Queen’s hockey Gaels take novel approach to defend OUA title

The Queen’s Gaels are back on the ice and ready to defend their championship.

The Gaels captured the Queen’s Cup last March in front of a capacity crowd of 3,200 at the Kingston Memorial Centre, beating the Guelph Gryphons 4-1 in the one-game sudden final. It was the Gaels first Ontario University Athletics (OUA) title in 38 years.

“It was a thrilling moment, but that was last year,” said coach Brett Gibson.

The Gananoque, Ont., native, now in his 14th season behind the Queen’s bench, is challenging this year’s team to be the most improved team in the league.

“That sounds funny being the defending champs,” continued Gibson.

“If we’re the most improved team, we’ll be where we need to be at the end of the season. If you stay complacent, that’s the only roadblock to greatness and here at Queen’s were trying to be great. Were trying to build a program that’s sustainable for the long haul. I don’t believe we’re a one-and-done championship team.”

The Gaels open up the new season with an exhibition game on Sunday, Sept. 15 in Gananoque.

It’s the annual Lou Jeffries scholarship game against the Royal Military College Paladins. Game time is 2.30 p.m.

“I can’t wait to play my first game with my new team,” said Brandon Schuldhaus.

The talented defenseman from Calgary is the 2019-20 recipient of the Lou Jeffries Award. Jeffries, who passed away in 2006 was a long-time supporter of the Queen’s hockey club.

“I am honoured to accept this scholarship in his name,” continued Schuldhaus, who played four seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Saskatoon Blades.

“Some big names have won this award in the past. I heard Mr.Jeffries was a huge supporter of hockey in Gananoque and at Queen’s. I am truly honoured to be named this years winner.”

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