Athletics and Recreation

Saint Mary's 1977-78 men’s basketball team inducted into NS Sport Hall of Fame

  Members of the Saint Mary’s Huskies 1977-78 Men’s Basketball Team.   In photo: Head Coach Brian Heaney, Assistant Coach Willie Follette, Managers, John Landry and Calvin Smith, Trainer Richard Bishop and the players, Ron Blommers, Bruce Holmes, Tom Kappos, Derrick Lewis, Ross Quackenbush, Roger Tustanoff, Mike Solomon, and Frank White.

Members of the Saint Mary’s Huskies 1977-78 Men’s Basketball Team.

In photo: Head Coach Brian Heaney, Assistant Coach Willie Follette, Managers, John Landry and Calvin Smith, Trainer Richard Bishop and the players, Ron Blommers, Bruce Holmes, Tom Kappos, Derrick Lewis, Ross Quackenbush, Roger Tustanoff, Mike Solomon, and Frank White.

You could not make this stuff up.

It was a packed house with 11,000 fans jammed into the newly-minted Metro Centre in downtown Halifax in 1978. Two Nova Scotia university basketball teams were locked in a pitched battle to win the national championship.

Fans were divided with half cheering for Saint Mary’s Huskies and the other for the Acadia Axemen. Both teams were stacked with talent, spirit and a hunger for victory.

Acadia took the lead early in the game, but Saint Mary’s fought back and defeated their opponents to win the CIAU title 99-91.

On Friday, Nov. 2, the 1977-78 Men’s Basketball Team was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, 40 years after a victory that will go down in history as one of the most exciting university sporting events in Canada.

All but a few of the team members returned to Halifax from all over Canada and the US to receive their honour at the Halifax Convention Centre.

They were presented with their honour by Owen Carrigan, who served as President of Saint Mary’s University that year and Doug Wright, a long-serving member of the Saint Mary’s Sport Hall of Fame Committee.

“It was the greatest game ever played at a college level in Canada,” said Coach Brian Heaney. “That CIAU national title took basketball to another plateau in Canada.”

Even 40 years later, players and fans remember that night. Saint Mary’s was the host team and seeded last. The magic ignited when they defeated the top-ranked Manitoba Bisons (92-81) who were favoured to win the championship. In the next round, they beat the University of Victoria Vikings with a score of 82-79.

That earned them a spot in the final against the Acadia Axemen. It was a grudge match and a showdown of hometown rivals, according to player Rick Plato.

“If you wrote it up for a movie you wouldn’t believe it. We were two power houses, tough, determined, confident skilled and talented,” he said.

With a victory and winning score of 99 points, they set the record for most points scored in a final game. That record was not broken until 2016.

“It was the time of our lives,” remembers player Tom Kappos. “We were a bunch of 18-year old Canadian kids, and this entire stadium was overflowing with people, fans, emotion.”

That game and season didn’t just change varsity basketball in Canada. It changed the lives of certain players too.

“It changed my life after being in the US,” said player Frank White. “People here were warm, welcoming, kind, they treated me with love and respect. Everyone had such a sense of purpose. In our hearts, we knew we were going to win that game.”

Player Ross Quackenbush, who later went on to coach men’s varsity basketball at Saint Mary’s, called that night the highlight of his career. Looking back at pictures, he laughs about the styles of 1978.

“Back then it was the time of short shorts and long hair. Now the shorts are long, and the hair is short.”

Whatever the fashion, that night was all about basketball. Player Ron McFarland received the Most Valuable Player award, finishing with 38 points.

The Saint Mary’s team were victorious in a game that will never be forgotten by either team or the 11,000 fans.

The Saint Mary’s team were: Ron Blommers, John Brown, Bruce Holmes, Derrick Lewis, Tom Kappos, Ron McFarland (MVP) Rick Plato, Ross Quackenbush, Art Screaton, Mike Solomon, Roger Tustanoff, Mark Vickers, and Frank White; (Coaches) Brian Burgess, Brian Heaney, and Willie Follette; (Managers) Hector Corkum, John Landry, Calvin Smith and Allan Wentworth; (Trainer) Richard Bishop; and, (Team Doctor) Dr. David Petrie Sr.

