s hockey program from being cut.
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHjdcotoU6o

Dalplex’s Goulet to compete in Nova Scotia lifesaving championships

The Nova Scotia provincial lifesaving championships will take place this Sunday, Mar. 19, at the Canada Games pool and world-class lifeguard Chris Goulet will be the captain of team Dalplex.

“I’ll be leading a team of four there, and I’ll be doing three of the four individual events,” said Goulet, who has been a lifeguard for 12 years and competing for five.

By Christian Pollard

A practice manikin at the Dalplex pool (Christian Pollard photo).

The Nova Scotia provincial lifesaving championships will take place this Sunday, Mar. 19, at the Canada Games pool and world-class lifeguard Chris Goulet will be the captain of team Dalplex.

“I’ll be leading a team of four there, and I’ll be doing three of the four individual events,” said Goulet, who has been a lifeguard for 12 years and competing for five.

Originally from Tillsonburg, Ont., Goulet represented Canada at the world lifesaving championships this past October.

“The best part for me was standing on the line with people from different countries, and realizing just how global it is,” said Goulet.

Goulet was a runner for Dalhousie during his undergraduate studies and was recruited to compete as a lifeguard because of his experience and athletic strengths.

“My strength is the beach and the running stuff. I’ve been taught all the pool stuff and paddle boards but my strength has always been the beach because of my running background,” Goulet said. “There are certain events in the pool where I’m stronger – like line throw, manikin etc.”

There are six events taking place at the championship this weekend – an obstacle swim, obstacle relay, 100m manikin tow, line throw, manikin carry, and manikin carry relay.

Goulet is best at the line throw, manikin carry and manikin relay.

For the manikin carry, a competitor must swim 25m and dive to pick up a submerged manikin and carry it back to the finish line.

Watch Goulet as he demonstrates the pickup.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uho5YvwSytM

The manikin relay involves four team members, each swimming 25m and passing it off to a teammate.

Watch as Goulet and a teammate demonstrate the switch.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HCpZohEi6U

The line throw is a simple event, where the competitor must reel in the line, toss it out to a waiting teammate, and pull him back as quickly as possible.

Watch Goulet as he explains and demonstrates with a teammate.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOr2dhGETGw

Lifesaving competitions have been held since the 1930s. Lifesaving was recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a sport in 1996.

It’s not popular in Canada, but in the southern hemisphere, it’s a different story.

“It’s hard to sell. In Australia and South Africa, it’s a huge sell. In Canada people view it as a part time job that students do. It is getting more and more popular, and that’s because people just didn’t know it existed,” said Goulet.

Chris Goulet (left) and a teammate at the Dalplex pool (Christian Pollard photo).

With competition from hockey and other more mainstream sports, lifesaving may never reach the front page, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to grow the sport.

“It needs better development at the grassroots level,” said Goulet. “Don’t let the people who are doing it now let a gap form between people coming up, and keep developing it and who knows where it’ll go from there.”

 

Basketball tournament ‘a success’

The return of the Canadian Interuniversity basketball tournament was successful.

“The buzz was very good this year. Fans locally and from across the country were excited that the event was back in Halifax,” said Phil Currie, the Executive Director of Atlantic University Sport.

The championships were held in Halifax for 24 years prior to 2008. Organizers believe that the move back to the Metro Centre was successful.

By: Rahim Demolitor
The Halifax Metro Centre, site of the 2011 CIS Final 8 Championships

The return of the Canadian Interuniversity basketball tournament was successful.

“The buzz was very good this year. Fans locally and from across the country were excited that the event was back in Halifax,” said Phil Currie, the Executive Director of Atlantic University Sport.

Despite a larger population, the Ottawa site didn’t produce the same level of fan interest.

“It is certainly a bigger deal in Halifax. The nature of the city and the venue’s proximity to hotels, restaurants, and entertainment makes it a unique experience. We also put a considerable amount of effort into the fan experience in Halifax where the Ottawa group does not. I am not saying we are better, just different in our approach,” said Currie.

Ticket sales were lowered than expected. Currie said the tournament’s hiatus could explain that.

“Ticket sales were down a bit but we anticipated this based on being out of the market for three years,” said Currie. “Despite being on the heels of the Canada Games and not getting a local team through to Saturday’s games (second round) or beyond, we were still very happy with the turn out.”

