The Golden Bears hockey team finished the regular season with a 16-4 record. The Bears won a gold medal in the Canada West playoffs and a silver medal in the U Sports University Cup.
The Bears had an impressive regular season record of 16 wins and four losses. This was the best record in their conference and the team was ranked first in the U Sports top 10.
The Bears defeated the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds in the Canada West finals to bring home the gold medal. The Bears also made their way to the U Sports University Cup finals, finishing second as they were defeated by the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes.
Ian Herbers, head coach of the Golden Bears Hockey team, said that the team had a “fantastic season.”
Herbers said that the team consisted of new players that were able to improve early in the season.
“We had a group of young men that came together … a lot of [players] that had never played a Canada West game before the start of the season, and that number was around 15 players,” he said. “We had a small leadership group with that many new players, so we took our lumps at the beginning of the season and we grew.”
Herbers attributed the team’s success this season to the work ethic, passion, and skill of the players.
“Our work ethic, our passion, and our determination set us above the other programs in Canada West, and obviously our skill level. We just kept getting better and better and kept improving on our game and kept developing.”
Herbers said that going into the season the team anticipated “it would be a … different [year’s experience] coming out of COVID-19.”
“There’d be different situations that arise and things that we couldn’t plan for … we’d have to be ready to be flexible and be able to handle and meet the challenge head-on and keep rolling along,” he said. “At times, the team did not have a full lineup because of injuries, sickness, and players signing deals with other teams.”
Herbers said Clayton Kirichenko, Matt Fonteyne, and Grayson Pawlenchuk lead the team throughout the season.
“Credit to our players, and especially our leadership from Kirichenko, Fonteyne, and Pawlenchuk, and how they stepped up and guided this team all the way to the end.”
Herbers also said that the coaching staff played a large role in the team’s success.
“We have a young coaching staff that I thought were very good … [because] for us it’s not about one person, it takes the whole group from every player, from every staff, from every coach, [and] Stan Marple — our [general manager] (GM), it takes the whole group to be successful.”
The U of A Golden Bears hockey team has a long history of success and expects to compete for the national title every season.
“We’re always expected to challenge for a national title. That’s the tradition with the program now, with all the great work that people have done before.”
Herbers said that overall, he was pleased with the team.
“We just made a couple of young mistakes in the final game, but we played to win … so I’m pleased with our guys’ effort, pleased with our guys’ attitude, and so it was a joy coming to the rink every day for me.”