Mooseheads play 3 home games at packed Forum

The Mooseheads played their three home games of the playoff season at the Halifax Forum because the Scotiabank Centre was being used. Fans said the atmosphere was nostalgic and lively.

The old time hockey feeling returned for some Mooseheads fans last week when the team played its three playoff home games at the Halifax Forum.

The team left its home at the Scotiabank Centre, with an 11,093 seating capacity, so the rink could be used for the 2015 Ford world men’s curling championship. The Mooseheads played at the north-end Forum, with a 5,600 seating capacity, where they won two out of their three games against the Shawinigan Cataractes.

While the team had no control over losing the Scotiabank Centre for the games, a spokesman for the Halifax Mooseheads said they did what they could to make accommodations.

Scott MacIntosh said the players loved the atmosphere of the Forum. “We were hoping to go on that old time hockey feel, and it really worked out well for us.”

Season ticket holders were let into the Forum earlier than general admission ticket holders so they could pick their seats first.

The doors to the Multipurpose Centre, the building attached to the Forum, were opened at 3:30 p.m., before the games started for those who had lined up early. The team offered free coffee and played a video with trivia and important Mooseheads hockey moments.

While some ticket holders didn’t attend because the games were held at the Forum, the stadium was packed all three nights, MacIntosh said.

Team banners were hung across the stadium and the logo was painted on the ice, reminding fans that this was a Mooseheads game.

At the Scotiabank Centre, seating is much more spread out and farther away from the ice than at the Forum. “You’re almost on top of the ice,” MacIntosh said about the Forum.

The size of the rink brought the players and the fans closer together. MacIntosh said the players had a lot of fun being a part of that atmosphere.

Mooseheads fan Lukas Macmillan was at the games with his father. “It was a lot more intimate and felt like a community hockey game rather than a corporate game,” he said.

Tim Feely said he’s been going to the games since the team first started playing 20 years ago. Feely lives in the north end and enjoyed being able to walk to the games last week with his wife.

“It’s old, it’s nostalgic,” he said. “It brings back a lot of the old school hockey stadium feeling. It’s noisy. You hear the puck, you hear the players.”

“It was a lot more personal,” Macmillan said. “It felt more intense. Plus, the crowd was right into it.”

Feely said that while the Scotiabank Centre is the better location, it would be a good idea to get the team out of the big arena and into somewhere smaller like the Forum a couple of times a year to remind fans and players of the old traditions of a hockey game.

“It’s just nice to revitalize the place every once in a while,” Feely said.

This was the third time the Mooseheads played at the Halifax Forum. There are seven games left in the playoffs, with the final game on April 21 in Moncton.

King’s Cup raises questions about gender inequality

Out of 29 players at this year’s University of King’s College’s intramural hockey game, only six of them were women.

The 4th annual King’s Cup hockey game took place on Saturday, in a flurry of beer guzzling and joking rivalry, with the Bays defeating Alex Hall 4-1.

The King’s Cup is played by intramural sports teams, organized by residence building. Competitors play for the residence they lived in during their first year at the University of King’s College. The residences consist of Alexandra Hall, Radical Bay, Middle Bay, North Pole Bay, Chapel Bay and Cochran Bay.

Teams were evenly matched skill-wise, but there was a large gender gap on the ice. Out of 29 total players on the roster, only six women played in the game.

Gender inequality didn’t seem to be an issue at the King’s Cup, but it raised questions regarding gender inequality in sport.

Emily Gautreau, a fourth-year player and ringette coach with the Halifax Chebucto Ringette Association, played for Alex Hall this year and said her experience has been positive so far.

“There have always been a core group of us who’ve stuck together from the beginning, and these dudes are the greatest,” she said. “They respect me and the other ladies, and make sure the other guys do the same.”

The Bays pose for a photo after winning the King’s Cup. (Photo: Bronwen McKie)

Silas Brown, a fourth-year player and co-captain of the Bays team, said this year’s King’s Cup had the most female players since it started four years ago.

“We try and see every year, for King’s Cup, how many girls we can get to come play,” said Brown. He added he doesn’t know why more women aren’t playing in the King’s Cup.

“Obviously, not as many girls play hockey as boys do,” he said. “We do go to a liberal arts university. There’s probably not that many people who are athletically oriented.”

While the King’s intramural team is welcoming, Gautreau said overall respect for women in sports is a prevalent problem. Women should have equal access to resources in sports associations, such as ice time, she said.

“This is particularly noticeable when leagues don’t support teams at the rec levels as much as they do at the competitive [level],” she said.

“I think it’s still an issue that a lot of sports are still kind of considered men’s sports,” said Brown. “I don’t know if women’s leagues are helping to change or enforce that stigma.”

A 2010 report states gender inequality in sport is still widespread, especially within the coaching sphere. Gautreau said this is something she has experienced herself.

Gautreau said two experienced male coaches mentored her this ringette season, boosting her credibility and also parents’ respect for her.

