The Saskatchewan Huskies and the University of Alberta Golden Bears will reach a historic milestone in their century-long men’s hockey rivalry when they face off Friday at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton.
It will be the 500th game between the two teams, the longest running head-to-head battle of any team in any sport in Canada West history.
The two teams are also the only ones to have won conference titles over the last 21 years.
The first time the two schools faced off was on Feb. 27, 1911. Alberta clobbered Saskatchewan in a 16-0 shutout.
The rivalry didn’t heat up until the ’70s, when Dave King, an assistant coach with the 2018 Canadian Olympic team, took over the program and in 1983, a young defenseman named Dave Adolph helped Saskatchewan to only their second playoff victory against the Golden Bears.
Watch below: As the Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies were getting ready to do battle on the ice for the 500th time, Kevin Karius spoke to former Bears coach Bill Moores about the teams’ rivalry.
“My first year with the Huskies we did not have a very successful team. It was a four team league and we played Alberta eight times; four at home, four away,” Adolph recalled.
“Every time Alberta scored in their rink they played Benny and the Jets by Elton John. I like that song, but I heard that song so much my first year, I made it an objective that we try to minimize it for the rest of my time.”
Adolph, who has been the head coach of the Huskies hockey program since 1993, expects to hear it again this weekend.
“Because I’ve come out and said that, and the way that (the Golden Bears) think that they can get under my skin, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hear it this weekend.”
Goalie Jordon Cooke, who is in his fifth year with the Huskies, reacted immediately when asked about the Bears hockey team.
“First thing I think about is the ugly yellow that they have, I guess that kind of lightens the mood,” Cooke laughed.
“When you play each other only four times a year, and then expect to see each other in playoffs, you definitely develop this hatred for one another. But then again you have to remind yourself of the respect thing as well.”
WATCH BELOW: Rivalry between Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies set to reach significant milestone
Huskies captain Kendall McFaull said the rivalry can be described in one word – “fierce.”
“No matter where we are, no matter what game it is, it seems like both teams always bring their best,” McFaull, who is also in his fifth year with Saskatchewan, noted.
“Even when we’re not playing our best, for some reason when we play the Bears it brings out the best in us and I think it works both ways for both teams.”
Adolph, who played on the only Saskatchewan team to ever take home a men’s hockey national championship in 1983, says his wife noticed a difference in his demeanour in weeks leading up to tilts with Alberta.
“My wife said ‘you know you’re an absolute a**hole the whole week before you play the Bears, you should stay in a hotel.’”
“We definitely see a change in Dave, he’s always more amped up and more ready to yell at us in practice, we definitely feel a change on the ice but I think it’s a good thing,” McFaull added.
“This weekend’s huge, it’s going to be playoff hockey, we’re going for number one and they’re going for number one and this will ultimately decide that,” Cooke said Wednesday during practice at Rutherford Rink.
The record thus far is lopsided in Alberta’s favour: the Golden Bears have won 326 meetings to Saskatchewan’s 149. There were 24 ties.
The two teams face off Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. MT at Clare Drake arena, followed by a rematch on the following day at 5 p.m.