UNB Varsity Reds win second-straight men’s hockey national championship
Published Sunday, March 19, 2017 6:58PM ADT
A capacity crowd at the Fredericton Aitken Centre witnessed the University of New Brunswick’s men’s hockey team win their second straight national title.
The Varsity Reds topped the Saskatchewan Huskies 5-3 on Sunday. It’s the sixth win with head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
“To be consistent and be the top team in the country back-to-back with the parity of the AUS and the parity across U Sport Canada is a significant achievement for our program,” said MacDougall. “We've never done it before and it’s a new level for our group.”
Earlier in the day, Acadia University beat St. FX in a final score of 7-3 for the bronze medal, leading to UNB's battle with Saskatchewan in the afternoon.
“It’s one of the most exciting games I’ve ever been part of,” said UNB defenceman Matt Murphy. “They’re a really good team over there and it’s a little difficult because we don’t know their players that well, but our coaches and staff did a great job.”
With their victory just a few hours old, the team is already thinking about 2018.
"We have some great veterans who have given to the program who are going to graduate, so we need a lot of good players coming in,” said MacDougall.
“We're going to have tough shoes to fill next year,” said Murphy. ‘But right now we’re just worried about celebrating this win and come Sepetmeber were going to be ready and gearing up for next year's tournament.”
UNB Fredericton will play host to the next University Cup in 2018. It’s an event with an economic impact.
“We've seen more national events with soccer,” said Steve Burns, host of the organizing committee. “I think you'll see more of that as time goes on and there’s enough people in the community who know what it takes to put on an event like this and I think that’s a big part of it.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.