Crowchild Classic cancelled for second straight year
By Josh Werles, Staff Writer
Since its inception in 2012, the Crowchild Classic showdown at the Scotiabank Saddledome has been one of the most anticipated events of the year for students enrolled at either Mount Royal University or the University of Calgary. The Crowchild Classic event at the Saddledome features matchups between the men’s and women’s hockey teams from both schools, who happen to have a friendly but competitive rivalry. Having this event at the Saddledome has heightened the stakes of what would typically be just another regular season game, as there have been more than 10,000 fans in attendance in recent years.
This game means a lot to everyone involved; the teams, the schools, the players and the fans. Unfortunately, the two institutions have collectively decided to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was set to take place on Feb. 3, with the matchups now being rescheduled for a later date.
This is now the second year in a row that the event has been cancelled, with last year’s entire U SPORTS season being called off due to the pandemic. The 2022 Crowchild Classic event seemingly had its boots off the ground, but the pandemic has been impossible to predict, and there are a number of reasons as to why this year’s event had to be cancelled.
As of Dec. 24, 2021, the province of Alberta announced that venues must limit their capacity to 50 per cent if said venue’s capacity is more than 1,000 people. This means that the Saddledome would have its 19,289-capacity cut in half, leaving the arena with the ability to hold only 9,644 fans from the two schools. Seeing as how the Crowchild Classic attendance hasn’t been below 10,000 since 2015, it’s easy to see how this would have been a major roadblock for the event organizers. Coupled with the recent introduction of the COVID-19 variant Omicron and the schools’ decisions to hold off on fully scheduled in-person learning until Feb. 28, it is clear as to why this event had to be cancelled.
Fear not though, both the men’s and women’s games are set to be rescheduled to a later date at a slightly smaller and more manageable venue. Although the event itself is always important for the Cougars, the result of the game itself is of the utmost importance for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Both of the Cougars teams are in the same position, as this next game against the Dinos will represent their trilogy match against their rivals this season. At the time of writing, both the men’s and women’s hockey teams are tied with the Dinos in their regular season series, with each team holding a record of one win and one loss against their competition. When these matchups are rescheduled, there will be a lot riding on them for the Cougars hockey teams. At the time of writing, the men’s team currently holds a record of six wins and six losses, while the women’s team holds a record of nine wins and three losses.
The cancellation of this event is unfortunate, but with the current situation we face in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, it couldn’t have been prevented. The good news is that this rivalry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and both of the teams will be just as fired up next season as they are right now. Hopefully next year, the players and fans can gather under the Saddledome lights once again to experience one of the wildest nights of the U SPORTS season.