Fence signage offers glimpse into the future The Dauphinee Centre

The Dauphinee Centre is sporting a new look thanks to new fence signage on the build site.

Installed in time for Homecoming, the signage showcases various members of the Saint Mary’s community, acknowledges donors, and helps promote the centre slated to open in time for the 2019 hockey season.

The signage is designed to reflect the fact that centre will make a significant contribution not only to varsity athletics but to the wellness of our entire community, with 50% of its usage capacity dedicated to community groups. SMU varsity athletes Marc Terriault and Siobhan Birch are featured wearing their Huskies gear. Another panel pictures Tyler Naugler, Assistant Coach, Men’s Hockey with his daughter as they walk by the Homburg Centre. The Saint Mary’s student body is represented with a photo of students Mohammad Ashiq, Jesus Hernandez, Jillian Taylor, Ashley Brewster and Sehmat Suri.

Additional panels highlight the Saint Mary’s University branding, and promote the arena name as well as the Pseudio Link and the Barbara Holmes Gathering Centre.

The Dauphinee Centre construction on track

  A rendering of The Dauphinee Centre.

A rendering of The Dauphinee Centre.

Excitement is building as work continues on The Dauphinee Centre, the new arena at Saint Mary’s that will feature an NHL-sized ice surface and accommodate more than 1200 fans.

With the arena design 95% complete and construction progressing well, the $14.8 million facility is on track to open in time for the 2019 hockey season. This fall, neighbours can expect to see the large, precast concrete walls (about 85 pieces in total) go up on the build site. Work is now underway on the foundations to support the walls and on the underground water and electrical services. 

When completed, the centre will feature an upper-level warming room with an attached fan room overlooking the ice surface, a pedway link to the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness, and men’s and women’s varsity dressing rooms that are equal to the best junior hockey facilities in the country. These enhancements to the project were made possible by a generous gift of $2 million from local entrepreneurs Glen and Nancy Holmes, parents of two current Saint Mary’s students. Glen and Nancy Holmes are the owners of Pseudio, Samuel & Co and Envy.


Huskies earn first win of the season with 20-13 victory over StFX

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The Saint Mary's Huskies picked up the first victory of the AUS football season with a 20-13 win over the StFX X-Men Friday night at Huskies Stadium on a balmy summer evening in front of over 1300 fans.

The turning point in the victory came late in the fourth quarter when Huskies quarterback Kaleb Scott (Mount Albert, ON) punched in a one-yard touchdown to give them a 17-13 edge. The play came after a Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) field goal was negated due to a StFX illegal substitution call. Had the field goal stood the game would have been knotted at 13-13. 

With the momentum, the Huskies added a late field goal for the 20-13 win. 

Scott was 18 for 28 with 208 total offensive yards, despite throwing three interceptions in the game. 

Freshman running back Jonathan Cimankinda (Ottawa, ON), the Subway Player of the Game, picked up 105 rushing yards on 21 carries for Saint Mary's.

The home team opened the scoring on their first drive of the game off a 36-yard field goal from Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) in what was the only scoring in the first quarter. Scott connected with Cimankinda on several carries to move the ball up field.

The X-Men had a chance to even the score early in the second quarter but Kieran Burnham's (Cambridge, ON) 42-yard field goal attempt went wide. 

Hope added a second field goal with just over four minutes left in the opening half, this time from 33 yards out. 

The X-Men got on the board at 13:14 of the second quarter to cut the SMU lead to 6-3 when Burnham connected from 15 yards out. StFX quarterback Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) found receiver Greg McDonald (Halifax, NS) for a 31-yard pass to gain field position. 

The first half scoring rounded out with a Huskies rouge off a missed 26-yard field goal attempt from Hope with under a minute to play as SMU took a 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Wasdal found McDonald again in the third quarter for a 29-yard catch that set the X-Men up for 1stand goal from the one-yard line. Running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, ON) punched it in for StFX's first major score of the season. An Ethan Mastin (Chilliwack, BC) interception kicked off the drive for the X-Men.

