HALIFAX, NS – The majority of the AUS schedule for 2021-22 is out, with some events including curling yet to have dates revealed.
Heck yeah, it’s happening. And it’s not only for competition east of Edmundston, NB.
All four U SPORTS conferences revealed at least some schedule details with each passing week, making the optimist’s view even more so each time. Dates and hosts for nearly every U SPORTS championship are now official. The first regular season game in the country since early 2020 is on Aug. 28, a showdown between RSEQ football’s Montreal Carabins and the Sherbrooke Vert et Or.
While the AUS was the first conference to release their schedule on June 16, it will be the second-to-last U SPORTS conference to kick off regular season play (behind the RSEQ in August and Canada West, who begin on Sept. 4). The OUA plans to get going on Sept. 18 with a slew of games on the gridiron.
With that being said, let’s take a look at what we know in the AUS schedule so far with my Super Schedule Guide. This will be the first of two things with cool names I will present today, as this will keep track of key dates, games and events in the conference this year. We will aim to keep this as updated as possible and potentially move to its own spot on the 49 SPORTS website soon.
Additionally, further details on the 2020-21 AUS schedule can be found here.
Luke’s Super AUS Schedule GuideTM
1 – First known exhibition games in the season begin, featuring soccer games. Expect some to take place in August though.
10 – AUS regular season competition begins with soccer games (Men’s and women’s StFX @ UPEI)
10 – First currently-scheduled exhibition men’s football game (Acadia @ StFX)
11 – Women’s rugby season begins (SMU @ Acadia, StFX @ UPEI)
17 – Football season opener (StFX @ SMU)
17 – First known exhibition hockey game (Men’s DAL @ StFX)
18 – First cross-country meet at StFX
24 – First known exhibition basketball games (Men’s and women’s Mount Saint Vincent (ACAA)@StFX)
2 – Cross-country meet at Acadia
6 – Hockey seasons begin (Women’s StFX@DAL, men’s Moncton@UNB)
10-12- Thanksgiving break
16 – Cross-country meet at UNB/STU
16 – Last day of rugby regular season
16-17- First swim meet of season at Acadia
22-24- Date range for rugby semifinal (2v3)
29 – Basketball regular season begins (Various teams playing)
29 – Women’s volleyball regular season begins (SMU@MEM)
29-31- Date range for rugby final (1 v SF winner)
30 – AUS cross-country championships at Moncton
30 – Last day of soccer regular seasons
30 -31- Swim meet at UNB
4-7- AUS soccer championships in Cape Breton
6 – Last day of football regular season
10 -14- U SPORTS women’s rugby championships at Queen’s
13 – Football semifinals (1v4, 2v3)
18-21- U SPORTS soccer championships (Men at Carleton, women at CBU)
20 – U SPORTS cross-country at Laval
20 – AUS Loney Bowl football championship
26-28- Swim meet at Dalhousie
27 – Football Uteck bowl (Loney Bowl champion vs RSEQ champion)
4 – Vanier Cup U SPORTS football championship
4 – Last day of competition before exams/winter break
5 – First day back in action
15-16- Swim meet at Dalhousie
11-13- AUS swimming championships at Memorial
12 – Last day of hockey regular seasons
19 – Last day of volleyball/basketball regular seasons
25-26- AUS track & field championships at Moncton
25-27- AUS basketball championships at Halifax
25-27- U SPORTS swimming championships at Laval
4-6- Volleyball semifinals (best-of-three series, 1v4 and 2v3)
10-12- U SPORTS track & field championships at UNB
10-13- U SPORTS Final 8 women’s basketball championships at Queen’s
11-13- U SPORTS Final 8 men’s basketball championships at Edmonton (Hosted by University of Alberta)
11-13- AUS volleyball finals (SF winners, best-of-three series)
17-20- U SPORTS U CUP men’s hockey championships at Halifax (Hosted by Acadia)
24-27- U SPORTS women’s hockey championships at UPEI
25-27- U SPORTS women’s volleyball championships at Calgary
Again, a reminder this schedule isn’t complete. Namely, no curling details are out yet and the only track & field event scheduled so far is the AUS championship in February.
The Hype ListTM
As promised, I would have a second cool title in this article. I present to you, The Hype List (or Luke’s Must-See Matchups). Kickass monikers aside, I’ll preview and point out some highly-anticipated games in the upcoming AUS season, out of the games we know of so far.
No one knows who will meet in any finals yet, but we know the hype will be high when they come around. Despite that, championship games are excluded from the list. I’ll narrow down a list of one or two games per league to assign can’t-miss status to. Also, I only previewed team sports for this list. Whether a matchup between league juggernauts, teams on the rise or a rivalry, these are games to mark on your calendar right away.
Men’s: Dalhousie @ UNB, Jan. 28– We’ll have to wait until almost the end of the season for this one, but this will be NBLC veteran coach Joe Salerno’s first crack at the league’s best team, the Tigers, as UNB’s bench boss. He joined the coaching staff this summer, taking over for Brent Baker. With UNB finishing second in win percentage in 2019-20, this could be a championship game preview.
Cape Breton @ Acadia, Jan. 29- Both teams finished with 20 points in 2019-20. However, only one made it into the playoffs as the sixth and final seed, as the Capers beat Acadia in the season series. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is. Did I mention this will be a four-point game?
