Vancouver, BC – With COVID-19 vaccines slowly rolling out across Canada, there is a chance that university sport could return in the fall. But for now, university sport remains largely shuttered across the country, save for Atlantic Canada, where exhibition competition wrapped up this past weekend.
Vaccines will come eventually for everyone north of the 49th parallel. Anyways, here are the headlines.
WHKY: Tampa Bay Lightning’s Julien BriseBois helps out the UdeM Carabins.
After reaching the pinnacle of men’s hockey with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020, Stanley Cup champion GM Julien BrisBois harkened back to his university days, donating $75,000 to the women’s hockey program at the Universite de Montreal.
Known for its football program, the Carabins only have a women’s side in hockey, and that is where the entire sum will go. The donation will go towards the development of coaches and coaching of athletes in the Carabins program.
Any financial boost is a welcome one at this time for university athletics, and UdeM surely appreciates Brisbois’s donation.
“It’s only natural to want to give back to my alma mater,” BriseBois said in a statement. “As graduates, we have a responsibility to pay it forward to the university that provided us with the education we needed to realize our ambitions. And we are fortunate as UdeM is one of the leading academic institutions in the world.
The Carabins have made the RSEQ final 10 out of the last 11 seasons and will look to again when sport potentially resumes in the fall.
WHKY: Ryerson’s Lisa Haley hired by the NWHL
Ryerson Rams women’s hockey Head Coach Lisa Haley is joining the National Women’s Hockey League as senior vice president of hockey operations. Haley was an assistant coach with the league’s Toronto Six in their inaugural season while also having the Head Coaching role with Ryerson and the Hungarian National Team.
In her new role with the league, she will be responsible for “facilitating the annual player draft, player development, managing and establishing key partnerships, plus overseeing and building on the league’s relationships with national governing bodies and [university]college hockey programs.”
“My career with the NWHL is very young; however, this season as a member of the Toronto Six coaching staff my eyes were opened to the potential of this league,” said the Nova Scotia native in a league release. “I am very grateful to continue my involvement and highly motivated to be part of the future of a viable professional women’s hockey league. It’s inspiring to work with such a strong leadership group of women across the NWHL.”
Haley has coached U SPORTS hockey for over 20 years, splitting her time behind the benches of the St. Mary’s Huskies and now the Ryerson Rams.
FB: U SPORTS athletes invited to CFL Combine
The Canadian Football League has invited 69 U SPORTS student-athletes to take part in the CFL Draft Combine in April. Unlike years past, the 2021 edition will be held virtually, with testing, football drills and interviews taking place over video conference.
The CFL’s Global Draft is scheduled for April 15, while the main draft is May 4. The 2021 Draft will be six rounds rather than eight due to the pandemic, and the Hamilton Tigercats hold the first overall selection.
TSN will broadcast the CFL Draft on May 4 at 7:00 pm ET.
MSOC: U SPORTS hits FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Two former U SPORTS soccer players made their mark with the Canadian men’s national soccer team over the last week in victories over Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. CF Montreal centreback and former TWU defender Joel Waterman stayed on the bench but earned his first callup to the senior men’s national team.
Ex-York Lions midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye played an integral role in Canada’s record-setting 11-0 win over the Cayman Islands. The former OUA All-Star and First Team All-Canadian scored his first and second international goals in his 15th cap for Canada.
With the two wins and the goal differential, Canada sits atop their group in the first round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. There are still two, potentially three more rounds before Canada can book their ticket to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Acadia’s Kevin Dickie set to retire
Kevin Dickie, Acadia University’s Director of Athletics, is retiring after the U SPORTS Annual General Meeting in June. Dickie has spent the last 34 years involved in sport as a coach and administrator and has been Acadia’s AD since 2011.
Dickie oversaw the #CelebrAtionOfSport with the Acadia athletics programs this year, helping winter sports return to competition for in-province exhibition games. In 2019-20, he was integral in organizing the U CUP men’s hockey tournament, before working to ease the impact on the cancellation of the tournament. Acadia also hosted four national championships throughout his tenure.
As a coach with the Axemen hockey program, Dickie led Acadia to three AUS titles before returning to junior hockey to come back to Acadia in 2011 as their AD. As an AD, Acadia’s team’s cumulative winning percentage has skyrocketed 77%, while academic standing has also thrived.
“If you’d have told me as a young 23-year-old, I was going to spend the next 34 years of my life with a job in sports, well, it was my goal and my dream, but I’m not sure I’d have believed it,” said Dickie in the university’s announcement. “I tell people all the time, I’ve got the best job in the world, and I’m excited about the years ahead. Cindy and our boys have allowed me to chase so many opportunities. I just feel incredibly blessed.”
EXTRA: BCIHL’s Selkirk College Saints shutter men’s hockey program
When the Lethbridge Pronghorns closed the doors on their men’s hockey program in the spring of 2020, it only signalled the potential of what is to come in Canadian university and collegiate sports.
On Monday, the Selkirk College Saints of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League closed down their men’s hockey program, citing budgetary constraints.
The BCIHL had five teams in 2019-20, but with the Trinity Western Spartans moving to U SPORTS, only three remain. Sources tell 49 Sports that the league still plans on forging ahead with only Vancouver Island, Victoria and Simon Fraser, but the potential for change is always possible.
Players on the Selkirk College Saints are scrambling to find new teams to play for, but it is proving a challenge with limited collegiate options. The program was actively recruiting, and those players are now seeking other options as well.
The Wednesday wrap-up will be available weekly, highlighting the biggest stories in U SPORTS from the last seven days. To keep up with men’s hockey recruits, make sure to follow us on Twitter @49SPORTNET.