By Eric Licis, January 22 2015 —
There was no shortage of school spirit shown at the Saddledome for the annual cross-city Crowchild Classic. A record breaking 8,882 fans watched both the men’s and women’s Dinos face off against the Mount Royal University Cougars hockey teams.
“It was a great experience,” said the proud Brian Parent after watching his daughter, Janelle Parent, score two goals for the Dinos women’s team. “It was good to see her score, and overall it was a great time. It was nice to see so many people turn out.”
While lots of family members of the players were in attendance, the majority of the crowd was student fans from both universities, filling both of the lower bowls of the arena going as far as halfway up the third bowl in the Saddledome.
Many who filled the concourse — brandishing their school’s colours while double-fisting beers — jeered their rivals from down the road without hesitation. The atmosphere, fueled by dueling chants and jeers, was certainly one to remember.
“This is my third time at the Crowchild Classic, and oh god do I love it,” said MRU student Addison Asuchak, who went to great lengths to show her MRU pride. “I smashed my car for this event. My friends helped me out with the fundraising, but I painted the car with U of C colors by myself, and smashed it at Mount Royal.”
Not to be outdone, University of Calgary’s Matt Coulas wasn’t shy to mock Mount Royal’s recent university accreditation.
“Mount Royal has a lot of cheer, but they’re a college,” Coulas said. “They have heart, sure. Well, a lot of heart for a college at least.”
Though the event appeared to be under control, Calgary Flames ice girl and University of Calgary student Madison Brittner had a different view.
“This is my second Crowchild Classic, and I’d definitely say this one is rowdier than last year,” Brittner said. “Last year there were 44 people kicked out, and this year I’d bet there would be quite a few more.”
While it was hard to differentiate individuals in the endless mess of fans, one did stand out. Dressed head-to-toe in a bright green dinosaur costume, second-year communications major Caitlyn Bennett was excited for the night’s events.
“This is my second classic, and so far it’s better than the first.”
Quite the understatement for what would follow next.
Picked out of the crowd, Bennett participated at halftime with a Mount Royal counterpart in peer pong, a game simular to beer pong. The two threw basketballs across the ice into each other’s trash containers. Bennett’s team won the game and a free year of tuition.
“Mind-blowing. So good,” said an enthusiastic Bennett. “This experience was just so much fun, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”
Mayor Naheed Nenshi appeared for the third straight year since the event began.
Strapped into the Zamboni for the second intermission, Nenshi, who attended the University of Calgary and also taught at MRU, commented on where his support truly lies.
“Anybody who knows me knows that I’m really happy that there’s no Mount Royal University football team.”
Each year, the team that wins the most games during the Crowchild Classic match-up is awarded “The Medal,” a 68-kilogram cast-iron City of Calgary manhole cover.
Just as a manhole cover can withstand the thousands of vehicles that pass over it, The Medal represents the pain and sacrifice that student-athletes willingly accept — often in the dark and without public recognition.
The Dinos won the Crowchild Classic 6–4, which represents the season-long series between the two institutions.