By Tori Taylor, February 4 2020 —
This year’s Crowchild Classic brought in record-breaking numbers for the women’s hockey game. The decision was made last year to switch the women’s and men’s games. Typically the women’s team has played in the earlier time slot. However, this year the men’s team took the 4 p.m. time and the women’s team played at 6:45 p.m. There was hope that the later game would give the women’s team a larger crowd than in previous years.
The University of Calgary Dinos and Mount Royal University Cougars went head to head on Jan. 30 in front of a fully loaded stadium of 10,002 fans. The Dinos led with defensive dominance throughout all three periods and won 4–1. Kelsey Roberts was an unstoppable force with her damn-near shut-out. She shut down 20 out of 21 shots.
This year’s Crowchild Classic even broke the attendance record in 1968 at the national championship game between Loyola and Alberta at the Montreal Forum. In 2007, CIS set a record of 5,346 when McGill played Concordia at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Comparing that attendance count to what went down last Thursday at the Scotiabank Saddledome shows a staggering leap in support and local team spirit.
There was an attendance concern in 2019 when an admission fee of $5 was put in place. The money raised was split in half between the U of C and MRU as funding for student-wellness. Thankfully, this entry fee did not seem to cause an issue — numbers actually rose by 1,000 in tickets from 2018–2019 and stayed strong as ever this year.
The choice to swap the women’s hockey game to the later slot — a more popular time for spectators — was an excellent move towards supporting women’s hockey. With the recent folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, it stands to say that our women’s teams deserve positive vibes and a solid show of support more now than ever before.
Hockey Hall of Fame member and Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette agrees that putting the women’s game into the prime-time slot is a big step towards the growth of women’s hockey.
“The two universities putting the game at 6:45 p.m. was a great idea,” said Danielle Goyette, Hockey Hall of Fame member and the current Dinos head coach. “The impact on women’s hockey is huge. We were always behind the men, and I like what the University of Calgary and Mount Royal are doing to give the girls the opportunity to play in front of a full-house inside the Saddledome.”
With 10,002 amped up fans in the stands, compared to previous years of only a few thousand or less, the Dinos women’s team was able to dominate their game and play in full-force.
“It might be a player’s first time,” said Goyette. “And it might even be the only game in their life where they get to play in front of so many people. It’ll be a great experience in their lifetime.”
If there was ever any anxiety felt about the crowd numbers, the Dinos did not show it. With only a few minutes into the first period Rebecca Clarke got the scoreboard rolling. Just over halfway into the second period Elizabeth Lang scored the second goal.
Overall, MRU wildly outshot the U of C — the Dinos only fired off 12 shots. But Roberts impressively held strong. Brooke Dennet brought energy and enthusiasm up as she scored their third goal in the last few minutes of the third period. Dennet also finished the game with a goal at the end of the fourth period, after MRU had pulled their goalie.
The game was packed with cheering viewers and both teams fed off of that energy. It was a fantastic Crowchild Classic game — definitely a night to feel proud repping your Dinos gear!