Tag Archive | "Jennifer Brenning"

Ottawa rivalries extend beyond Panda

Ask any Carleton University student about the University of Ottawa (U of O) and they will gladly bad mouth their cross town rivals.

The Panda Game and the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic are often marketed as major rivalry games between the two schools.

“The Panda Game, the Capital Hoops Classic—and we are about to build up the Colonel By Classic—it brings out a lot of school pride, and alumni, they will be wearing the school colours, get painted up to cheer on Carleton Ravens,” said Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s director of recreation and athletics.

But these aren’t the only sports at Carleton that have big rivalry games against the U of O Gee-Gees.

The Carleton Ravens men’s baseball team defeated the Gee-Gees by a score of 10-1 in the fourth and final game of the O-Train Series on Sept. 28.

Meanwhile, the Carleton Ravens men’s lacrosse team beat the Gee-Gees by a score of 8-6 in the second game of the Capital Lacrosse Clash on Sept. 30.

“Going up against our rivals, [U of O], it feels really good to come out of it with a [win],” said Emeric MacDonald, a first-year lacrosse player. “Even though we aren’t doing the best this year due to injuries . . .  we beat them and now we hold the belt over them till next year.”

While the Carleton Ravens women’s rugby team doesn’t have a special name for their game against U of O, they fell to the Gee-Gees by a score of 48-7 on Sept. 28.

“Just like the other sports it’s always a big rivalry when you’re playing your cross town rival, so there’s always a bit more in the game in terms of competitiveness and playing with a bit more of an edge, a bit more on the line and we like that,” said Ravens women’s rugby head coach Patrick Thompson. “It’s good for our sport and good for every sport.”

While some of these rivalries have received less attention, the Panda Game and MBNA Capital Hoops Classic continue to gain attention and improve.

The Panda Game broke the record for attendance again this year, this time with 23,329 fans, and was broadcasted nationally on City as part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport “Game of the Week.”

Meanwhile, the MBNA Capital Hoops Classic eclipsed 10,000 fans for the third time last season.

Thompson said women’s rugby is a new program, but hopefully its rivalry series will gain momentum.

“Women’s rugby is generally new as the varsity program just started up five years ago so they don’t have the history, but every year the games are getting more intense, the rivalry is certainly heating up and are looking to see what will happen in the next few years,” Thompson said.

Brenning said she hopes the Rivalry Series will grow over time, and would like to add other sports, such as soccer and women’s hockey as well.

“I think it is important to promote all the rivalry games against [U of O], not only lacrosse—but soccer, football and others,” MacDonald said. “I don’t think there should be an event for everything but I think there should at least be some emphasis on it.”

Posted in SportsComments Off on Ottawa rivalries extend beyond Panda

Women’s field hockey pursuing varsity status

The Carleton University women’s field hockey team has high aspirations—obtaining varsity status.

Entering their second year of existence, the team has been classified as a Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) club. This means that they receive their funding directly from CUSA rather than from Carleton Athletics.

The team has applied to athletics for approval to take the next step towards varsity: becoming a competitive athletic team.

The women’s field hockey team filed an application on June 7, but did not recieve a response until Sept. 28.

They have not yet been informed of a decision, according to Halley Chopra, the captain and president of the team.

“Our goal was to be a competitive [recreational] team by this year . . . it almost feels like we are a year behind,” Chopra said.

Tom Huisman, the manager of interuniversity sport and interim club commissioner, headed the committee this summer that chose which teams would be promoted from CUSA club to competitive club.

He said the five key aspects considered during this procedure are potential risk, mission and goal, student interest, leadership, and what sort of competition would be available for the team.

Huisman said that in term of the length of the application process, this is a unique case, and could not commit on when it will get resolved, but expects it to be sometime before the winter term

Chopra, a fourth-year civil engineering major, helped start the team and said they are ready to take it to the next level.

“We honestly have all our ducks in a line. We have the funding, we have equipment, we have everything—all we need is basically athletics’ permission,” Chopra said. “Just being known and having athletics supporting us is going to play a huge role in other universities taking us seriously too.”

