The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal


In a split second, one sound – pop – changed everything about the next year of Maria Blanco Belver’s life.

An 18-year-old Mount Royal Cougars basketball recruit who moved from Spain to Canada three years ago, Blanco was trying to prove that although she stood at a mere five-foot-three, she deserved to start on head coach Nathan McKibbon’s university squad.

Sunday’s game took place at an unusual time for a National Lacrosse League Game; the Roughnecks game was early afternoon at 2 p.m. for their Family Day celebrations.

In what has become a marquee event for Calgary, the Crowchild Classic draws thousands of hockey fans to the city’s biggest arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome. On a cold February evening, the so-called crosstown smackdown features Calgary’s rival university hockey teams — the Mount Royal University Cougars and the University of Calgary Dinos. The Cougars have only been playing university-level hockey for a few years. To understand the team today, we go back in time.

It’s a frigid February night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and while the temperature is cold, the crowd is heated up and ready for the Calgary Hitmen to face off against the Regina Pats.