External links
CIS Basketball
Atlantic University Sport    Basketball
Metro Sports  

Basketball Buzz

Canadian University Press
The CIS Blog
The Star Phoenix

The tournament provided a boost in tourism for the city as fans from across Canada came to Halifax to support their university teams.

“We certainly had a large contingent of sport tourists and the host hotel was sold out. There were hundreds of Carleton supporters and close to 100 Saskatchewan fans alone,” said Currie.

While the official numbers regarding the tournament’s profit are yet to be determined, Currie acknowledged they should be close if not on par with previous years.

“We did an economic assessment of the event in 2004 and that showed us that the events brings in $8.5 million in direct benefit if the attendance is in the 30,000 plus range.”

After next year, the Final Eight Championships will move back to Ottawa for the 2013-2014 season. However, with Halifax’s strong history as hosts, organizers feel it will only be a matter of time until the tournament is back again.

Hockey tournament succeeds despite Canada Games

Organizers of the Joe Lamontagne memorial hockey tournament faced volunteer issues this year caused by changes to students’ March break due to the Canada Games. Students in the HRM were given two weeks off in February rather than their usual break in March.

By Erin Meagher

Official Chris Miller drops the puck for the faceoff (Erin Meagher photo).

Organizers of Atlantic Canada’s largest March break hockey tournament had a decision to make: they could either cancel the tournament for a year and pick it up again next year, or they could find a way to make it work.

The Joe Lamontagne memorial hockey tournament faced volunteer issues this year caused by changes to students’ March break.  Students in the HRM were given two weeks off in February for the Canada Games rather than their usual break in March.

Tournament chairman, Jim McGinnis, who has been involved with the tournament for the past five years, was determined to continue the Cole Harbour hockey tradition.

“It was suggested to us…that perhaps we put the tournament on the shelf for this year and pick it up again next year,” says McGinnis. But that idea didn’t fly with the organizers. “We felt that sometimes when you break the chain of continuity among volunteers and everything else that it’s hard to start it back up again. We thought that it would be too risky to miss a year. It was well worth the extra work to make sure the tournament happened this year.”

Mike Boivin has been a volunteer responsible for scheduling ice times and keeping statistics for the Cole Harbour Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association for the past 12 years. He agrees that the committee wanted to find a way to make it work.

“Since this is the 30th anniversary we wanted to have a big tournament but unfortunately with the Canada Games, which is also a big event, we had to scale it back but we didn’t want to cancel it,” he says.

Listen as Jim McGinnis explains the obstacles that his committee had to overcome.

Boivin says the most difficult part was finding officials and volunteers for the games on Friday. The majority of their volunteers are students who, because of the change to the March break this year, were in school during the time of the tournament.

Chris Miller has been a tournament official for the past eight years and he says that there are both benefits and drawbacks to this year’s tournament format.

Action between the Cole Harbour Bantam AA Wings and the Truro Bantam AA Bearcats (Erin Meagher photo).

“I would have to say that I enjoyed having the tournament over the nine days because you get more rest, but I also like the format this year because you get to know the coaches and players a lot more as we’re doing multiple games a night,” says Miller.

The tournament committee had to decrease the size of the tournament significantly as ice time was hard to find. Boivin says  they had to cut out the entire midget rep division as well as the female division.

The number of teams who were able to register was noticeably less than previous years.

“We couldn’t accept as many teams,” says McGinnis. “We would normally on an average year accept anywhere from 160-180 teams. This year we accepted 112.”

Boivon says that was a problem for some of the participants, “Atom had eight team divisions which was the largest. The peewee and bantam categories only had four team divisions so it wasn’t as exciting for the kids. We typically have 8, 12 and 16 team divisions.”

This year’s format also affected the influx of teams from out of province.

“Typically we get three or four teams from Newfoundland but we didn’t get any this year,” says McGinnis. “In the past we’ve had teams come from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, we didn’t expect them to come this year.”

“Every year teams register earlier and earlier,” says McGinnis. “It’s becoming a tournament that when teams form at the beginning of the year and we open registration, it’s one of the very first things they do. We’ve been around for 30 years so there’s tradition and we’re well known in the hockey community. The profile of Cole Harbour as a hockey community has been greatly enhanced by Sidney Crosby. That’s had a big affect on it.”