Chopra added they have also recruited the talents of two-time Olympic field hockey player Ian Bird to act as head coach.

Being a Carleton club that falls under the umbrella of athletics has many benefits, including receiving additional funding and support, as CUSA is primarily an academic association. Additionally, as they are not technically an athletic club, the women’s field hockey team cannot call themselves the Carleton Ravens.

Carleton’s director of recreation and athletics, Jennifer Brenning, said they are currently embarking on a review this year to determine if sports clubs are being categorized properly.

Huisman said they will review the service levels they provide, the structure of the application review process, and the general model, while adding there is no strict limit for the number of varsity teams the university can have.

To get approval for varsity status, Brenning said the team needs quality coaching, an adequate competitive budget, facilities, and enough quality student athletes.

Carleton athletics and Chopra met at the end of September to review the team’s development, as well as the application filed in the summer.

According to Huisman, athletics is determined to see how they can support women’s field hockey, and if they can now grant them competitive club status, though they will not commit to anything at this time.

“There are still a lot of unknowns to work through . . . this is the start of the process,” Huisman said.

Although she is excited about the prospect of being on a varsity team, Chopra said she understands the necessary process.

“I do feel like we are ready [for varsity status] now, but being a competitive club could definitely help with our adjustment,” Chopra said.

Despite the frustration that resulted from a long summer of doubt, the two sides are focused on moving forward.

“We are relieved,” Chopra said. “The potential that our goal is one step closer to being reached is exciting.”

Posted in SportsComments Off on Women’s field hockey pursuing varsity status

Original Pedro the Panda trophy found

The Carleton Ravens football team successfully protected Pedro the Panda on Oct. 1 at the Panda Game when they defeated the University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees by a score of 43-23.

After the game, the Ravens were presented with the Pedro trophy, which is actually the third version of the trophy since the Panda Game began.

The original Pedro was created in 1955. Bryan McNulty, a U of O student, asked a local jeweller to donate a stuffed panda to the school. It was to be used as the Carleton versus Ottawa mascot and act as a promotional aspect for the game itself.

The decision had an immediate and profound impact. Not only did Pedro help make the game wildly successful, but the mascot took on a life of it’s own, running for president of Carleton’s Student Council and travelling to multiple campuses across Canada, according to the Carleton Archives and Research Collections.

At the age of 24, plush Pedro was retired and replaced with a copper trophy. Plush Pedro was then sent to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton.

However, a series of “Panda-nappings,” most notably by Queen’s University, left the whereabouts of original Pedro in question.

That was until Sept. 28, when Josh Lemoine of apt613.ca published an article that uncovered the mystery of the plush Panda.

Lemoine obtained a picture of Pedro, and confirmed that he was in the hands of an old friend of a prominent Gee-Gees alum.

“I was able to get confirmation that the bear is in Ottawa,” Lemoine said. “I don’t actually know who the keeper of the bear is . . . but my contact is a close personal friend to this person—a prominent former Gee-Gee.”

How or why it ended up with this person is unknown. There were rumours that it had been at the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton, or in one of the university’s archives—both of which proved to be false.

“I believe he was inducted [to the Hall of Fame] but was never in their possession,” Lemoine said.

Carleton’s director of recreation and athletics, Jennifer Brenning, said she believes that the owner should return it to Hamilton for display in the Hall of Fame.

“I hope that eventually he would donate it,” Brenning said. “It’s just such a historic symbol, not only for Ottawa, but for football in Canada.”

The importance of the plush bear prize for winning an extremely violent game of football has been well-documented.

“It’s a very important plush animal,” Lemoine said.

Wherever Pedro may be residing, the revival of the game in 2013 has been a resounding success.

“There’s just something about the rivalry and football in the fall,” Brenning said. “The whole thing is a tremendous show of school spirit and school pride . . . the response from students and alumni has definitely brought a sense of community back.”

