CAMPUS PREVIEW: Hockey's annual Crowchild Classic set to rock Dome on Jan. 24

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The University of Calgary Dinos and the Mount Royal University Cougars are once again ready to take the ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome for the 10th edition of the Crowchild Classic on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

This annual event, marked by many as the most anticipated game of the season, holds multiple U SPORTS hockey attendance records.

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Tickets are available for purchase at GoDinos.com/cc with net proceeds from the $5 admission fee returning to the two campuses for investment into mental health initiatives.

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The Crowchild Classic at the Dome is the yearly celebration of university sport in Calgary. It is the largest gathering of students in the city each year and will once again feature a hockey doubleheader, with the men’s game set for 4:30 p.m., followed by the women’s game at 7:15 p.m.

It is the second time the women’s game will be played second since the event began alternating start times in 2020. The first time it took to the ice, the Crowchild Classic made U SPORTS history for the largest attended women’s hockey game with 10,002 fans.

Beyond the rivalry and playing in front of the largest crowd of the season, these games annually live up to the hype. Three of the four hockey programs involved currently rank in the U SPORTS Top 10, while 11 of the previous 18 contests at the Dome have been decided by just a one-goal margin, including six overtime games.

Through the first nine instalments of the crosstown rivalry on NHL ice, an impressive 87,290 fans have shown their support for university hockey in the city of Calgary. This year’s celebration could push the total attendance past 100,000.

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Dinos Men’s Basketball (8-4)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary vs. Thompson Rivers (3-5) | Jack Simpson Gym | 8 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary vs. Thompson Rivers (3-5) | Jack Simpson Gym | 8 p.m.

The red-hot University of Calgary Dinos men’s basketball team returns to the Jack Simpson Gym for the start of six straight home games, starting this weekend with a pair of contests against Thompson Rivers. Tip time for both Friday and Saturday is slated for 8 p.m.

Heading into last weekend’s Crowchild Classic with Mount Royal, the Dinos boasted the highest-scoring squad in all of Canada. That trend continued in the sweep of MRU, racking up 207 points along the way — including an eye-popping 119 points in Saturday’s win. That marks the second-most points by one team in a Canada West game this season.

The star of the show in Saturday’s high-powered showdown was Martynas Sabaliauskas. The second-year product of Lithuania — who entered the weekend with 59 points through his first 10 Canada West games — scored 21 in Friday’s win before erupting for 36 on 8-of-11 shooting from behind the arc Saturday. That marked the most points by a Dinos player since Brett Layton poured in 40 back on Nov. 23, 2019, on his way to being named the U SPORTS Most Outstanding Player of the Year.

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With the weekend sweep, Calgary now has won its last six in a row heading into a home set against the 3-5 WolfPack. TRU also started the new year on a strong note, sweeping Fraser Valley by a combined 147-125. The two programs haven’t met in a conference game since back in February of 2019. The Dinos have won the last eight in a row over Thompson Rivers, with their last loss coming back late in the 2012-13 season.

Dinos Women’s Basketball (9-3)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary vs. Thompson Rivers (2-6) | Jack Simpson Gym | 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary vs. Thompson Rivers (2-6) | Jack Simpson Gym | 6 p.m.

The No. 5 Dinos women’s hoops team also returns home this weekend to host Thompson Rivers. Both Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Calgary improved to 9-3 on the year after a sweep of crosstown rival Mount Royal last weekend. That marked the fourth sweep of the season for the Dinos, who have outscored their opponents on the season by an average of 78.2-54.7.

Despite the dominant start to the season, the Dinos find themselves sitting in fifth place in the very top-heavy Canada West Conference. Meanwhile, Thompson Rivers enters the weekend at 2-6 and fighting for one of the final spots in this year’s 12-team conference playoff format. Second-year head coach Todd Warnick has one of the youngest squads in the country this season with 10 first-year players and another two second years making up his 16-player roster.

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The Dinos and WolfPack haven’t faced off often in recent years, with the last pairing coming back in the 2018-19 season. Calgary head coach Damian Jennings is 7-1 in conference/postseason play all-time against TRU, leading the Scarlet & Gold to wins in the last seven meetings.

Dinos Men’s Hockey (16-3-1)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary vs. Alberta (14-4-2) | Father David Bauer Arena | 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary at Alberta (14-4-2) | Clare Drake Arena | 7 p.m.

One week after a home-and-home set with MacEwan, the Dinos will once again travel back and forth from Edmonton as they take on the University of Alberta this weekend. The No. 2 Dinos will host the No. 5 Golden Bears Friday at Father David Bauer Arena at 7 p.m. before once again heading north for Saturday’s rematch, this time at Clare Drake Arena.

This marks the second weekend matchup of the year between the provincial rivals. Back on Oct. 20-21, Alberta caught a couple of breaks to erase a 5-3 deficit with less than three minutes left before winning, 6-5, in overtime on their home ice. Then, one day later in Calgary, the Dinos once again couldn’t hang on to an early lead before falling 5-2 at home.

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Since then, the Dinos have won nine of their last 10 games, including their last four by a combined score of 21-12. Meanwhile, the Bears have also rattled off five in a row and now head into the start of three consecutive series against the top half of the conference.

