Campus Life

University Cup primer - who will face the Pronghorns?

The Pronghorns are in as hosts, but who will be joining them at the 2019 Cavendish Farms U SPORTS University Cup Men’s National Hockey Championship? And what path will they take to get here?

The eight-team field for this year’s national championship is gleaned from the three conferences that make up U SPORTS, the governing body for all university sports in the country. U SPORTS encompasses Canada West (CW, home of the Pronghorns and all universities from B.C. to Manitoba), Ontario University Athletics (OUA, universities in Ontario and Quebec) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS, maritime universities).

Each conference plays post-season tournaments to produce champions who earn their spot in nationals. For men’s hockey nationals, Canada West will send its conference champion as well as the runner-up. The University of Alberta Golden Bears defeated University of Saskatchewan Huskies to claim the conference championship. Both teams will be in Lethbridge with the Bears the champion and the Huskies the Canada West runner-up.

The OUA is sending its East and West Division champions. Queen's University won the East and the University of Guelph won the West, both earning spots in the field with their series victories. Carleton and Western will meet in the third-place game to determine the final spot out of the OUA.

Finally, AUS will send the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds as its conference champion and runner-upSt. Francis Xavier X-Men to round out the field.

When the eight teams are determined, U SPORTS seeds them for the single-elimination bracket tourney. The top seed plays the eighth seed, two plays seven, three plays six and four matches up against the fifth seed in the quarter-final round (two each on Thursday and Friday of the tourney).

If you win, you advance to the semis, if you lose, you’re done. Semifinals go on Saturday and the bronze and gold medal games are played on Sunday. Win three straight and you’re the national champions.

Given that the tournament format is do-or-die for every game, it will make for some extremely intense hockey with no margin for error.

The tournament begins Thursday, March 14 and concludes Sunday, March 17. Tournament packages and tickets for Thursday’s second quarter-final, featuring the U of L Pronghorns, are available now at