By Kristy Koehler, January 22 2019 —
The Crowchild Classic — the University of Calgary’s annual marquee event for Dinos athletics — is switching things up. Beginning in 2020, the Dinos and the Mount Royal University Cougars will reverse the order of the double header men’s and women’s hockey games.
Traditionally, the women’s game has been played in the early afternoon with the coveted primetime spot being reserved for the men’s game. Going forward, on even years, the men will play before the women. On odd years, the women will go first. The 2019 game was business as usual, with the women taking to the ice in the afternoon and the men following.
“It’s something we’ve been contemplating for a couple years now,” said Dinos athletic director Jason Kerswill. “Over the years there were a lot of discussions around Mount Royal’s campus and our campus and it really came back to the question of, ‘Why not?’ ”
Kerswill hopes the switch will lead to more fans attending the women’s game. He adds that U of C and MRU are the only schools in the country making such a move.
“These are fantastic female student athletes who play a great brand of hockey and we’re really excited to take the lead within Canada and have the females go second in a marquee event,” he said. “We felt that his was the right opportunity to really, on a national stage, do something special.”
Masters student Matthew Beaupré is a big hockey fan. He was looking forward to seeing both games, but is disappointed that his class schedule doesn’t line up with the early start of the women’s game. He’s happy that the university plans to switch up the games next year, but thinks it should have been a decision made much sooner.
“I find it disappointing that the women’s hockey match is being put in a time slot which makes it inaccessible to a large portion of the student body,” Beaupré said.
“These athletes are just as skilled and devoted to their sport as their male counterparts so they deserve as much of an opportunity to show that off. Growing the game is important to the sport and encouraging people other than straight white males to participate can only be good for the level of skill the rest of us get to see on display,” he added. “A good starting place from the university’s side of things is to make sure the highest profile women’s hockey game on their schedule doesn’t conflict with so many students’ work and class schedules.”