The Huskies evened the score with just over a minute left in the third quarter as Hope booted his third field goal of the night, a 25 yarder that tied the game at 10-10.

StFX regained the lead three minutes into the fourth quarter on a 35-yard Burnham field goal.

The Scott touchdown with 6:42 left on the clock was the Huskies only one of the game. He scored after the X-Men strung together three consecutive penalties that set up Saint Mary's at 1stand goal.

Hope's fourth field goal of the game gave the Huskies the 20-13 edge with 1:31 left in the game. This one came from 10 yards out after a long Huskies possession wasted a lot of time off the game clock.

Saint Mary's had 383 total offensive yards to the X-Men's 213. Penalties also cost the X-Men in the game as they had 15 for 110 penalized yards to the Huskies 9 for 60.

Rick LeMoignan (Edmonton, AB) had 5 catches for 68 yards for the Huskies, while Liam O'Brien (Parksville, BC) was 5 for 68.

For the X-Men, Greg McDonald (4-91) and Kaion Julien-Grant (4-45) were the favorite targets for Wasdal who ended up going 15 for 23 for 181 total yards in his first AUS regular season game. Socholotiuk was held to 39 yards on the ground on 16 carries. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Gordon Whyte (Toronto, ON) led all X-Men with 9.5 tackles, while defensive back Cole Virtanen (Nanaimo, BC) had two interceptions in the game.

Brad Herbst (Ottawa, ON) led the Huskies defense with 5.5 tackles as the SMU defense sacked Wasdal three times in the game for a total loss of 25 yards. 

Both teams are back in action next weekend. The Huskies travel to Lennoxville, QC to face Bishops on Saturday, while the X-Men will host Acadia on Friday night in their home opener.

 

Recap courtesy StFX Sports Information

Saint Mary's unveils the details of The Dauphinee Centre

June 18, 2018

Saint Mary’s University celebrated the philanthropy behind the new on-campus arena and unveiled its design, renderings and name, today, June 18.

The facility will be named The Dauphinee Centre, in honour of the late Bob Dauphinee, a Saint Mary’s alumnus and community champion, who donated $2 million for an arena through his estate.

“Saint Mary’s University has a proud and successful hockey tradition that will continue for generations to come in The Dauphinee Centre,” said Saint Mary’s President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. “This new arena will contribute to the continued success of our varsity men’s and women’s hockey teams, providing our athletes and coaches with a new home to continue their tradition of excellence.”

The Dauphinee Centre will feature an NHL-sized ice surface with seating and sightlines designed to enhance the fan experience. The centre will have seating for 850 fans with ample standing room that brings the capacity to more than 1200 people.  The building is fully-accessible with an elevator between floors and six accessible changing rooms for visiting teams, community-based recreational sports groups and summer camps.

The centre will also feature an upper-level warming room with an attached fan room overlooking the ice surface, a pedway link to the Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness, and men’s and women’s varsity dressing rooms that are equal to the best junior hockey facilities in the country. These enhancements to the project were made possible by a generous gift of $2 million from local entrepreneurs Glen and Nancy Holmes, parents of two current Saint Mary’s students. Glen and Nancy Holmes are the owners of Pseudio, Samuel & Co and Envy.

“Glen and Nancy Holmes have been true partners in the vision for this facility,” said President Summerby-Murray. “Their tremendous gift has elevated the entire project, and we are incredibly grateful to them for their vision, leadership and passionate support of Saint Mary’s, the Halifax community and this project.”

If you would like to make a gift to the arena project, please click here.

The new arena will continue Saint Mary’s tradition of hockey excellence and community engagement and is being constructed on the same site as the former arena. The overall cost of the project is approximately $14.8 million, and the centre is scheduled to open in time for the 2019 varsity hockey season.

“For 50 years, the Saint Mary’s Alumni Arena served as a community gathering space. A place where students who are new to Canada experience what it’s like to strap on skates for the first time and where young children learn to love skating and Canada’s game,” said President Summerby-Murray.

“Today, we look forward to the next 50 years. A time when students, friends and families will create new memories in The Dauphinee Centre, a new facility designed to meet the needs of our university, and the greater Halifax community, for years to come.”