The gloves almost stayed on for this year’s pursuit of the annual Washburn cup as St. Thomas University’s upper and lower campuses battled it out on the ice on March 10, where the fan-favourite tradition of fighting in the final period was banned.
First-year student and upper campus coach Tanner Anderson placed the importance on his team having fun rather than fighting.
“It’s gonna be a good game. Hopefully no fighting, we’re gonna try to keep that down as much as possible and everything’s gonna carry on Canada,” said Anderson.
With the recent closing of Rigby Hall the lower campus team opened up to off-campus students. Members of the STU community came to cheer for their team, and others were just there for a good time.
The crowd came prepared with creative signs rooting for their residences and poking fun at the opposing team.
As the game went on, the cheers became louder and the music playing moved the crowd to dancing.
The fighting was kept down with only one which was quickly broken up. Once the players had left the ice the referees made it very clear that the game was over with three minutes remaining in the third period.
A few students in the crowd booed as the players shook hands and exited the ice. Upper campus won the game, but many fans were unimpressed with the game being cut short.
Over the years, part of the tradition of the Washburn cup is for the players to square up with their friends during the final period and throw a couple of punches. It’s even expected and encouraged by the crowd.
Many were shocked to find out there would be no fights this year.
While hockey games typically come with a few fowls, this year’s organizers specifically put a no fighting rule in place.
While the lack of fighting was upsetting for some, the crowd had no shortage of fun.
For third-year student Eric Prior, the important part was upper campus winning the cup.
“All in all, I think both the teams fought really hard on the ice, gently. And I feel it was a really good game but I’m really glad Harrington won it for once,” said Prior.
The Washburn cup now resides in Harrington Hall as most of the upper campus players live there. Whether or not the crowd really needs to see a fight is still debated among the students but the excitement for next year’s game, fighting or not, hung in the air as people left the arena.
Students like first-year Kamryn Saulis, a goalie for the upper campus team, felt that there was no need for fighting at all.
“I think the fun is in playing the game.”