Women's university hockey action.

Moving Women’s Sports from the Margins to the Living Room

Published on Elle Beaver March 20, 2014


Close to 13 million Canadians tuned in to watch the women’s hockey gold medal game at last month’s Olympics, with a peak of 6.37 million viewers in the dying minutes when Canada mounted their incredible comeback against the U.S.

During the previous summer games in London, 3.8 million watched the semi-final soccer match between the same two nations.

So please, say again that women’s sports are boring. Or that the players aren’t as athletic or skilled. Or the games aren’t competitive.

The numbers don’t lie. It has been a slow progression, but Canadians are showing that such criticisms are outdated, and more to the point, founded in thin air.

With the Canadian Interuniversity Sport winter championship season in full swing, Rogers has reached out to provide Canada’s top student athletes a national stage. Two weeks ago, the men’s basketball championship was broadcast on Sportsnet, while the semi-finals were on Sportsnet360. This past weekend, the women’s basketball tournament had two semis and one final game on SN360, while the women’s hockey gold medal game was also broadcast on SN360.

Of course, the fact that Rogers’ SportsnetU programming is showing any winter championships is progress in and of itself, as broadcasting anything aside OUA football games of the week and national football playoffs was generally unheard of before this year.

Taking on a new direction, however, Sportsnet broadcasted the semi-finals and title games of the men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey championships, as well as the final game of the women’s hockey championship. It’s high time that our amateur student athletes get a greater national spotlight, but in a hockey crazy market that broadcasts the Tier II Junior “A” championship tournament across the country, the fact that the university championship for basketball is shown cannot be understated in itself.

When you add in the lack of media coverage for women’s professional sports (like the CWHL and WNBA), the fact that our female university stars can shine on such a stage is even more important.

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Trailblazing Goalie Shannon Szabados Draws Support Across Social Media

Published on Elle BeaverMarch 11, 2014

It’s been a busy couple weeks for Shannon Szabados.

Just over two weeks ago, the 27 year-old was laying at centre ice of the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi with a gold medal around her neck and her 20 teammates standing behind heras Szabados celebrated a second straight Olympic gold medal win.

On Wednesday, Szabados accomplished another remarkable feat: suiting up with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers for a morning practice. Just two days later, Szabados joined a short list of women who have signed contracts to play for a professional men’s league when she joined the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Despite the impressive achievement of practicing with the Oilers, it wasn’t quite what some fans wanted. The previous night, users took to Twitter with the hashtag #SzabadosForBackup as they crossed their fingers to witness history. Earlier in the day, the Oilers traded away their backup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and in turn brought in another goalie, Viktor Fasth, in a separate trade. The problem staring down the Oilers was a big one: with a game the same night that the trade happened, they were without a backup goalie.

Shannon Szabados Edmonton Oilers Goalie

Surprisingly, this conflict happens more than expected. Due to a rule in effect from 1966, the NHL requires teams to have two goalies dressed for each game. In the past website producers, beer league veterans, and local hockey coaches have all gotten frantic calls to dress as an emergency backup.

Edmonton’s situation was more unique: they had (a bit) more time to organize a backup goalie, and the city is heavily ingrained into the history of hockey and has a wealth of local talent. Szabados, a native of Edmonton and current starting goalie for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology men’s hockey team, was a serious contender. Had she got the call, she would have been the first female to dress for a regular season NHL game.

Ultimately, the Oilers dressed Kurtis Mucha, the starting goalie for the University of Alberta’s men’s team. While the hopes of creating history were dashed, the real progress was happening online.

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Ryerson Exact Revenge; Rout Thunderwolves in Grudge Match

Published on The CIS Blog on January 19, 2014.

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One of the most anticipated series of the month took place this weekend, when the No. 8 Ryerson Rams traveled north to Thunder Bay to face the No. 9 Lakehead Thunderwolves with first place in the OUA West on the line.

After Lakehead squeaked out a 4-3 Friday win on a Ryan Magill goal with just twenty-three seconds left in regulation, Ryerson came out insistent that they wouldn’t go home without splitting the series, blowing out the home side on Saturday 7-1 in front of over 2,500 fans.

