(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds have been the best university hockey team in the nation, two years running.
On Sunday, December 10th, they’ll ‘be’ the nation’s team.
The Varsity Reds men’s hockey team will play host to Poland’s national men’s hockey team in an exhibition game, at UNB’s Aitken University Centre. Face-off is scheduled for 2:00pm.
Former NHL Coach of the Year Ted Nolan is the head coach of the Polish team. Former Varsity Reds head coach Tom Coolen is his assistant.
The pair were hired by the Polish Ice Hockey Federation in July.
“They’ve teamed up to revive the Polish program this year,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “Tom said they were looking to do a bit of a training camp in Canada and get some exposure for their players. We were fortunate that we had one game under our exhibition games cap.”
Poland is currently ranked 20th by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The game comes during the exam and Christmas break in the Atlantic University Sport season.
UNB concludes the first half of its season with road games, at Saint Mary’s and Acadia, on December 1st and 2nd.
“It’ll be a great way to finish off the first half,” said MacDougall. “Obviously, the priority is the AUS games we have left. Our goal is to find ways to have our group get better each time they come to practice and each time they play in games.”
“This is a neat opportunity, it’ll be a highlight game. We expect good attendance and it’s an event that will be a prelude to what we want to do in March,” said MacDougall.
“The Polish team is going to be here for about a week and using the Aitken Centre for training,” said MacDougall. “They’re going to be in the city and will be using the High Performance Centre as well. It’ll be a neat week in December, when normally it’s a down time. We can have a good week of practice and have a big game before the guys start their examination period.”
This won’t be the first international game for the Varsity Reds.
In 2012, UNB hosted a team of Russian All-Stars, beating them 5-2 in a New Year’s Eve contest at the Aitken Centre.
Tickets for the December 10th game are available at the Aitken Centre box office, and on line at www.vreds.ca
PHOTOS COURTESY: Polish Ice Hockey Federation