Circle the dates for these big-time battles
As we gear up for another school year at the University of Regina, so do the Cougars sports teams. While we’re still a ways away from some of these teams playing, what we can do is look forward to the big games for each team, whether it’s a rematch from a particularly big game last season, or a big test against one of the best teams in Canada West, or even the CIS. With that being said, let’s look at the games that we cannot wait to see when they come around this fall/winter.
The Cougars women’s hockey team has been one of the most successful teams on campus for the past couple years, and there’s no reason to believe that they won’t be a solid team again this year. When I look at their schedule, I see one big set of games that I know I’ll be paying close attention to: October 9-10 vs. Manitoba, the team that knocked them out of the Canada West Quarterfinals last season, in heartbreaking fashion. The other series of games that I would like to pay attention to is when the Cougars travel out to Sweden to play a couple of their clubs in mid-August. Sweden is a hockey powerhouse in the world, so it will be interesting to hear how our girls match up against them, and will certainly give them a different challenge compared to the teams back in Canada.
The men’s basketball team struggled through a lot of last season with injuries as well as the adjustments that had to be made with so many new players, but this season brings a lot of hope, and potentially the opportunity to make the Canada West playoffs. One of the major teams that they will have to overcome is Calgary, who placed fourth in the Pioneer Division standings last season. I’m particularly interested in the Dinos, who will play the Cougars in Calgary Feb. 11-12, because not only have the Cougars played them well, they actually beat them at home last year. The Dinos will be a team standing in the way of the Cougars when it comes to playoffs, and it should give them confidence knowing that they have what it takes to compete with them.
The Rams are much like the men’s basketball team, in that they’re on their way up, and looking to make a huge impact this season in Canada West. The Rams stayed competitive in most of their games last season despite changing quarterbacks midseason, and having far less experience in big games compared to their major competition. That being said, there’s always one big game circled when it comes to football, and that’s when the Huskies come into town. This game will take place Oct. 30 and will be a major obstacle to the Rams playoff hopes, like they were last season. The new look Rams would do well to take care of the Huskies on their home turf, and solidify themselves as a threat in Canada West with new coach Mike Gibson at the helm.
Finally, I’d like to talk about the women’s basketball team, the standard for excellence and great play for the Cougars over most of the past decade. The girls didn’t have much overhaul this offseason, and should be in a position to contend for the Canada West title once again, but in order to do that, they’ll have to eliminate the UBC Thunderbirds, the team that eliminated the Cougars last season. Going into UBC always has its challenges, but it also represents the best of the best in Canada West, and should be a litmus test for the girl’s coming out of the holiday break.