(FREDERICTON, NB) What do Matt Stairs, Colleen Jones, Lori Kane and the Varsity Reds men’s hockey team have in common?
They’re all members of the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame’s class of 2016.
Seven inductees will be welcomed into the Hall, at a ceremony in June.
“The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hockey team has been a dominant force in Atlantic University Sport for the past 20 years,” says a release from the Hall. “Under the guidance of head coach Gardiner MacDougall for most of those years, the Varsity Reds have been the epitome of excellence and consistency.”
Since 1998, the Varsity Reds have won six Canadian championships and fifteen Atlantic Conference titles.
Five of those national championships have come in the last decade, and with MacDougall at the helm.
“It’s an exciting moment for the entire group to be recognized in this fashion,” said MacDougall.
Head coach of the Varsity Reds for 16 seasons, MacDougall says the induction is timely.
“It’s a very special honour to be able to win a national championship, and even more treasured is to have our team and university recognized by the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame.”
UNB hockey teams have also earned five CIS silver medals and a bronze.
The Varsity Reds were a unanimous choice of the Hall’s selection committee, and will be the first university team inducted.
“UNB has been a dominant force in the Atlantic Conference for two decades,” said Francis Mitchell, the Hall’s Corporate Secretary. “They’ve been dominant, competitive, yet still humble about those accomplishments, always giving credit to the AUS as a whole.”
While a picture of the 2016 national championship team will hang in the Hall, UNB is being recognized for a century of hockey.
“This is special,” said John Richard, UNB’s Director of Athletics. “To be recognized for a body of work, over many years, says a lot about Gardiner, the people he’s brought to UNB and their commitment to excellence.”
The Maritime Sport Hall of Fame was formed in 2014, with its first class of inductees welcomed in 2015. That class included New Brunswickers Willie O’Ree and Ron Turcotte.
The Hall is currently located in a temporary home in Bedford, Nova Scotia, but will move to a permanent location, at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, in 2017.