Tigers winning with defence

After winning their second Atlantic University Sport title in the last three seasons, the Dalhousie Tigers basketball team is set to play in the Canadian university national championship Friday night against Saskatchewan.

By Rahim Demolitor

After winning their second Atlantic University Sport title in the last three seasons, the Dalhousie Tigers men’s basketball team is set to play  in its first game at the Canadian university national championships Friday night against Saskatchewan.

Tiger's head coach John Campbell calls out the defensive sets during Wednesday's practice (Rahim Demolitor photo)

Since 2008, the Tigers have had the least points scored against them in the Atlantic division. The team’s success can be attributed to head coach John Campbell’s defense-first system, which the team has been using for over two years.

“We have stressed that our team defense is our identity and that we need to focus on that in order to win.  The team has gradually bought into the idea and has embraced it.”

The Tigers had nine less points scored against them per-game than any other team during this season.

”I think our main philosophy is to contain penetration and force teams to take contested perimeter shots.  That has been the biggest factor.  We also focus on limiting them to one shot each possession,” said Campbell.

This year, Campbell received the Atlantic University Sport Coach of the Year award.Campbell’s philosophy was proven against St. Francis Xavier in the Atlantic semi-finals, holding opposing guard Christian Upshaw to just 10 points, forcing Upshaw into four offensive fouls, holding him to a 4-15 shooting. Upshaw is a member of the all-Canadian team, which consists of the five best players in Canada.

“We game planned for Christian specifically because he is so explosive,” said Campbell.  “We try to limit his ability to attack the basket and gang up on him early and make him shoot difficult shots.”

Despite the Tigers’ success, Campbell knows their toughest challenge is yet to come.  In 2009, during the opening round of the national university championships, the UBC defeated by the Tigers by 24 points, finishing in last place.

This year, the Tigers aren’t content with just being in the tournament and are aware that it will take more than just defense to be successful against such steep competition.

“We’re a different team then we were in 2009, we have the experience of being there before,” said Campbell.  “This team is also deeper and more balanced then in the past.  We’re also a bit more athletic.”

Dalhousie has never won an national championship and hope to be the first Atlantic team to reach the championship game  since St.  FX hoisted the trophy in 2001.

-Watch the No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers vs. No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies Friday, March 11 at 6:00 pm at the Halifax Metro Centre.  The game will also be televised nationally on TSN2.

External links
Metro Sports
Dalhousie Tigers Home
The Chronicle Herald
 
 
 

Tigers earn second AUS title in three years

As the final seconds ticked down on the clock at the Metro Centre on Sunday afternoon, the Dalhousie University Tigers captured their second Atlantic University Sport title in three years with a 78-47 win over the Acadia University Axemen.

By Erin Meagher

The Dalhousie Tigers hoist their trophy after winning the AUS Men's Basketball Championship on Sunday (Erin Meagher photo).

As the final seconds ticked down on the clock at the Metro Centre on Sunday afternoon, the Dalhousie University Tigers captured their second Atlantic University Sport title in three years with a 78-47 win over the Acadia University Axemen.

“There were different emotions for the players and the coaches,” said Tigers head coach John Campbell. “The players were very enthusiastic, excited and celebratory but from a coaching perspective it’s a quieter emotion and a sense of relief. We were pleased but unfortunately it doesn’t last very long, you start to think about getting prepared for the following weekend.”

Dalhousie finished their regular season second in the AUS standings and therefore had a bye to the semifinals which took place on Saturday night against St. Francis Xavier University. With more than 5,000 fans in attendance, the Tigers rallied to a 79-68 win to advance to the championship game.

Video footage from Tigers vs. X-Men semifinal game

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wATRZCBR8Ew

The Tigers won three of their four regular season games against Acadia University but had to stay focused if they wanted to win, as the Acadia Axemen upset the 19-1 Cape Breton University Capers  in the semifinals.

“We prepared like we do for every other game,” said Campbell. “We were probably a little extra focused just based of the fact that Acadia beat us in our last conference game against them. I think that the guys had a lot of respect for how they can play. We knew that Acadia had played very well the night before against Cape Breton.”

Campbell also made sure that his team did not take anything for granted as these opportunities do not happen often.

“The other thing that we talked about was trying to get the guys to realize how few opportunities you often have to win a championship and how that creates a bit of a legacy for them. We tried to get them to appreciate all of the sacrifices they made along the way and really invest in the opportunity.”

