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by Archives November 9, 2005

Is there anything that flies under the radar like fall-time playoffs? I don’t think so, to be quite honest. By a show of hands of all you out there reading in newspaper land and on the internet at theconcordian.com, who knew that the soccer and rugby playoffs had been going on? Last week the women’s rugby team lost to McGill, who went on to play in the National championships. This week, the women’s soccer team lost to McGill who went on to play Montreal on Sunday to win the Provincial championship, and will take part in the Nationals later this month. Last, but definitely not least, our men’s rugby team surprised a whole bunch of people to win the QSSF championship against the McGill Redmen at Molson Stadium on Sunday. The problem is that the men’s team, which won in front of about 500 people according to a McGill press release, does not get to go to a National championship. This was their huge championship, and it is a tremendous accomplishment for Clive Gibson and his players. The team was exposed to a very tough environment at Bishop’s last week, just to get a match-up against a McGill team that had only one loss all season (to Concordia, by the way) and they surprised nearly everyone in attendance by taking home the QSSF championship. This is also a very young Concordia team, which is expected to lose only four players from this year’s team, so it is a story to continue to watch next season to see if our Stingers can repeat in 2006.

My problem is how incredibly under-publicized these playoff games were at Concordia. Of course I can’t really blame the University too much, considering that all three teams were playing away games, and they did have a blurb about it on their website. But I still feel that the playoffs are being pushed aside. Football is never pushed aside, as it is the pride and joy of the CIS, but I feel that the soccer playoffs go by too fast for us to notice them. I think that the CIS should impose a home-and-home aggregate series for the men’s and women’s soccer playoffs. This would allow both schools to get a home game and therefore notice that the event is going on, and it would also add a more professional look and feel, since in most professional leagues, a one-and-done format is not used. I understand using it in football and rugby since most of the time they only play once a week. However, the soccer playoffs were completed in less than a week. The weather constraints in Canada do make it harder, but it would only add two extra games, and maybe an extra week before the National championships. Start the semi-finals on Friday, complete them on Sunday and then start the Provincial final on the following Wednesday or Friday and have the final game of the season played on either a Saturday or Sunday. It would give both schools the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of these student-athletes and also perhaps raise the profile of a playoff system that currently takes a week to finish. The year before I started at Concordia, I noticed that Sportsnet was covering the CIS women’s national soccer championships that were being held at McGill. Since then, I have not seen one CIS soccer game on television, and I don’t understand why. Yes, the level of play isn’t up to a professional standard, but neither is the football, hockey or even basketball being played at a university level. What you do get are outstanding athletes playing the most popular game in the world, and it is a sport whose fan base is continuing to grow in Canada.

What does the CIS have to lose? A week?

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