Coach’s Corner: Coaching the Cougars Since we were a College
By Josh Werle, Contributor
Scott Rivett has been with the women’s hockey team at Mount Royal University (MRU) for more than a decade, witnessing both the transition of MRU from being a college to a university and the much-awaited spotlight game for the women’s team. With the games finally back after the postponements from the pandemic, Rivett looks back at his journey.
Rivett has been the team’s head coach since they began to compete under the U SPORTS banner in the 2012-13 season. He stopped playing hockey at the age of 18 due to lingering concussion issues, which prompted him to get involved with the sport as a coach.
“My first year of coaching was in my first year after retiring from the game. I took a year off before going to university and I coached a kids team. That’s where I got started. I was just looking for an opportunity to get back [into the game of hockey],” Rivett said.
Rivett climbed his way up the ranks, and after a brief tenure coaching at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, he arrived at the institution formerly known as Mount Royal College.
“In my first year here, we were just transitioning from Mount Royal College to Mount Royal University,” he says. “We went from being a big fish in a small pond [in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference], to a small fish in a big pond as we transitioned to Canada West.”
Mount Royal’s transition from being a college to a university meant a lot more than just a new name for the hockey team.
“There has been a ton of change, all of it positive,” said Rivett. “We’ve been able to grow the quality of student-athletes that we’re able to attract.”
Since becoming a university, Mount Royal has been engaged in a competitive rivalry with the University of Calgary. This resulted in the creation of the Crowchild Classic in 2013.
The Crowchild Classic features the men’s and women’s hockey teams of the two institutions as they battle in the Scotiabank Saddledome with fans from both schools in the stands. In its first year, the games were attended by roughly 4,200 fans. That number has grown to over 10,000 fans for the past five games.
Up until the most recent game, the men have historically gotten the main event spot. In January of 2020, it was Rivett’s team that finally got the spotlight they deserve.
“Getting that second game spot was a huge opportunity for the girls, and one that I know they were pretty proud of. From a player’s perspective, it’s one of those highlight games that you just never forget and you look forward to all season,” said Rivett. “From the coaching side of things, there is a lot of emotion that goes into that week […] it’s certainly a thrill for both programs to get that opportunity from the Flames Foundation.”
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there wasn’t a Crowchild Classic in 2021. In fact, there weren’t any games at all, as U SPORTS was forced to cancel the 2020-21 season altogether. Rivett and his team are back in action this season though, and have noticed the fan support that they’ve received.
He said, “it’s been a year and a half since we’ve gotten to play a game, so I think there is a general appreciation for us to get to do what we love… I think so far this year has had the best attended exhibition games we’ve ever had.”
At the time of this writing, the team is off to a sensational 5-0 start in their exhibition games. Rivett realized that he has a special group of athletes to work with and expects big things out of his team this season.
“Our team is excited about the opportunity that we have, I think on paper this might be the strongest team we’ve had during my time here,” he said. “I know our girls expect a lot of themselves for the upcoming year, and they’re going to work their hardest to meet those expectations.”
The MRU women’s hockey team begin their regular season campaign on Oct. 15.