House Cup Rivalries On The Way Out


Has our social culture went too far too many times?

House rivalries are a staple of your StFX freshman experience. No matter where you live – even if you live off-campus – you will have, at the very least, a house cup rival. But the yearly residence hockey face offs are not where the rivalries end. The fact of the matter is that residence life is affected by drama between one another. For some houses, the drama isn’t a huge component. For the OC students, the rivalry ends at the hockey rink. For those of us who are living on campus and have lived through our first year in a typical StFX residence, let’s just say everyone knows about a story or two.

Living in Chillis for my first year, the stories I would hear about the Chillis/TNT rivalry felt kind of like legends the second years had to pass down. It was all word of mouth, obviously; nobody ever had evidence that some of the stuff happened. Usually it was related to the house cup. Stories about flooding residences and throwing chicken wings on our front lawn, classy. Although, the stories were pretty one-sided. I don’t recall hearing much about what Chillis did in retaliation, or the things we started. It was just another one of those things that made up the residence experience.

The Chillis and TNT, as I knew them, don’t really exist anymore. The decision to change University Ave into co-ed residences has changed a lot about incoming students’ experiences in those houses and is even creating problems with the annual house cup. It’s not just University Ave that has been going through changes, Burmac isn’t a thing anymore after one too many destructive games. Lane Hall is currently being used for professors and staff until it gets torn down in the near future. The classic StFX house rivalries as we know them are being quietly dismantled.

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I’d say it’s not really a black or white situation. On one hand, house cup rivalries can escalate into something that goes well beyond good old fun. A particularly scathing example is 2005’s Burmac rivalry, when misogynistic posters were spread on Burke’s female floors. This so-called “prank” led that year’s hockey game to be cancelled outright. CBC reported that, “a dead deer was put in the foyer of the Burke residence” a year prior. Honestly, it’s a miracle that it took until 2016 for Burmac to be cancelled; but on the other hand, house cups are something people looked forward to each year. Despite some of the out-of-control examples, plenty of house cups came and went without much of a problem. It brought residences together.

I think the key here is that StFX’s residence rivalries aren’t just relegated to hockey games. The year in your res may have felt like it led up to the house cup, but was that really what it was all about? Not really. House rivalries, and by extension residence traditions, are just how we keep the status quo on this campus. Categorizing each other into residences and taking on all the stereotypes (good and bad) that come with them. Based on my experiences, StFX is a bit unique compared to other Atlantic universities because your  residence sticks with you. The res you were in marks you among the X community and can even become a part of your Alumni identity. At University Ave, there’s a big “uppers” culture; people returning and hosting events for the res even after they graduate. When talking to a friend who goes to Mount Allison, she told me that her frosh residence did not impact her much at all; it was just somewhere she lived for one year. At X, it definitely does become a part of who you are, even if you aren’t extremely involved in residence life. They can give you a family, but residences can also be difficult to fit into and can promote unhealthy traditions. Traditions that absolutely seep into rivalries between different   residences.

StFX prides itself in residence life. Number one social university, but maybe it’s a good idea to tone it down a bit because rivalries become out of control and negatively impact everyone.


History Made at NHL All-Star Skills Competition


First time ever a woman has competed in the event

U.S. Women’s hockey star Kendall Coyne Schofield skated in the fastest skater competition, making her the first woman to compete in an NHL all-star skills competition. Not only did she participate but she also had an impressive time putting her in competitive standing with the others.

Earlier that day, Schofield learnt of her chance to compete in Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon’s place, as he suffered injury. She had already been invited to the all-star weekend with other women’s players, including Brianna Decker, but this was a huge chance to make history.

Known for her speed, she took on the challenge and impressed everyone in the arena. Schofield raced around the rink in 14.346 seconds, a time that placed her 7th out of 8 players. She beat an NHLer and impressed all of her top competitors. Connor McDavid, who won the speed competition commented on her success. “When she took off, I was like, ‘Wow!’” He continued to commend her speed and said, “I thought she might have won the way she was moving. She was a really good skater and that was an amazing thing for the game to see her participate like that in an event like this.”

