By Kristy Koehler, August 29 2018 —
Action-packed and with a storied history of athletic prowess, the Dinos Athletics program offers a chance to get your school spirit on. The University of Calgary teams offer a lot to be proud of, winning 46 national championships in 10 sports throughout the school’s history. There are a number of ways to keep up with the Dinos. The Red Rising organizes hype games for each varsity sport, aiming to increase attendance and boosting Dinos pride. Twitter accounts for all the varsity teams will keep you up to date with the latest scores. If statistics are more your thing, the Dinos website breaks down individual player, with game-by-game and cumulative season stats. Android and iPhone users can also download the Dinos Red Zone app and check in to games to qualify for prizes.
Here’s a look at what to watch for in the 2018–19 season in some of the U of C’s varsity sports programs.
Men’s basketball will undoubtedly provide an exciting season as the Dinos look to defend their national championship. The Dinos advanced through the Canada West playoffs in the 2017–18 season, beating both Brock University and McGill University in the U Sports Final 8. In a thrilling 79–77 win over the Ryerson Rams, the Dinos brought Calgary its first national championship for men’s basketball. Over more than 50 years, the Dinos made 10 appearances at the national tournament but had been previously unable to bring home the W.P. McGee Trophy. This year, the Dinos are looking to repeat, hoping to join the ranks of schools like Carleton and Saint Francis Xavier who have hoisted the trophy more than once.
The women’s team is also coming off of a great season. Scoring leader Brianna Ghali won the Sylvia Sweeney award for her commitment to community service and academics in conjunction with her prowess on the court. The team ended up with the consolation win in the Final 8, edging out Trinity Western for the final Canada West berth. Cheer on your Dinos as they try for a spot in the Final 8 again, for the second time since 2013.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are back at the Jack Simpson in late October as the Canada West Conference kicks off. Stay tuned for one of the Dinos marquee events, Pack the Jack, as the teams take on the Mount Royal Cougars in an always-heated hometown rivalry.
The women’s field hockey team opens their season on Sept. 22, hosting the Victoria Vikes and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds for four straight home-field games. Not having won a game outright since 2011 — they tied one game in 2012 — the Dinos have a lot of work to do. It’s been the Thunderbirds dominating the sport for the last seven years. Despite the losing record, the Dinos teams of years past have been packed with talent. Last year, Michelle Patterson and Sabrina Wong were named U Sports All-Canadians. This year’s games promise to be exciting as the team looks for the win that’s eluded them for the better part of a decade. Home games take place on campus at Hawkings Field.
When it comes to football, the Dinos are a force to be reckoned with. The team has delivered six consecutive Hardy Trophy wins, given to the winners of the Canada West Conference, from 2008–13 and again in both 2016 and 2017. More Canadian Football League players have come from the Dinos than any other university since 2003. The Dinos hold the record for most players drafted into the Canadian Football League from Canadian universities since 2003. The most recent draft saw eight out of 69 draft prospects coming out of the Dinos program. After Kickoff on Sept. 7, three home games promise exhilarating football action. The Dinos will square off against the Huskies, the Bisons and the Rams at McMahon Stadium. The Vanier Cup has remained elusive for the Dinos since 1995, but the team has a good shot at securing the championship this year.
The puck drops on Sept. 28 for the men’s hockey season as the Dinos play host to the University of Manitoba Bisons for back-to-back home games at Father David Bauer Arena. Narrowly missing out on the conference final last season, the Dinos look to make up for the loss this year.
The women’s team opens their season of conference play in Winnipeg on Oct. 5. Their first home game pits them against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 12.
The most anticipated Dinos sporting event of the year is likely the Crowchild Classic. The feature event of the annual multi-sport competition between the U of C Dinos and the MRU Cougars is the hockey game that takes place every winter at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Each of the last three men’s games ended with a Dinos victory in double-overtime. Tentatively scheduled for Jan. 24, 2019, the Ultimate Crosstown Smackdown is a hometown rivalry not to be missed.
The Dinos are on the hunt for their third-consecutive Canada West Conference championship. An expanded conference schedule sees Calgary hosting two home games, one on Sept. 16 versus the University of Alberta and a second on Sept. 30 against the University of Lethbridge. The women of the Dinos varsity team are on track to cement their status as a rugby powerhouse. Team member Alyson MacDougall was recently named to the roster of Rugby Canada’s Tri-Nations Cup. As well, the Dinos will participate in the rugby sevens pilot project for the third year in a row in addition to their regular schedule.
Without a conference championship for 12 seasons, the women’s soccer team looks to improve this season. Last year’s team was young and were plagued by injury but still managed to have six players receive conference recognition, earning Canada West All-Star or All-Rookie nods. These six players are returning, joined by six rookies to round out the squad. Keep your eyes on Maddison Fritze and Kelsie MacDonald, returning players who dominated the pitch in goals and shots last season. The team takes to the field just after classes start.
Men’s soccer is underway. Ahead of the season opener, fellow Canada West conference coaches ranked all of the conference teams, excluding their own. The Dinos placed fourth on that list, ahead of nine others but behind the first-place UBC Thunderbirds. The Alberta Golden Bears and Trinity West Spartans placed second and third respectively. The ranking comes despite the relative youth of the team. Only three players are in their fourth year, with defender Ryan Doering being the lone fifth-year athlete. The lean roster features only 21 players. A Canada West championship has eluded the team since 1980, but hope is on the horizon, despite an early season loss.
The men’s volleyball team begins their conference schedule with a home game match-up against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. For the last few years, Trinity Western has dominated the volleyball landscape, taking home three conference titles and two national championships. The Dinos won four consecutive conference championships in the early ‘90s and a return to that kind of dominance is what the team is looking for.
Last year, the women’s team hoisted their first Canada West conference trophy since 2005. After triumphing over the UBC Thunderbirds to claim the conference win, the T-birds got revenge, besting the Dinos in the bronze medal match at the national championships. That rivalry resumes at home in February, shortly after the two-game series against the MRU Cougars.
Superfans can stream the Dinos away games and other conference action, live at CanadaWest.tv for a fee but nothing beats a home game. Student tickets are free and the atmosphere is unbeatable. When the Dinos clinch a playoff spot, it’s only $5 to get in on the action. Cheer on your fellow students every chance you get!