Posted in SportsComments Off on Original Pedro the Panda trophy found

Carleton unaffected by NCAA recruiting

Isiah Osborne was preparing for a dominant season in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) with the Windsor Lancers. The 6’5” guard was a top prospect and looked to be a dominant force for the historically strong Windsor team.

That was until the University of Texas El Paso Miners saw him play in the preseason, which prompted them to sign him, according to a report from CBC.

Despite Osborne signing a letter of intent with the Lancers, he signed with the Miners only two days after they saw him play.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has rules in place to prevent bigger programs from recruiting players from the smaller ones. However, those rules don’t include Canadian universities.

“NCAA members have not implemented any current rules requiring coaches to request approval before contacting current student-athletes at Canadian universities,” said Meghan Durham, NCAA assistant director of public and media relations in an email.

“The NCAA is a membership-driven organization, meaning member schools and conferences propose rules and vote on whether or not to approve them,” she said. “At this point, NCAA members have not proposed legislation to extend that rule outside of NCAA and [National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics] schools.”

Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s director of recreation and athletics, said she hasn’t heard of any player as notable as Osborne leaving Carleton for an NCAA school.

“I think that’s one of the first that I’ve heard with the Windsor case,” she said. “We haven’t had that experience, I think Windsor being close to the border, it’s a little more challenging.”

However, she added the NCAA not recognizing CIS restrictions on recruiting existing players is concerning.

And the NCAA hasn’t been entirely quiet around Carleton, as multiple American schools have offered coaching positions to Dave Smart, the Ravens men’s basketball head coach. Smart told the Toronto Star in 2015 he could never accept the position because he wouldn’t be able to break the news to the team he recruited.

Brenning said the other reason Smart has always decided to stay is because of the training the coaches are allowed to do with the players. She said he likes being able to work with them year round, which wouldn’t be allowed in the NCAA.

“In the States, it’s very restrictive on how much coaching [you can do] year round,” she said.

Carleton has also seen the opposite happen, as NCAA players decide to transfer and play for the Ravens. Some of these players include Kaza Kajami-Keane, starting point guard for the men’s basketball team who played at Illinois State and Cleveland State, as well as Chad Manchulenko, wide receiver for the football team who transferred from Simon Fraser University, the only Canadian school in the NCAA.

Manchulenko said he wasn’t recruited by the Ravens, but knew a lot of coaches and players from Team Ontario and other football-related events.

One sport that does not have to worry about NCAA interest is men’s hockey. This is due to the majority of players coming from the Canadian Hockey League, which forfeits their eligibility to play in the NCAA, according to the association’s rules.

But this hasn’t stopped outside interests. Marty Johnston, head coach for the Ravens men’s hockey team, said every year he has to discuss with his players the possibility of playing in minor professional leagues.

Johnston said this isn’t about the players being stolen—it is about their future.

“There are times when it is the best case for them to go and there are times when we try to give them advice to stick it out and get the degree,” Johnston said.

He said opportunities from the outside are presented every year, and he only wants what’s best for the player.

“It’s our job to help them as people first and look at our own interests second, it shouldn’t be the other way around,” Johnston said.

Kwesi Loney, Ravens men’s soccer head coach, said he cannot recall a situation similar to Osborne’s happening at Carleton.

Loney said the CIS doesn’t redshirt players that come from the NCAA, which makes the transition back to Canada easier.

“Kids like going to US schools on a scholarship, being promised this and that, and then getting there and realizing it wasn’t exactly what it was cracked up to be, and then coming back,” Loney said.

“I think at the end of the day it’s always what’s in the best interest of the student athlete,” he said.

Brenning said the situation with Osborne was surprising and worth watching due to the amount of American schools who play preseason games at Carleton. However, she said she isn’t worried about the competition.

“We’ve won 12 championships, we have many athletes playing professionally over in Europe, so I think coming here they know they’re going to get their degree and get a chance to play,” she said.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Carleton unaffected by NCAA recruiting

OUA folds women’s water polo due to lack of teams

When the Carleton Ravens women’s water polo team takes to the pool for the 2016-17 season, they will do so as a competitive club, rather than a varsity sport.

