A rivalry continues after 27 years as the NAIT Ooks take on the U of A Golden Bears at Northlands Coliseum. This will be a charity exhibition match by the name of Face-Off 2017, which will be on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.
This meeting will be the Ooks and Bears eighth ever Face-Off game and the first since 1991. Out of seven games, six were at Northlands Coliseum and one at the Northlands Agricom.
All previous charity games benefitted the Ronald McDonald House of Edmonton. This December will be the first Face-Off to support the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The Golden Bears have won five of the seven previous meetings.
“I remember how well-attended they were – the fans, the energy. I remember scoring a goal in the first game I played in,” said current Golden Bears head coach Serge Lajoie, who played in three Face-Off Games (1989-91).
“We are extremely excited to be a part of the Face-Off series once again as this event has a strong history between the two schools. This event doesn’t happen without the joint partnership with the University of Alberta Golden Bears and the NAIT Ooks men’s hockey program,” says Ooks head coach Tim Fragle, who has represented NAIT five times against the Golden Bears in his career (twice as a player, three times a coach).
“We got a lot of players who started in post-secondary and sent them on to U of A,” said former NAIT coach Perry Pearn. “Syd Cranston would be the biggest name from the standpoint. He was a leading scorer at U of A after being a leading scorer at NAIT. He’s one of the guys who played on both sides of that rivalry in the Face-Off Games.”
Fragle thinks his team will go in as the underdog. Seeing as both teams will be mid way through their season, it could go either way.
“We play in a college league. They play in the U Sports league. I think there are some differences there,” Fragle said.
But Lajoie isn’t so sure.
“If they were in our league, they’d be a very good team,” he said.
Twenty per cent of the ticket revenue will be donated to the Stollery. Tickets for Face-Off 2017 are on sale now through Ticketmaster. Single seats will be available for $10 plus fees, while an ATB Team Ticket will be available for groups at $7.50 plus fees per ticket.
– Tre Lopushinsky, Sports Co-Editor