Dalhousie sports guide
Why you should be wearing black and gold
Welcome to a niche group, rookies. We’re thrilled to have you.
There’s a good chance you’ve seen how American college students feverishly idolize their school teams. Those images on your television are impressive. Yes, in the States, adorning yourself in school colours is the cool thing to do.
If you figured this would happen when you enrolled at Dalhousie, however, we recommend lowering your expectations. Then lower them again.
This is not a sports school. Games are sparsely attended, even though it is free for students. Get used to this if you bother showing up—your classmates likely won’t give a hoot about who won yesterday’s game.
A few of us do care, however, and we are a special, more intelligent, better-looking group of people. Count on it. We know Dal sports are often the best games you will find in town. Any night. We know the intensity displayed by university athletics often exceeds the professional athletes who are guaranteed a biweekly cheque.
We know what’s up and we’d love for you to join our team. If you’re interested, read on—it’s what the cool kids are doing, anyways.
The black and gold
You probably knew this at the outset, but our athletes wear the black and gold of the Dalhousie Tigers.
That was simple. Now where can you watch them?
The hockey team drops the puck at Dalhousie Memorial Arena. The soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey outfits play at that green space known as Wickwire Field, and the Dalplex hosts basketball, volleyball, swimming and track and field. The cross-country runners meet at Point Pleasant Park.
Heading to the club
At Dalhousie, a number of teams do not play in the regional university league. They are known as the club teams of football, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey. They exist through donations, player registration fees and a contribution from the Athletics Department.
Get used to these acronyms if you plan on reading this section in the future—which we know you will.
The varsity Tigers play in the AUS with our cross-town nemesis, Saint Mary’s. Meanwhile, Dal has a few other schools we love to hate, such as St. Francis Xavier, the University of New Brunswick, Memorial University and Acadia University.
The AUS, which stands for Atlantic University Sport, envelopes the eastern coast of the national federation CIS (Canadian Inter-University Sport). The CIS supervisesthe AUS, OUA in Ontario, Quebec’s QSSF and the western provinces involved in Canada West.
Each sport determines a national champion in a weekend tournament. Halifax has the pleasure of hosting one, but we’ll tell you about that later on.
Welcome to the gridiron
We waited 34 years for this.
Football returned with a vengeance last fall and the Tigers made a mark on the five-team Atlantic Football League quickly, losing in the title game to UNB Saint John.
This isn’t the AUS. We won’t get a chance to compete for national glory at the Vanier Cup, but, hey, it’s still football. And we love it for that.
Here’s to the playoffs
Long the butt of jokes, the men’s hockey team silenced many of its critics last spring when the team finally made the playoffs.
Previously among the worst hockey teams in the country—yes, the country—the Tigers qualified for their first playoff run in seven years.
It was a two-game sweep to St. FX, but the fact is, the Tigers received a ticket to the dance. Led by coach Pete Belliveau, look for the men to once again put up a fight in the best university hockey conference in Canada.
We’ll win it all yet
In soccer, playoff berths are the norm. We are good at the beautiful game.
However, fans are starting to get impatient. The women have lost in the semifinals the past two seasons and two championships before that. The men have faltered in the semis in the last two campaigns, too, after taking the AUS crown in 2008.
Regardless of whether this is the year or not, you are sure to see a good match at Wickwire.
Playing with the big boys
That national championship I was telling you about happens again this March at the Metro Centre, with the best university basketball teams in the nation.
What made last year’s tournament, also in Halifax, such a blast was the involvement of the underdog Tigers after winning the AUS. On the back of Simon Farine, the Tigers didn’t have the weight to defeat the reigning national champion, Saskatchewan Huskies and were relegated to consolation play.
The Tigers will hope to join the Final 8 dance again, but they’ll be hard pressed without a Farine on the starting lineup.
New coach at the helm
Lesley Jordan was the face of women’s hockey at Dal. Then after nine years, she was let go.
The adjustment shouldn’t be too tough for the women’s team as a familiar face, assistant coach Sean Fraser, has been promoted to the interim job.
The renewal behind the bench might give the team what they need to win the AUS championships Dal will be hosting this year.
Starting a new era
Sorry for the dramatics, but it was nothing short of historic.
The Tigers men’s volleyball team had a 24-year stranglehold on the AUS championships. Last spring they lost their grasp.
If Dal has anything to say about it, don’t expect UNB to start a streak of their own. Make sure to circle any games against the Varsity Reds on your calendar. It will be a dandy.
It’s free, kids!
Sure, you have to spare a toonie for football and the CIS Final 8 will cost you, but it is more than worth it.
Visit a midweek game instead of trying to study in the Killiam, or maybe start your weekend with a puck drop or a kick-off. You’ll be glad you did.
Plus, if you come often enough, you’ll start seeing familiar faces at the games. Remember: it’s a niche group.