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Puck, play and friendship: Courtney Kollman’s memory of this year’s Crowchild Classic 

By Radhya Comar, March 27 2024—

It is not unlikely for athletes to feel a cocktail of emotions leading up to the Crowchild Classic. The game is an institution at both the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Students from the two schools combined can form crowds of over 10,000 people at the Scotiabank Saddledome. This is not to mention how iconic the venue is itself, being the home of the Calgary Flames and a mecca of hockey history. As if this were not enough to add pressure onto the athletes, the Crowchild Classic is not just an exhibition game. It is still a part of the regular season. Therefore, each shot, save and goal still counts towards the team’s ambitions for the season. It is understandable these factors together can impact athletes leading up to the big game. However, there was one athlete in particular whose emotions were even more amplified. 

Courtney Kollman, a forward on the Dinos, joined the university earlier this year. Originally at MRU, she transitioned over to Ucalgary to pursue her graduate studies in Biomedical Technology. Having played on the MRU team throughout her undergraduate degree, there were definitely many familiar faces on the ice for Kollman. 

“I definitely recognized their faces, a lot of those girls are my best friends, we were so close after winning nationals last year so I was definitely talking to them on the ice a lot and having little conversations, said Kollman in an interview with the Gauntlet. 

Of course, for many college teams that play each other numerous times throughout the year, athletes will recognize different jersey numbers and names. This, however, cannot compare to the personal connections that were formed with players on the other side while they were your teammates. For Kollman, there was no animosity between herself and the players in blue and white. 

“There is a lot of respect between me and those girls. They know that I needed to make the change to come over to U of C and play […] I think we were happy to be playing each other and I would say there are no hard feelings between me and them,” she said. 

Although there was no awkwardness, the high-scorer does recall the added pressure of playing against her former teammates. 

“When everyone on the other team knows who you are it obviously makes you push a little bit harder,” she stated. 

Obviously, it was this pressure that pushed Kollman to score the first goal in the game. 

“It was pretty lucky […] She’s a very good goalie and I think we knew we needed to get in front of her, in front of her eyes or she was going to save most of the shots.” 

Kollman credits her teammate, Dana Wood, for bringing the puck up to the blue line and pushing it with just enough power for her to tap it with her stick and get it in the net. 

When asked if the time she spent with the Cougars gave her an upper hand playing against them, Kollman replied that she definitely remembered small characteristics of their play. 

“I obviously know some of their plays and having played with their goalie, you kind of know a bit of her tendencies,” she stated. 

However, with hockey being such a fast-paced game with so many players, she was doubtful of whether it impacted the game or not. 

“It’s very much a team game and I don’t know if me knowing their little plays helped or not,” she said. 

This was not the first time the Dinos had encountered the Cougars during this season and not was it the last. Although, with a large number of students and faculty from both sides in attendance, it definitely was the most intense. Nonetheless, Kollman was commendable in both her form and her adaptability during this year’s Crowchild Classic. Playing at her best against her old team, she displayed both athleticism and sportsmanship. She proves that despite their rivalry, Mount Royal and UCalgary can share heartwarming moments both on and off the ice. 

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