Saint Mary's football team motivated for championship by last year's controversy
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 10:11PM AST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2018 10:33PM AST
The focus will be strictly on football when Saint Mary's takes on St. Francis Xavier in Saturday’s Loney Bowl.
A controversy over player ineligibility ended up in court last year, but that controversy seems to have motivated the Huskies to bounce back stronger than ever.
The Huskies held their last practice before the Atlantic University Sport championship game on Friday, but unlike last year, the team knows that they will actually be hitting the field as scheduled.
“Not much difference for us, at the end of the day,” said Saint Mary’s head coach James Colzie III. “Last year and this year, we were still getting ready to play a football game, so the only thing that's different for us is the opponent and our travel plans.”
Last year's Loney Bowl was plagued with controversy after a complaint was filed by the four other member universities of Atlantic University Sport challenging the eligibility of one of Saint Mary's players.
That kicked off weeks of off-the-field controversy. The AUS initially cancelled the game, but the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled in favour of an injunction filed by Saint Mary's allowing the game to go ahead.
“There's not really much to say about last year,” said AUS president Phil Currie.“It was what it was and we're just looking forward to playing the Loney Bowl this year for the right reasons, let’s put it that way.”
When it was finally played, the game was a thriller, with the Acadia Axemen edging out the Huskies 45-38 in overtime.
“We went through the pain last year, learned our lessons, and hopefully those things can contribute to a win tomorrow,” Colzie said.
Saturday's championship will be the first Loney Bowl played at Huskies Stadium since 2013.
With the recent developments around potential CFL expansion, football fans and officials are excited about the possibility of more high-profile football events being held in Halifax in the not-so-distant future.
“A couple days ago, the commissioner was here and you could just kind of feel the excitement around it,” Colzie said. “You know, it would give us a little competition with people coming to games and what not, but for the most part, anytime you can bring a professional level team to the city it can only be a positive.”
Weather will play a factor in Saturday’s game.
Wind and rain will create an extra challenge -- a challenge coach Colzie says his team is ready for.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.