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Newfoundlanders plentiful at CIS hockey championships

A number of players from this province begin playing for a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national hockey championships later this week.

In the eight-team men’s event, starting Thursday in Halifax, five Newfoundland-born players are involved. The host Saint Mary’s Huskies feature forward Brad Greene from Tilting, Fogo Island and St. John’s defenceman Stephen Gillard. The St. Francis Xavier X-Men, Atlantic University Sport conference champions, include defenceman Aaron Hoyles of Gander and head coach Brad Peddle of Conception Bay South.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, with defenceman Alex Wall of St. John’s, also advanced to the CIS tourney as the other AUS finalist; they were swept by St. FX in a best-of-three series last week.

Quarter-final play gets underway Thursday, when the X-Men take on the defending champion Alberta Golden Bears. On Friday, UNB face the Western Mustangs and Saint Mary’s hits the ice against the top-seeded University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières Patriotes.

At the women’s championship in Calgary, Nicole Blanche from Dunville, Placentia and the AUS champion Saint Mary’s Huskies open things up against the Western Mustangs in a quarter-final on Friday. In Thursday’s quarter-final play, the St. Thomas Tommies, including goaltender Abby Clarke from Springdale, meet the No. 1 ranked Guelph Gryphons.

Semifinals in both tourneys are Saturday, with bronze-medal and championship matches on Sunday.

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