It was obvious the Rams felt this grudge match was a must-win, as they came out flying and it didn’t take long for them to get on the board. The nation’s top point-getter and goal-scorer, Jamie Wise, ripped a hard slapshot top shelf to put Ryerson up just over four minutes in.
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Ravens Survive Gee-Gees in Capital Battle

Published on The CIS Blog on January 12, 2014.

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The stands were packed, the benches fired up, and the referees’ whistles put away in this past weekend’s big matchup between heated cross-city rivals #9 Carleton and Ottawa. And while the cliché of “the game being closer than the score reveals” is used a lot, it was certainly true in this one. Despite Ottawa outplaying the Ravens for much of the opening period, Carleton were able to escape with a lead after twenty minutes before opening up a 4-0 lead in the second, en route to a monstrous 5-2 victory.

Ravens Down Ottawa

Kyle Brown

The highly anticipated, crushingly physical game got off to a flying start for the Gee-Gees, who tested Carleton’s backup goaltender Francis Dupuis early and often. Within the first seven minutes of play, the garnet and grey had created a flurry around the Raven net, outshooting the home side 7-0.

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OUA Men’s Hockey Mid-Season Wrap-up

Published on The CIS Blog on January 2, 2014.

It’s been thirty years, but the Queen’s Golden Gaels finally find themselves back in the CIS Top 10 with OUA teams set to hit the ice again and enter the second half of the season. As the games begin to mean more and we come out of the turn and into the final stretch of the playoff push, here’s five of the biggest storylines from the conference over the first half, and that are worth watching as we begin the second.

Gaels on Top

It took until the eighth week for Queen’s to finally crack the top ten and take the eighth spot. In spite of three other OUA teams placing ahead of them in the voters’ eyes, the Gaels find themselves atop the conference standings with a two-point lead on #5 McGill. More impressively, despite racking up two losses in overtime and three as a result of shootouts, the Gaels remain undefeated in regulation, the only team in the OUA who can claim that (the only other in CIS is the #1 Calgary Dinos).

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Great Goaltending Lifts Gaels Over Windsor in Weekend Sweep

Published on The CIS Blog on November 26, 2013

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It probably wasn’t the way that head coach Brett Gibson drew things up, but in the end the Queen’s Golden Gaels walked away from a difficult weekend double-header against the #7 Windsor Lancers with four points.

The weekend’s game plan ultimately ended up going something like this: allow goaltender Kevin Bailie to carry the team, and then capitalize on quick flurries of offense.

That improvisation was certainly in full effect in Friday night’s game at the historic Kingston Memorial Centre.

Bailie was tested early, as Queen’s took three penalties in the first period to Windsor’s one. The Lancers managed to fire 14 shots on net, but Bailie was able to withstand the pressure. Not to be outdone, Parker Van Buskirk stopped all 10 shots he faced in the Windsor goal.

Windsor, the CIS leaders in team penalty minutes, fell back into their usual undisciplined habits in the second period, but managed to keep the pressure up throughout the second frame. Despite having four power play opportunities, Queen’s managed to put the puck on net just three times. Windsor, on the other hand, tested Bailie eight times, but he was able to stand tall.

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Lancers and Patriotes Trade Wins Amidst Penalty Parade

Published on The CIS Blog on November 19, 2013.

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Considering the schools are separated by approximately ten hours of highway, one wouldn’t expect bad blood to exist between Windsor and UQTR. However, with the Patriotes visiting the #7 Lancers for back-to-back games, penalties ruled the weekend double feature.

The Lancers were coming into the weekend having not lost since opening night, and looking to keep their spot atop the OUA West division. The Patriotes, meanwhile, were on a five-game winning streak of their own, and hungry to capture their first road win of the season.

The fireworks started early, with three players off to the box just 34 seconds in. Windsor quickly took three straight penalties in the first, managing to kill off all three, before UQTR made three straight trips of their own. It was the Patriotes who jumped out on the offensive, though, as Thomas Martin scored his first goal of the season on the penalty kill. The Pats took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission, following a period that saw ten minor penalties and a misconduct.

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