Schofield wasn’t the only female to be recognized widely by the media and public for her talent that night. Brianna Decker, another U.S. women’s hockey star, had an outstanding showing in the passing challenge on the Friday night. Her time, although unofficial, was 1:06 minutes, putting her three seconds faster than the best men’s time of Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. The reason her time did not count was because it wasn’t recorded by officials, it was recorded by spectators at home who took to social media.

While this is an incredible feat to reach for a woman in hockey, her time did not count simply because she was only providing a demonstration of the event and not competing. The male winner of this event was granted $25 000 U.S.D. in prize money and this left many hockey fans unsettled. This prompted the trended hashtag, #paydecker.

The fact of the matter was that Decker was not a part of this competition. She, as well as other members of the WNHL were present at the all-star skills event in order to grow with members of the NHL rather than compete against them. Where the public’s frustration may have rooted from was the lack of recognition for women’s athletic achievements in general, and large pay gap between the two different leagues.

American sportswriter and radio personality Greg Wyshynski was quick to defend the NHL and how they recognized the women at the all-star event. Wyshynski clarified on twitter that players Decker, Schofield, as well as Rebecca Johnston and Renata Fast were commended for their part in the competition with $25 000 U.S.D. each to charities of their choice. His tweet stated, “The U.S. and Canadian women’s players involved in the skills competition are honored at the game, and the NHL is donating $25,000 each to the charities of their choice #NHLAllStar.”

The well known hockey brand, CCM sent Decker a congratulatory letter highlighting her achievement. “The CCM Hockey family would like to congratulate you on your performance at last night’s skills competition. 1:06, that’s pretty fast!” the letter said. It continued by granting her the $25,000 U.S.D. prize money out of their own pocket. “We understand the importance of recognizing female hockey players and are pleased to give you the $25,000 that you deserve. You are an ambassador for growing the women’s game and we are so proud to have you on the CCM team.”

Schofield plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps in the Women’s National Hockey League (WNHL). Decker plays for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). 

The two women won an Olympic gold medal for the United States this past February in South Korea.


World Juniors 2019


A bad loss on the ice and a worse backlash on the internet

Our Team Canada representing at the 2019 IIHF World Juniors left the country and world stunned in a 2-1 loss from Finland in the quarter-finals of the tournament. This would mark the first time ever that Canada would not contend for a medal on home soil.

Finland players and fans were found celebrating their overtime goal. Canadian goaltender, Michael DiPietro of Windsor, ON would be found fallen to the ice in misery. Captain Maxime Comtois of Longueuil, QC, would be heard telling interviewers, “We lost and it’s tough right now.” Meanwhile a broken Bauer stick would be laying somewhere in Rogers Arena in Vancouver BC, holding all the lost hope Canada had in winning.

Losing a game of such importance can be extremely upsetting to these young boys, all under the age of 20, but to make matters worse, some Canadians took to social media to make their hateful feelings known. These comments, along with a bold note from one Finnish Company only added insult to injury.

Specifically, Comtois fell victim to online abuse because of his failed penalty shot in overtime. His integrity as a player, leader and human being were all called to question.

Roy Sports Group, representing Comtois, put out the following statement:

“It is shameful and incomprehensible that a few cowards who can hide behind social media could make such vicious attacks on these young men’s character after they have battled their hearts out for their country. We will make this one and only statement on this subject, so not to validate anymore the cowardly comments made on social media. It was Maxime’s idea to use this as a learning moment for all of the youth of Canada, that cyber bullying is a real problem, and like all bullies, we all need to stand up to them and call them out for what they are.”

Noah Dobson, a native of Summerside, PEI, shared similar heartbreak to that of Comptois. During the same overtime, Dobson had his stick break on the ice right before shooting the puck on an open net. In addition to nasty comments and posts on social media, one Finnish hockey stick company, PAMA, managed to make matters worse.

“Dear Noah! We at PAMA Hockey feel sorry that your equipment gave up on you at the worst possible moment. We know how polite the Canadians are, so we want to give you this Finnish hockey stick, PAMA PHX Carbon as a gift for a great hockey game. We hope the best for your upcoming career!” The note was signed by CEO Antti-Jussi Tiitola of PAMA Hockey, Finland.

After having lost to Finland in the deciding game, this was one final unwarranted jab at the young team.

