The gathering of so many to celebrate our country’s game through sportsmanlike competition is truly a beautiful thing.
And for over twenty years now, Concordia’s recreation department has been doing its part to provide its residents and alumni the opportunity to continue this tradition.
Last Saturday the latest edition of the Concordia Intramural Hockey League began its season with five more teams than last year ready to hit the ice, putting the total number of squads at 38 teams.
According to the man who runs the show, Mike Renaldi, there will be over 450 players in the league this season.
That stat is impressive in itself, considering that due to a crammed schedule, Renaldi had to keep out four other teams who wanted to join.
For those less informed about the league, it is pretty simple. The 38 teams are divided into five divisions based on skill level.
They then go at it until somebody gets to pose with their trophy at centre ice of Ed Meagher Arena where all games are played.
A good sign for the league is the fact that participating students will be accounting for somewhere between 75 per cent to 80 per cent of the league’s participants, while the rest will be made up of Concordia alumni and professors.
Makes it hard to believe that just a couple of years ago students were accounting for about 65 per cent of those competing.
Although Renaldi cannot pin-point one overwhelming factor for the drastic increase, he believes that word of mouth and a rush of passionate, fresh students interested in playing Canada’s game has had an important role.
“It’s good to see more students getting involved,” Renaldi said. “It offers an opportunity for students to come together and make some new friends in a fun environment.”
The students don’t have a very intensive schedule, with each team playing approximately 15 games between now and the end of March, including playoffs.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that winning their division championship isn’t just as important to these guys as well…it’s probably the closest most of them will get to the NHL.
And in case you’re thinking this is a scrapper’s league, it might be surprising to find out that the officiating is actually quite intense and does not take abuse of the regulations lightly.
“There are strict rules in place,” Renaldi said. “If someone crosses the line then they will suffer the consequences.”
Renaldi is relatively sure that there will not be any major discipline problems and is simply looking forward, as everyone should be, to an exciting hockey season.
“We’re here to accommodate the individuals,” said Renaldi about the effort made to give as many people that want to play an equal opportunity.
“Everything we do here is for the students.”