Women’s: UPEI @ Acadia, Nov. 19- The first rematch of the 2020 final is slated for mid-November, this time with the Axewomen boasting home-court advantage. Although the Panthers won by 19 the last time they met in that championship, they tied at the top of the standings in the regular season. So, expect a much, much closer matchup.
Memorial @ UNB, Nov. 20- The top two teams in the AUS may have kept it close in 2019-20, but the next two could be even closer. After all, two of their four bouts that season were decided by a single point, one of them needing overtime. Three of them were within five points too. Each team has a hill to climb to contend for the championship, but their respective roads will have to involve knocking off the other.
Mount Allison @ Bishop’s, Sept. 25- Heading into the 2019 playoffs, Mount A was playing their best football of the year; they defeated Bishop’s by 23 and barely lost to the defending champs from Acadia, all in the final two weeks of the regular season. But Mount A would bow out to the Gaiters in the semifinal. The Mounties have waited a long time for this rematch.
Men’s: StFX @ SMU, Oct. 8- Yes, the Huskies host local foes Dalhousie the next night, but this is the match to see on hockey’s opening weekend. Both teams are among the conference’s highest-scoring and, as we’ve seen over the last regular season or two, are typically at each other’s throats every time they meet. Expect a playoff atmosphere.
Acadia @ UNB, Oct. 13- If the X-Men and Huskies are the game of the week in week one, this bout should take the cake in week two. The powerhouse UNB program welcomes Acadia to town, who have spent the last three offseasons loading up on rookies with the U Cup berth carrot-on-a-stick. With this season finally theirs to host, the Reds remain the favourite to punch their ticket to Halifax as well.
Women’s: UNB @ St. Thomas, Oct. 9- Fredericton’s Battle of the Hill has given us some great recent history. In 2020, UNB and STU took their AUS quarterfinal the full three games, decided by a 1-0 score in game three. This past winter, the two clashed four times, highlighted by a barnburner 6-5 Tommies win in the last matchup. Of any AUS game last winter, that may be the one game I can describe as unforgettable. With each team keeping most of their rosters intact, prepare for more of the same action.
StFX @ SMU, Oct. 30- Not only is this a finals rematch but the first meeting this year between two of AUS hockey’s most dominant teams of the last decade. They’ve each finished top three in the standings in the last four full seasons. Plus, the X-Women are riding a 17-game winning streak (excluding exhibition play) into this season. The last team to beat them? SMU, on Nov. 24, 2019. StFX must extend the streak to 24 for SMU to have a shot at snapping it.
UPEI @ Acadia, Sept. 18- For me, it was between this matchup and the Acadia/StFX 2019 finals rematch (the week after). This will be a great game for Acadia to have before facing the high-flying X-Women; UPEI kept it close late in the 2019 season, including in Acadia’s semifinal win, and could challenge for the title as soon as this year. UPEI plays StFX in week one, so you’d better believe the Panthers will be well-tuned heading into Wolfville after.
Men’s: Dalhousie @ SMU, Sept. 16- The Tigers beat their Haligonian counterparts in each meeting of the 2019 regular season. The Halifax derby commenced again in the AUS quarterfinals, where a thriller of a match resulted in a SMU victory, after two periods of extra time. With two of their meetings in 2019 ending in one-goal differentials and the other a two-goal spread, the teams are likely to battle to close results (on the scoreboard and in the playoff race) again in 2021.
Cape Breton @ UNB, Sept. 18- A rivalry has developed between historical alphas of the AUS UNB and the four-time defending champions from Cape Breton. They’ve met five times in the AUS final since 2012, with the Capers taking three of those. While Cape Breton cruised to a title in 2019, UNB was upset by UPEI in the AUS championship quarterfinals. The Reds will be hungry to finally get their first shot in two years against CBU, each team a good prediction to reach the finals this season.
Women’s: UNB @ Dalhousie, Sept. 11- These squads only met twice in 2019, but each with major implications on their seasons. Dal won the first game between them, which eventually resulted in the Tigers finishing one point ahead of UNB in the regular season. The Reds returned the favour in the AUS quarterfinals, winning with three second-half goals. With the stakes so high for so many of their games, it’s only fitting that each team’s first game of the season is against one another.
Acadia @ Cape Breton, Sept. 26- The 2019 AUS final was a true battle between offence and defence. The Capers could fill the net at will, having scored ten more goals than the next team in the regular season. Conversely, Acadia smothered teams with defence and possession, aiding their undefeated regular season. And that’s what they did to CBU in the first half of the final. What Cape Breton did best, well, they did in the second half to the Axewomen, enough to win them the championship. They’ve met in three of the last five finals and are slated to be competitive again this year.
UNB @ Acadia, Nov. 12- These teams were the definition of Even-Steven in 2019-20. Meeting four times, the Axewomen took the first two matches and the Reds countered with wins in the last two. Better yet, each team won the same number of sets in those matches, with six each. Season records? 12 wins and eight losses, for 24 points. Yes, for both teams. They didn’t meet in the playoffs, but each team will be out to prove this season that they are the better of the pair.
Dal @ SMU, Nov. 13- Five finals matchups in the last nine years? A rematch of the 2020 championship? Crosstown rivals? Yeah, Dal vs SMU has it all. Although the eight-time defending champs Tigers have had the Huskies’ number (and everyone else’s) lately, SMU has worked to separate itself from the pack the last couple of seasons, including winning all but one set in the Acadia semifinal in 2020. Only Dal stands between SMU and the AUS crown.