The change comes after Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced on Feb. 5 that women’s water polo would be removed from its list of sport offerings.
Under the OUA guidelines, a sport must have a minimum of six teams of the league’s 20 members competing in the annual OUA championship in order for it to qualify.

As there are only five teams currently competing in women’s water polo, the OUA made the decision to remove the sport. As per the league rules, the sport was originally placed on a year-long probation for the third time in four years in December 2014.

“We did look to see if there were other programs that would join the OUA. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough support,” said Jennifer Brenning, Carleton’s athletic director.

“The respective universities that had teams entered had all petitioned our athletic directors. We’d been in conversation with the OUA itself and have been working in tandem with other universities to try to help them gain, not necessarily varsity status but gain support and momentum from the universities,” Ravens head coach Victoria Peters said.

“It’s not just this year, we’ve been trying for years . . . but it’s not an easy process and it’s difficult,” she said.

Despite it being her final year as a Raven, Emma Cooke, the team’s captain, said the decision was “really, really disappointing.”

“We definitely knew going into it, like our coaches made it really clear that that was a possibility and they were doing all they could to try and keep that from happening,” Cooke said. “But yeah, we were definitely really worried.”

“It’s just really sad,” she said. “I feel really bad for my teammates. I hope it doesn’t discourage the players that aren’t graduating this year from continuing to play.”

Historically, water polo has been played at Carleton for decades, and according to Brenning, that isn’t going to change, regardless of the OUA’s decision.

“We’re still planning to support a women’s water polo team,” Brenning said. “We’ll be most likely operating that as one of our competitive clubs that will participate against other universities, like the University of Ottawa that’s a club program already.”

With the decision, the women’s water polo team joins a list of 17 other competitive clubs at Carleton, including baseball and lacrosse.

Club teams at Carleton are funded through grants from the Carleton University Students’ Association’s clubs and societies program.

“I think the difference [between varsity and club status] is an OUA banner,” Brenning said. “The men will now have an OUA banner to compete for, whereas the women may have a competitive experience but not that OUA banner.”

Nevertheless, Cooke said there are some benefits to being a club team.

“It’s unfortunate because we don’t have that level of competition, but at the same time there’s actually more teams we can play against as a club team,” Cooke said. “So it has some benefits, there were only five teams in the OUA and now there’s going to be . . . quite a few more teams that we’ll actually get to play against.”

“I’m sure it’s probably going to affect a lot but I can’t predict it yet because it’s so new,” Peters said. “Historically speaking [Carleton has] always done very well medal-wise, so you know what, I don’t think that recruitment will be an issue, I think I’ll be able to pull another 20 girls and that’s the goal. Keep the team big and keep it going.”

After a waiting period of three years, teams will be able to apply to the OUA to have the sport reinstated, provided that it meets the minimum standards for competition.

“It was hard. Frustrating, very frustrating,” Peters said about the OUA’s decision. “It’s difficult but I don’t doubt that one day we’ll be able to get back to varsity status, and that’s the goal, to keep fighting towards it and to keep the program strong and keep the morale up.”

Posted in SportsComments Off on OUA folds women’s water polo due to lack of teams

Capital Hoops celebrates 10 years

On Feb. 5, a capacity crowd filed into the Canadian Tire Centre as the men’s and women’s basketball teams faced off against the crosstown rival University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees in the 10th annual MBNA Capital Hoops Classic. Before the game, the scene outside the Ravens’ Nest was filled with black and red as hundreds of fans piled into buses.

In a result quite different from past years, the Ravens women’s team managed to come out on top while the men’s team suffered a six-point defeat.

The bleachers were filled with over 10,000 fans for the men’s event. Last year’s attendance broke the record for a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) regular season game.

