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Faculty of Law
UNB Fredericton

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Students and alumni clash on the ice

On Saturday, April 1, a group of determined third-year law students faced off against a stacked team of alumni in the UNB Law Alumni Hockey Game. The Lady Beaverbrook Rink was abuzz, packed with rowdy fans who came out to cheer on their friends, classmates, colleagues, and family members.

It was a barnburner. Both teams came out flying, each clearly with something to prove. The alumni team found the back of the net first in the opening minutes of the game and scored their second just a few moments later. The students quickly responded with a goal of their own, making it a 2-1 hockey game. 

“We knew right away it was going to be a tough game,” said Jake Bryden, organizer and member of the student team. “They were fast, they were skilled, and they moved the puck really well. It was really a high energy atmosphere—the crowd was having fun. You could feel it on the ice.”

After two periods of fast-paced (and slightly chippy) action, the alumni team went into the dressing room with a 3-1 lead. Fearing time was running out for a dramatic comeback, Bryden took the opportunity to approach the alumni team to try and negotiate a longer third period. 

“I went over to Welton and Washington on the alum side and I said, look, it's a close game, why don't we go to 20 minutes stop time? They looked at me, laughed, and said, not a chance. Some of our guys are going to die if we go past 15 minutes. I guess I will have to work on my negotiation skills,” laughed Bryden. “As I was skating away J. Washington said, oh, and by the way if you guys do happen to come back and start winning then we'll go stop time.

The students would prove to be no match for the experience and composure of the alumni team (perhaps it was superior conditioning or the lack of a looming conflicts exam?). The alumni team lit the lamp three more times in the third, earning a decisive 6-1 victory over the students.

Bringing together both sides

The event came together thanks to the organizing efforts of Jake Bryden, J. Washington, and Mark Welton. Welton is the President of IMAX Global Theatres, a former member of the Reds men’s hockey team, and a member of the UNB Hockey Committee.

“I met Dean Marin in Toronto. We were discussing some of the exciting plans for the law school and supporting UNB Law students who were coming to the city. I had mentioned that I played hockey for UNB, and he asked me if I would be interested in helping organize an alumni game. I, of course, said yes, and he put me in contact with Jake, and we started getting things moving.”

With ample talent on the student side, Welton faced the challenge of putting the alumni team together. He searched out fellow law grads with a hockey background who might be interested in participating.

“It wasn't easy at first,” laughs Welton. “We had a Reds hockey reunion in the fall and actually played a game. I had met a few law alums there, so I started with recruiting former CIS players. I met Steven Pearce (LLB ’11) and Ryan Burgoyne (LLB ’05) and got in touch with my old law school buddies J. Washington (LLB ’92) and Bill Keane (LLB ’92). They all picked up one or two players and next thing we knew we had a team.”

With Taylor MacDougall (JD ’16), one of the alumni team’s secret weapons, a last-minute healthy scratch, Welton called up his nephew from the Fredericton Junior Red Wings.

“I cheated a little,” said Welton. “He’s 20, so that helped us out I think.”

Negotiations between Bryden, Welton, and Washington went right up to the trade deadline.

“We knew they had quite a few players who played high-level hockey,” said Bryden, “but so did we. We went back and forth, trying to make sure the teams were fair. They negotiated for David Comeau, who played junior. I remember thinking maybe they sandbagged me during the trade talks [laughs]. Like we learn in law school, never underestimate your opponent when negotiating.”

An annual event

The alumni hockey game was a fantastic opportunity to bring people together and foster important connections between students and alumni.

“We enjoyed it tremendously,” said Welton. “A lot of us grads hadn’t seen each other in 25+ years. These young men and women we played against are just great people. They played a really hard, clean game. We talked to them on the ice—had a lot of banter—and got to connect with them at a reception after at the law school. It was great to meet a bunch of impressive young people who are going to be lawyers and leaders.”

After graduation, Jake is heading to NB Power for articles. He will remain in Fredericton and is taking over as GM for the alumni team.

“Our aim is to establish the alumni hockey game as an annual event. We want the word to get out about how great this event was and hopefully get even more players next year. There is potential to have a couple of teams and possibly a round-robin tournament.”

The Faculty of Law would like to thank all of the students and alumni—some of whom travelled from outside New Brunswick to play. We would also like to thank the UNB Alumni Office for their generous support of the post-game reception through their sponsorship program. Finally, a thank you to all the fans who made this event a huge success. 

Please keep an eye on UNB Law's social media channels and your email for updates regarding next year's game.


Student team: Jake Bartlett, Jake Bryden, Nick Currie, Ryan Fancey, Alex Huelin, Makenzie Hill, Graham Manderville, Sean McEwan, Michelle McCabe, Tyler Murphy, Céili Randall, Andrew Sharpe, Sebastien Vella, Duncan Wallace, Logan Walters

Alumni team: Kevin Burke (LLB ’93), Mike Breton (LLB ’91), Ryan Burgoyne (LLB ’05), Mike Byrne (LLB ’92), Ben Conoley (LLB ’09), Dave Comeau (1L), Paul Ivanoff (LLB ’91), William Kean (LLB ’92), Daniel Maher (1L), Steven Pearce (LLB ’11), Ross Pierce (LLB ’91), John Washington (LLB ’92), Mark Welton (LLB ’92).

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