Dinos Women’s Hockey (8-11-1)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary at Alberta (16-2-2) | Clare Drake Arena | 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary vs. Alberta (16-2-2) | Father David Bauer Arena | 6 p.m.

The Dinos women’s hockey team will put its four-game win streak to the test this weekend with a home-and-home set against Alberta. Calgary will head to Clare Drake Arena Friday before hosting the Pandas Saturday at 6 p.m. at Father David Bauer Arena.

Interim head coach Josh Gosling has his squad clicking at the right time, as the Dinos have won five of their last six games to move into fifth place in the Canada West standings with eight games left to play. Calgary has gotten things going offensively, scoring four goals in each of those wins and outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 16-7 over that span.

That hot streak now has three Dinos players ranked in the top five in the conference in total points on the year. After racking up three goals and three assists in last weekend’s sweep of MacEwan, Courtney Kollman — the Canada West Women’s Hockey Player of the Week — now sits second overall in the CW standings with 20 points on the year. Elizabeth Lang is tied for third with 19 points, while Sydney Mercier stands alone for fifth with 18 points after collecting at least one point in each of her last eight games.

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Calgary and Alberta clashed twice earlier this season back in October. The Pandas erased an early 2-0 hole before winning 4-2 in Calgary one night before finding the net in the waning moments for a 2-1 win in Edmonton. Alberta enters the weekend ranked sixth in the nation and second in Canada West at 16-2-2 after winning their last eight in a row.

Dinos Men’s Volleyball (5-9)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary at UBCO (1-13) | UBCO Gymnasium | 8 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary at UBCO (1-13) | UBCO Gymnasium | 7 p.m.

A four-game road swing gets underway for the Dinos men’s volleyball team this weekend, starting with a trip to Kelowna, B.C. to take on UBC Okanagan. Calgary and UBCO will first clash Friday at 8 p.m., with Saturday’s rematch scheduled for a 7 p.m. first serve. Both contests are scheduled to follow the women’s matches.

After a 5-3 start to the year, the Dinos find themselves mired in a slump that has seen them drop the last six games in a row. With 10 matches still to go, there is certainly still plenty to play for, as Calgary currently sits just one spot out of eighth for the final playoff slot in the Canada West standings. Head coach Rod Durrant’s squad also will play all three of the teams currently seeded directly ahead of them down the stretch.

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This weekend, the Dinos will take on a UBCO team that hasn’t been able to get over the hump. Although the Heat enter the weekend at 1-13, they put forward their strongest showing of the season last weekend in a pair of highly contested matches at Manitoba. A season ago, Calgary and UBCO split an early season series inside the Jack Simpson Gym.

Dinos Women’s Volleyball (6-8)

Friday, January 12 | Calgary at UBCO (5-9) | UBCO Gymnasium | 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Calgary at UBCO (5-9) | UBCO Gymnasium | 5 p.m.

Calgary’s women’s volleyball team will look to carry the momentum from last weekend’s home sweep on the road this weekend as they head to UBC Okanagan to take on the Heat for a pair of matches. It all starts Friday at 6 p.m., with Saturday’s competition set to get underway at 5 p.m.

The Dinos were riding high last weekend, picking up their second weekend sweep of the season with a pair of 3-0 handlings of Brandon.

With just five weeks left in the regular season, Calgary currently holds a playoff spot in the highly competitive Canada West Conference. The Dinos will have plenty of chances to shape their path to the postseason down the stretch, as they play three teams (Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, UBCO) all currently either tied or within one game of the Dinos in the standings. That all starts this weekend against the Heat, who are looking to get back in the win column after being swept both nights at Manitoba to open 2024.

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In the history of this head-to-head matchup, the Dinos have won the last eight regular season games.

Dinos Track & Field

Friday, January 12 | Sanderson Classic | Saskatoon Field House

Saturday, January 13 | Sanderson Classic | Saskatoon Field House

After two home meets to start the season, the Dinos track & field program hits the road for the first time this season, travelling to Saskatoon for the annual Sanderson Classic, hosted by the Saskatchewan Huskies. Friday’s action is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. MT, while Saturday’s collegiate events are scheduled for a 10:15 a.m. start.

The Dinos have done well in their two home meets, winning 11 events in limited action. Tatum Wade has made people take notice with her first two performances, as the former Calgary basketball player has won her first two events on the track for the Scarlet & Gold.

Dinos Wrestling

Friday, January 12 | Golden Bears & Pandas Duals | UofA Main Gymnasium | 6 p.m.

Saturday, January 13 | Golden Bears Invitational | UofA Main Gymnasium | 9 a.m.

Calgary’s wrestling program also hits the mat for the first time in 2024, heading north for a busy 24 hours in Edmonton. Calgary and Alberta will face off head-to-head Friday at 6 p.m. before the annual Golden Bears Open Saturday morning.

This weekend’s action will pit two of the top programs in the nation against one another as the Dinos start the new year ranked No. 2 on the women’s side and No. 4 on the men’s side. Meanwhile, Alberta currently holds the top ranking in U SPORTS on the men’s side, while its women’s program sits fourth.

Following this weekend, the Dinos will compete just one more time on the year before hosting the Canada West Championships on Saturday, Feb. 10 inside the Jack Simpson Gym.

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