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December 1 2019

THE EQUIVALENT OF UNIVERSITY HOCKEY

Thirty-five years ago this month, history was made on an outdoor rink located on a mountain side in the Bernese Oberland.

Between 1975 and 2001, the two teams that would win CCAA and CIAU titles at season's end met on nine occasions in six different seasons. In three of the seasons, the eventual CCAA champion triumphed over the CIAU champion.

The first instance of the eventual champions meeting occurred on October 10th, 1974 when the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting University of Alberta Golden Bears.  The Vikings became the first team in any sport to win a CCAA National Championship when they defeated the St. Clair College Saints 6-2 in Sydney, Nova Scotia and the first college hockey team in the province to enter the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.  The Bears would capture their third CIAU National Championship at home with a 5-2 victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues to take the best of three series two games to one.

The Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors to a pair of three time national champions in 2010 when the 1976-77, 1978-79 and 1979-80 Red Deer College Kings and the 1977-78, 1978-79 and 1979-80 University of Alberta Golden Bears were inducted.  In a span of four seasons beginning with the 1976-77 campaign, the two teams would also win three conference championships. On October 17th, 1978 in Red Deer, the two teams battled to a 3-3 draw. On October 13th, 1979 in Red Deer, the Bears tripled the Kings 6-2.

The only meeting of the eventual champions to occur on foreign soil happened at the Altjahres Cup in Adelboden, Switzerland during the Christmas break of the 1984-85 campaign.  On December 29th, 1984, the NAIT Ooks downed the York University Yeoman 5-3.  The Ooks were the most recent men's post secondary varsity hockey team on the continent to win all their regular season and post season games en route to a national championship and the most recent ACAC team to enter the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

The following season, the University of Alberta Golden Bears and the NAIT Ooks met on three occasions before hoisting the University Cup and the CCAA Championship Bowl respectively. On October 4th, 1985 at the Saskatchewan Huskie Invitational, the Bears shaded the Ooks 6-5 in double overtime.  On October 9th, 1985 at Varsity Arena, the U of A outscored NAIT 13-3. On February 2nd, 1986 at Face Off '86, the Ooks posted a 7-5 victory over the Bears.

The 1991-92 NAIT Ooks hold the distinction of being the only CCAA team to win a national title and defeat the team that would become CIAU champions on multiple occasions as they topped the University of Alberta Golden Bears twice in preseason tournament action. On September 22nd, 1991, the NAIT edged the U of A 2-1 at the NAIT Blue Gold Classic. On September 28th, 1991, The Ooks doubled the Bears 6-3 at the Golden Bears Invitational.

The nine games were split with each side winning four and tying one. The teams which posted the victories hold the distinction of winning the most national championships from their respective governing body.  The NAIT Ooks triumphed at seven CCAA sanctioned events while the University of Alberta Golden Bears raised 16 CIAU/CIS/U Sports national championship banners.


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