It is so important that this negativity is addressed and not condoned. The participants of the IIHF World Juniors are younger than 20 years old and should not be facing hatred from the country they dedicated all their waking hours to. At any age, Canadian hockey players deserve a round of applause for consistently staying classy, disciplined, and skilled. These young boys will go on to be stars in the NHL just like the current stars that were in their skates before.

We must recognize as a country that Canadian hockey is not getting worse, but the rest of the world is improving and in this tournament’s case, has caught up. The good old game has expanded internationally over the last century into a phenomenon that James Creighton, Stompin’ Tom Connors, and all Canadians should be proud of.


X-Sledge hockey tournament


 The Motor Activities with StFX (MAX) program hosted an X-Sledge hockey tournament on March 14 from 2-4pm on the KMC main ice.  The MAX program, run through the Department of Human Kinetics, holds a weekly recreational sledge hockey program that allows HKIN students and community members with and without disabilities to participate. The program allows participants to be physically active and improve their fitness while having the opportunity to play a sport they love. Human Kinetics students learn about how to adapt physical activity programming for various disabilities and apply their knowledge in community practice.

The MAX program designs events and activities based on feedback from the individual participants.  Last semester, the participants were asked what they want to see happen in the program.  The immediate response from the participants was that they would like to hold a competition where family and friends can come watch them play a game with peers without disabilities. Secondly participants stated that they want more than one practice per week with increased access to resources, coaches and training. We are trying to take steps towards these goals and we have had great collaborative support from both StFX and County Recreation, the Antigonish Bulldogs Minor Hockey Association as well as the wider community.

Danielle Pellerine was one of the first participants in the MAX sledge hockey program 12 years ago and is very excited to finally have the opportunity to compete in a tournament.  Danielle states “I really enjoy coming to the MAX Sledge Hockey Program every Wednesday.  It gives me an opportunity to get some exercise and I love hanging out with my teammates and the StFX Human Kinetic students.  You really get to know everyone and they become life-long friends.  I am happy we’re able to do this and bring more awareness to our program and the sport in general.”

Indeed, the tournament illustrated that designing an event for various ability levels may be challenging but possible with time and effort. The StFX campus is aiming to move forward with greater accessibility via external funding for the Oland Centre which may be used to support changes to the built environment and make it more inclusive for all users.  StFX Recreation has also sought to find ways to adapt programming to accommodate for everyone regardless of ability. Dr. Casey explains that ``people sometimes think accessibility is costly and beneficial for only a small minority. Yet if you design universally then you can actually provide benefits for all users. Human Kinetics students are engaging with the community to see how this works in practice.”

StFX students are also learning an important lesson, especially how to make inclusive physical activity work in practice and overcome the barriers associated with it. StFX X-Woman hockey players have been involved in the MAX sledge hockey program since it started in 2006.  Current X-woman players, Emma Winters and Sarah Johnson said that “being able to step up and coach for the program in honour of the alumni on the team is an incredible opportunity as being coaches for the program has been passed down.  It is great to be a part of a program that encourages inclusion and we feel privilege to offer the opportunity to participate to all individuals.  Through on and off ice training we have seen tremendous progression and endless potential in these athletes.  The athletes are given a chance to excel and we constantly see improvements in quality of life and participants working towards future goals."

As a student, volunteer and assistant to the MAX program myself, I am grateful to have the opportunity to directly impact the community. Being a part of the design process and participating in the MAX program allows me to bring evidence into practice and improve the health of vulnerable populations.


