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10 Things To Know To Be A Tigers Fan

Let's GO TIGERS! (Pau Balite photo)

By Ian Froese, Sports Editor & Graeme Benjamin, Assistant Sports Editor

You chose Dalhousie. Good for you. We’ve got a nice thing going here.

As for athletics, we’ll be frank with you: a lot of us are indifferent. Sure, we’ve got the teams and the fit athletes, but the average student doesn’t care too much. If you don’t believe us, ask the person next to you in Psychology 1011—you’re probably in the class—if they saw yesterday’s soccer game. Chances are, they didn’t.

Those of us who do care about campus sports, however: we know what’s up. For the price of absolutely nothing, you’ll see some of the best athletics in the city just a stone’s throw from class.

If your interest is piqued, we’ve got a whole smattering of teams, athletes and storylines to whet any fan’s appetite—and a full year to talk about it. We hope to see you at the game.

1. Where to take your seat

Centrally located in the heart of campus are 200 yards of artificial grass known as Wickwire Field. You can stop by throughout the fall to catch a soccer, football, rugby, lacrosse or field hockey game free of charge. The cross-country runners meet at Point Pleasant Park on the southern end of the peninsula.

Indoors, the Dalplex hosts basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field. As for hockey, there are new venues this year—more on that later. The men’s team is at the Halifax Forum, while the women will play primarily at the Halifax Metro Centre. They’ll play a few matches in other locations, including the Forum.

2. The acronyms

We at The Dalhousie Gazette use a couple acronyms in our articles that we want you to familiarize yourself with. Love them, cherish them, do whatever you need to do. Atlantic University Sport, or the AUS, is the league Dal’s varsity teams compete in along with the other major schools in Atlantic Canada. Dal’s league and the three other regional conferences in Canada are enveloped by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), the national federation. Competing in the CIS championships at the end of the year is an athlete’s main goal.

Dal’s club teams, which aren’t formally run by the Athletics Department, play in separate leagues. Those teams include football, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey.

University of King’s College, the little school in the corner of Studley campus, does not play in the same conference as Dal. They are a step below in the ACAA.

3. No arena anymore

Did you come to Dal thinking you could strap on the skates and play a game of shinny on campus? Well, the arena we used to have no longer exists. Sorry.

The luxury of having a rink is no more after concerns arose the arena’s 30-year-old roof could not handle the increased snow load caused from the new residence being constructed nearby.

While the demolition continues this month to what used to be Memorial Arena, Dal’s hockey teams and intramural players will play elsewhere for at least four seasons before a new arena is expected to open.

In the long-term, having a new facility will be great. In the short-term, living without one sucks.

4. Good at the beautiful game

We’ve become a bit of a powerhouse at soccer, a declaration we’ll gladly take. After a number of close seasons, the women’s soccer team finally won the AUS banner last fall, their first in 10 years, in a season that was supposed to be a rebuilding one. The men weren’t as lucky as the women, falling in the semifinal, but this is, again, another young squad with upside. Keep an eye out for them both.

5. Where we shine

Soccer isn’t the only sport where Dal makes a bid for league supremacy. In fact, we win banners in a few sports with reckless abandon. In swimming and track and field, it’s been over a decade since the last time Dal *didn’t* receive the conference nod for both their men’s and women’s teams, while in men’s volleyball, the Tigers have won 24 of the past 25 crowns.

6. Playoff fight on the ice

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Tigers hockey has been lacklustre at times. Stay with us, though. If the women can play like they did at the end of last season, they will be a contender. The men, on the other hand, were a little farther away from a playoff spot. We want to think of them as the Los Angeles Kings of the AUS. If they make the playoffs, you never know—a spark may be lit under their skates. 

7. Can football bounce back?

Our club football team had a sophomore slump last season, falling to a disappointing 1-5 record after coming just short in the league championship in their first year. Football is still somewhat new to Dal as the team embarks on the school’s third year of football since 1976, but there’s little doubt the honeymoon period is wearing off.

8. We’re a basketball town

If you like basketball, you’re in good company in Halifax. The Rainmen, the city’s professional team, is continuing to gain fans by the year and we’ve regularly held CIS and AUS championships to a strong gate.

The same can be said on campus. For Dal sports, the basketball teams—particularly the men—draw big crowds. I guess winning the league title in 2009 and 2011 helps with that. The women’s team has done well, too. An upset led them to the AUS semifinals this past season.

9. It’s free!

What makes university sports at Dal so unique is that they are absolutely free for you, the penny-pinching student. Yep, not a cent. All you have to do at the gate is flash your Dal card, get your hand stamped and you’re good to go. Save the student loan money for Tim Hortons or a gift for mom and dad.

10. Get involved

Don’t think of yourself as an athletic individual? Don’t worry, neither do we. But there’s hope for us all at Dal. There are plenty of ways to get involved in sports, whether it’s by signing up for an intramural league, joining a club or cheering from the stands.

Oh yeah, and we’re always looking for new friends at the Gazette. Stop by and say hi. We’d love to meet you.

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