Playing with PRIDE through the pandemic

Mountie athletes continue to challenge themselves
By: Melissa Lombard

COVID-19 stopped the professional sports world in its tracks this past year — just like it did the rest of the world. Travel was restricted. Major events were cancelled. Bubbles were created. Seasons shortened. Playoffs re-imagined. This pandemic punch also hit University athletics, causing season cancellations and creating an uncertain landscape for student-athletes and coaches.

Mounties Director of Athletics and Recreation Pierre Arsenault says he has been incredibly proud of his group through this whole process.

“We talk a lot in the sporting world about how you worry about the things you have control over and this, as much as anything in their life, has put that to the test,” says Arsenault. 

Fourth-year Football Mountie David Patry led his team back to the playoffs in 2019 and was looking forward to returning to the field for his final year. 

“With competition cancelled, I found myself in the same boat as everyone else in 2020,” says Patry. “COVID has brought a lot of challenges for everyone around the world, so I have to remember I’m not the only one in this and that the morale within the community is going to rally people.”

A Commerce student from Moncton, NB, Patry is set to graduate in May. He says Mountie Pride is something that will stick with him even after he graduates.

“Being a Mountie means everything,” he says. “Mountie Pride is something that I value every day and it’s also something I will take with me wherever I go.”

Fourth-year Hockey Mountie Emma Schurman held out hope for a return to competition in the winter season, but when the second wave hit New Brunswick and the rest of the world, the AUS regular season was cancelled. The team is currently exploring the possibility of some regional exhibition games.

“It has definitely been tough, especially being in my fourth year,” she says. “I wanted so badly to play. We’ve been sticking with our regular routine, practising on and off ice and team bonding as much as we can. We did a best of three mini tournament within our team. It’s keeping everyone motivated and remembering what we are working toward.”

Schurman, from Oakville, ON, will graduate in May with a degree in Commerce.

“It has been an amazing four years here and I wish I could do it all over again,” she says.

Through the cancellation of approximately 120 regular season games and nine championships, regional phases in Orange and Red that caused a slowdown and then complete stoppage of all training — this was a quiet year in athletics at Mount Allison. But throughout it all, the elements of Mountie Pride rose to the top — PASSION, RELENTLESSNESS, INTELLIGENCE, DISCIPLINE, and EXECUTION.

During this time, Arsenault says all the student-athletes really embraced the notion of challenging themselves.

“They really have spent their time getting direction, understanding what is allowable in the environment, and taking that space. Whatever they have been given permission to do, they have embraced. Every time they get a new element to their day or their program or their training, they are appreciative and grateful of that and they have supported each other,” he says.