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Cougars awarded men’s hockey championship after all PDF Print E-mail
Written by DERRICK NEWMAN   
Friday, 01 April 2011 17:32

No replay game needed after ACAC appeal decision

After a tumultuous week, the Mount Royal Cougars Men’s hockey team is once again the 2010-11 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, or ACAC, Champions.

The Cougars beat the SAIT Trojans on March 27 in a winner-take-all Game 5 for their first title in five years – but this was only the beginning.

Justin Cote, the Cougars’ starting goaltender for the majority of the season, went down with injury in Game 4 of the final, forcing back-up Brett Bothwell into the hero role. Bothwell responded by shutting out the Trojans 1-0 in the fifth and decisive game in the championship series, helping the Cougars to victory.

The Mount Royal Cougars mens hockey team endured a rollercoaster of emotions this week, winning the ACAC Championship only to have the win brought under scrutiny because of an eligiblty issue with an emergency call-up goaltender and then to finally be awarded the victory by a ruling from the ACAC.
James Paton/Calgary Journal

“He did an unbelievable job for us,” Cougars captain Darnell Glass said. “He wasn’t expected to play again. He was a really big part of why we were able to win that game.”

However, an issue arose on Tuesday, March 29 following a standard ACAC review, when it was deemed that the back-up goaltender to Bothwell, emergency call-up and former Cougar Steve Houghton, was an ineligible player, thus forcing a decision by the ACAC regarding whether or not to replay the fifth and deciding game.

Houghton is taking night classes at Mount Royal University and is only a part-time student – this is where the issue arose.

“It was just initial shock; we didn’t really see that coming,” Glass said. “We had talked to an official at the game and he said that any student was eligible in an emergency situation.”

The Cougars protested and filed a formal appeal with the ACAC on Wednesday. The Cougars held a team meeting on Tuesday night to discuss what their actions would be going forward.

“At the time we had kind of spoke about not playing. We had some injuries and guys didn’t think it was fair,” Glass said.

After much deliberation, the decision was overturned and the Cougars were once again champions of the ACAC on Thursday, March 31.

Acting athletics manager Chris Dawe, who is filling in for Karla Karch while she is on vacation, was very pleased with the outcome.

“Obviously we are quite happy. We have been very proud of our guys from day one. No matter what would have happened, we would think of them as champions,” he said. “We are happy the decision went this way. Now we can put this one behind us and celebrate their achievement.”

Alan Rogan, president of the ACAC, explained the reasoning of the final decision: “The student athlete in question didn’t step foot on the ice at any point in time. In the tribunal’s opinion, he didn’t impact the game,” Rogan said. “Everyone on the ice who competed in that game was eligible.”