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by Archives September 14, 2005

McGill and Concordia. The only two English-speaking Universities in Montreal. It pulls friends and families apart. The two schools hate one other so much that our blood boils at the thought of a sports game between them. It’s a rivalry like no other…

Or is it?

Is this whole McGill-Concordia rivalry fact or fiction? It depends on who you ask. I’ve been to ten Concordia-McGill matchups since I’ve been a Concordia student, at both McGill’s and Concordia’s fields, courts and rinks. I’ve been able to see both sides of it from the perspective of a fan and of a journalist. Am I convinced there is a rivalry? Yeah, I’d say there is.

Let me take you to the QSSF women’s ice hockey championships, a three game series between Concordia and McGill. Game one was held at Concordia’s Ed Meagher Arena with the Stingers winning. There was a group of Concordia football players led by Mickey and Pat Donovan banging a huge drum behind the McGill bench. The Concordia crowd was loving it, but the McGill faithful who took the trip to N.D.G. weren’t, even though it was all in good fun. One McGill fan went over to the football players and asked them, maybe politely but probably not, to stop. After that there was some pushing and shoving going on and security had to step in. The football team was asked to sit away from the McGill bench but could keep the drum.

Fast forward to game two at McGill’s McConnell Arena. Obviously this game had more McGill fans than Concordia fans, but that’s not the point. Apparantly, the McGill football team got wind of what the Concordia team did, and they showed up to this game. But instead of banging drums behind the Concordia bench, they confronted and taunted the team as they were leaving the ice after the game. Picture it: McGill football players taunting a women’s hockey team. If you didn’t think there was a rivalry before, you’d probably think there was one now, at least between the athletes themselves.

In the third and deciding match, the women’s hockey game was scheduled right after the men’s basketball team beat up on Bishop’s across the sports complex. The sold-out gym that watched the basketball game all came over to the women’s hockey game and created the biggest crowd for a women’s hockey game at Concordia all season. The crowd was loud and really into it, and you got goosebumps from the atmosphere in the arena.

McGill-Concordia games are always more intense, both on and off the field. It’s one of the only games all season where there’s no real home team, because it’s just as easy for Concordia fans to get to downtown Montreal as it is to get to N.D.G, and McGill fans regularly make the trip to the Loyola campus for games. It isn’t a matter of hatred, although it could be called that. It’s more about bragging rights. The Shaughnessy Cup and Corey Cup are once-a-year games that have Concordia face off against McGill in football and in men’s hockey even though they usually meet several times during the season. The Shaughnessy Cup saw 2,813 fans at Molson Stadium last week, while the Corey Cup was the game to go to for hockey-starved fans in Montreal, which resulted in a practically sold out Ed Meagher Arena and the game being broadcast on Team 990.

The rivalry is even more entertaining when both teams are competitive, that’s true of many rivalries.

The battle between McGill and Concordia is always intense. Fans and athletes probably know someone on the “dark side” but for the three hours that the game is being played, all that matters is the scoreboard. At the end of the game, someone is going to have bragging rights and the other side is going to downplay the significance of the rivalry.

It isn’t quite up to the level of the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Cubs and the White Sox, the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs, or the Oilers and the Flames but with so many athletes involved on both sides, and so many games between the two schools in all kinds of sports, there are plenty of reasons to talk about the rivalry.

I have friends who go to McGill and I hold nothing against them at all (except for the fact they do go to McGill), but when the Stingers face off against McGill in any sport, I just want to see Concordia come out on top.Not necessarily because it’s a very important conference game, but because I want to be able to say Concordia is the best team in English-speaking Montreal, and nothing can feel better than that, can it?

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