No rematch for Trojans MRU wins ACAC appeal, retains title
A roller coaster week ended in disappointment for the SAIT Trojans on March 31, as the Mount Royal Cougars won their appeal with the ACAC and retained their championship title.
After the Trojans’ hopes of a fifth-straight championship were crushed in a 1-0 loss to the Cougars in game 5 of the ACAC finals, word came out early in the week that Mount Royal had an ineligible goaltender on their roster. In light of this operating code violation, the ACAC ruled the two longstanding rivals would have to face off again for a final matchup.
The initial news came as a shock to Trojans star forward Shane Lust and the rest of the team. They anxiously waited out the week before hearing the ruling on Thursday.
“We didn’t have a clue,” said Lust about the ineligible Mount Royal player. “Everyone thinks that we are doing it because we lost, but it was one of the Mount Royal academic people who told the league. This has nothing to do with SAIT, and people need to understand we’re not just doing this because we lost.”
After the ACAC became aware of the ineligible player, the league rescheduled game 5 for this Saturday. Mount Royal in turn appealed the ruling, and the appeal was successful.
In a media release, the ACAC stated that “Through the appeal process the tribunal reached a just decision which follows the core values of our conference.
The situation facing the two teams drew perhaps more media attention within the city than the ACAC has ever seen before.
Shortly after it was announced the ruling was overturned, SAIT Trojans athletic manager Mark Pretzlaff offered his opinion on the matter at a press conference.
“Our interpretation of the rules was that any time an ineligible student athlete played, they would forfeit the game they appeared in,” he said.
“We thought these rules were clear and concise beforehand, and I think this ruling has murkied the waters a bit. It’s up for the ACAC to determine how it’s going to affect future student athletes.”
For Lust, it was a tough way to put an end to his remarkable Trojans’ career.
“It sucks cause it was the championship, but if it’s a regular season game that’s an automatic forfeit,” said Lust. “I think every game should be treated the same no matter what. Rules are rules and they have to be followed.”