Regardless of which side you cheer for, for the past 39 years BurMac has been one of the biggest hockey games in Antigonish. Traditionally held in the Antigonish arena with minimal security and lax capacity regulations, the game between Burke and MacIsaac houses brings the rowdiest fans front and centre.
Last year, due to over $5000 in damages, it was announced that the 39 year-old tradition was coming to an end as the town was no longer willing to bear the brunt of the destruction. The game is known for its aggression and seemingly three-period long fights, as it is the one house cup, being off-campus, where contact is not only allowed but encouraged.
Despite the student body pushing for a return, it’s taken months of work from the coaches of both houses and the Students’ Union to create an adequate proposal to bring the beloved game to the campus arena in the KMC.
On January 31, the day before what should have been BurMac, the Students’ Union released a statement in hopes to calm any potential trouble. It informed students that, although no decisions have been made, a final copy of the proposal was to be submitted to the university in the coming days and that they are working towards “redefining the purpose of the game.”
The hope is to bring the focus back to the money the game raises for charity, as all house cups do, and not simply as an excuse to party.
Should the game be given the go-ahead, it will be held in late March, a few weeks after Tri-Mac.
February 1st was approached with concern as there were fears that the students would cause trouble when no game occurred. To everyone’s relief, the day passed smoothly with no trouble from members of either Burke or MacIsaac.
Although one of the most anticipated, BurMac is not the first house cup of the year. TNT/Chillis, held on January 21st, and LaSer (between Lane and Fraser), the week after, set the stage for games to come. X-Patrol Senior Leaders Brett Ferrari and Derrick McKee spoke of their responsibilities with the house cups.
The two, who are responsible for the staff of around 80 students, were clear that both games went much smoother than last year. TNT/Chillis, being the first game of the year, comes with the most growing pains, Ferrari explains, as there is a high turnover rate with X-Patrol members who need to work out any kinks.
McKee states that aside from the usual pat-downs and bag checks, this year students are required to carry not only their student ID but a government issued one as well, to ensure that no one under the influence or intoxicated underage students are allowed into the games.
Ferrari added that the student body needs to take ownership for their actions, especially as the game has yet to be officially approved. "If a student is not adding a positive atmosphere to the event, they won’t be getting in," he added.
While some see it as unrealistic to expect that BurMac can overcome its traditional rowdiness and be held at the KMC, both Senior Leaders believe that it all comes down to the student body.
“We’ll have a few more staff on hand… but it really comes down to how the student body reacts to the event,” Ferrari explained.
“If it becomes a mob mentality like [BurMac] has in the past, it will get shut down before the game is even over," he concluded.
The X-Patrol staff are well-trained and prepared to face any challenge should the proposal be accepted. While the behaviour at the first two house cups has been promising, there is still much to be done before the game can be scheduled.
Taylor Chase, Students’ Union president, urges all students, but especially those in Burke and MacIsaac, to be on their best behaviour throughout these delicate proceedings to prove that they deserve the game to return.