Though the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) varsity season has nearly come to a close, we here at the Gazette believe it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a panel of experts—along with one angry Scotsman—to discuss some of the most pressing issues in amateur athletics.
KM: Kit Moran (varsity alumnus)
GB: Graeme Benjamin (staff contributor)
HH: Hamzeh Hadad (staff contributor)
SM: Scruffy MacMinster (aggressive cola enthusiast)
1. Why are both Dalhousie hockey teams struggling, and what can be done about it?
KM: The problem with Dal’s sports teams doesn’t lie with the players—the problem is at the top. Many teams are struggling, and Dal Athletics needs strong leadership to turn things around. With the hiring of a new athletics director now imminent, it is time for Dal to straighten its priorities and right the sinking ship of the department.
GB: It’s hard to answer this question, as I think I’ve only attended one period of Dal hockey “action” all year. Why is that, you ask? Because the games aren’t exciting to watch. I’d rather pay $10 and watch Drouin break the ankles of a rookie defenseman then watch a Dal team get creamed by St. FX again. It’s the hockey fan in me, what can I say?
HH: Dalhousie’s hockey programs need better scouting, as well as more scholarships awarded to up-and-coming hockey stars teams can be built around. We also need more fans to come to hockey games. From what I’ve seen, the teams respond well to crowds—even with only a handful of people making noise. Imagine if the whole rink was full!
SM: They’re probably shocked and appalled at the soft drink sizes nowadays! Do you know how big those bloody things are? I could wear one as a hat. I sometimes use the large cups as buckets to carry Scotch from the well up into my house.
2. What can the next DSU vice-president student life do to help the Tigers?
KM: The next VPSL can help the Tigers through advertisement, promotion and a concerted effort to build relationships between Dal Athletics and Residence Council, along with Dal Student Life.
GB: I’ll be completely honest, I think the viewership of Dal’s sporting events was pretty darn good this year, given the circumstances. Obviously there won’t be many people at the hockey games since they’re a whole 15-minute walk from campus (tragic, I know), but even though men’s basketball had a season to forget, fans were still showing up. I think it’s all about getting students at Dal excited about the players, coaches and stories within the AUS, making them actually want to go to the games.
HH: The DSU’s new executive team needs to increase its promotion of Dalhousie varsity sports next year, and do so in more efficient ways—educate students on their sports teams and show they represent the students. Student attendance was high in publicized games, such as the football team’s homecoming or the men’s volleyball AUS championships. We need more of that.
SM: I think that the next person who offers me a bucket of cola is goin’ tae get a right dressing down. Honestly, I’ll never understand the way the world is going. Yer allowed to serve enough sugary fluid to fill a loch and drown a wee little whale. But if you misunderstand the term “strip mall” one time, ye spend the night in jail.
3. With Sochi 2014 in the rearview mirror, what kind of funding should the federal government provide Canada’s athletes?
KM: If Canada wants to continue seeing performances at a world-class level like we saw in Sochi, then they will have to continue funding amateur athletics. While Canada often excels at the Winter Olympics, many of our top-performing winter athletes come from summer sports (a prime example can be found in the crossover of track and field athletes to bobsled). Therefore, an investment in both summer and winter sports is required.
GB: These Olympics, specifically, should act as a benchmark for the importance of hockey, but more specifically women’s hockey within Canada. There were several discussions brought forth on whether or not women’s hockey would receive funding at the federal level in future Olympics, but after watching the excitement it created across the nation, I believe it would be a great loss for the country if they didn’t.
HH: Olympic medals don’t come cheap. If we expect our athletes to bring home gold, we need to fund them. We have become a dominant force in the Winter Olympics and a rising one in the Summer Games—a trend that needs to continue.
SM: Two things. One, appearing before the court to explain Scruffy’s public indecency was jus’ a wee misunderstanding. Two, reduce drink sizes down a wee dram to something more reasonable except, of course, fer Scotch. I want to make people healthier, not subject them to torture! I think that Rob Ford feller had it right: “Let them eat cake.” Oh wait, that wasn’t him. Still, he’s a good lad, great hugger and a sensual lover.