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Battle of the Hill - 40+ Years of Cross Campus Hockey

List of Games | Best and Worst

By James Cavanaugh, Edited by Eric Drummie

It was first thought that the 150th Battle of the Hill was played on Halloween (Oct. 31st) 2007 at the LBR (UNB won 8-3). Further investigation into previous seasons found that the Halloween game was actually game #155 - the correct date for game #150 was Feb. 10th, 2006 at the LBR (5 games earlier then first thought). STU would upset UNB 10-3 in this game (the 12th LCM Game) - not knowning it was game #150 at the time.

There are many intense sports rivalries throughout North America: Yankees - Red Sox, Leafs - Canadiens, Oilers - Flames, the list goes on. In Fredericton, there exists high school rivalries FHS - OHS, and more recently FHS - LHHS, but the premier rivalry is the annual Battle of the Hill which features the city's two university men's hockey teams, the St. Thomas Tommies and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds.

In 1962, a royal commission on higher education in New Brunswick recommended that St. Thomas University enter into a federation agreement with the University of New Brunswick and relocate to the campus of the latter institution. In 1964 St. Thomas completed the move to Fredericton from Chatham (which has since amalgamated into the city of Miramichi). And thus began the Battle of the Hill.

Prior to 1960, St. Thomas University was called St. Thomas College. They played their first MIAU collegiate game in the 1936/37 season.

Before St. Thomas moved to Fredericton, the main rivals for UNB were Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier. In the early years of the UNB/STU rivalry, both teams played out of the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, on University Avenue, until the Red Devils (UNB’s moniker until 1991) moved to the newly constructed Aitken University Centre (AUC) at the start of the 1976-77 season.

Left - Lady Beaverbrook Rink (LBR) / Right - Aitken University Centre(AUC)

STU has not played in the Atlantic University Hockey Conference (AUHC) every season since their move to Fredericton. STU was not a member of the AUHC for four seasons, from 1975-76 to 1978-79. The hockey team returned for the 1979-80 season – which marked their first season as the sole tenant of the LBR and their first competative visit to the Aitken University Centre (although they did play some exhibition games the previous season).

The Varsity Reds have certainly had the upper hand in the Battle of the Hill over the years on both Regular Season and Playoff play. UNB's dominace has continued under Gardiner MacDougall including a playoff series victory against STU in 2002-03 and 2007-08 seasons.

It is interesting to note that the teams did not first meet in a playoff match, in Fredericton, until the 1994-95 season when STU defeated UNB two games to one in the best of three series, including a 9-3 drubbing of the Varsity Reds in the third and final game of the series at the AUC. This series marked the first time they had met in the playoffs in over 40 years (1961/62) and the LBR sold out in 20 minutes. Since then, however, the two clubs have met five more times in the playoffs and UNB has won each series. UNB enacted revenge in 1999-00 by winning game three at the LBR with a 7-0 shutout of the favoured home team. (1996/97 Playoffs (second meeting) - Toby Burkitt celibrates Peter MacKellar's triple ovetime goal to win game two (4-3) and the series 2-0)

Both hockey clubs have annual memorial games to honour one of their own who passed away unexpectedly. Since 1994, STU has honored Lou Chabot every year in their second home game of the regular season against UNB.

Mark Jeffrey played for UNB for four years and later came back as an assistant coach for the team from 1987-91, and was head coach for the last half of his final season behind the bench. Mark provided leadership, determination and inspiration and was a friend to everyone he met. Tragically, Mark died in the summer of 1991. His #17 Jersey was retired by the team and the annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial Game is played in his hounour. The game is traditionally UNB's second home game of the season against STU, but has included a game versus Acadia and will be against UdeM for the first time in 2010. Both Mark Jeffrey and Lou Chabot had a significant impacts on the two hockey programs and the annual games are the quintessential Battle of the Hill match-ups for each club.

UNB and STU have been rivals in the Battle of the Hill for over 40 years and the rivalry is sure to continue for many years to come. Including regular season and playoff games, the teams have passed the 150th competitive match in the Battle of the Hill and are now on their way to the 200th.

Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) men's hockey has many rivalry stories, such as McGill-Queen’s, Alberta-Saskatchewan, and RMC-West Point, but for Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and Fredericton in particular, the Battle of the Hill represents a unique rivalry between two teams that literally share a campus. Whereas McGill-Concordia, Dalhousie-Saint Mary’s and Ottawa-Carleton are within the same city – they are physically separated by geography – not so in Fredericton. As such, it makes for a unique and very ‘local’ atmosphere when the two teams meet.

The 175th game is projected 5-6 years out between 2010-12. The 200th game is projected 10-12 years out between 2017-2020 depending on regular season schedules and playoff meetings.

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