By Maggie Hsu, August 31 2022—
Your University of Calgary Dinos football team are ready to kickoff their 2022 season against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Sept. 2 at McMahon Stadium as they make another bid for the Vanier Cup. The five-time Vanier Cup Champions are looking to return to the Canada West playoffs after missing it for the first time since 2006.
This event first started in 2006 as a celebration to mark the official start of the school year and unofficial start of the Dinos’ athletic season. Kickoff is back after COVID put the event on hiatus for two years and will act as the introduction to Dinos Athletics for many new students.
Historically, the Dinos have an outstanding record for Kickoff. Since the start of this event, the Dinos have not lost a game since 2007, outscoring their opponents 448 to 238 (not including the 2014 Kickoff game the Dinos forfeited). There are good signs that the Dinos will, once again, come out on top for this game.
To test the waters, the Dinos traveled to Vernon, B.C. during their 2022 Summer Training Camp for the Kalamalka Bowl. The Kalamalka Bowl was “created to provide opportunity for U Sports/CIS teams to meet at neutral site.” In this preseason tilt, the Dinos faced the UBC Thunderbirds but unfortunately fell by a score of 7 to 28, sending the Dinos back home to reevaluate what they can improve on before heading into their regular season games.
Dating back to 1964, the Dinos have faced their Kickoff opponents, the Huskies, 111 times. Over these 111 games, the Dinos have defeated the Huskies 68 times, including their match on Nov. 9, 2019 where the Dinos were declared the Hardy Cup Champions after a 29-4 win. Their most recent match up on Nov. 6, 2021 ended the Dinos’ season at a loss of 23 to the Huskies’ 31 where the Dinos showed moments of strength and talent but fell short despite a fourth quarter push.
The Sept. 2 game will be a bit of a redemption as the Dinos aim to maintain their winning record against the Huskies.
The Dinos are looking for a refresh as the team was able to get together for their normal winter and summer training sessions. These training sessions not only keep the team in shape but help build the spirit and cohesiveness of the team that can translate to teamwork and communication on the field.
Coach Wayne Harris has noted that the Dinos had a “very young defence” last season so stepping into University-level football had been a large step for some of them. This season, they are hopeful that our younger defensive line will have that season of experience behind them and will be able to use that as a building block to make for a solid 2022 season.
With the vacancies left by Jalen Philpot, Tyson Philpot, and Jacob Plamondon who are in their rookie seasons on CFL teams, as well as a number of players graduating and moving on from the University, there is a lot of new blood and opportunity to get their feet wet in U Sports football. Joining a dynasty like the Dinos who are perennial favourites to win the Canada West conference and are always competitors for the Vanier Cup Championship, the new players have big shoes to fill but with an experienced coaching staff and senior players to guide them, the Dinos are shaping up to be a strong competitor this year.
Kickoff will be a great chance for the Dinos to show what they have in front of a loud and proud home crowd as Orientation Week comes to an end with a huge party to watch the Dinos play at McMahon. Kickoff will feature a free BBQ and carnival-like activities for students with opportunities to win prizes. For more information, visit the U of C Dinos website.