Bears and Huskies duke it out again for Canada West championship

WATCH ABOVE: The Alberta Golden Bears hockey team captured five of the seven Canada West awards handed out on Wednesday, adding even more of a sour taste to the mouths of Saskatchewan Huskies players as they get set to host the Bears in the Canada West final this weekend. Quinn Phillips has more on this wonderful hockey rivalry.

It’s an incredible streak. For the 23rd straight year, either the Alberta Golden Bears or Saskatchewan Huskies will win the Canada West championship.

The two teams have dominated the university hockey landscape in our part of the country since the 1996-1997 season; Alberta the big winner with 17 Canada West titles in that time.

READ MORE: Golden Bears men’s hockey team captures 16th national championship

“It’s good that Saskatchewan is in the league, they push us every year,” said Bears general manager Stan Marple. “They’re great competition and Dave [Adolph] does a good job there.”

Over the last two decades, the rivalry between the two programs has grown — the two teams have faced each other over 500 times.

“Where do I begin,” said fifth-year forward Stephane Legault. “It’s heated, intense… two really good teams that we know what to expect from each other, we know we’re going to get each other’s best every time we play.

“It seems like the intensity is there every time.”

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In the last 22 years, the Bears and Huskies have duked it out 16 times for the conference championship. The bears have won it 11 times.

READ MORE: Unlikely hero helps University of Alberta Golden Bears win 16th University Cup

This year, the series is in Saskatchewan as the Huskies finished atop the conference standings. It’s bad news for the Bears who have won just once in five Canada West finals in Saskatoon.

“The funny thing about that is the group that won that Canada West championship is the core of our team right now,” said Marple. “We happened to have a really big recruiting year three years ago and when they were rookies those guys actually went in to Saskatchewan and we were able to win Canada West in the dog pound. It took us three games but we got it done.”

The best of three series kicks off Friday night.

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