The heightened atmosphere of this rivalry was first showcased 10 years ago during the first Capital Hoops Classic.
“We partnered with the Senators in 2006,” said Carleton’s athletic director Jennifer Brenning. “This event was kind of a build up towards the national championship we were hosting that year. I remember [feeling] absolutely electric. It was exciting, the students were so pumped in their school colours . . . It was just a great atmosphere.”

From then on, it was a no-brainer to continue the event. Both fans and players have enjoyed the championship-like tradition for years now.

“It felt special,” said Ravens forward Heather Lindsay following the win. “In the past, it has felt really overwhelming, but tonight was special . . . The atmosphere was fantastic, and we have the best fans in the CIS, hands down.”

The level of the rivalry only propels the intensity of the games. The two men’s teams met in the CIS championship last season and have held the top spots in the country for the majority of the season.

“In terms of basketball, this is the best rivalry there is. Between this game and the Panda [Game], they’re the marquee events in terms of CIS rival games and events,” Brenning said.

The Ravens football team won the Panda Game in dramatic fashion earlier this season. Unfortunately for Carleton fans, the men’s basketball team could not complete the perfect sweep of football and basketball versus their rivals. It was the first time since the first Capital Hoops Classic that the men’s players didn’t send the Ravens’ fans home happy. However, the women’s team won their game for the first time in the past three years by a 20-point margin.

“We just fell short on making shots . . . Defensively we fell short in the third quarter,” said Ravens point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane.

Nonetheless, the atmosphere was electric once again, and the game displayed the high level of talent the city of Ottawa has to offer.

“We have really strong basketball at the community level. This game has certainly had an impact on the visibility and awareness of CIS basketball,” Brenning said. “Bar none the best rivalry in Canada, and it has stayed that way for years.”

Posted in SportsComments Off on Capital Hoops celebrates 10 years

Carleton introduces the Alpine ski team

As part of a local effort to promote alpine skiing at the university level, Carleton formed its first competitive alpine ski team.

The team is made up of five students as part of a joint program with students from the University of Ottawa and the Université du Québec in Gatineau.

“As a new team we want to be able to put ourselves in a position to push for the championship, for the banner in about three to four years,” said Nick Paynter, first-year communications student and alpine skier.

Hannah Schmidt, team captain, helped start the team this year along with coach Gabriel Bouffard, .

“I wanted to continue skiing through school and other than going to the states on a scholarship there wasn’t really anything in Ottawa,” Schmidt said, who has been skiing for seven years.

“I think most of the team has skied before . . . and like me they wanted to continue skiing while they were in school, and it provided a good opportunity.”

Carleton Athletics and the Carleton University Students’ Association partnered together to sponsor competitive clubs each school year and recognized alpine skiing for the first time this year.

According to Jennifer Brenning, Director of Athletics, competitive sports clubs receive a grant ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each year depending on the group.

“It provides a real social aspect for our students on campus to meet other students that are competing in sports they are interested in,” Brenning said.

Alpine skiing has applied in previous years, but this year was the first time where met  the criteria surrounding student leadership, budget, participation, and risk management.

“I think it is very important. It provides more competitive sport opportunities for our students,” Brenning said. “It fosters participation and healthy living.”

Schmidt said they have been doing a lot of fundraising on top of any money they receive, including a wine and cheese fundraiser in the fall, adding it can be a lot of money out of their own pockets.

Schmidt said her goal is to be able to help grow the team and to personally “be able to maintain skiing and school together.”

The first university races occurred Jan. 16 and 17 with teams from Carleton, Concordia, Laval, McGill, and Montréal.

Schmidt finished fourth in her race on Jan. 16. and third on Jan. 17.

Schmidt has seen the podium before at different races going into the university season, coming in second in her first race of the season in early December.

Posted in SportsComments Off on Carleton introduces the Alpine ski team

This week in Volume 46 . . . Issue 12

Vol. 46 Issue 12

Vol. 46 Issue 12

Click on the image for the PDF of our latest issue.


Do you judge people on their taste in music?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ed Graphic

Ed Graphic

The Ravens and the Gee-Gees face off once again at the Colonel By Classic.