With an average of 2,298 fans per game at the Aitken Centre this season, the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team once again led Atlantic University Sport in attendance.
While it may be a league high, UNB’s attendance has taken a hit in recent years. UNB averaged 2,759 fans during the 2011-12 season — almost 500 fans per game more than this year — and it has been going down ever since.
In an interview last week, Varsity Reds athletic director John Richard said he is hoping to find ways to attract more students to games and possibly make some improvements with the Red Brigade fan club.
“We’ll sit down with some of our coaches and some of the key students behind [the Red Brigade] and see if we can tweak it,” said Richard. “For me, that’s the missing piece. Getting students in our building is going to jack attendance. The challenge is, on Friday and Saturday night there’s a lot of competition for their entertainment. Trying to be attractive to [students] is something we need to do a better job at.”
Curling team struggles at nationals
The Varsity Reds men’s curling team struggled at CIS nationals, held March 18-21 at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo.
UNB finished seventh in the eight-team tournament with a 1-6 record. Their lone win came against the Dalhousie Tigers — who also finished 1-6.
The Alberta Golden Bears won both the men and women’s championships.
UNB’s Phil Maillet finished tied for first in University Cup tournament scoring with a goal and five assists in three games. Alberta’s Jordan Hickmott also finished with six points in three games.
Maillet’s five assists were a tournament high while Cam Braes finished first in goals with five. UNB’s Phil Halley finished second in goal scoring with four.
Braes, along with Varsity Reds defenceman Jordan Murray, were named to the tournament all-star team.
Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey forward TJ Foster, who had a goal and two assists at the University Cup, has signed with the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.
Foster finished second in CIS scoring this season with 18 goals and 24 assists in 28 regular season games and went on to help the Golden Bears win the University Cup. This was his second season at the University of Alberta.
Meanwhile, Golden Bears head coach Ian Herbers will serve as an assistant coach for Canada’s men’s hockey team at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championship later this month.