The University of Manitoba men’s hockey team played out their last weekend of the
regular season with a two-game series against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
The Golden Bears had a quick start to Friday evening’s game, controlling the first period
against the U of M and going up 1-0.
Despite the Golden Bears’ early success in seizing a 2-0 lead, the herd managed to hang on
going into the second period, as defenceman Chase Hartje scored to cut the Alberta lead in
Nevertheless, the end of Friday’s game was devasting for the herd in more ways than one.
First, the herd suffered a brutal 4-1 loss. Secondly, the team was forced to acknowledge
that beloved head coach of the Bisons Mike Sirant would soon be retiring, as Friday’s loss
meant that the Bisons were eliminated from playoff contention.
Friday’s loss also meant that Saturday’s game would be the very last Sirant would coach
for the Bisons.
Sirant’s retirement is set to start in June 2023. With nearly 30 years of coaching under
Sirant’s belt, the team will be left with a major absence behind the bench and very big shoes
to fill in the months to come.
Sirant will retire as the Bison head coach with the most wins, having recorded 333
Canada West (CanWest) regular season wins in his career. He also led the Bisons to the
playoffs 21 times.
To cap off the final game of the season, the herd was hoping to avenge Friday night’s loss
and send Sirant off with a win.
In the first period, forward Michael King scored the underdog Bisons’ first goal. As the
Bisons gained momentum and speed, they managed to tie the second place Golden Bears
2-2 with a goal by defencemen Parker Malchuk.
However, things quickly got out of hand in the second. Throughout the second and third
periods, the U of M was unable to hold on to the tie or keep up with the Golden Bears’
electric energy, and was shut down by Alberta’s iron-clad defence.
As a result, the game turned into a blow out and Alberta swept the series, coming away with an 8-2 victory in
The U of M’s season ultimately ended with disappointment as the Bisons finished eighth in
the CanWest standings, missing the playoffs.
Despite head coach Sirant leaving the U of M, the team will remember his countless achievements
with the Bisons’ sports program and the game of hockey.