By David Song, February 16 2018 —
On Jan. 25, more than 10,000 students from the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University filled the Scotiabank Saddledome to support their respective schools in the sixth annual Crowchild Classic. The crowd’s energy ignited before the games even began, filling the Dome with cheers and trash talk. The dramatic night of hockey showcased skill from all teams but resulted with the U of C Dinos dominating the men’s and women’s games.
After their win, men’s hockey head coach Mark Howell commented on poor student attendance at regular Dinos games.
“Both universities need to find a way to build on [the Crowchild Classic],” Howell said. “It’s a great event. Now we’ve got to carry those fans into our rinks on a regular basis.”
Women’s hockey head coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Danielle Goyette said that more spectators creates a strong sense of community and greatly impacts the tone of a game.
“The Crowchild Classic brings people together. We need to do better in Canada at attracting attendance at university-level [games],” she said. “The rivalry between the two universities makes it special and really interesting — not just on the ice but also in the stands.”
It’s understandable why students don’t attend games. Many work a job on top of their course load, some care for dependents and others simply aren’t sports fans. The competing demands of academics and life often keep stands sparsely filled. Canadian varsity sports culture is often compared to the booming stadiums and flare of that present in the United States. As appealing as it is, we’re simply not the U.S. and it’s unrealistic to expect thousands of fans to suddenly attend Canadian varsity athletic events.
However, that doesn’t mean student engagement can’t be improved. Here are some reasons why it’s worth showing support for the Dinos.
It’s fun, affordable and accessible:
Whether you’re a casual fan or a diehard enthusiast, watching sports live is a fun and unique experience. Being a U of C student grants free admission to Dinos games. As previous Crowchild Classics have demonstrated, varsity athletes can put on spectacular performances equally as thrilling as professional games. The quality of competition is strong and as students we can enjoy it without paying a dime.
Next time you’re thinking about going out with your friends, consider checking out a Dinos game together as a way to escape the books.
It creates friendships:
Some of your friends may be Dinos or you’re possibly in a few classes with them. You’ve likely seen students athletes rushing through the halls wearing a distinctive Dinos team backpack. Whatever the case, supporting the Dinos is a great way to build relationships with some amazing people.
Student-athletes have a unique university experience. They’re exposed to a different set of pressures, expectations and sense of reward than most students are accustomed to, giving them many great stories to tell. Novel, unpredictable events constantly occur in sports games, whether it be a rabbit crashing a field-hockey game or a miraculous shot being made, like Dinos football kicker Nico DiFonte’s 59-yard field goal in the 2017 Hardy Cup.
Experiencing these moments alongside Dinos players and classmates presents strong bonding opportunities. Sharing in each other’s emotions can create relationships that transcend from the field into U of C’s hallways, creating a more connected campus. It could also introduce you to an interest and passion in sports that you never realized you have. Sports inherently bring people together and teach you more about yourself. The Dinos strive to accomplish that with positivity and grace.
Enrich your university experience:
When I was a first-year student, I was consistently told that what you get from your degree is what you put into it. That holds true both within and beyond the classroom. The U of C has a wide variety of clubs catering to diverse interests, making student life more interesting. Dinos sports are a similar way to bond with people and spend your extracurricular hours fulfillingly.
University is about more than just tests and grades. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy a live sporting event. The energetic atmosphere and emphasized school spirit can make anyone feel that they belong. Ultimately, the Crowchild Classic represents the U of C’s potential for a thriving sports culture. It proves that Canadian varsity sport is exciting, that the quality of competition is high and that when students are engaged, their energy is well-received and reciprocated by those they’re cheering for.