“I got so lucky this season and my head coaches are wonderful, supportive, respectful guys. But, I shouldn’t have to be lucky,” she said. “I shouldn’t have to worry about how I’ll be treated because of my gender.

“I don’t really have a solution, but I do believe that talking about it is the only way to deal with it,” she added.

In the meantime, Gautreau will continue to play with the King’s intramural team.

“I haven’t stopped yet and will only stop when I graduate.”

Defending champion Golden Bears knock out St. Francis Xavier X-Men

The StFX X-Men lost to the #1 seed Alberta Golden Bears at the CIS University Cup.

The Alberta Golden Bears made their presence known in their first game at the CIS University Cup Friday night by dominating the host StFX X-Men 5-1. Alberta’s offensive flair was overpowering; the X-Men found themselves hemmed in the defensive zone for the majority of the game. The shots were 34-14 in favour of Alberta.

Courtesy of a sea of blue and white from hometown Xaverian supporters, the X-Men got off to a lively start. Senior forward Michael Kirkpatrick capitalized off of a fallen defender, and found Blake Gal driving the net to open the scoring at 7:54 in the first period.

But with two minutes remaining in the first period, Alberta forward Jordan Hickmott displayed a dazzling individual effort and beat X-Men goalie Drew Owsley below the blocker for a shorthanded goal.

Hickmott’s goal served as a momentum shift for Alberta, as they went on to dominate the remainder of the game.

At 1:18 into the second period, Alberta forward Brennan Yadlowski redirected a shot from Jamie Crooks to give Alberta the lead.

The Golden Bears were relentless on the attack, and continued to smother the X-Men defence. After a spirited forecheck, Alberta’s Travis Toomey found the back of the net at 15:27 in the second period to add to the lead. Stephane Legault and Jesse Craige added assists on the play.

Tension began to brew between the two clubs during the final seconds of the second period. After a hard net drive by Alberta’s Jevko Koper, graduating X-Men and team captain Robert Slaney crosschecked Koper ensuing a scrum in front of the StFX net. Alberta’s Johnny Lazo mixed it up with X-Men defencemen Trey Lewis resulting in both players being sent to the penalty box.

At the opening of the third period, Alberta’s Dylan Bredo circled the offensive zone to find team captain Kruise Reddick alone in front to blast home a one-timer to make it 4-1.

The X-Men were tenacious on the puck throughout the dying minutes of the game, but at 12:08 CIS first-team all-star T.J Foster deflated the X-Men after beating Drew Owsley blocker side on a two-on-one.

The 8th seed X-Men are eliminated from the CIS University Cup after falling to the 1st seed Alberta Golden Bears 5-1.

An estimated 5000 were in attendance to watch StFX take on Alberta in the CIS University Cup quarter-final. Photo by Connor Currie
An estimated 5000 were in attendance to watch StFX take on Alberta in the CIS University Cup quarter-final. (Photo: by Connor Currie)


X-Women close out Tigers in dramatic finish

StFX X-Women move onto the Subway AUS hockey final after sweeping the Dalhousie Tigers.

The StFX X-Women ended the Dalhousie Tigers’s season Thursday night with a 3-1 win at the Halifax Forum. The X-Women won the Subway AUS best-of-three semi-final series 2-0.

StFX senior forward Alexa Normore jammed in a rebound past Tigers goaltender Jessica Severyns to open the scoring at 6:29 into the first period. Heather Tillsley and Schyler Campbell tallied assists on the play.

It wasn’t long before Dalhousie’s Lisa MacLean answered back with a blistering slap-shot that beat the league-leading goaltender Sojung Shin.

The X-Women controlled the play for the majority of the second period. League-leading scorer Normore was tenacious on the puck and overpowered many of Dalhousie’s defensemen.

“She is a great player,” said Tigers defencemen Rachel Carr.

“She was hard to contain all night. Her and her line-mate Schyler Campbell work very well together. They are two special players.”

In the second period, after an onslaught of shots and minutes of the Tigers being hemmed in their own end, Sarah Bujold sent Daley Oddy in on a partial breakaway, where she displayed a dazzling set of hands and tucked in a slick backhand past Jessica Severyns.

The X-Women led 2-1 heading into the final minutes of the third period.

In desperation, Tigers coach Sean Casey pulled Severyns in an attempt to tie it up.

But the X-Women’s size and strength prevailed, and with 47 seconds left in the game, senior forward Kara Power out hustled the Tigers’s defence and buried the puck into the open net to solidify the lead.

The X-Women edged the Tigers 3-1.

Shots on goal were 31-25 in favour of the X-Women.

Despite sweeping the series, StFX coach Ben Berthiaume was glad it was over.

“Dalhousie was relentless,” said Berthiaume.

“They were a very hard working team. It was a tough series.”

The X-Women will go on to play Moncton in the Subway AUS championship.

Lisa MacLean battles for puck possession after a face-off. (Photo: Connor Currie)