X-Women headed to National Final 


U Sports Nationals give X-Women Hockey a chance for Redemption

The X-Women hockey team gave us nothing short of a sensational season of excellent hockey. Garnering an overall season record of 20 wins and only 4 losses, the women consistently made it onto the U Sports Top 10, and ended the season at the top of the AUS standings. Saint Mary’s University team shared the same amount of wins, with goals for and against deciding the seating for playoffs.
3 of the AUS’ top scorers of the season came from StFX. Fifth year Daley Oddy had the most goals in the league with 16 points and 15 assists, with fourth year Sarah Bujold and first year Emerson Elliott following with 13 goals, 14 assists and 11 goals, 15 assists respectively. Carley Molnar in net also had a huge hand in this year’s success, with 292 saves over the span of the season. 
Bujold can be thanked for scoring the game winning goal in the suspenseful AUS semi-final against the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues. The second game of the best-of-3 semi-final, held in Moncton, saw an early goal by Moncton on a power play. This was quickly answered back by a goal by fourth year Nicole Halladay a few minutes later. The score was still tied 1-1 at the conclusion of the third period, and went into overtime. 44 seconds into overtime, Bujold scored, clinching a spot in the AUS final against the St. Mary’s Huskies, and also in the U Sports National Championship. 
The AUS finals began at home in the Keating Memorial Centre on Friday, March 2. The X-Women fell short 4-2 with both goals scored by second year Kate Gotaas. While at St. Mary’s for Game 2, the X-Women won with a 2-1 victory (goals by second year Santana Gravelle and Bujold). Despite valiant efforts, hard work and excellent skill, our X-Women lost the series-deciding game for the AUS final in a 1-0 loss on March 6 at StFX.  
Thankfully, hockey isn’t over just yet for these women. The AUS will be able to send both Saint Mary’s and StFX’s Women’s hockey teams to represent the conference at the U SPORTS National Championship. There, the teams will be competing among eight of the best in the country. Nationals are scheduled to take place March 15 to 18 and are being hosted by Western University in London, ON. The games can be accessed online and will be live streamed on U SPORTS TV. 


Another year, another dominant StFX hockey team


As the AUS regular season winds down in ice hockey, there is a familiar site at the top of the standings. StFX is off to another rollicking season as they have garnered a 19-1-4 record on the year, good for second in the AUS, behind University of New Brunswick. 

Jagger Dirk is the key cog on the Defense, with 22 points on the year for the senior from Penticton, BC. Dirk was a former player for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. He had a very successful five-year career with them, contributing 48 points in his final year with the junior club. In his fourth year with StFX, Dirk has solidified himself as the number one Defenseman in the AUS, as he has already surpassed last year’s point total by nine. 

The three-headed monster of Holden Cook, Matt Needham and Michael Clarke have provided timely scoring, contributing eight game winning goals on the year. 

Oshawa born Cook is the leading the team in points, with 29. Prior to StFX, Cook was a shut-down forward for the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League. His point scoring was modest at best in the OHL, but StFX has provided a unique opportunity for him to flourish. 

Ontario-born Clarke, along with Needham, are tied for second on the team with 27 points. 

Leading the way in goal has been second year Halifax native Chase Marchand. He is leading the league in both save percentage (.931) and goals against average (2.10). 

The X-Men is led by head coach Brad Peddle. He is in his 13th year at the helm of StFX. He previously played for StFX as a student from 1995-1999. Through his guidance, the team has rattled off 12 consecutive AUS playoff appearances, including five University Cup championship appearances. He is still looking for an elusive national championship, which would be the first since 2004, coached under Danny Flynn. 

Peddle stressed the importance of garnering character players for the team. “We really try to recruit guys who will buy in to what StFX is about and will fit into the culture that we have created. Great People, great students and great hockey players.” 

StFX is locked in a two-horse battle for first in AUS this year with UNB. The squads have split the season series so far at two-a-piece. StFX has bested UNB in the past two AUS finals, however it was UNB who defeated StFX in the 2016 National Championship, which took place in Halifax. They are also victors from the year after, defeating the University of Saskatchewan. StFX is hungry for another crack at the defending champions, should they play in the playoffs. Luckily, the team is laden with good, experienced character players, with many of them having played in that heartbreaking final in 2016. 

“X and UNB seemed to have played against each other for as long as I remember in the playoffs. And at the end of the day, it is just two good hockey programs bringing out the best in one another.”

Coach Peddle had the opportunity to coach the U Sports All Star team in December, as they played two games against the Canadian World Junior team. The team defeated Team Canada in back to back matches. Holden Cook, Jagger Dirk and Michael Clarke were all selected for the team. 

On the experience, Peddle commented: “Players didn’t know each other very well so we had to try to bring them together quickly. This year we did some team building activities in hope that it paid off, and it did!” He was an assistant coach with the team the previous year. 

With six games left on the year, the team looks to garner a number one spot in the AUS Playoffs. The final two home games are against Dalhousie and Moncton on the 2nd and 3rd of February.