WOLFVILLE, N.S. - Acadia University's Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that Acadia University has been awarded hosting rights for the 2020 U SPORTS Men's Hockey National Championship, referred to as the University Cup.
"The bids that we received were excellent which demonstrates a strong interest in hosting a U SPORTS national championship," said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. "It is encouraging to see our member institutions developing creative ways to host national championships offering the best experience for our student-athletes as well as for Canadian sports fans, and guaranteeing the best attendance on site. This is promising for the future of U SPORTS and all of its members."
This will be the fourth consecutive U SPORTS National Championship to be hosted in the coming seasons, beginning with the 2016 women's soccer championship, this year's Final 8 men's basketball championship, this coming fall's 2018 women's rugby championship, and now the 2020 University Cup.
Acadia University will partner with Sports Entertainment Atlantic to stage the University Cup in 2020, with the Acadia Axemen serving as hosts.
S|E|A is no stranger to attracting U SPORTS championship events to Nova Scotia's capital. The Halifax-based company is partnering with Acadia University for this year's Men's Final 8 after working with Dalhousie on last season's event at the Scotiabank Centre.
The Axemen, who captured two national championships during the 1990s and have been a perennial Top 10 program over the last two decades, will host the men's hockey national championship for the first time. Acadia's Executive Director of Athletics, Kevin Dickie, said that the right to host the University Cup is a reflection on the program's success.
"Next to the national championship banners hanging in our arena, hosting the 2020 U SPORTS Men's Hockey Championship might be the most significant thing in the history of our storied Axemen program. Never has a school our size hosted this event without a university partner in a city like Halifax. U SPORTS entrusting us with the University Cup speaks to the best fan base in the country and a strong alumni following, and I'm confident that our role as tremendous hosts of national events over the past few years was definitely a factor in the selection," Dickie said after the announcement.
The announcement comes at a time when the men's hockey program at Acadia has 'raised the bar' in various areas to attract those from across the country who hope to attain a great educational and athletic experience.
"Hosting this championship, combined with our beautifully renovated Andrew H. McCain Arena, our new men's hockey dressing room, and the recently opened Stevens Centre High Performance Training Centre, allows us to be a destination of choice for the best hockey players and student-athletes moving forward. Acadia sincerely appreciates the opportunity to host the 2020 Men's Hockey National Championship," Dickie said.
Under Axemen head coach Darren Burns for the past 17 seasons, the Axemen have not missed post-season play in the last 14 years. Burns views the hosting opportunity as a show of confidence in Acadia's program and the great local and provincial fan interest in U SPORTS hockey.
"It's a tremendous honour to host the University Cup," Burns said. "Knowing our institution's commitment to the hockey program, coupled with having the biggest fan base in Canada over the past 30 years , this is truly an exciting moment for Axemen hockey. As a hockey alumnus from the Class of 1995, I couldn't be happier for Acadia, the Annapolis Valley and our fans."