Dalhousie captain Simon Farine had an outstanding weekend. He scored 22 points against St. Francis Xavier University and 24 points against Acadia University. He earned Subway Player of the Game honours on Sunday as well as tournament MVP.

Tigers captain Simon Farine defends against a StFX player (Erin Meagher photo).

Campbell said although his team had a few small breakdowns, they were able to regain their focus quickly and remain positive.

“I’m really pleased with our overall performance. As we came into the weekend we were focused on trying to really execute our game plan over the course of the two days, and in both games for the majority of the time we were successful in doing that.”

John Campbell (left) is in his ninth season as head coach of the Tigers (Erin Meagher photo).

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship will be held at the Metro Centre this coming weekend. Dalhousie will take to the court against Saskatchewan in the CIS quarter-finals on Friday at 6pm and is guaranteed another game on Saturday (see full schedule below).

The Tigers will face some of the best competition in the country but Campbell believes his team can be successful as long as they stick to their game and battle hard.

“We definitely don’t have an easy road. Saskatchewan is the defending national champions. They finished second in a very good conference in western Canada. We have our work cut out for us but at the same time if we’re able to execute our game plan similar to what we did this weekend, I think we can have some success.”

CIS Championship Schedule
Friday, March 11 (quarter-finals)

Game 1: Acadia vs. UBC @ 1pm
Game 2: Trinity Western vs. Lakehead @ 3:15pm
Game 3: Dalhousie vs. Saskatchewan @ 6pm
Game 4: Concordia vs. Carleton @ 8:15pm

Saturday, March 12
Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 @ 12pm
Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 @ 2 :15pm
Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 @ 5pm
Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 @ 8pm

Sunday, March 13
Consolation game (5th place) @ 10:30am
Bronze medal game (3rd place) @ 1:15pm
Championship game (1st place) @ 5pm

 

 

 

 

Halifax to compete with six cities to co-host World Cup

The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup is coming to Canada, and Halifax is among several cities competing to be one of the event’s co-hosts.

Halifax submitted its bid to become a host city in early December, along with Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Moncton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Drawings of a possible new stadium.

By Theresa Ketterling

Halifax submitted its bid to become a host city in early December, along with Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Moncton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Seven candidates trying for six places seems like good odds, but Halifax is the only candidate city currently without a stadium.

Grant McDonald of Events Nova Scotia says plans for a new stadium might give Halifax an advantage over other cities.

External links 


Conceptual drawings of a new stadium that would seat 20 000, presented to HRM in December. In the cover letter WHW Architects say it is reasonable to expect a stadium to cost $3500 per permanent seat. 

 

An overview of FIFA’s requirements for bid cities. Grant McDonald of Events Nova Scotia says the only thing Halifax lacks is a stadium. 

 

HRM news release regarding Canada’s successful bid to host the Women’s World Cup. 

 

HRM news release about the appointment of the steering committee, including a list of members.

“Any exisiting facilities will be looking to perhaps try to add pieces of infrastructure in order to meet the technical requirements, whereas we’ll be able to build to those specifications.”

Planning for a stadium is still in Phase 1. It involves a feasibility study but does not guarantee that a stadium will be built.

Halifax Regional Council will make that decision in June or July, says Betty Lou Killen, manager of the Stadium Analysis Project for HRM.

Council will be advised by a committee, composed of council members, representatives of government, and citizens.

Killen says the committee is composed of “people who are invested in making sure HRM is a great place to live.”

More than 80 people applied for the committee’s six citizen positions, a number Killen calls “record-breaking.”

The committee will review all relevant information regarding the construction of a stadium, oversee studies and consultations, and make recommendations to council.

This summer it will make a recommendation supporting or opposing the construction of a stadium.

Council will make the ultimate decision. If it decides in favour of a stadium, Phase 2 will involve site selection and design consultation. Construction could begin early next year.

FIFA will be visiting all the candidate cities this fall, says McDonald. If stadium construction has moved into Phase 2, FIFA representatives will be able to look at stadium plans and meet with various levels of government as well as the Canadian Soccer Association, he says.

Each of the chosen cities will play host to seven games over 17 days.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 has automatically been awarded to Canada as well, and will serve as a test event for the host cities.